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An Apostle of Jesus Christ’s Invitation for World Interfaith Harmony Week

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From Joseph Smith’s willingness to defend the rights of all people of faith to President Russell M. Nelson’s frequent interactions with other religious leaders, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a longstanding tradition of respect and love for believers everywhere.

As people around the globe celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1–7, 2024), Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says he is “convinced we can all live together peaceably as we love God and follow the ‘Golden Rule’ — treating others as we ourselves want to be treated.” Despite “misinformation, unfounded accusations, and societal divisions,” he adds, believers “can overcome such prejudice and ignorance with love and patience.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by David A. Bednar (@davidabednar)

 

Recent interactions between Latter-day Saints and other believers are a model to follow. For example, Sikhs and Latter-day Saints in Dubai engage in a yearly service project. The Church collaborates with dozens of faith-based organizations, including Jewish, Muslim and other Christian faiths, to help children in New York. And the First Presidency regularly welcomes other faiths to Temple Square, such as the leader of Indonesia’s 100 million Muslims in December 2023.

Sometimes the invitations come the other way. For example, last year Pope Francis invited representatives of other faiths — including a Latter-day Saint woman — to an ecumenical meeting in Mongolia.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said at the gathering, “we share a great responsibility, especially in this period of history, for we are called to testify to the teachings we profess by the way we act. We must not contradict them and thus become a cause of scandal. … In this regard, I would like to reassure you that the Catholic Church desires to follow this path, firmly convinced of the importance of ecumenical, interreligious and cultural dialogue.”

In 2019, the Pope welcomed President Nelson and the late President M. Russell Ballard to the Vatican.

“What a sweet, wonderful man he is, and how fortunate the Catholic people are to have such a gracious, concerned, loving and capable leader,” President Nelson said at the time. “We talked about our mutual concern for the people who suffer throughout the world and want to relieve human suffering. We talked about the importance of religious liberty, the importance of the family, our mutual concern for the youth [and] for the secularization of the world and the need for people to come to God and worship Him, pray to Him and have the stability that faith in Jesus Christ will bring in their lives.”

During World Interfaith Harmony Week, Elder Bednar invites people everywhere to act in a similar way: to learn more about and serve together with people of other faiths.

“As we seek to see others in the way God sees them, we will learn much about those around us and discover they are more like us than they are different,” says Elder Bednar, who in 2021 helped introduce a pamphlet that helps Muslims and Latter-day Saints understand each other. “This is the way to overcome Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Christian sentiment and other forms of religious intolerance.”

In doing so, the Apostle says, “we can make a world where every week is harmony week.”

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