The Prophet Joseph Smith once described a fundamental belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as our respect for the right of all people to “worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). Brigham Young similarly taught that Mormonism embraces all truth,
“whether [it] be found with…the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties” (Journal of Discourses 7:284).As I reflect on the many ways my own life has been enriched through associating with people of different religious faiths, I see clearly that much of what I know about how to be a devoted Latter-day Saint comes from lessons I have learned from those outside my faith. I have been strengthened in unique ways by the virtues and values reflected in the lives of the followers of many religious faiths. Here are five simple ways other religions have touched my life and helped make me a more committed Latter-day Saint:
1. Catholicism’s Beautiful Antiquity
“I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds.”
2. Evangelical Christianity’s Focus on Grace
3. Judaism’s Strength and Its Contributions to Humanity
4. Buddhism’s Kindness and Respect for Others
It has been an honor to associate with Muslim friends and colleagues over the years, including my friendship with a current colleague of mine who is the faculty adviser of the Muslim Student Association at our university. I have learned that devout Mormons and devout Muslims have a lot in common. The importance of prayer and fasting, caring for the poor and needy, and devotion to God and family are just a few of the beliefs we share. I also empathize with the plight of so many Muslims around the world who feel their religion is so often mischaracterized and unfairly maligned. I am thankful for the good examples of Muslim friends who have taught me valuable lessons about how to be a more devoted Latter-day Saint.