Elder Paul Pieper, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented a paper at the Third Congress of Traditional and World Religions convened at Astana, Kazakhstan in July. As president of the Church’s Europe East Area, Elder Pieper represented the Church at the request of the First Presidency. His remarks were presented on a panel of distinguished religious leaders on the topic of “Solidarity, Especially in the Period of Crises.”
In acknowledging the moral, spiritual and economic challenges facing the “people of the world,” Elder Pieper suggested greater solidarity in targeting the difficulties and suffering they endure.
“This Congress was established on the premise that religions through dialogue can find ways to work more unitedly and cooperatively to achieve objectives that will bless mankind.”
Focusing on his faith’s belief in Jesus Christ, Elder Pieper called it a moral imperative to follow the Savior’s teachings.
“We try to emulate his obedience, love, compassion and service to others collectively as a Church, and in our personal lives.”
Elder Pieper offered three guiding principles to expand solidarity with other religions: the right to choose ones worship, friendship to all denominations and a unified approach to the world’s challenges where possible.
Elder Pieper praised the organizers of the Congress and extended the Church’s willingness and desire to work with any and all religious leaders in achieving a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.
The Congress was first organized in 2003 at the initiative of Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev in response to the 9/11 attacks. It is held every three years. The Third Congress included approximately 75 delegations from religious traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism and Zorastrianism, as well as leaders of academic and governmental institutions.