Today's Getting It Right includes stories about the importance of interfaith relationships for Mormons and weekly community service for Mormon missionaries.
The Berkley Center: Interfaith Relationships Important to Mormons, “Turns Strangers Into Friends”
In an interview with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, Chase Kimball, a Mormon in Washington, D.C., cogently explains why interfaith relationships are important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Kimball says interfaith relationships have been a part of his experience since his time as a youth in Evanston, Illinois, where he often joined “Jewish friends for Passover seders, visiting the Episcopalian church down the road on Christmas Eve, and talking with my friends at school about my beliefs and theirs. I always felt respected, and I always felt at home in that pluralistic environment.”
As a Mormon missionary in the Netherlands, Kimball says he became acquainted with people from a variety of religious, ethnic and family backgrounds, giving him “a much deeper and loving understanding of these people and the traditions they represented.”
And as a college student in Minnesota, Kimball says campus interfaith activities “added more richness and dimension to my religious life than I would have had without them. Hearing what others believe taught me to see the world in a new way, and seeing how others live their faith inspired me to live my life with greater virtue.”
Speaking generally, Kimball notes that interfaith dialogue “turns strangers into friends. When we learn about each other’s beliefs and backgrounds, we are more likely to care for one another. ... As we build the friendships that naturally emerge from this kind of dialogue, we are prepared to link arms together to tackle issues we all care about.”
The Daily Times (New Mexico): Mormon Missionaries Provide Weekly Community Service
Many people recognize Mormon missionaries as men in white shirts, conservative ties and black nametags, going door-to-door to share a gospel message. Hannah Grover’s story about female Mormon missionaries (each of whom is addressed with the title “Sister”) serving in the Farmington, New Mexico, area begins by describing a perhaps less well-known aspect of Mormon missionary work: community service.
Grover describes two female missionaries sitting on the floor in a local assisted living center, devoting time to listen to and laugh with an elderly woman as she reminisces about her life.
Small acts of service like this are given each week by Mormon missionaries across the globe. Taken collectively among the Church’s 65,000-plus missionaries, it adds up to approximately 12 million hours of service annually for such things as disaster cleanup, helping people move, teaching English and visiting the elderly.