Today’s edition of “Getting It Right” features a commentary that examines why the Church continues to grow, stories about the Church’s summer pageants and a column that says Utah’s Pioneer Day is a celebration of all pioneers who settled the western United States, regardless of faith.
Tribune writer Tom Wharton notes that Pioneer Day (a Utah state holiday that marks the entry of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley) is a celebration of all pioneers who settled the western United States, regardless of faith.
Wharton says that “there is certainly a place for all of us” in Utah, and those who disparage others because they are different should remember that “one of Jesus’ greatest commandments was to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“This Catholic,” Wharton concludes, “would like to thank the Mormons in our community for being wonderful friends and neighbors who are justly proud of their pioneer heritage.”
See an infographic about Pioneer Day.
Read more about the Church’s interfaith efforts.
MormonNewsroom.org commentary: Respect for Diversity of Faiths
Patheos.com: Reasons behind Latter-day Saint Church growth
David French, a Calvinist member of the Presbyterian Church in America, says The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints retains members and continues to grow because, among other reasons, “Mormon leaders ask a lot of their members,” “Mormons are less selfish” and “Mormons evangelize.”
Indeed, much is required of Mormon members and leaders because the Church’s unpaid volunteer ministry is pulled entirely from the pews. Latter-day Saints voluntarily participate in “callings” or assignments that provide meaningful opportunities to serve one another. It is common for members to spend 5-10 hours a week in these assignments, and some leaders (such as a bishop) may need to spend 15-30 hours per week. Additionally, many young Latter-day Saint men and women dedicate 18 to 24 months of their lives to missionary service. This volunteerism is a fruit of faith in Jesus Christ’s command that His disciples both serve and love one another.
More information (including two infographics) about the Church’s lay leadership and volunteerism can be found at the following MormonNewsroom.org links:
Reports from the Wall Street Journal and Democrat and Chronicle about the 75th anniversary of the Hill Cumorah pageant note the production’s large 750-member cast of volunteers. The Wall Street Journal also points out that the pageant cast members perform several hours of community service in Palmyra and Manchester “to repay the region’s increasing hospitality toward” Latter-day Saints.
The New York Times, also reporting on the Hill Cumorah pageant, references the Church’s political neutrality, saying the pageant is “a place removed from the din of politics.”
Finally, a KHQA piece about the Nauvoo Pageant contains the comment from a Church missionary that the production is “a testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Church pageants are large outdoor productions that highlight stories from Church history and the scriptures through music, theatrical dance and dramatic spoken word. The Nauvoo Pageant tells the story of Mormon settlers in the 1840s who struggled to build a city and find peace on the swampy banks of the Mississippi in western Illinois. In doing so, the Nauvoo Pageant pays tribute to the Church’s founder and first president, Joseph Smith. The Hill Cumorah Pageant focuses on Christ and His mission to bring peace and happiness to everyone and explains the history and message of the Book of Mormon.