Baha'i News -- Mormon church leader greets leaders of other faiths at service

Hinckley stresses religious tolerance

Mormon church leader greets leaders of other faiths at service

Saturday, November 25, 2000
Standard Examiner Correspondent

SALT LAKE CITY -- President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomed leaders and members of other faiths at the LDS Tabernacle Sunday evening during the 11th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

"How very important it is that we constantly do everything that we can to build respect and appreciation and understanding of one another," he said.

Hinckley also emphasized the importance of doing away with mistrust and bigotry. As host of the meeting, Hinckley provided the welcome and opening remarks to the diverse group of religions represented. He told a story related to him by Israeli statesman Shimon Peres about the importance of recognizing each person as our own brother and sister. He concluded his remarks by saying, "I welcome each of you and invoke the blessings of God upon this organization as it goes forward with its work."

The annual Interfaith meeting is sponsored by the National Conference forCommunity and Justice, a human relations organization. According to its mission statement the organization is, "dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism in America. NCCJ promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures."

Religious groups from the area were well represented by an array of speakers and participants who took part in the program. The invocation was offered by Reverend Tom Goldsmith of the First Unitarian Church.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson followed by reading a proclamation. Rounding out a list of six other "Whereas" statements, the official proclamation states that, "Whereas, it is important to strengthen and build our community by recognizing and celebrating the differences among people including differences in faith, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Now therefore, I Rocky C. Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Do hereby proclaim November 19, 2000 as: Interfaith Thanksgiving Sunday."

The Right Reverend Carolyn Tanner Irish, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, read passages from the New Testament on love. Her remarks were followed by speaker Shahab Saeed, representing the Baha'i Faith, who read and commented on inspirational Baha'i writings.

Raza Patel, a U of U medical student and member of the Islamic Society, read from the Koran. Passages from the 34th Chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon were read by Richard Linford of the LDS Church, and Father Landes Silva read from the Old Testament.

The keynote speaker was Forest Cuch, Director of the Utah Office of Indian Affairs. Cuch, who was raised on the Uintah and Ouray Ute Indian Reservation spoke about the deep seated feelings of injustice that is felt by many Native Americans.

"I don't think we have recovered from the North American conquest," he said. Cuch also emphasized that Thanksgiving was originally an Indian harvest festival that was adopted by the pilgrims.

Music was provided by the Tongan United Methodist Youth Choir and included renditions of "Rock of Ages" and "Holy, Holy, Holy." The program was concluded with a benediction offered by Rabbi Frederick L. Wenger, of Congregation Kol Ami.

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