In a new video series from Mormon Channel called Hope Works, guest speakers present TED-style talks to promote faith and hope. In one of the videos, Samuel Hislop presented a speech, entitled “We Aren’t God’s Only People,” to explain the positive effects of faiths outside of our own.
Samuel Hislop opens up to the audience, sharing an experience from his mission when his inability to understand other religious views drew him away from Christ.
Serving an LDS mission in eastern Ukraine, Hislop was surrounded by many Eastern Orthodox Christians, who greet one another on Easter with the Paschal greeting, “Иисус Воскрес,” meaning “Jesus is risen.” Even members of the Church participated in the greeting, since many converted from the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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“That night I wrote in my journal that seeing all this was ‘a little annoying’—those are the words I wrote,” Hislop admits to the audience. “And now I kind of wonder why I did that—why would I, as a Latter-day Saint Christian, consider this annoying? It’s a salutation that not only points to but affirms the reality of one of the most important events of all time—the Resurrection.”
After failing to understand how a different expression of faith testified of the same Jesus Christ, Hislop looked back on what he expressed in his journal with embarrassment and humbly admitted his error.
Hislop used his experience to make the point, saying, “We all have gaps in our souls that can only be filled by each other—by learning from those who don’t think, act, and believe the way we do. I truly believe that’s one of the greatest blessings and gifts he gives us in this life, is the opportunity to learn from each other.”
While Hislop was excited to share the message of the restored gospel with people of other faiths on his mission, he explained, “I’ve come to realize that they also had a lot to teach me.” Without minimizing the message of the gospel or its importance, Hislop shares how we can learn from great religious minds and faiths outside of our own.
For example, Hislop shared what he learned from Dr. Henry Lusk, head pastor at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Seaside, California.
“We’re all God’s children, we all worship the same God, we all have the same purpose, and the welfare of our fellow man is our mutual concern,” Hislop shared. “[Dr. Lusk] reminded us that it was Christ who taught us that we have to get outside the walls of our churches and reach out to everyone. . . . We can’t forget those who are outside the walls.”
Instead of rejecting the faith of others based on our knowledge of the gospel, Hislop encouraged members to recognize the truth and beauty in other faiths, just as we would recognize and acknowledge the beauty of their historic art and churches.
Hislop quoted early LDS apostle Orson F. Whitney, who said, “God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of his great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous, for any one people.”
Although we have a special message about the restored gospel for anyone who is willing to hear, Hislop reminds us to stay humble and recognize the faith of others. In doing so, our faith will be strengthened, and we will promote faith among others.
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“God expects us to learn from others as well,” he said, “and we can’t do that unless we’re willing to open our hearts and our minds and our ears to those who think and act and believe differently than we do. I believe that as we do that, not only will we be uplifted, but I think we’ll become better ambassadors of good faith.”
Watch his inspiring talk, along with other faith-building presentations from Hope Works, on mormonchannel.com.