From the Church

Elder Bednar and Elder Gong encourage greater understanding of Muslims

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

On October 19, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged Latter-day Saints to better understand and find common ground with the world's 1.8 billion followers of Islam and introduced a new Church pamphlet, “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles.”

Their joint message came at the conclusion of a two-day conference, “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives,” which was held at Brigham Young University. According to the conference webpage, its purpose was to “provide an intensive yet accessible introduction to key aspects of Islam and will make clear why such information is relevant, even essential, for informed citizenship today.”

As reported by Newsroom, Elder Gong encouraged Latter-day Saints to learn more about their Muslim neighbors because such knowledge “will help us be more kind and more accurate in what we say and feel about each other.”

Elder Bednar also added, “The two faiths are different in many of our core doctrines, but many of our values and the ways in which we practice our respective faith are similar and reflect our love of God and of our fellow man.”

Both Apostles talked about the importance of religious freedom and highlighted resources to increase mutual understanding to help Muslims and Latter-day Saints better understand one another.

Elder Bednar commented that the Church feels “very strongly about religious freedom not just for ourselves, but for all. Like some Muslims in the US or elsewhere in the world, members of our Church have felt the effects of persecution and profiling and we join with good people everywhere in condemning such actions.”

Elder Gong also cited Church leader meetings with Muslim leaders over the past two years in Sudan and countries in Asia and Oceania, as well as the 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum in Italy.

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“As we meet with Muslim leaders across the world,” Elder Gong said, “we talk about defending religious freedom. People of faith need to stand together for tolerance and dignity of people of all religious beliefs.”

The new pamphlet from the Church, “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles,” will be available in the Gospel Library app soon, and comes from years of collaboration between Church leaders and Muslim imams. The pamphlet will outline key areas of common ground and differences in beliefs, including:

  • The foundational belief in God as our omniscient and omnipotent creator.
  • The vital role of prophets to provide guidance from God.
  • The doctrine that revelation from God given through messengers is scripture and foundational for understanding God’s will, keeping commitments, and worshipping faithfully.
  • The understanding that we can and should communicate with God through daily prayer.
  • The importance of purity and chastity.
  • The value of women and their essential role in society and in the home.
  • The family as the fundamental unit of society and an essential source of joy.
  • The belief Jesus Christ plays an important, though different, role for both faith groups.

“Jesus Christ teaches the two great commandments are to love God and to love one another more,” Elder Gong said. “Greater understanding of one another helps us love one another. May we learn to share and understand openly and accurately, so we can meet with extended hands of respect and goodwill, not clenched fists of ignorance or antagonism.”

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