Friday, June 29, 2018

President James E. Faust on mutual respect for differing beliefs

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley from 1995 until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"We believe that the fulness of the gospel of Christ has been restored, but this is no reason for anyone to feel superior in any way toward others of God’s children. Rather, it requires a greater obligation to invoke the essence of the gospel of Christ in our lives—to love, serve, and bless others.
"Indeed, as the First Presidency stated in 1978, we believe that 'the great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.' (First Presidency statement, Feb. 15, 1978.) Thus, we have respect for the sincere religious beliefs of others and appreciate others extending the same courtesy and respect for the tenets we hold dear."
- James E. Faust, "The Restoration of All Things," General Conference April 2006
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The essence of the Gospel perspective is humility and perspective—recognition that all of God's children have eternal worth and infinite potential, and any temporary advantage we might have in understanding or temporal situation does not in any way convey superiority to others. Our greatest desire must always be to lift and serve, to recognize the goodness in others, and to grow together towards the divine potential within us:

I have always appreciated the perspective of that First Presidency statement. There is goodness and truth in many sources and many beliefs around us; we should respect others and seek to learn from them, even as we hope to share with them the things that matter most to us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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