When we realize that Latter-day Saints don’t have a monopoly on spiritual truth, we can learn truth and insight from members of other religious beliefs.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up less than one percent of the world’s population. This means that over seven billion individuals don’t belong to the restored Church. Do these other people simply live in spiritual darkness, devoid of truth?
No. They are just as important to God as members of the Church are. He is their Father too, and he communicates with and inspires them. He provides them with valuable insights that members of the Church can and should learn from.
In an lds.org blog post entitled “We Aren’t God’s Only People,” Samuel B. Hislop describes his journey in discovering “holy envy” for other faiths, or “the ability to admire elements and teachings in other faiths.” In his post, Hislop gives three examples of people, teachings, and insights from other faiths that have influenced his life:
- A Christian apologist and author who provided perceptive commentary on Jesus’s phrase, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21)
- An Orthodox Christian who motivated him to honor the Sabbath day
- A rabbi who helped him feel and understand the “expansive nature of divine love”
Hislop says that although “our fellow believers see things differently and don’t express their views in the same way we do,” he has often discovered great value in this diversity. The diversity of human belief is indeed a blessing. The Koran (the holy book of Islam) says, “We have . . . made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another” (49:13). This verse supports Hislop’s belief that God has given truth and insight to all of his people and that we should learn from them. The only question that remains is will we be humble enough to receive it?
Read the rest of Samuel B. Hislop’s blog post, “We Aren’t God’s Only People.”
—Tyler Balli, Mormon Insights contributor
feature image by lee key
See Samuel B. Hislop’s “Hope Works,“ a video presentation about this subject.
Read President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s speech “Fellow Travelers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God” about his search to create goodwill among people of all religious beliefs.
Read Angela Marler’s Mormon Insights article “When Is Envy a Virtue?” to learn more about the blessings of learning from interfaith experiences.
I like how you talk about religious envy and learning from people of other faiths. My testimony has really been helped by people like William Wordsworth and C.S. Lewis even though neither was LDS. I’m glad that you just took the time to note the fact that there are lots of good people out there who do have good insights to religion who are not of our faith.