As Latter-day Saints, we can embrace our heritage as truth seekers as we identify and appreciate God’s light in other religions.
Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revere the personal, truth-seeking process highlighted in James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him.” As members of the Church, we believe the gospel offers eternal truths in the form of saving ordinances and doctrines. But that belief does not mean other religions do not possess truth as well. After all, millions of people flock to thousands of religions in pursuit of God and goodness, and they often find truth, which gives them peace and joy. So instead of dismissing other religions as less enlightened, we can remember our heritage as truth seekers and appreciate that God shares his light with any who “ask of [him].”
In the article “Learning about Other Religions: False Obstacles and Rich Opportunities,” Mauro Properzi, an associate professor of religion at Brigham Young University, asserts that members of the Church can embrace their faith’s “liberal recognition of the general goodness of religion” and accept truth wherever it is found by practicing “holy envy.” Drawing from ideas from Lutheran theologian Krister Stendahl, Properzi describes holy envy as “a feeling of deep respect and admiration for some aspect of [another] religion that we could integrate into our own life in whatever form may be compatible with our own faith.” Such integration can subsequently enhance our spirituality.
As we learn about other religions and practice “holy envy,” Properzi suggests that we can create an “atmosphere of emotional and intellectual respect . . . for [others’] deeply held beliefs” and “build strong collaborations and deep friendships with committed members of other faiths.” In doing so, we demonstrate faith in God’s continuing revelation to any who ask of him (James 1:5) and open unique opportunities for us to witness God’s truth in the world.
Read “Learning about Other Religions: False Obstacles and Rich Opportunities” by Mauro Properzi to learn how to address perceived barriers between preserving one’s testimony and appreciating other religions.
Source: Religious Studies Center
—Abigail Tree, Latter-day Saint Insights
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Find more insights
Take a look at President Gordon B. Hinckley’s talk “We Bear Witness of Him” to learn how to appropriately discuss doctrinal differences between faiths.
Listen to “God’s Many Voices” on the podcast Faith Matters to learn from S. Michael Wilcox about recognizing God’s voice in all academic disciplines and religions.