Tag Archives: LDS

Proposition 8 Protest

We were in Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago and spent a lot of time with some of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, getting to know the religion and its wonderful people. The people were fantastically nice and welcoming to us.

As in all religions, there is some debate surrounding the LDS, however. We heard there was going to be a protest against the LDS involvement in the California state proposition to to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Frankie, Craig, Madeeha and I went downtown to Temple Square to see what was going on and saw a protest much more intense than what we had imagined. There were thousands of people in the street protesting, holding signs, and marching. The crowd, made up of both gay and straight protesters, were peaceful and polite, and it made me, for the second time in a week, realize how proud I am to be an American. One of the things we’ve heard over and over from the people across the country, when we ask them about America is the pride that people have in the 1st Amendment. The right to free speech and to congregate and protest peacefully is part of the American Identity, people from every ethnicity, religion, age and gender say proudly.

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Mormons and Muslims

We got off to a great start in scenic Utah, meeting Mormon missionaries in training at the Missionary Training School and then going on to Brigham Young University, a school owned by Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints where Dr. Ahmed lectured. We were driven around Salt Lake and Provo by Elder Banks-who used to be a “seventy,” a top leadership position in the LDS Church. His wife, Susan, also accompanied us and was very hospitable.

At the MTC we met a Mandarin language class of about 10 missionaries in training. Each year 50,000 Mormon missionaries go out in to the world to share their religion and engage in humanitarian assistance. I tried out some broken Mandarin on the missionaries and they replied in perfect accents-these were dedicated, driven students. The students-all dressed in meticulous dark suits and short haircuts were confident and excited about their missions. Some were from European countries like Switzerland, underscoring the global vision of the LDS Church.

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The roots of the LDS: Palmyra, NY

One of the most rewarding aspects of this journey includes the friendships you gain on the course of your travels. One really good friend I made on this journey was a young woman with the name of Holly Tuttle in Palmyra, New York. Holly’s friendship is unique to me because she introduced me to a whole new aspect of American life that I did not know much about. She let me and my journey-family into her life by opening the doors of the Mormon faith to us. She not only invited us to learn about her faith but also agreed to show us the sacred sites in Palmyra, New York and Salt Lake City, Utah that serves as the foundation the Church of Latter-Day Saints.  

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