Respect for Others Beliefs Is Of Christ


One of the wonderful things I have noticed over my many years of listening to church leaders is that they are very careful to be considerate of other’s beliefs. I don’t know if I ever remember a church leader publicly slandering the beliefs of another man’s religion. Indeed, I really don’t recall such actions by any local leaders. While we believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in these, the latter-days,  we also give credit to the goodness of others and of good men who have gone before us. Many have the erroneous belief that since we believe we are the restored church and proudly proclaim it, that somehow that means we have less respect for others religious positions. While some of us members are guilty of mistakenly conveying this to others, it is not the position of the church. I think Gordon B. Hinckley best expressed this thought when he said:

“Each of us is an individual. Each of us is different. There must be respect for those differences… We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse. Concerning these you and I may disagree. But we can do so with respect and civility” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 661, 665).

President Hinckley often said that, “We invite all to bring the good that they have and we will add unto it.”

In this vein I quote from John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of the Methodist denomination and one of the greatest evangelists in the 1700’s. John Wesley’s “Rule” stated:

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can

What a great philosophy on how to live our lives! Certainly a “rule” worthy of our consideration! This “can do”attitude of doing good to all will bring great joy into our lives and is clearly a doctrine of Christ.  I have always been impressed by how quick bystanders are to “come to the rescue” of someone who has just been in a car accident or other catastrophic event. Sometimes at the peril of their own life!  I think it is the inherit spirit of Christ in man that compels him to help the stranger. They don’t have time to think about the “differences” they may have with who they are attempting to help, they just naturally react to the situation.  How wonderful it is to see such goodness!

As we serve others, regardless if their beliefs are the same as ours or not, we begin to foster love and bask in the joy that comes to those who serve their fellow-man. Surely when the Savior charged the disciples to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 19:19) he wasn’t excluding those of a different religious denomination. Let us be kind and foster the love of the Savior in our hearts for all.


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