Round table: Mormons treat others fairly

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    By Karley Nelson

    Religious leaders from other faiths say Mormons treat them fairly in Utah.

    Diverse religious leaders throughout Utah gathered for a roundtable discussion Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004 at Utah Valley State College.

    “Our aim for this roundtable is to bring together a broad range of religious perspectives and to discuss the ways in which our culture here in Utah County and beyond impacts religious and civic life in our community,” said Charles Randall Paul, the roundtable moderator.

    The roundtable panel consisted of 10 representatives from different religions. Participants were asked to engage in an enlightening discussion about their personal religious cultures in Utah.

    When asked how Utah would be different if their religious group were 88 percent of the community instead of the Mormons, many of the panel members answered with positive LDS feedback.

    “We have a good relationship with the LDS community and are very happy here. … We believe this is the best kept secret for Muslims,” said Mohammed Shoaibuddin, leader from the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake City.

    Caru Das, religious leader from the Krishna Consciousness Temple in Spanish Fork, agreed with Shoaibiddin and said they are deeply impressed with the leadership of this area.

    “If we were in charge, it would not be very different from the way it was now,” he said.

    Other religious leaders took a different perspective to the question.

    “If the Episcopalian religion was the majority, church attendance would be much lower and alcohol consumption would be much higher,” said Brian Davis, representative from Weber State University and the Pluralism Project.

    All the representatives of the various faiths said they believe the Mormon religion to be accommodating and supportive for their diversity.

    Robert Millet, office of Public affairs for the LDS Church, was asked what he wished would be different because he represented the majority religion in Utah.

    “I hope that we can try to build bridges of understanding and friendships. We need to devote more time to making friendships and relationships rather than focusing on converting,” Millet said.

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