The Understanding Our Neighbors series is designed to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints become better neighbors and friends with those of other faiths. As the title of this series suggests, our goal is to understand others better so we can stand together with them in matters of faith, support and defend them in times of need, and rejoice in the mutual discovery of deep friendship. Such genuine love, support, and commitment are at the heart of what is often called “interfaith dialogue.”
The purpose of the Understanding Our Neighbors series is to provide an example of meaningful interfaith dialogue so that Church members can better appreciate the faith and traditions of our neighbors, their commitment to God, and how they seek to honor Him in their lives. Efforts to convert others, no matter how sincere or well-intentioned, are incompatible with this effort to create community understanding and appreciation. While Latter-day Saints often focus on our responsibility to preach the gospel, interfaith dialogue serves a different purpose—it is a meaningful, two-way conversation where both Latter-day Saints and our neighbors of other faiths learn from one another and leave more committed to and excited about their own religion. Having been strengthened spiritually, we can both find ways to work together in common causes of righteousness and go forth to bless the world in our own unique and inspired ways.
We have two volumes nearing completion: Understanding our Jewish Neighbors by Rabbi Mark Diamond (Loyola Marymount University) and Professor Shon Hopkin (Brigham Young University) and Understanding Our Catholic Neighbors by Professor Mathew Schmalz (College of the Holy Cross) and Professor Alonzo Gaskill (Brigham Young University). We're also in the early stages of developing volumes with Muslim, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox colleagues.