News Release

Mormon Leader Attends Inter-religious Dialogue Meeting at European Parliament

24/03/2015 – Elder Timothy Dyches of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined EU political leaders and religious representatives of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths for an inter-religious dialogue at the European Parliament (EP). At the invitation of Martin Schulz and Antonio Tajani, respectively President and First Vice-President of the European Parliament, participants discussed the rise of religious radicalism and fundamentalism and the role of inter-religious dialogue in the promotion of tolerance and respect for human dignity. The conference was opened with a minute of silence to honor the 150 passengers who lost their lives on the Germanwings flight that crashed earlier today.

The debate evolved around two panels during which religious leaders shared their perspectives of what our European societies need to address the issues at hand. At the end of the first panel, the Chair invited Elder Dyches to take the floor. In his remarks, he suggested that one of the reasons why religious radicalism is becoming so appealing to many is the lack of opportunities and the lack of integration in society. He mentioned a recent event hosted by the European Union Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during which Dr. Brian Grim introduced the “Self-Reliance Principles” of the Church to help individuals to claim back ownership of their own lives: seeking an education, managing money wisely, keeping spiritually/mentally strong, taking the initiative for their own wellbeing and success.

Elder Dyches suggested that these simple principles could be applied to people of all faiths and none: “This programme was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to give people hope and a desire to develop the best that is within them, and we are happy to make it available to those who share the same goals. If people have hope for their future and the skills to personally succeed, they can grow to become responsible individuals in their communities.” Elder Dyches concluded by commending the European Parliament for continuing the dialogue with Churches under Article 17 TFEU, and restated the commitment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to being an active partner.

This event was organized under the framework of Article 17 TFEU, which calls for an open, transparent, and regular dialogue between the European Union and churches and religious communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations.

To better serve the European community, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian faith with half a million members in Europe, opened its European Union office in Brussels. The office works with and fosters dialogue among EU stakeholders, including opinion leaders, academics, religious and political leaders engaged in freedom of religion or belief, humanitarian assistance, volunteerism and youth. It is also a member of the European Platform on Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID), a network of civil society organisations, including religious and non-religious associations, that aims to contribute to the collective promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief in the world as defined by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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