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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Interfaith Dialogue with Rabbi John Borak & Elder James J. Hamula

Interfaith Dialogue with Rabbi John Borak and Elder James J. Hamula

Auckland, New Zealand — 
Leaders from two religions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jewish faith, spoke to a public gathering in Auckland last night, on the commandment to love thy neighbour.

Elder James J. Hamula, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Rabbi John Crites-Borak from Amud ha-Shachar/First Light in Los Angeles, California, shared insights from their respective faith traditions on the subject.

Rabbi Borak quoted from the Torah during his remarks and in the question and answer session afterwards.

He suggested that love was something you do, rather than just something you have or feel.  For Jews, he said, “loving and helping others was a religious obligation.”

Elder Hamula quoted from the New Testament as well as from other Latter-day Saint scripture.

He said that losing ourselves in the service of God, our families and others, and in putting the needs of others before our own, help us to become more loving and kind, as well as to find our true selves.

The event was held at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Epsom, Auckland. 

Attendees included faith leaders, academics, families and youth. 

The evening was hosted by Elder Mike Roberts, an Area Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A third speaker, Reverend Uesifili Unasa, was unfortunately unable to attend.

Read and watch videos about Latter-day Saint beliefs with respect to loving your neighbour at and

Church Leader Encourages Faiths to Work Together

F. Michael Watson

Auckland, New Zealand — 

Elder F. Michael Watson of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited representatives of other faiths yesterday “To work together, with kindness and dignity, to stand for those things that matter most.”

Speaking at a luncheon at Old Government House at The University of Auckland, Elder Watson shared with luncheon guests an article of faith for Latter-day Saints: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
Reflecting on his decades of service in the Church Elder Watson said “I have had the privilege to see that approach come to life, at the highest levels of our Church's leadership, as they have associated with leaders from other faiths. In Johannesburg, South Africa, we as a Church came together as ‘Helping Hands’ volunteers to simply clean another religion’s building.  It was used during the week to house the homeless at night and on Sunday to worship.”

He added: “I have seen this kind of service in my own life, in my own neighbourhood and community.  It continues here in the various areas of the Pacific.  In Samoa, as preparations were underway for its 50th Anniversary of Independence, members of the Church helped beautify the area for those dignitaries who would come and join in the days of celebration.”

“Last week,” he continued, “we were in Brisbane, Australia, where our youth were invited to come together and clean the grounds of an outdoor movie theatre. That theatre shows good and wholesome movies – the kind that you would take your family to without embarrassment because of language or content.”

Elder Watson also quoted President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours.”
Speaking of the world in which we live, Elder Watson cited Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Friends, you know what I know—that there is in the modern world so much sin and moral decay affecting everyone, especially the young, and it seems to be getting worse by the day.” 

Elder Watson concluded his remarks by inviting all present “to continue to meet, to talk, to listen and to identify ways we can work together.” 

He urged those present and all people of faith to “humbly but boldly stand up for ourselves, our families, our churches, our communities and nations.  So that individuals can be free to worship as they choose.  And so churches can be free to serve those individuals based on eternal truths, unfettered by the influences of the shifting sands of secularism.”

Other speakers included Rabbi John Borak, from the United States, and Reverend Uesifili Unasa, Chaplain at The University of Auckland.

Tonight [Wednesday 22 August 2012] at Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Epsom, Rabbi Borak will join with Elder James J. Hamula, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to speak to a public gathering on the subject of loving your neighbour.