To achieve peace, security and harmony in the world, “we must reallymean what we say. We should be sincere about each other’s well-being and in our good intentions towards one another.”
That was Elder Jörg Klebingat’s message to a session of the Fifth Congress of Traditional and World Religions convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Elder Klebingat, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ First Quorum of the Seventy and Europe East Area presidency, is the second Church official to address this triennial global conference of religions. Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy, who accompanied Elder Klebingat Thursday, spoke to the congress in 2009.
Participants in this year’s gathering included Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Finland President Sauli Niinistö, Ethiopia President Mulatu Teshome and representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism and several NGOs — in total, some 80 delegations from 42 countries.
Representing Pope Francis was Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, a French cardinal of the Catholic Church and president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Roman Curia.
The congress’s 2015 theme focused on the kind of dialogue, mutual respect and understanding among the world’s religious leaders that can lead to peace, security and harmony.
Elder Klebingat noted that because of the Church’s early experience with persecution and marginalization, its members have special concern for the mistreated, the misunderstood and the disrespected.
“Where [Latter-day Saints] are in the majority, we are anxious to do all we can to be welcoming and open to those of other faiths,” Elder Klebingat said. “Where we are in the minority, we wish for the same courtesy to be extended to us.”
He also said peace, security and harmony can come simply by seeking to know more about each other.
“I call upon all of us to continue to learn of each other, to understand each other’s doctrines and beliefs, to discover the depths and meaning of our various religions persuasions,” Elder Klebingat said. “True knowledge based on accurate information can help dispel fear.”
See the full transcript of Elder Klebingat’s remarks at the Fifth Congress of Traditional and World Religions.