The Deseret News ran an article entitled Women Talking to Bridge Religious Divide, reporting how some women in Salt Lake, tired of religious tension on a variety of issues, are taking a personal approach to just getting along with their co-religionists in other faiths. Is this all it takes, women talking? If only we’d known sooner!
Seriously, I was kind of touched by the article. One of the women “has lived in Utah for 18 years, so she has felt the undercurrent of tension that sometimes exists here,” a tension that generally stays just below the surface but occasionally erupts.” Personally, I think there are promising signs that some of that tension is dissipating–the Olympics were a big festival of unity, local Christian ministers joined together to denounce the recent tactics of overzealous Christian street preachers at Conference, and recently the Tabernacle on Temple Square hosted an Evangelical preacher addressing a mixed audience of Christian Christians and Mormon Christians. Of course, I don’t live in Utah, so perhaps some of you are in a better position to judge whether things there are changing.
Women talking can only accelerate this beneficial process of “bridging the religious divide.” The rules the women adopted were: “Speak honestly, keep what is said [at the meetings] confidential, speak without any intention to change someone else.” Hmm, sounds a lot like friendship to me. Later, the women reported some of the things they learned: “The non-Mormons in the group say they have learned how hurtful ‘Mormon bashing’ can be and that not all Mormons think alike. The Mormons in the group say they have learned that phrases like ‘the one true church’ can be hurtful, too. Both have learned to recognize triggers that can put people on their guard.” Personally, I have found blogging to be a great way to learn to recognize triggers that set people off. I have become quite proficient at not offending fellow Mormons when I discuss LDS history and doctrine.