News Release

Mormon Missionary Presents Christian Perspective at Inter-faith Event

For the first time in its nine year history, the Swami Satyananda Memorial Lecture Series featured a speaker from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, to present the Christian perspective.   Speakers from six different faiths presented their views of the question, "The Source of Happiness - Is it God or Mammon?"  This event was organized by Inter-faith Spiritual Fellowship (INSaF) under the auspices of The Pure Life Society.  A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of Mormonism.

It is understood that everyone wants to be happy.  Not everyone is happy.  The six speakers from the Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Agnostic communities shared their views on the source of happiness.  In their 15 minute addresses, some defined the terms of the theme. Some told personal experiences.  Ideas were occasionally repeated. For instance, most speakers said that everyone experiences struggles and challenges.  More than once, service to others was suggested as a path to happiness. The idea that happiness is dependent upon personal choice and accountability, or that happiness is a developed skill that is practiced and reinforced as life's challenges change, was offered by several speakers as well.  Whatever the rhetoric, each speaker was dynamic in his or her expression of his or her possessed opinion.  

Elder Nathanael Barney, from Kansas, USA, is in Malaysia for two years as a volunteer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He, along with other Mormon Missionaries serving here, has put his college education on hold, taken leave of his loved ones, and paid his own way to come serve the people of Malaysia.  He is willing to do this because of his faith in what he knows to be true, he said. He participated in numerous forensic speech events and competitive debates while in college prior to serving his mission. 

Saturday's program began with a keynote address that was entertaining, educational and enthusiastic.  A tea break followed.  The speakers then offered their views one at a time.  A question and answer period followed, where each participant gave brief answers to such questions as, "Who or What is God to you?"  There were remarks by organizers and VIPs.  Most encouraged all in attendance to be happy!   

Service to fellowman is an important belief for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).  For young missionaries serving in the Kuala Lumpur District, this event presented several contrasting opportunities, for both giving and receiving.  The 24 young Elders and Sisters assisted in the set up for the event, and helped with registration, ushering and keeping time for the speakers.  They were also able to learn concepts believed by other prominent religions in Malaysia.  Many who attended the event stated they enjoyed the entire experience very much, that it was interesting and informative. 

Happiness has long been a topic of consideration by the human race.  This interfaith discussion was lively and thought provoking, and concluded with the understanding that it is up to each person to search for and find, or to develop and cultivate his own happiness whether it is based upon worldly knowledge or religious fundamentals. 

Swami Satyananda was the Founder-President of the Pure Life Society. Since 1949, the Pure Life Society has organized programs for multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-racial understanding and unity.  Mother Mangalam has been Life President since 1961.  

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