Meet the Mormons is a 2014 American documentary film directed by Blair Treu and produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The film documents the lives of six devout Mormons living in the United States, Costa Rica, and Nepal. The LDS Church donated all net proceeds from the theatrical release of film to the American Red Cross.
The film features Jermaine Sullivan, “The Bishop”, and his family. Sullivan is an African-American who is an academic counselor at the University of Phoenix. He was bishop of a ward in Atlanta, Georgia when the film was made, and now serves as a stake president. The film also covers Sullivan’s wife and children. Darius Gray was among the associates of Sullivan interviewed.
“The Coach”, Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach at the United States Naval Academy.
“The Fighter”, Carolina Muñoz Marin, an MMA fighter from Costa Rica who had a chance to go pro international, but she and her husband decided it would separate their family too much.
“The Humanitarian”, Bishnu Adhikari, a man from Nepal, with a degree in engineering who is the country director for Choice Humanitarian in Nepal. The organization works to improve the living situation in rural parts of Nepal.
“The Candy Bomber”, Gail Halvorsen.
“The Missionary Mom”, Dawn Armstrong, her story is chronicled from the birth of a son when she was a teenager, abandonment by his biological father, meeting her current husband – who had both her oldest son and her deceased next oldest son sealed to him when they were married in the temple, to her oldest son leaving to serve as a mission.
Through the years, Jerusalem has drawn mankind to itself like a magnet. Thousands have left their countries and cultures seeking the ancient promise of peace. The pull is so strong that people have taken great personal and financial risks to get behind its walls. And it’s all because Jerusalem’s Old City is a tiny territory where some of the world’s greatest dramas have been enacted. It’s the cradle of the world’s three greatest monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Even though it was not always the case, today each group embraces its traditions and is able to freely express devotion. During Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, thousands of faithful journey to the Old City from near and far, Jews from more than one hundred cultural backgrounds now live in the ancient capital, and the hearts of all Christians are filled with peace at the mere mention of Jerusalem. They all feel closer to God there.
This historic city is the site of many of the world’s most venerated shrines and home to 26,000 people of profoundly different cultures who live side by side packed into an area of less than one square mile.
The story began about 3,000 years ago when King David bought the site of a threshing floor in order to build a temple for the Israelites to worship. This location became the capital of Judea in the south and Israel in the North. The city of David has now begun to reveal its past to archaeologists— they have even found clay seals that bear the names of people that are mentioned in the Bible.
Throughout its history, Jerusalem has been attacked, ransacked, and burnt to the ground repeatedly. The blood of Jebusites, Babylonians, Jews, Romans, Persians, armies of Arabs, crusaders, Ottoman Turks, and the British Empire have reddened its walls. Yet it continues to stand as the symbol of the soul for one third of the Earth’s population.
JERUSALEM: WITHIN THESE WALLS is an enchanting film that offers a colorful view of this city and its people as they are today. The city of Jerusalem is the remarkable result of over 3,000 years of amazing history and unmovable faith.
Interfaith of Topeka, Inc.
January 26, 2016
University United Methodist Church
1621 SW College Ave
Topeka, KS 66604
6 pm – Potluck supper in Fellowship Hall
(1) Welcome and Blessing on the Food
(2) Eat and visit
7 pm – Annual Meeting – Move to Sanctuary
(1) Welcome and indication of timely notification of meeting
(2) Approval of minutes from Jan 2015 annual meeting
(3) Treasurer’s Report
(4) Audit Committee Report
(5) Approval of By-Laws Changes
(6) Report of Nominations Committee and Election of Officers and Board Members
(7) Explanation of Interfaith Art Project and Request for Assistance – Kaily Davis (Washburn Rural HS)
(8) President’s Report
(9) Program – Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015 – a Video Overview
When: Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Where: University United Methodist Church, 1621 SW College, Topeka, KS
Time: 6:00 p.m.
This is a pot luck supper so please bring a dish to share. In keeping with our tradition to be sensitive to various faiths please do not bring dishes with pork or shell fish. Bring friends and family; all are invited.
You can RSVP Here Interfaith Annual Meeting Event on Facebook
Interfaith of Topeka had its roots in the old Topeka Council of Churches and grew into its own in the fall of 1978.
We strive to serve the Creator by bringing together people of various religious faiths and backgrounds in an effort to enrich commun- ications and dialogue among people of faith and, in so doing, have a positive effect on the overall quality of life in Topeka.
All religious faiths, individuals, and organizations of the Greater Topeka area that agree with our stated purpose and goals and are willing to make appropriate financial commitment to our work are invited to join.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Committee was chaired by Rev. Janet Crowl, Chaplain at Midland Care Connection, member First Baptist Church.
1. Auspiciousness (swasti) be unto all; peace (shanti) be unto all; fullness (poornam) be unto all; prosperity (mangalam) be unto all.
May all be happy! (sukhinah) May all be free from disabilities! (niraamayaah) May all look (pashyantu)to the good of others! May none suffer from sorrow! (duhkha)
2. Lead us from the unreal to the Real…From darkness to Light… From death to Immortality.
3. That (pure consciousness) is full (perfect); this (the manifest universe of matter; of names and forms being maya) is full. This fullness has been project-ed from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that re-mains is fullness. – Peace invocation -Isa Upanishad
4. May Mitra, Varuna and Aryama be good to us! May Indra and Brihaspati and Vishnu of great strides be good to us! Prostrations unto Brahman! (Supreme Reality). Prostrations to Thee, O Vayu! Thou art the visible Brah-man. I shall proclaim Thee as the visible Brahman. I shall call Thee the just and the True. May He protect the teacher and me! May he protect the teacher! Om peace, peace, peace!
5. May He protect us both (teacher and the taught)! May He cause us both to enjoy the bliss of Mukti (liberation)! May we both exert to discover the true meaning of the sacred scriptures! May our studies be fruitful! May we never quarrel with each other! Let there be threefold peace.
6. O Supreme Lord, Thy celestial regions are full of peace and harmony; peace reigns on Thy earth and Thy waters. Thy herbs and trees are full of peace. All Thy forces of nature are full of peace and harmony. There is peace and perfec-tion in Thy eternal knowledge; everything in the universe is peaceful, and peace pervades everywhere. O Lord, may that peace come to me!
May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers. May peace flow over the whole universe. May peace be in the Su-preme Being Brahman. And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.â€”Swami Abhedananda, Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, India)
Om peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!
Topeka, KS, June 18, 2015:
The issue of violence has become a drastic stain within our community. It is during these impious times the church must come forward to make a stand and to say yes to life, for our Savior in the Gospel recorded by John states,The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
Therefore, the AME Churches of Topeka: St. John and St. Mark’s will hold a prayer vigil Friday, June 19 at 6:00 PM at St. John AME Church, 701 SW Topeka Blvd. in Topeka.
We are standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Mother Emanuel AME Church and the Charleston, SC community at large to pray for healing, comfort and justice in response to this tragedy.
6:00 PM – Prayer Vigil Begins
Originally posted in the Baptist News Global
reprinted here with author’s permission
Growing closer to the ones God made.
By Jason Coker
After the world crumbled to the ground in Nepal, the swami from our local Hindu temple sent the rest of the clergy in town an email — a very simple, yet profound email. He asked all of us to attend a prayer service at the temple for the victims of the earthquake because he wanted all of us to pray together for the thousands of people who lost their lives and livelihoods as well as those who survived and have been irreparably altered. I responded and told him I would participate and invite the congregation I served (Wilton Baptist Church). Other clergy did likewise.
After church services were finished on Sunday, I went to the temple to talk with the swami about what I needed to do at the service. He asked me if I could lead it! He showed me who would be in attendance, he showed me where we would be praying, and he asked if I could function as the host.
Swami BalGopal has only been in our town for several months, and he helped start the Hindu temple. Needless to say, in our sleepy little New England town, a Hindu temple is big news. We’ve had a healthy growth in our Indian population over the last decade, and the population in our town called for their own place of communal worship. When the Evangelical Covenant Church closed a couple years ago, there was a sacred place for a new home. There are shrines to various Gods throughout the temple, and to be honest, it’s a lot to take in for a Baptist — at least this Baptist. What is equally overwhelming is the swami’s genuine hospitality and the generosity of spirit from the Hindu community.
So, I led the prayer service at the Hindu temple. A representative from the Congregational Church was there, representatives from the Sikh community were there, we had a local representative, and our state senator, along with a couple of people from our church — plus, approximately 70 to 100 from the temple (that’s me doing my best to hedge off ministerial exaggeration).
A young man who had survived the earthquake spoke to all of us and thanked us for our prayers. A member of the temple told us that he has lost eight friends and has more who are missing. Many from the temple have lost family members and friends. It was devastating to hear their testimonies as they fought away tears. The president of the temple said how thankful he was for so many non-Hindus, who came to pray with them and share in their mourning. Then we all prayed — Christian prayers, Sikh prayers and Hindu prayers. We closed the service by walking around a large shrine where we had placed our candles to represent our prayers. After the service, the temple fed everyone with one of the most amazing potluck dinners I’ve ever experienced.
I was confronted the next day by a fellow Christian (thankfully not a member in my church). He was distraught to learn that I participated in the service (I did not share that I, in fact, led the service). He could not understand how I could or why I would participate in a prayer service with people who “lived in darkness.” This anxiety came from a deep place in his faith journey, and he is not alone in his anxiety about interfaith services and experiences. He quoted Scriptures that validated his points and asked me for a response. It did not feel like any response that I gave him would help him understand my participation in the event, but I don’t want to just throw him under the proverbial bus. I think he voiced questions that many Christians have about interfaith interaction. These Christians are not alone in their fear of the other. This sort of fear is pervasive in, I dare say, all religious traditions. So, how do we keep the faith in interfaith experiences?
Rather than go into a litany of biblical passages — you know, the obvious ones: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12), “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself” (Phil. 2:3), etc. — I’d rather provide a very human response (and I hope Christian response). I echo what the great preacher/prophet Chuck Poole said at an interfaith service in Jackson, Miss., that was hosted by the large and growing Turkish population there. Paraphrasing the Prophet Poole, “The closer I get to God, the closer I get to all the people God made.”
I find this to be very true in my own faith journey, and for me, this puts the faith in interfaith. I have so much respect for what the swami is doing for the Hindu population in Wilton. If I was ever living in a country where Christianity was a super minority religion, I would only hope to find a Christian community with such dedication and faith. I would hope that the majority religion would respect me/us enough to pray with us and for us — especially if something tragic happened to our loved ones. I would hope that they wouldn’t think that we were living in utter darkness because we were Christians. This is how Jesus affects my thinking! It’s definitely Jesus’s fault that I have respect and compassion for people of other faiths and religions. I don’t know if I’d think this way without his guidance.
The real challenge to my faith, isn’t different religions — not even different denominations. The challenge to me is generously extending this same respect and compassion for those who claim a faith identity that is very close to my own, and yet judging me to hell for what they perceive as my personal heresy. Am I enough of a Christian to love those who refuse to pray with me? If I’m growing closer to God, then am I also growing closer to these people who God also created in God’s very own image? I hope so!