Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

» Peggy Fletcher Stack E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)

Mormons unite Muslims, Jews at BYU’s Jerusalem Center

On Thanksgiving eve, a common table was set for members of two often-at-odds religious groups (Muslims and Jews) in a place riddled with conflict (Jerusalem) staged at a site sponsored by a third faith (Mormons).

The diners — all workers at Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center — came together to commemorate the center’s 25th anniversary.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"This is not a coexistence project or an experiment devoted to peacemaking, but simply daily work — the mutual interest of all involved," Ophir Yarden writes in an opinion piece for The Times of Israel. "In academics and instruction, in administration, support, security, maintenance and in the kitchen, Arabs and Jews work together. Harmoniously."

Several speeches that night mentioned opposition to the BYU Center when it was proposed in the mid-1980s. Opponents demonstrated at the Western Wall against government approval for the project, Yarden writes, while at least one author feared that Mormon evangelism would produce a "spiritual holocaust."

But the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agreed not to allow any Mormons or students to proselytize in Israel, and, Yarden says, the group has kept its word.

"I have had the privilege to teach Jewish and Israel studies to well over 1,000 BYU students," he writes. "The word on campus is clear: There is no proselytizing — or even discussion of Mormon beliefs. I teach them Judaism; they do not share LDS doctrine with the local population."

In the intervening decades, the mixing of cultures at the center has been good for the students and the city, Yarden writes. Jerusalem’s former mayor, the late Teddy Kollek, once predicted "the Mormon church’s presence in Jerusalem can do a great deal of work in providing the bridge of understanding between the Arab[s] and Jews."

That, Yarden writes, has "proven quite true."

Peggy Fletcher Stack

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.