‘Mormon Land’: What if everyone believed the same things — or nothing?

Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and Latter-day Saint artist Kathleen Peterson discuss their revised and expanded children’s book, “A World of Faith.”

(Courtesy of BCC Press) The second edition of "A World of Faith," with text written by Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack and illustrations by Kathleen Peterson.

In 1998, a Utah publisher released “A World of Faith,” a children’s book by The Salt Lake Tribune’s award-winning religion writer, Peggy Fletcher Stack, with illustrations by celebrated Latter-day Saint artist Kathleen Peterson.

Praise for the volume was wide and deep, including from former President Jimmy Carter. A commemorative version followed in 2001 to celebrate Salt Lake City’s hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The book’s approach is simple: Take many of the world’s major faith traditions, write a one-page explanation of their history and beliefs, make the text easy enough for youngsters but interesting enough for seasoned readers, and pair each entry with a gorgeous illustration depicting aspects of that religion.

Yes, it’s a modest model, but behind it rests a profound pursuit: Eliminate religious bigotry through increased understanding and turn today’s readers into tomorrow’s peacemakers.

Now, 25 years later, BCC Press has issued revised second edition of “A World of Faith,” with an additional six non-Western religions added into the mix.

“Doing the research, I became a convert to every religion,” Peterson says. “ … We look different from the outside but we are so much more alike in our belief in a higher power and in ethical behavior toward others.”

Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack, left, and illustrator Kathleen Peterson.

The authors join us on this week’s show to discuss the expanded book — what they learned; the challenges they faced (including how to handle the “Mormon” term); the commonalities, differences and beauties in religious diversity; and Latter-day Saints’ awareness of other faiths.

“Religious diversity makes a community so much more interesting,” Stack says. “ … Communities of faith bring so much to our lives that would be lost if all of a sudden everyone believed the same thing or nothing.”

With the book’s release, we’re also making this special offer: Join Mormon Land on Patreon by Monday, May 15, and you’ll be entered to win one of five signed copies of the volume. Current patrons will also be entered.

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