‘Mormon Land’: A new mission for Latter-day Saints — peacemaking

Interfaith advocate Eboo Patel and retired Judge Thomas Griffith say members can play a vital role by becoming as good at building bridges as they are at missionary work.

(AP; provided) Former U.S. appellate Judge Thomas Griffith, left; and founder and president of Interfaith America Eboo Patel.

Amid today’s polarized political scene, many Americans throw up their hands and say, like Patrick Henry, “‘peace, peace,’ but there is no peace. The war is actually begun.”

To some, the partisan divide seems deeper than ever — with no way to bridge it. Even religions sometimes seem to battle with other faiths, as well as those within a faith.

Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith America and author of “We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy,” has done a lot of thinking about how to overcome divisions. He is also an “impact scholar” at the University of Utah and will visit the Salt Lake City campus a few times each year during his two-year appointment.

Retired federal Judge Thomas Griffith, a Latter-day Saint convert, also bemoans the toxic divides that poison public debate and rip apart the fabric of U.S. society. Recently, the American Bar Association appointed Griffith a member of a newly created Task Force for American Democracy, whose aim is to push back against authoritarian tendencies in the country.

On this week’s show, Patel and Griffith — both hopeful if not optimistic — discuss how to bring peace to our troubled times and how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a vital role to play in that quest, especially if they can become as accomplished at bridge building as they are at evangelizing.

Listen here: