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In the light of providing an avenue where representatives and leaders from various faiths and traditions can come together towards improving society and promoting peace, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, — the oldest, largest and most inclusive assembly of people of all religious affiliations — convened in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. An estimated 10,000 members of 50 different religions from 80 participating countries joined together to achieve the common goals contained in the overarching theme, “Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity – Working Together for a World of Compassion, Peace, Justice and Sustainability.” The conference included Scientologists, Mormons, Native Americans and other participants of indigenous faiths.
The Parliament reflected a refreshing contrast to the religious discord and disunity often portrayed in mainstream media and inspired the expression and display of compassion and humanity towards other participants from a myriad of religious traditions. “What struck me was the humanity and caring evident in the members of so many different religions. That’s what we all have in common,” enthused Janet Wieland, Church of Scientology Los Angeles Public Affairs representative. She also observed that the spirit of agreement and working together was evident in the momentous event that united many people of such a broad range of beliefs and cultural orientations. “The theme of the conference – working together – was very appropriate,” Ms. Wieland commented.
Ms. Wieland continued: “We were able to share our humanitarian initiatives and provide materials anyone can use to tackle the issues all of us are involved with and concerned about.” She was grateful for the opportunity the Parliament provided to network with individuals who take organized action to tackle social issues, similar to the church’s “Truth About Drugs” drug education and prevention initiative. Apart from Truth About Drugs publications that send a clear message to support the fight against drug abuse, issue-driven educational materials are also published by church-supported programs, meant to address looming societal ills such as crime, immorality, intolerance and abuse of the human rights of others.
United for Human Rights is primarily focused on human rights education, making sure that the articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights are clearly understood by individuals of all ages. The Church of Scientology also supports The Way to Happiness Foundation, which promotes a nonreligious moral code that serves as a guide to joyful and peaceful living, called The Way to Happiness: A Common Sense Guide to Better Living.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers tents were also present at the Parliament and proved to be very popular, with people lining up and calling ahead to receive what is called a Scientology “assist,” which is a technique developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard to help a person confront physical difficulties by addressing its mental and spiritual aspects. The church provides free Volunteer Minister training to educate interested persons who would like to acquire simple skills and enable themselves to provide help in any crisis.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions began in 1893, bringing together Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Spiritualists. This year’s Parliament was held in Utah, the global headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of World Religion News.
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