News Release

Bridging the Gap, Breaking the Barriers 

Representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, together with speakers from the Canossian Sons of Charity Seminary, the Center for Baha’i Studies and the SIRAJ Muslim Organization of Xavier University, conducted an interfaith dialogue, “Bridging the Gap; Breaking the Barriers,” on January 30, 2013.

Students and representatives from different denominations met for the event at the VIP Hotel from 1:30-5:00 p.m. to hear the presenters and then mingle informally with them during an Interfaith Café which followed directly after the lecture series.

This dialogue gave representatives from different religions and denominations equal opportunity to share and talk about their beliefs. Beginning the series, Prof. Quivido T. Origenes, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave his message and then showed a video “Myths and Reality” to the forum participants. He is currently serving as a public affairs representative for the CDO Multistake (diocese) of the Church. Professionally, he is an anthropologist and a professor of Comparative Religion at Xavier University.

In his remarks, Prof. Origenes stated the following concerning the general concepts of interfaith dialogues: “Religious conflict arises when one group of religious units refuses to understand the religious beliefs and practices of another. One of the most important aspects of a culture is religion. When conflict arises, peace is completely hard to obtain or be resolved and the use of violence is the most used resort.”

Prof. Origenes then asked, “How can a religious entity reverse its cultural indifferences? What are the processes and principles to attain deeper understanding of one’s religion? Why is there a need to be aware of one’s religion to attain interfaith familiarity that would lead to harmony and peace?: He answered the questions by proposing  interfaith dialogue as the most efficient and basic approach in understanding religious differences and suggesting that it is probably the most effective technique to achieve intercultural harmony. “Interfaith dialogue is basic and simple in concept. The dialogue is not a debate, but a sympathetic discourse in an attempt to understand another’s religious beliefs and practices,” he concluded.

The second speaker was Sherwin Angel Leonardo, a seminarian from the Canossian Sons of Charity Seminary in CDO. In his message, Mr. Leonardo talked about his understanding of the different religions. At the conclusion of his message, he gave an experience he had had while travelling by boat to Mindoro. He had shared the boat with two LDS missionaries and knew they were practicing what they preached on Sundays because they were both deeply engrossed in reading their Book of Mormon (Scriptures) while on the boat, instead of just sightseeing.

Ms. Sheila Ruita-Manayagan from the Center for Baha’i Studies was followed by Mr. Hafeedz  Norjamal Guiling Batogan, a representative from the SIRAJ Muslim Organization at Xavier University.

After all the speakers had presented, a few participants were called on to give their own reflection on the Interfaith Dialogue. At the informal gathering which followed, all the different denominations were given the opportunity to display leaflets and pamphlets explaining their respective beliefs. Those attending then asked questions of the presenters.  

A second CDO symposium entitled “The Role of Religion in Global Peace”, was held February 7, 2013. and was sponsored by Resale Nur Philippines and co-sponsored by Xavier University’s History Department, the International Studies Department, and the Department of Political Science.

Dr. Dulce R. Dawang, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed all the guests and participants to the symposium on behalf of the University President. After her remarks, Professor Quivido T. Origenes gave a short introduction. Dr. Maxi Saavedra, a pathologist by profession who heads the Laboratory Department of the Polymedic Medical Group, also serves as  the president of the LDS Stake (diocese) in Cagayan de Oro City.  His talk centered on “The Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Program for World Peace”.

Mr. Asism Alawi, from Sri Lanka, then gave a talk entitled, “The Positive Action through Resale Perspective." The third speaker was Professor Fahri Balci from Australia. He talked about “Science, Scientific Philosophy and Religion through the Teachings of Bedduizzaman”. The last speaker was Professor Mehmet Risa Derindag. He said peace will be achieved if all people will focus on the commonalities rather than on their differences.

The symposium was attended by 30 foreign guests from Turkey, Sri Lanka and Australia. Also present were about 200 Xavier University students of Comparative Religion from the Departments of History, International Studies, and Political Science.

These Interfaith Dialogues will continue to be held with the hope of bringing interfaith harmony and peace as well as religious tolerance in the Philippines.

A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the earliest days of the Church, the principle of religious liberty and tolerance has always been upheld: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11).

In that same spirit, Church President Thomas S. Monson made a plea during general conference, a semiannual worldwide meeting, for more religious understanding: “I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours” (April 2008 General Conference address). Latter-day Saints accept all sincere believers as equals in the pursuit of faith and in the great work of serving humanity.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.