Shame on the LDS Church for refusing to participate in the 11th annual international candlelight vigil for victims of AIDS, held in Provo on May 22.
This first Provo vigil was sponsored by the AIDS Coalition of Utah County and the Community Church, St. Francis Church and St. Mary's Church, of Provo. It began with an ecumenical service including a moving period of open prayer, in which people prayed aloud for family and friends suffering from AIDS.The suffering mentioned in these prayers was not only the physical tortures of AIDS, and the death, but the emotional suffering of patients who have been excluded by their families, churches and communities. One person prayed that "other churches" would feel comfortable participating in these kinds of services. The service knit the congregation together as a community "willing to bear one another's burdens." I was happy to see that at least several Mormons included themselves in that community.
I knew that ecumenism is not an idea the Mormons are fond of, but I was honestly surprised at their church's conspicuous absence at the Provo vigil. The theme of the Provo vigil stands as a Christian reprimand of the LDS Church: "No one should have to suffer alone."
Salt Lake City