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Religious tolerance is vital

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In our local newspaper on Sunday, June 7, one of the leading members of the Southern Baptist Convention stated that the convention being held in Salt Lake City was not going to be one in which members would try to convert any member of the LDS Church to the Baptist way of belief.

As evidenced in an article in the current issue of a Baltimore newspaper, that is exactly what the president of the SBC called for and encouraged people to go door-to-door to "share their faith." I was wondering just how long it would take for the uptight Baptist hypocrisy to rear its ugly head.Having been reared in the Southern Baptist Church and studied the beliefs of the Latter-day Saints, I personally know of the extreme negative view the Baptists have for the Mormons. This caused many battles in my household.

My studies and rearing have taught me that it is a primary mission of both faiths to spread their beliefs with whomever is willing to listen; however, I have found that the Baptists are unrelenting and feel that if their beliefs are not accepted, then you are eternally damned with no chance of ever being redeemed. The current direction of the SBC is screaming intolerance, which can only lead to further discord and distrust of each other.

Though all Baptists do not feel this way, the "in-your-face" approach is becoming more and more prevalent in the convention. The current direction of the SBC is screaming intolerance, which can only lead to further discord and distrust of each other. This, in my opinion, makes them an extremely dangerous group who should have been asked to leave Salt Lake City.

This statement may speak of religious intolerance, but this is not the case. I am accepting of all faiths and only ask, in return, that you accept mine as being what I believe. If I ask of your faith, we can speak openly and at length; just don't try to shove your faith onto me and tell me that mine is wrong. This is the standpoint from which I speak: tolerance with open, level-headed discussion (not arguing). Acceptance of each other is the only way that mankind will ever live in peace and soar to greater heights.

Stephen R. Wilson

Charleston, S.C.