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A cordial welcome to Baptists

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This is the place - for thousands of visiting Southern Baptists to share their message of salvation this week and to conduct church business at their annual convention June 9-11 in Salt Lake City. We welcome them with open arms and hearts and hope their stay is pleasant and productive. All area residents, regardless of religious affiliation, should do likewise.

Mutual courtesy and respect should be shown visitors and Utahns as Baptists witness door-to-door. Doctrinal differences - and there are many similarities between Baptist beliefs and those of the locally predominant religion and others - are ancillary to shared brotherhood and a united hope for a better world.The experience of having someone knocking on the door with a message of faith should jog the memories of tens of thousands locally who have done likewise as representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. For them, and for countless others of different denominations or of no religious persuasion, it should be easy to greet guests as they once hoped to be received - kindly.

There is much to be shared and a lot to be learned by all participants. That education goes beyond religion and includes increased understanding of another area's cultural, geographical, economic and political tendencies. Discussions of those and other subjects will not detract from the Baptists' mission of testifying but will foster meaningful positive relationships engendered on the doorstep or in the living room.

Undergirding all of this is the shared conviction by many, including Baptists and Latter-day Saints, concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ and of mankind's dependence upon him for salvation. That is a transcendent commonality that leads to a collective rejoicing in spirit. Such is the shared celebration this week and next in Salt Lake City.