Interfaith Immersion Day 2, Part 2

Monday Eve

Image result for LDS church philadelphiaOn Monday night we headed to Center City Philadelphia for a visit to the Church of Latter Day Saints [Mormons]. We started out at their meeting house where many meetings, classes, and other organizational business take place.

There were also rehearsals going on for the upcoming theatrical performance of “Savior of the World.” We met first in the chapel, where members of this community worship.

Our host Amanda introduced other leaders who were present, including missionary couples and executive level leadership in the Philadelphia regional grouping of the LDS church. One such leader shared a bit about how Mormons view the history of their faith and how it relates to the Jewish scriptures [the Torah, the prophets, the wisdom literature], the Christian scriptures [the New Testament], and the Book of Mormon [a historical and spiritual record of the culture and community called Mormons].

Soon after, we moved to another room where classes take place. Other leaders answered questions and shared from their personal experiences as a Mormon. The two groups of students from Ohio Wesleyan and Jefferson had great questions about the structure of the Mormon church and the influence of modern culture, youth retention, etc.

Later on, we moved into another space [like a conference room] and had more interactions and Q&A.

Oh yes, and cookies.

Finally, we moved to the newly-built temple which is only accessible by card-carrying Mormons [those who are practicing Mormons in good standing with the LDS church].

One of the regional leaders shared a bit about the space, its various purposes, and the history of how the temple was allowed to be built in Philly. This is where we were.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple - Foyer Entry Computer Rendering

We learned about the spaces in the temple where people are baptized and married.

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Baptismal Font
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Marriage Ceremony Space

All in all, it was definitely a whirlwind tour, but once again, I was impressed by the students’ thoughtfulness, curiosity, and emotional intelligence. Looking forward to tomorrow!

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Josh grew up in the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in the Midwest, East Coast, Hawai’i, and Mexico. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Project PA, host of the Bucks-Mont PRIDE Festival, and he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of nonprofit experience, including leading workshops and training in corporate, medical, and academic settings, focused on diversity & inclusion, grant writing, fund raising, and program management. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, and designs and coordinates HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks. Josh also co-facilitates Ally trainings for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and interfaith cooperation. He is a founding member of The Society for Faith & Justice, and a Collaborator for Nurturing Justice, and a member of the Driving PA Forward team via New Sanctuary Movement. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys running, singing, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly.

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