News Release

EU Commission Invites Mormon Leader to High-Level Meeting with Religious Leaders

Elder Patrick Kearon, of the Europe Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined fourteen senior representatives from other Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu faiths to discuss the challenges European societies are facing with the rise of anti-Semitism and Muslim hatred.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, hosted this year’s high-level meeting, with Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Parliament, as Co-chair.

During the debate, the religious leaders shared their views and recommendations on how to address the radicalization and discrimination. Elder Kearon underlined the importance of providing youth with “a cause and a vision.” He said: “Many young people lack a cause and a vision to help them make the right choices in life. We, as religious leaders, have the primary responsibility to equip them, through our leadership, with values and principles they can relate and become attached to. We also need to provide them with opportunities to serve each other, within and outside our faith communities.” At a time when religious voices seem to be pushed out of the public discourse, Elder Kearon also mentioned “the importance for churches to support each other when one is pushed in corner.”

Earlier, Frans Timmermans opened the meeting by saying: “This dialogue has never been more important. Our societies face fundamental challenges, and churches and religions are among the actors that can play an important role in promoting social cohesion and bridging divides. The leaders here today are partners for the European Commission as they can share their experience in fighting against fundamentalism, discrimination and in building mutual trust and understanding.”

Antonio Tajani added: “We will only defeat radicalism and fundamentalism if we stay together. Dialogue between religions is crucial to defend the values of our societies. European institutions should foster this dialogue not only at the level of religious leaders and theological experts. Young people should be involved. We need to invest more not only in our economy but in the future of our youth. We need policies which foster key values such as peace, solidarity and respect of human dignity among future generations and societies.”

The meeting provided an important forum for discussion on community relations, integration and societal cohesion. The outcome of the discussions will feed into the First Annual Fundamental Rights Colloquium to be held in Brussels in October, on the topic “Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred”.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was honoured to be invited to take part of this dialogue and commend the European Commission for its efforts to engage with faith-based communities to improve the lives of all people in Europe. It is a recognition of the unique contribution and perspectives that churches can offer for the common good,” said Elder Kearon after the event.

Since 2009, the Lisbon Treaty has enshrined open, transparent, and regular dialogue with churches and religious communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations into primary law. (Art 17 TFEU).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian faith with half a million members in Europe, recently opened its European Union office in Brussels. To better serve the European community, the Church seeks cooperation with political and institutional bodies and by reaching out to international NGOs, religious organisations, and civil society.

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.