As a non-Mormon living in Salt Lake City, I must confess to being occasionally irritated with the extensive influence Mormonism has over the local community. It has a church building on practically every corner, it has a seminary building next to every public school in the State of Utah, and it has its fingers in just about everything.
Personally, I don´t think like a Mormon, I don´t act like a Mormon, and I will never be a Mormon. But having said that, I have many Mormon friends, and I will probably always have Mormon friends. My chiropractor and dentist are both Mormon, my HVAC guy and Roto-Rooter guy are both Mormon, all of them have given me excellent service over the years, and I readily recommend them to other people. I am non-Mormon, but not anti-Mormon.
So it´s interesting that I am not the least bit bothered by the extensive influence that the Catholic Church has over the local community here in Cuenca, in fact I´ve attended Mass at least two times, and also poked my head into several other Catholic Church buildings. Here in Cuenca the Catholic Church has a building on every corner, it has a school near every public school, and it has its fingers in just about everything.
Why am I not bothered by the influence that the Catholic Church has over Cuenca? Because I was raised Catholic, I went to Catholic schools for 12 years, and the majority of my family and relatives are still Catholic.
Yeah, conversions take place, and some people switch religions, but it seems that for the majority of the people in the world, their religion is determined by the family which raises them. People stay with the familiar … most by choice, but unfortunately some by force.
I have believed for many years that it is not helpful to the soul of the world, not helpful to the spiritual well-being of the universe, to believe that my religion is the one, true, religion. Practice your religion and devote yourself to God, if that is how the Spirit within you is guiding you, but you wander away from the center of Love when you begin to think that your religion is better than the next, when you begin to think that your righteousness exceeds others. I dare say that virtually every religion worth following that has ever existed has warned against judging others, has preached about the supreme power of unconditional love … the same love that does not and cannot include self-righteous judgment of others. If you only ever love, friends and enemies alike will call you Holy, a Saint, an Avatar, a Shaman, a Good Person, Righteous Among the Nations, and any number of other superlatives.
God created a multi-religion, multi-cultural, multi-language, multi-color, multi-whatnot world. Obviously, God loves diversity … and does not favor one stripe over another.