Utah Case Studies in Civil Dialogue

Case Study 1: Bozniaks and Mormons

Sheldon Mortensen from Bishop’s Storehouse at Welfare Square brought Latter-day Saint youth to the dialogue and service project with the Bozniak youth. Below he describes his dialogue with Jasna Zahirovic from The Islamic Society of Bosniaks in Utah at Maryam Mosque. 

Sheldon's View

As we talked and learned from each other, we discovered a lot of similarities between the Muslim religion and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though the aspects of Deity differ, the teachings concerning what type of person we should be are very similar: caring for our bodies, being modest, and eating healthy are just a few examples.  The first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were driven from town to town and killed because of their faith. People were afraid of a new religion, and they persecuted adherents of it with all they had. The Muslim Bosnians, likewise, have experienced such difficulty in living their religion – it is sad to think that even in today’s age of acceptance, we still have so much conflict regarding religion.

The differences between us should not impede us from focusing on our common beliefs and supporting one another to help and serve people in our own communities and around the world. Our service project provided exactly that, and we were able to assemble cleaning kits to be shipped to natural disaster areas to help with clean-up efforts. As natural disasters aren’t selective of the people they affect, we should not be selective of the people we serve. Everyone needs a helping hand and our respective faith traditions share that conviction.

See more about the experience on the Religious Freedom Institute’s website. 


On your own paper, respond to this question:

  • The purpose of civil dialogue is to seek understanding. What understanding did Sheldon gain about the Bozniak community while talking to Jasna?


Learn more about how to promote the 3Rs — rights, responsibility, respect — in your school and community.