Most Americans are very familiar with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which, among other protections, allows individuals to engage in free religious exercise according to individual conscience.  Throughout America’s short history on the world stage, these constitutional rights have been a beacon to all who love freedom and who would respect individual agency in matters of faith.

Today more than ever religious freedom is being threatened by a number of different sources.  With this in mind, and in an effort to educate our community, various faiths and civic institutions are joining together to present an evening program designed to enable attendees to better understand, promote and defend religious liberty.

This “Standing for Religious Freedom in Our Community” program—hosted by the Colorado Catholic Conference and J. Reuben Clark Law Society, in partnership with the Becket Fund, local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Masjid Ikhlas (Metropolitan Denver North Islamic Center), among other participants—will be held on Thursday August 16th, at Holy Family High School in Broomfield, Colorado, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

In addition to legal experts Steven Collis (Chair, J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Denver Chapter, and Chair of Holland & Hart’s National Religious Institutions and First Amendment Practice Group), Jenny Kraska (Executive Director of the Colorado Catholic Conference) and Montse Alvarado (VP and Executive Director of the Becket Fund), keynote remarks will be offered by Bishop Jorge Rodriguez (Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver) and Elder Thomas Priday (of the Seventy, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

At the close of the keynote and expert panel remarks, audience members will have an opportunity to raise questions in a town hall style program format, after which Imam ShemSadeen Ben-Masaud (Masjid Ikhlas) will offer a closing prayer.  Light refreshments will be provided following the event, and audience members will have an opportunity to mingle with program presenters.

“Religious freedom is a matter of profound importance to members of all religious faiths,” noted Jonathan Toronto, Global Membership Chair of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and a public affairs representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  “We truly look forward to joining with our friends in this unique interfaith event—which is sure to strengthen all attendees in their approach to preserving and defending religious liberty.”

Holy Family High School is located at 5195 W 144th Ave, Broomfield, Colorado.  No registration is required to attend this event. If you would like to RSVP or share the event with friends you can do so via the Facebook event by clicking here.

Event planners will offer voter registration stations prior to and following the program for those who wish to ensure they are currently registered to vote.


Recently the Islamic Center of Boulder hosted an Interfaith event in partnership with the Boulder Mormon church. The Daily Camera, a local news publication covering Boulder Colorado, published a great piece about the event and its connection with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit currently on display at the Museum of Nature and Science.

Before the event the Boulder Atonement Lutheran Church hosted an interfaith dinner which was attended by a number of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders.

Below is an image of the piece on the Daily Camera website. Click on the image or click here to view the full write up.

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On Thursday, June 21, hundreds of people gathered at Temple Emanuel for an evening of education and insight. The arrival of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) has seen popular attendance. It has also meant an influx of peripheral activities as people seek avenues to learn even more. Thursday’s event, brought about through the combined efforts of Colorado Council of Churches, JEWISHcolorado, Temple Emanuel and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints highlighted three experts, both local and out of state. Dr. Donald Parry, BYU professor of Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr. Samuel Boyd, CU professor of Judaic Studies, and Dr. Rick Hess, professor and Old Testament scholar at Denver Seminary were the evening’s panelists.

While Dr. Hess gave an overview of the origins and discovery of the scrolls, he also taught about the caves, the Qumran community, and the translations as they tie into our current codex. Dr. Boyd shared his passion for the Bible and how the scrolls influence our understanding of it. Of the thousands of scrolls and fragments found and translated, a portion of them are Biblical text, another portion are commentary on the text, while a third portion are writings related to the day. Between all of these sources, Dr. Boyd taught that what we understand about the Bible still leaves a lot of room for learning. (more…)


Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as Mormons, are performing their own musical about the life of a missionary. Over the past several months 4 missionaries have been working together to create an original musical production that will entertain and inspire audiences while portraying an accurate depiction of the life of a Mormon Missionary. This production is titled “Meet The Elders.” (more…)


On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) attended a beautiful Iftar dinner hosted by Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (“Mosaic”), and its President, Ismail Akbulut.  The purpose of the event was to deepen friendships while increasing mutual understanding, among local Latter-day Saints and Muslims.

Elder Thomas T. Priday and Dr. Ismail Demirkan

In the tradition of Islam, an Iftar is the evening meal in which Muslims complete their daily fast as part of their holy month of Ramadan.  Throughout this special month, Muslims strive to more fully observe the principles of virtuous and generous living that are central to their beliefs.  For example, in his highly informative opening presentation (following a welcome given by Brother Akbulut), Mosaic’s Interfaith Director, Dr. Ismail Demirkan, explained that for devout Muslims the Ramadan fast is about abstaining from more than just from food and water, but from other more worldly activities and sin–indicating that one’s words, thoughts, and treatment of others receive greater attention during Ramadan. (more…)


High school seniors across Colorado will be graduating next week, and youth from the Brighton stake took a special moment to honor the teachers who helped them along the way.

At their annual teacher appreciation event, “Oh the Places You’ve Inspired Us to Go,” 18 seniors from the LDS youth program expressed gratitude to a teacher who has had a positive impact on their life. The teachers honored included a wide range from high school teachers to coaches, religious instructors to middle school teachers, and all the way back to some of the students’ elementary teachers.

“A teacher’s work is difficult and demanding,” said Peggy Robertson, a member of the Brighton Stake Public Affairs Committee. “It is a rare and highly treasured event when a student says ‘thank you.’”

The seniors wrote tributes to their teachers, which they read to the audience. Some teachers had made such an impact on their students that they were honored by more than one.

Robertson said, “It was a wonderful evening filled with gratitude for work well done.”

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Summer is almost here and it’s time for hot dogs, peanuts and baseball at the 7th annual Mormon Night at the Rockies. Saturday, July 14 at 7:10pm the Rockies will play the Seattle Mariners, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) are invited to a special night of fun.

Along with discounted tickets, members of the LDS church will enjoy a pre-game ceremony, and then the national anthem sung by the Colorado Mormon Chorale. Don’t miss out on the perfect  summer night out with family and friends.

For more info on discounted tickets, click here and use code MORMON. You can also RSVP and invite others here.


Dr. Dana Pike lectures a full crowd on the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls

 

Thursday, May 3 marked the beginning of what will be a continuing series of forums about the Dead Sea Scrolls. Local interest in the scrolls has grown with the arrival of several scrolls from Israel, as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science hosts the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. Drs. Rick Hess, Dana Pike, and Craig Blomberg taught a standing room only crowd in the chapel on Denver Seminary campus in Littleton. Dr. Dana Pike, Department Chair of Ancient Scripture in the College of Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University gave an overview and background of the scrolls. Dr. Rick Hess, distinguished professor at Denver Seminary, followed with a lesson on the significance of the scrolls with regard to the Old Testament. Dr. Craig Blomberg, also a distinguished professor at Denver Seminary, rounded out the instruction with insight into how the scrolls tie in with the New Testament.

All three professors are members of the Society of Biblical Literature and interact regularly on topics of mutual interest. The three pointed out similarities between the oldest known Hebrew biblical texts created in 1008 AD and our present day Old Testament. With the exception of the book of Esther, all books of the Old Testament are represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We learn more about specific importance as we see that multiple copies of select books of the Old Testament were found.  The top three most commonly found texts belong to Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Isaiah.  Interestingly, these three Old Testament books are also the most frequently referenced books of the Old Testament as one reads through the New Testament.

The presentations were followed with panel members asking one another questions, generating further discussion. The Q&A portion of the evening was conducted by Craig McIlroy, Director of Public Affairs for the Denver South Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to the friendly banter and questions among panelists, audience members were able to pose questions of their own, and the evening concluded on a positive note.

from left to right: Rev. Annie Arnoldy, Tom Reiners, Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Dana Pike, Dr. Rick Hess and Craig McIlroy

The next day, presenters were hosted by Reverend Annie Arnoldy of St. Andrew United Methodist church of Highlands Ranch. They were joined by Tom Reiners, a lifelong member of the Methodist church. A retired rocket scientist and Dead Sea Scrolls enthusiast, Mr. Reiners serves as a docent at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and takes tours of the exhibition. He added color commentary relevant to the exhibit. The four panelists gave the 450+ attendees a full evening of information and insight. In addition to Mr. Reiners’ contribution, Dr. Pike added further to his presentation, sharing a bit of his experience in Jerusalem.  His unique history includes being on the team of 70 plus translators who were invited by Israeli scholar Emmanuel Tov to help translate and publish the scrolls. He shared personal account of the 11 caves in which the 950 fragments were found, and the close connection he experienced with history.

More seminars similar to the two that took place last week are scheduled in the near future. Forums are scheduled for June 21 at Temple Emmanuel, June 22 in Parker, June 23 in our Arvada, and June 24 in Boulder.  Check back for details forthcoming.