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The following is excerpted from an article written by Asma Uddin for Faith Counts. To read the full article, click here.
What else can Muslim parents do? And is there anything from other faith practices that might work for us, too? Based on my interactions with believers from other faith communities, I am certain there is.
Mormon practice, in particular, fascinates me. This is partly because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with its history of religious liberty persecution, provides models of perseverance for American Muslims today. It also has a uniquely American flavor at a time when American Muslims are still struggling to strengthen their communities and build institutions. In this moment when such institutions are few and far between, I envy the organization of the LDS Church, particularly for its effects on youth.
One sociologist, Kenda Creasy Dean of Princeton Theological Seminary, has found that Mormonism is uniquely successful in cultivating youth “who firmly understand what they believe and why their faith needs to have a claim on their behavior.” She identifies four elements of this success:
- Mormon youth know their faith, and they know it well. They don’t learn it from media or from friends outside their faith community. They aren’t fed generalities or what Dean calls the “feel-good stuff.” And there’s both an institutional and home dimension to their teaching. Classes happen in both venues, helping to connect what happens outside the home to what happens in the kids’ safest, most intimate spaces.
- Mormon youth are taught to articulate what their faith is and why they participate in their religious practices. By translating knowledge into testimony, they acquire key skills, like leadership, storytelling, and the ability to connect with others personally.
- It’s not all talk — action matters too. Mormon youth define their goals and work toward achieving them. Contributions start small but early — tithing, volunteering for service projects, and Church building upkeep.
- Purpose isn’t defined in earthly terms only. The ultimate reason and hope of religious life is to be successful in the life that comes after death.
To read the full article, click here.