LDS Perspectives Podcast: Balancing Religious Tensions with Mauro Properzi


Finding a balance between loyalty or commitment to one’s faith and sympathetic openness to other faiths is one of the biggest challenges Mormons face in an age of inclusiveness.

The classic “theology of religions” view of other faiths known as “inclusivism” broadly fits what Dr. Mauro Properzi thinks this balance should look like in an LDS context.

The idea is that one’s faith is unique, most effective, and overall preferential (or one could use the term “truest”) in leading to our eternal destination. Other religions, however, while being positive paths that move as a whole in the same direction, lack some elements that characterize the faith you embrace. Perhaps other paths take unnecessary detours, perhaps they have holes that cause slower progress, perhaps they are not as scenic. Still, these roads are going in the same general direction as your road, not in the opposite one. In short, if your road leads to God, the other roads don’t lead to Satan; they are also oriented toward God.

Inclusivism is the middle ground. Two other positions represent the ends of the spectrum of religious tolerance.  On one side is exclusivism, which in its bluntest form is the message that only my religion is good, true, divinely inspired, and salvific. At its opposite is pluralism with the message that all religions are true, divinely inspired, and salvific since it is believed that they teach the same message in different cultural contexts.

What is clear is that in our postmodern Western culture many people, whether religious or not, lean in the direction of pluralism and exclusivism is not very popular. Exclusivism, however, is an important component of Christianity, and of Mormonism in particular; in fact, in the pursuit of truth in general. It is not the whole of the answer but it is a significant part of it.

The challenge for us, and for any other person of faith who feels these tensions, is to be reflective about them and not succumb to pressures that aim to eliminate them. For us these pressures can come from social interactions both within the church and outside of it … pressures that want to obliterate one side or the other of the spectrum.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she interviews Mauro Properzi about false obstacles and rich opportunities that come from learning about other religions.

6 thoughts on “LDS Perspectives Podcast: Balancing Religious Tensions with Mauro Properzi

  1. Okay, I listened. 🙂

    Great interview. Some years back I was having a religious conversation with an acquaintance while we waited for an entertainment event to start–so it was super casual and neither of us was being defensive or trying to “prove” anything. He had found out I was a Mormon and he did the classic “so I’ve heard all this stuff, but what do *you* say Mormons believe?”

    So I laid out some basics, and we talked about living a good life and seeking divine understanding through the experiences of existence, and so forth. And he nodded along and said “wow, that sounds really Eastern.”

    And I couldn’t disagree. 🙂 The more open I am to truth, the more of it I find everywhere. So I think I grok where Properzi is coming from here, and I’m glad to hear you interview him. Thanks!

  2. We should be accepting and understanding of all religions which permit the freedom of conscience. We should not be so accepting of religions which have as their objective world domination, subjection and conversion by the sword.

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  4. Maybe I’m dumb, but I listened to this episode twice and still drowned in the professor-speak. Dr. Properzi is no doubt full of insight. I guess I’m just not tuned to the same frequency.

  5. What a delightful discussion!

    I never liked the phrase “the Church is true” until I began to explain that I meant true as in aligned with the practices and power God required to save all mankind. So my meaning of true was the antonym of “sufficiently akimbo as to frustrate full salvation.” I never mean “true” in that phrase as an opposite of dangerously false.

    My husband always talks about the holy envy he has for various practices of other religions. At times our family worship has included lent or candles or nightly recitations of scriptural passages leading up to key celebrations (Christmas, Easter).

    I was delighted by the.view that salvation is brought about by submitting to the proper ordinances in combination with a life of sanctification. In this view the majority and even nearly the totality of mankind can legitimately hope for the greatest blessings of God, despite tens of billion who will not receive the saving ordinances until after this life.

    In that light, I would like to push back on the typical LDS interpretation of D&C 76, where some presume that only the few who righteously embrace the gospel in this life can hope for Celestial glory. This is an error that is promulgated every four years when we study D&C 76, as we will again later this year.

    But I would demand, why then do we seal together the deceased dead in the temples of Our Lord, if the unbaptized dead have no hope of Celestial glory in the highest heaven in which Mormons believe? Why then do we pour our hearts and resources into genealogy work, if these precious families are to be “damned” to an eternity of Terrestrial limitation?

    I think it is a quote by Bruce McConkie that is used in the current lesson manual to promulgate this gross error. I will take a cue from Mormon and say that a belief that God cannot exalt the sanctified dead by proxy ordinances shows us to be steeped in the hall of bitterness and believers of an abomination.

    God has power and desire to exalt all mankind, not just the fraction blessed to possess the fullness of the power and procedures to solemnize exaltation.

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