President Eyring of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was invited to speak at a gathering at the Vatican-The headquarters for the Catholic Church worldwide—Think of it as the Salt Lake City of the Catholic Church..sort of….
This gathering featured religious leaders from all over the world and from a variety of denominations. In some cases this gathering was called Humanum, in others the gathering was simply referred to the Colloquium.
The website for the event states this as the purpose of the gathering:
The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.
Witnesses will draw from the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them.
The Colloquium is sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
In short, the Catholic church put on a meeting of religious leaders from across the world to talk about and defend the family unit, but more specifically, marriage between a man and a woman. His presentation was about 13 minutes long. This was an important presentation for a few reasons that I can see, but there may be even more.
It was important because historically, such a connection between the LDS Church and the Catholic church was not such an open door. I personally consider this to be a tremendous act of kindness and christian fellowship on the part of the Catholic church to invite President Eyring, but also for President Eyring to attend.
This was also significant in light of the various perspectives and direction the laws of many nations throughout the world have taken with respect to legalizing same-sex marriage. Sometimes we might feel like a small minority of people who believe that marriage should be only between man and woman legally and lawfully married. This event stands to show that some of the largest and most well respected faith traditions in the world can be unified in our defense of God’s moral standard regardless of where some in the world advocate.
President Eyring stood as a prime example of what it means to defend our faith to all the world. He is an apostle and hopefully you will sense the nature of his calling coming through in the message he was sharing. He spoke with authority, and with purpose. While this particular environment was not considered hostile, other engagements between the communities of some of these faiths have not always been so kind to the LDS Church. President Eyring, without fear and without reservation bore his testimony of God our Father, Jesus his divine Son and our Savior, and of the central role of eternal marriage in the plan of Salvation. His example of both missionary work and being one to stand and defend the faith is a powerful example to the membership.
Additionally, this became a message to the larger audience of people that may have misconceptions about the LDS views on marriage in a polygamous sense. While not a direct part of his message, it should be clear that a top leader of the faith has 1 wife. The relationship of current church practice with regard to polygamy is still in question with many people in spite of a tremendous amount of transparency on the part of the church with regards to this issue.
His message is a call for a renascence or a rebirth of happy marriages. While many of you listening to this are young adults, and probably not married or even engaged, marriage is a topic that is something you should be educated on in order to either put your life in order, or know what it means to seek for and work towards having a happy marriage. When that time comes to get married, or what qualities you are to look for is a topic for another time. However, as you listen to President Eyring’s message, you may hear some important advice as you move on in life towards that goal.
So, I am going to play for you parts of the presentation, but I would encourage you to watch the presentation in its entirety.