Why Tolerance Isn’t Enough

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Editor Jeanette Bennett

Editor Jeanette Bennett

By Jeanette Bennett, utahvalley360.com

Religions differ but people don’t

In third grade, I had a conversation in the bus line that I still regret. I rudely told my friend Heidi Huntington that my church was “the only true church” and that her church was false. We were two young girls devoted to the beliefs of our parents.
As the years went by, I continued to believe in my religion but I softened in my approach to others. A few times a year, I flash back to that school-yard conversation that took place on a windy afternoon in Idaho and feel sorry for the way I made Heidi feel. If I knew how to get in touch with her, I would apologize for my 8-year-old attitude and ask for her forgiveness.
In Utah County, children and adults alike have been guilty of unkind thoughts and words toward those of other religions. And sometimes we make mistakes even though we have good intentions, such as asking a stranger something like, “What ward are you in?” or “Where did you serve your mission?” Even members of the majority religion in our valley may not be comfortable with these inquiries.
Most of us are devoted spiritually, culturally and/or socially to our specific religion — whether it be Catholic, LDS, Baptist or another belief system. But what I’ve realized as an adult is that our similarities always outweigh our differences.
As I met Rev. Dean Jackson (cover story) and attended his church, I saw a man with a love for his congregation and a healthy dose of happiness, humor and humility. His goal is to help others connect with God and to find more peace in their own lives. Although his approach is unique (they meet in a movie theater and pass a popcorn bucket to collect the tithes), his desires are universal.
My new friend Dean made me rethink some of my attitudes — for example, he says he doesn’t like the word “tolerance.” He says tolerance is for road construction — not for people. And he’s right. If we are Christian people, tolerance shouldn’t be tolerated. Instead, we should strive to purposely love, understand and take care of each other.
Utah County is a hotbed of many religions, and because we know better, we should do better. And doing better means linking our arms together as members of different religions and realizing that we’re all moving toward something better — better individuals, better families and better communities.
In this issue, we offer a few things to help you progress in your life. In addition to our religious cover story, we also share tips to improve your marriage, we offer ideas on finding a Realtor, and we tell you about eight neighborhoods to consider for your next home. After all, our hopes, dreams and desires are more similar than they are different.

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