News Story

Interfaith Youth Gathering Looks at Social Media and Religion in Fiji

“Social media can be a useful medium to foster unity despite differences in religious and cultural beliefs,” Willie Irava, a young adult from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said recently.

Irava was speaking at the Inter-Religious Dialogue Youth Spiritual Event Program, organized by the Missionary Society of Saint Columban in Fiji.

He expressed that while there is usually a negative connotation associated with social media and religious and cultural differences, focusing on the positives can alleviate social tensions and help create a more tolerant and understanding society.

“Despite the commotions that are around us on earth and even on social media platforms, we can change that by simply sharing the positives about the beliefs that we have and that can change society. Though evil abounds, good will always dispel that,” he said.

Irava, along with other young people from the Suva Fiji Stake (group of congregations) represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the event that was held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva.

They focused on the theme “Families Are Eternal, creating a video that helped express the significance of temples in Heavenly Father’s divine plan and how the prospect of spending eternity with our loved ones was enabled through the Atonement of the Saviour, Jesus Christ.

“Through social media, we have the opportunity to share and connect with families and loved ones. We believe as members of the Church that families are eternal, just as the Lord planned, and we believe that the relationships that are formed here on this earth can last for eternity,” Irava said to attendees.

The program provided a platform for youth and young adults to share and exchange information about their respective religious beliefs.

Seven different religious groups were represented at the event including the Methodist Church, the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i Faith, the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji, the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI), the Catholic Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

More than 50 youth and young adults were in attendance.

“I really enjoyed meeting people of other faiths and getting to know them on a personal level,” said Mercedes Semaan. “It felt like an open forum and I felt very welcomed. I would definitely want to do this again.”

Speaking to students at Brigham Young University in 2014, Latter-day Saint apostle, Elder David A Bednar, said, "The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fullness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families."

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