Pure religion: 'Privileged to be a part of that service'

Hundreds gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Feb. 27 to listen to representatives of LDS Charities and others talk about Church humanitarian efforts around the world.

Titled “Discovering Mormonism and Its Role in Humanitarian Assistance,” and featuring the work of LDS Charities, the event was part of the annual “Focus on Faith” series sponsored by the Nongovernmental Organizations Relations and Advocacy Section of the UN’s Department of Public Information. (Church News reported on this event in the issue for the week of March 8, 2014.)

As a member of the audience — and the Church — it was amazing to see so many different nationalities and faiths gather in one room, not to debate religion, but to discuss how we can help those in need.

The panelists — Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities; Ahmad S. Corbitt, director of the New York Office of Public and International Affairs; and Elder John P. Colton, who is serving with his wife, Barbara, as UN Representatives for LDS Charities — gave a brief history of the Church, along with a quick introduction to the Book of Mormon and why it is the keystone of our religion.

They presented a video, which showed the importance the Church places on the family, the temple, baptism and service.

The majority of the hour was spent discussing humanitarian efforts that have already been implemented and what the Church plans for the future.

Panel members explained that the entire aim of the Church is to provide relief and that 100 percent of the funds go toward relief efforts.

The Church is usually the first to respond after there is a natural disaster. Our members were among the first to serve in Haiti after the earthquake that devastated thousands and after Hurricane Sandy swept through the eastern states. A video clip of service offered on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York after Hurricane Sandy was shown; I was privileged to be a part of that service.

The people of the Rockaways were so grateful and just amazed that we were all there because we wanted to serve, and for no other reason. It was an incredible experience that truly strengthened my testimony of service.

I really feel that those in attendance at the United Nations general assembly could feel the Spirit manifest to them of the importance of this work. — Jenny Bourne, New York City

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