Music & the Spoken Word: Matters of faith

The diversity of religious faiths and practices is part of what gives richness to the world, Lloyd Newell shares

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Sunday, April 21, 2024.

The oldest church building in Mexico, commonly known as La Iglesia de la Conchita, was built nearly 500 years ago in 1525 in what is today the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City. This important building is part of Mexico’s cultural and artistic heritage. But it’s more than a historic landmark. Houses of faith like this one stand as a reminder of our basic human desire to connect with God.

All over the world and throughout history, people have always wanted to worship, and quite often, we want to do it together with other worshippers. So we build churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. We seek places and opportunities to gather, to create communities of believers, to share with each other our faith and convictions.

That’s why religious freedom is so vital as a fundamental human right. Religious faith is deeply personal, and yet it is also interpersonal, guiding how we interact with others and creating bonds of love. Religious freedom, then, is more than just letting people believe whatever they want. It includes respecting their right to both “hold their own religious beliefs and express them openly” (see Topics and Questions, “Religious Freedom,” Gospel Library), as long as those beliefs and expressions are similarly respectful of others.

This right is expressed well in one of the Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all [people] the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11).

Go to most places in the world, and you will find worshippers like you do here in Mexico. The diversity of religious faiths and practices is part of what gives richness to our world. In matters of faith, there is much we can learn from each other. But at the heart of it all is a common desire to commune with the divine.

That spiritual connection with God has emotional and physical benefits too. Research has repeatedly shown that people of faith report feeling better and healthier, and those benefits increase the more actively they live their religion. (See “Are Religious People Happier, Healthier? Our New Global Study Explores This Question,” by Joey Marshall, Pew Research Center, Jan. 31, 2019,; “Science Says: Religion Is Good for Your Health,” by Nicole F. Roberts, Forbes, March 29, 2019,; “Religious Faith Can Lead to Positive Mental Benefits, Writes Stanford Anthropologist,” by Sandra Feder, Stanford News, Nov. 13, 2020,

In other words, when we open our hearts to diverse religious beliefs, when we respect the rights of all to “worship how, where, or what they may,” we are fostering the health and happiness of families and communities everywhere.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL NewsRadio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM (Ch. 143),, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time on these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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