Majority of participants at largest US Hindu celebration are Mormon

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    March 21, 2014 3:40 p.m.


    I hardly see how it makes sense to participate in religious ceremonies from a completely different religion of one’s own, especially when one doesn’t understand the meaning behind it anyway, but hey, most Mormons celebrate Christmas, Halloween, and Easter, the traditions of which are almost all rooted in non-Christian, pagan religions.

    Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    March 21, 2014 1:07 a.m.

    I had a friend that went last year and really enjoyed it. However, she DID make the comment that the closer you got to the stage, the stronger the smell of marijuana was.

    March 19, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    I'm thinking back to the Sesquicentennial Celebration held in BYU's Football Stadium several years ago, when groups representing many cultures rotated from stage to stage displaying different aspects of their culture; yet all those cultures had stalwart members of the LDS Church. True, many expressions of cultural traditions have their roots in what LDS and the larger Christian Community might consider pagan worship. But these forms have all devolved into practices that have only social ramifications. We ought not feel guilty about enjoying them from that aspect. Even Brigham Young encouraged dancing, which then and even now can have outlandish violent or promiscuous associations when carried to the extreme. But for the most part, we need to accept the more common, enjoyable traits that the majority of the participants experience.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 19, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Love this article. It's a great reminder to us LDS that we don't have to be exclusive when we think about freedom of religious expression and practice--especially in public. I would that the whole world believed in the idea of communal respect and even celebration for differing beliefs. I can personally believe and be converted to the idea that the LDS church is the only true and living church, and still love the expressions of faith across this country. I also find great inspiration in the faith and genuine good will of others.

    My belief does not disprove yours. Nor should your belief or disbelief have any effect upon mine. I would that fewer people were outraged by public displays of religion. Let any and all express their faith. It just seems more like an exposure of an insecurity than an act of devotion to stifle the faith of others.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    March 18, 2014 8:35 p.m.

    @Poqui Murray, UT
    Think you missed something in the Matthew reference, like the rest of the story:
    22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

    23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

    24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

    26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

    27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

    28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

  • altahoops Provo, UT
    March 18, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    I don't think most who participate in Utah county have the foggiest clue about the religious implications. It makes for a colorful Snap Chat or Facebook picture. And all my friends are going, so....

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    March 18, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    I have no problem with LDS students innocently participating in other religion's celebrations. The only tragedy would be if they missed the opportunity to learn and remained ignorant of those religions.

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    March 18, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Who's saying the Mormon way of worshiping God is the only way, or the only way that pleases God? I think he loves his children, all of them, and he smiles when they try to draw close to him. Certainly beats sitting through a planning meeting.

  • Poqui Murray, UT
    March 18, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    @scwoz - just a clarification on your statement. Although Jesus Christ showed infinite love to those he met, he made it very clear that His ministry was to the House of Israel only. There are a couple of examples when the has contact with those who are not Israelite and he does it in a respectful fashion.

    1) To the woman of Samaria he chides her belief by saying, "Ye worship ye know not what..." (John 4).

    2)To the woman of Canaan he said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He then indirectly insults her by saying, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs" (Matthew 15).

    Having said that, I see nothing wrong with the LDS attending the Holi Festival. It is no different than LDS celebrating St. Patricks,Halloween, or any other holiday that is tied to another religion. There is beauty in seeing and understanding other religions and their beliefs.

  • Admiring Gentile Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    This is one more example of the wonderful attitude Mormons have toward other religions: not just acceptance and welcoming, but participation in other religions' festivals, without in the least feeling that, as a Mormon, you'd be "offending God" by doing so.

    As I recall, the Mormon Church even gave financial support for Hindus to build their facility. And I know, as a Jew, that Brigham Young gave support for the first Jewish congregation in Utah to get established.

    What a refreshing change from reading about a Christian denomination which bans yoga for its adherents, because yoga comes from a "false religion."

    My own belief is that God provides humanity with a "buffet" of rich spiritual offerings. We get to choose the ones that nourish our spirit the greatest. And when we've found that, there's absolutely no harm in "taking tastes" of other offerings. It's part of our spiritual education, not a sin.

    I congratulate the open-minded Mormons for doing this, and for embracing non-Mormons who are doing likewise.

  • Seposm Evanston, WY
    March 18, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    I feel it is totally acceptable to observe and participate in the cultural and religious celebrations of other cultures especially when invited to do so. As long as your doing so is not done in a way that mocks those who are celebrating or worshiping.

    Is it really much different than a Mormon celebrating Halloween, Valentines day or wearing Green for St. Patrick's day? I know Mormons who observe lent and Hanukkah. Similar concept in my opinion.

    I have been to a Catholic Mass and other Christian Worship services. They haven't changed my beliefs, but brought me greater respect for those who beliefs are different than mine.

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    March 18, 2014 4:59 a.m.

    Christ walked among the non-faithful during his sojourn on earth and ate their food, sang their songs and probably bowed his head during their prayers. It is a great way to bond members of different religions while at the same time maybe receiving knowledge and providing some. Sounds like great fun.

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    March 18, 2014 4:03 a.m.

    Ignorance is bliss?

    Sooner or later you are going to have to decide which is the One and Only True God that you want to worship.

  • 1Reader Sunnyvale, CA
    March 18, 2014 1:33 a.m.

    Yeah, agreed--but I think they should be a little bit careful about how they treat this holiday. I lived for years down the street from the main Hindu temple in what is surely the region with the largest Hindu concentration in America--and where this event was conducted annually (and White people really stuck out there and were unexpected). Hindus do not treat this event as a crazy time to just throw colors around; it has real ceremonial and spiritual meaning for them and their families. Having seen both, I think this one somewhat makes light of it and is just for fun and silly. I'm not sure it is a proper observance. I do think Holi is a very nice holiday.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2014 7:54 p.m.

    The pictures convey the feeling of the event, and it's great that this paper reports on it and presents it with such fine photography. However, one correction is in order: the color is described as "chalk." It's not; it's colored corn starch. If it were chalk, it would create a health hazard for those who attend. Otherwise, a great story with even better photography.

  • Robyuuki Lewisburg, PA
    March 17, 2014 7:32 p.m.

    I spent 5 months in India last year. What a great people, holiday and culture. I am happy to remember it along with my culture and St. Patty's day.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    March 17, 2014 7:14 p.m.

    The early saints in the Gentile lands had to abstain from accepting food that was offered to an idol, but ignorance was a permissable excuse. I think these youth chanting to Hindu deities might rely on the same rationalization. Actually, it is like dressing up as a devil or witch on Halloween - all in the name of "good fun.".

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    March 17, 2014 4:36 p.m.

    It has always amazed me how active LDS folks can promote another religion without much consideration other than how much fun they can have or how colorful they will appear afterward.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    No surprise here, lots of Mormons in Utah County and getting dusted with colored Kool-Aide beats watching Footloose for the 22nd time. Anyone trying to make a religious connection only has to witness the event.