Church Scripture and Educational Values Shared at the World Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy

News Release
 

Pune, the second largest city in the western state of Maharashtra, is known as the “Oxford of the East.”  Its major educational institutions attract students from around the world.  Earlier this month, thousands gathered on the campus of the Maharashtra Institute of Technology-Art, Design and Technology (MIT-ADT) at Loni Kalbhor, outside Pune to participate in the World Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy and the dedication of the World Peace Dome. Elder Don R. Clarke was in attendance as a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Along with representatives of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, Elder Clarke, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, participated in a presentation of Religion and Religious Scriptures of the World.

Elder Clark explained the importance of scripture for members of the Church.  “The scriptures,” he said, “help us find happiness in this life, prepare us for the life to come, and hold the keys for spiritual peace.  As we read, study, ponder, and search the scriptures, they change our lives.”

He went on to explain, “Scriptures open the channel of communication of heaven and help us in receiving personal revelation, answering the question, ‘What would God have me do?’ They lead to happiness, comfort, faith, hope, overcoming despair, and leads us from darkness to light.   As we follow the scriptures we will be better citizens of the world in which we live, we will treat others with tolerance and understanding, we become more Christ-like.”

Elder Clarke also addressed the Parliament on the topic of Value Based Education, explaining the principles of the Church Educational System as practiced at its universities and colleges as well as in its Institutes of Religion and Seminary program. 

The goal of value based education, he explained is “to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life” by “providing an environment enlightened by living prophets and sustained by those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God.”  These values are embodied in an Honor Code by which students agree to maintain the highest standards of integrity, morality and consideration of others in personal behavior. These standards include using clean language, attending church services regularly, abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage and not drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking.

The invitation to participate in the World Parliament followed a visit last year to Church owned Brigham Young University (BYU) by Dr. Vishwanath Karad, founder and president of the MIT school system which consists of 23 elementary and secondary schools and five universities in Pune. Dr. Karad was impressed by what he saw.  In September of this year his son, Rahul Karad, executive President MIT-World Peace University, also visited BYU and was struck by the students’ commitment to the Honor Code and their attendance at the University sponsored weekly devotional.  Both father and son felt that these standards dovetailed with their aim to promote a “value based universal education system” with the goal of establishing a “holistic peace-loving harmonious global society.”

The Peace Dome is the largest dome in the world measuring 160 feet across and 263 feet high.  It houses 54 statues of the world’s greatest religious leaders, scientists and philosophers, including Aristotle, Buddha, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ.  It is expected that the gathering of the World Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy will be an annual event at the World Peace Dome in Loni Kalbhor (Pune), India.

In August of 2017 Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles was awarded the Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize at MIT-World Peace University.

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