News Release

Elder Alfred Kyungu Meets with Ambassador and Inter-faith Leaders in Togo

US Ambassador invites religious leaders to discuss religious tolerance and social cohesion

On 21 March 2024, Elder Alfred Kyungu, a General Authority Seventy and counselor in the presidency of the Africa West Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with religious leaders throughout the country of Togo at the United States Ambassador’s residence in Lomé.

The meeting was organized by US Ambassador Elizabeth Fitzsimmons with the theme of inter-faith tolerance and social cohesion.  Leaders from Muslim, Catholic, Assemblies of God, Methodist, and Traditional religions participated in the discussion with the Ambassador and Elder Kyungu. The meeting included an Iftar, a fast-breaking evening meal for Muslims during Ramadan.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Fitzsimmons said, “Interfaith dialogue plays a crucial role in promoting mutual respect and understanding between people of different religious backgrounds. Tonight, through dialogue, we can overcome bias and build stronger, more inclusive communities. As we gather to break bread this evening, let us renew our commitment to upholding the values ​​of tolerance, compassion and justice.”

Elder Kyungu noted the good relationships that had been built with religions throughout the Africa West Area. “We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we worship God according to the dictates of our conscience. On of our Church's Articles of Faith says that we recognize everyone’s right to worship who they want, where they want, and how they want. We are a religion of tolerance. The president of our church, President Russell M. Nelson, who is the prophet, seer, and revelator, has always taught us to be peacemakers. We live in peace,” said Elder Kyungu.

He added that, “We must bury our arms of war. We will have different opinions. We will have different points of view. But we can, by considering our identity as children of a loving God, and by having respect and consideration for each other, resolve all these differences in love and charity. The Church teaches the teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus said you should love your enemies and even pray for those who mistreat you. That’s what we're trying to do.”

In discussing Ramadan, Imam El Hadj Karim Sanni of The Muslim Union of Togo, noted that “Ramadan allows Muslims to introspect their faith, to change for the better, and return to the will of God. Madam Ambassador has just spoken to us about social cohesion. The religion of Islam has already provided a universal constitution on this social cohesion.”

The Reverend Djakouti Miter represented Assembly of God congregations throughout Togo. He noted that all religions represented were one in God, and that God was peace. “We share this peace; we share the gospel so that we can truly live in peace. If I want to share a great thing with someone, I must be at peace with them. This is the gospel, and this is the meaning of the church. The church must promote peace, must announce peace, and must live peace.”

Monsignor Pogba from the Catholic Church talked about the importance of religious liberty. He said, “We must be vigilant to recognize and defend religious freedom as a good for all. Religious freedom will contribute to peaceful coexistence and social cohesion. States and politicians must promote, defend, protect, and guarantee our religious freedom.”

Also speaking during the gathering was Reverend Kpavuvu Godson Lawson from the Methodist Church, and Gninofoun Akoete representing the Traditional Chieftaincies in Togo.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recognized rapid growth in Togo.  The first branch of the Church was established in 1999, and the Church received formal recognition in 2000.  The first stake of the Church was established in 2013, and there are currently three Stakes. There are currently 7200 Togolese members of the Church meeting in 25 congregations.

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