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In Theory: Can you explain your belief in 10 minutes?

November 08, 2013

UC Irvine students have been trying a relatively new thing called “speed faithing.” The idea, much like speed dating, is to get as much information across to another person in a set amount of time, and hopefully make an impact.

Religious students and two atheists gave their 10-minute talks to groups of UCI students, trying to distill their belief — whether Catholic, Mormon, Islamic or none — in a concise way, yet still making it understandable to those outside their faith.

Speed faithing was developed by Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core as a way of getting youngsters to interact with people of different faiths. “In Orange County we have tremendous diversity,” said Raid Faraj, diversity educator for UCI's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. “This is an opportunity to create a safe environment for people to come together and ask questions.”


Q: Could you distill your belief into a 10-minute talk?

Ten minutes should be plenty of time for most active believers to explain the basic message of their religion and, if appropriate, bear witness of their personal faith.

In the LDS church we get a fair amount of practice discussing religion before an audience. Sunday speakers are usually members of the congregation. The opportunity to stand at the pulpit is given to everyone from time to time and begins at an early age. In separate meetings children recite short messages to their peers, usually with help from a parent. Many church members also get used to distilling the message of our faith as full-time missionaries.

Personally, I like the idea of giving people a chance to share their beliefs in an open, public setting such as UC Irvine's speed faithing event. It appears that participants shared their messages with a friendly, non-confrontational spirit and learned something about one another. Too often we judge in ignorance. These types of events may help at least a few people overcome that tendency.

In our church's early days, members were subjected to violent persecution, often because of ignorance about their religion and their intentions. In 1842, church President Joseph Smith wrote a letter to a newspaper editor summarizing our beliefs. Portions of the letter were adopted as the Articles of Faith, a concise official statement of doctrine. The 13 articles don't provide a comprehensive explanation of all that we believe, but they cover the bases pretty well, and can easily be read aloud in less than three minutes.

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