SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - President Thomas S. Monson's death did not come as a surprise to religious leaders throughout Utah.
They knew he was in failing health.
"It doesn't matter how prepared you are for somebody's death," said religious and community advocate Pamela Atkinson. ""There's still that feeling of sadness. I really had great love for President Monson even though I am Presbyterian."
Atkinson is well known for her work with the homeless. She said she admired President Monson for caring of the less fortunate.
And the food bank at St. Marks Cathedral was an example of President Monson's desire to work with other faiths.
Episcopalian Bishop Scott Hayashi said his leadership brought LDS volunteers to their food bank.
"I have been an admirer of his, certainly the way that he led the church through the last years and reaching out and opening out to interfaith relationships that has been really hallmark of his time as the president of the church," said Bishop Hayashi.
Catholic bishop Oscar Solis said President Monson was an advocate of unity and embraced people regardless of faith. Among the comments from his prepared statement, the catholic bishop said "President Monson has been a good friend and supporter in our mutual efforts to support the common good and care for the most vulnerable. His was a 'human' touch of kindness and dignity that will long be treasured."
For Atkinson, it was President Monson's ability to be friends with everyone, even if they weren't a member of his church. She said he would reach out to a person and become their friend. He said he loved the work she did with the homeless.
But she said it was President Monson's life that was very "Christ like"
"He epitomized the teachings of Christ in his everyday life and trying to help other people understand that the teachings of Christ are all about loving one another," she said. "Love was very pervasive in his life."
Thomas S. Monson left a lasting on impression of people in and outside of his faith.
Leaders from various religions have reached out to News4Utah to share their condolences on the passing of the LDS prophet.
Episcopal Diocese of Utah
Episocpal Bishop Scott B. Hayashi has worked closely with the LDS Church and has been their guest a number of times. Bishop Hayashi has a deep appreciation for the LDS Church and the interfaith efforts under President Monson.
"He was a kind person with a calming voice, a strong leader for his church and a prophet who personally reached out to individual members. I will always appreciate the LDS Church’s generous dedication to interfaith ministries under his presidency and throughout his many years of devoted service. I call upon the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah to join with me in prayer for President Monson’s family and the good people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Roman Catholic Diocese
On this day of sorrow for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bishop Solis offers the attached statement of condolence.
"On behalf of the Catholic community of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family, members of the First Presidency,Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other leaders and faithful of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the death of President Monson. He joyfully served his church and the broader community selflessly and humbly for many years.
The President has been a good friend and supporter in our mutual efforts to support the common good and care for the most vulnerable both at home and abroad. Catholic Community Services as well as the Good Samaritan Program have benefited from his commitment to the poor.
For President Monson, the Sermon on the Mount was not just a platitude but a way of life.
President Monson was an advocate of unity and believed in the goodness of each person. He embraced people regardless of faith, seeing in them the image of Jesus. He was a "human" touch of kindness and dignity that will long be treasured. We join in prayer with teh LDS faithful at this difficult time."
Universal Society of Hinduism
"Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that they were saddened by the passing of President Monson, 90, a great humanitarian who collaborated with other religions/denominations worldwide on programs aimed at improving the human condition.
An affable, kind and approachable leader; highly influential Monson was instrumental in expansion of Church’s disaster relief projects worldwide, openness to Mormonism scholars, greatly raising the number of young women missionaries, etc.; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.
Rajan Zed further said that Monson embraced various humanitarian causes, reached out to the less fortunate, found time to visit the sick, valued transparency, lived a selfless life, and never shied away from acts of kindness and charity."
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