"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sikh Temple Visit

We recently took a Saturday and organized a senior missionary visit to Hong Kong's only Sikh temple - or Gurdwara.  Memories of the wonderful one we visited in St. Peters, Missouri flooded me.  The Sikh's are some of the nicest people I have ever met - on both sides of the planet.
  • Sikhism - meaning disciple or student
  • Founded in 1469 in India
  • Fifth largest religion in the world
  • Belief in one God
  • Distinct from Hinduism and Islam
Come join us on our tour!

First, we needed to remove our shoes, and put on headdresses of some kind in a show of respect. Some sisters brought their own scarves and others used the ones available at the Gurdwara.
Sister Van Wagonen, Sister Crockett, and Sister Brown

Sister and Elder Chamberlain
We came at the perfect time - a Sikh wedding was in process! I love the bright colors of the clothing and turbans.

The bride and groom in front of the altar.

After the wedding, the couple led the celebration procession through the halls. Isn't her dress gorgeous?

In a private setting, our senior missionary group met to be instructed on the beliefs of Sikhism.  Elder Coffey began the meeting and then turned the time over to the Guru. Our guide, Alex (standing in the back) is actually a Hindu, but was kind enough to come and tour us around the Gurdwara and make all the arrangements for us. Alex's father is Danny, of Danny's Fashion Shoppe - a popular tailor shop frequented often by senior missionaries.

Brother Gurmel, our Guru, explains the fundamentals of Sikhism.

Afterwards, we explored the halls of the Gurdwara and met some beautiful people!

Sister Macbeth, Sister roberts, Sister Orton, Sister Chamberlain and Sister VanWagonen
pose with a beautiful Indian woman dressed up for the wedding celebration.
Typical of Sikh and Hindu wedding festivities, many women decorate themselves with Mehndi, or henna - a paste-dye used for decorative and symbolic art on hands and palms.  

Preparing the meal
After the events, we joined our new friends for a traditional Sikh meal. Known as a Langar, this free meal is a traditional part of the Sikh worship.  It is meant to draw people of all religions, caste, color, creed, age or gender to come together in unity and oneness in the universe.  It is vegetarian so that people of all dietary restrictions can enjoy together without restraint.  We enjoyed curries, vegetables, yogurts, and naan. And it was delicious!!!

Canteen style serving - humble and simple and very very delicious

Enjoying the curry, naan, vegetables, and yogurt dishes.

At the end of our visit, we enjoyed visiting with some of the children.  The boys are wearing a Patka to keep their hair clean and tidy.  Sikh boys and men traditionally do not cut their hair - ever.  As it grows longer and as the boys mature, they will switch over to the traditional turban worn by the men.

Religious freedom and respect is a fundamental belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  From the earliest days, it was etched into the hearts of the Latter-day Saints as a foundational principle that has blessed the lives of people all over the world.  Joseph Smith set forth the standard of religious freedom, as revealed to him by the Lord.

 "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Article of Faith 1:11)

"Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city ...—Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841

We are grateful for our brothers and sisters of other faiths, or of no faith at all, and respect them all as eternal sons and daughters of a Beautiful King, even God, our Eternal Father. 

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