Episode 264: Holy Envy: studying world religion with Dave Butler

David Butler is a multifaceted educator and author, known for his teachings on faith and his top-rated podcast and YouTube channel called Don’t Miss This, that he co-hosts with Emily Bell Freeman and Grace Freeman. He’s captured the hearts of many, including the youth, with his biblical teachings and his unique approach to scripture. Outside the classroom, David is a writer whose works, such as “Spirit,” “Almighty,” and “Redeemer,” resonate deeply with readers, weaving scriptural insights with compelling storytelling.In this episode, David shares insights from his own spiritual journey and his ventures into the diverse realms of world religions. From the streets of China to the classrooms where future generations are shaped, his stories are a testament to the transformative power of understanding and the profound impact of faith in daily life. We also discuss his latest venture into teaching about world religions and sharing insights from his exploration of faith across cultures. This episode with David is a gateway to seeing the world through a lens of compassion and curiosity.

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All right, David Butler, I'm so happy to have you on the podcast again, most of all, because my kids are just total fangirls of all things Dave Butler. Like, I really don't think they would care at all if I was interviewing. A celebrity, like an LA Hollywood celebrity. But when I tell them that I'm texting Dave Butler, they're like, what?

This is, this is why I want your girls to stick around my whole life. I mean, they love you. They love you. So they're going to think this is extra cool. Like they actually don't think very many things that I do are cool, but they thought it was very cool when I got on the general mills PR list and they send us like the new cereals that come out.

And they also think you are really cool. Listen, if I can be with Honey Nut Cheerios. This is a win for my life. Exactly. Exactly. It's a win. I don't even know if any nut, Cheerios or General Mills are they? I don't either. Lucky Charms, . I do know that. Oh, dude, if I can be on Lucky Charms level. Yeah, you are totally.

I should go. I should be, I should go dark now. I'm done. I'm done. That's like a, you're so funny's. That's a pinnacle moment for me. So for anyone who might be living under a rock and doesn't know who you are, , can you give, can you give a little, um, you know, your elevator pitch intro of who you are and what you do.

Um, yeah, that'd be a big rock. Don't feel like you should know who I am, but I think I'm, if I were to pick a, this is funny because I just did this middle school career day thing, which I've never done in my life. And I was like, that's a petrifying crowd. But I, uh, talked about how, when I was growing up, I never, I kind of made a vow, a promise I was never going to be a teacher.

I remember sitting in the classroom. When I like, like thought, why would anyone ever be a teacher, you know? And, um, most of my life has been spent teaching and I actually consider that a, like, uh, I'm proud of that. It's like an honor. Like I, I wish I could go back to that 10th grader self and, you know, and say to him, um, surprise, surprise.

You know, you will be one and it's going to be your life's calling. Yeah. And it'll be a great thrill to you. Most of my teaching is done, um, for it's biblical teachings, teachings about Jesus and scripture and, and, um, that's where I spent a lot of time in our, you know, faith tradition, as you know, but anyone listening to that's not familiar with, um, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, high school students and college students have a chance to take religion courses in the middle of their school day.

And the church provides that, right? Well, depending on where you live in the middle of your school day. Okay. Well, let me get it. Yeah, that's true. That's true. And I grew up in Houston. And so we, in the morning time went, you know, before school, but there's just, there are classes set up for, you know, high school and college students to learn the scriptures, to learn the gospel.

Yeah. And so I spent. Full time teaching that here in Utah, it's in the middle of the day and there's a building dedicated for it, you know, right next to the school campus. And then I did it on a college level and, and then I started teaching on YouTube and podcasts and still teaching just a different classroom, I guess.

And so, so awesome. And then I just have to have my hands in everything. I think it's my ADHD that just makes it. So I just have to, you know, be doing this and that and, you know. There's always something new. Well, my girls are the reason why, especially my oldest Annie just absolutely loves you is because she's, she loves your books.

She's read, she's reading currently spirit and then she's read, what are the other companion books? Almighty and Redeemer. Yes. Yeah. She's already read the other two. I guess I forgot. I forgot. I am a writer. Also. Also write books. Yes. And she's asked me if that counts as scripture reading. And I'm like, well, not exactly.

But I quote a lot of scripture in there, you know, so it's like, it's a 40%. Yeah, exactly. So now you're onto this new venture, this new thing where you felt called to teach people about world religion. Why, why did you feel compelled to do that? Well, it's sort of, I guess it's not super new. Um, when I was teaching at the college, uh, somebody asked me if I would teach a class on world religions.

And I was like, it was an easy yes, because I was so fascinated by, I've always been fascinated by the world, different people, different foods, different languages, different cultures. Like if, if I could have a superpower, it would be that my brain could do all languages. You know, and flying and flying. Um, like I hope they come together as a two for one package, but I, like, cause I love learning people's stories and I want to, you know, what makes people tick and, and all those things.

So I have this fascination just with world culture, people's cultures. And, you know, I, I don't know where along the line I discovered this, but my faith is such a huge part of who I am. Mike, if you were to take. My faith out of the equation. I think you would only understand 4 percent of who David Butler is It dictates the decisions that I make, the way I see the world, the way I see myself, like my, all of my relationships, like down to what I wear, what I eat, the, what, what the entertainment, like everything, like it's such a, it's the fire, you know, that fuels everything else in, in my life.

Right. And so I started to think I might understand someone's language. And what their favorite food is, but if I don't understand their faith, I don't know if I really understand a person or understand a place or a culture. And so somewhere along the line that came up, you know, in all of this. But it's interesting because when I was asked to teach that course, um, the summer before that I went on a business trip to China and I was there in this city, no one's heard of.

Ever and I'm walking down and our our guy who was kind of driving us around Even said to us when we went to the city You people will probably want to take pictures with you because you'll be the first americans they've seen not on tv. Wow And just so just expect that So why, why this like random town?

What were you doing there? Listen, Corinne, this is part of that ADHD business I told you about because I got into like e commerce selling and just importing from China and selling on Amazon and eBay and all that. So I think at the time it was headphones and, um, like charging cases for your phone and a 3d printer pen.

So we were there visiting factories and whatever. Yeah. Yeah. So it's a nighttime and we're out just in the big, the big courtyard of the city walking through and there's some sort of night festival going on. Everyone was out there and they had their spinning like light things and like families and everyone's there.

And as I was walking through, I had this like thought where I was like, why? Because earlier in the day I had had a conversation with some of the factory people and we, and faith came up, religion came up and all four of them said, I've never even thought about God. I've never even thought about him, you know, because it came up.

I was like, well, do you believe in God? All four of them? Nope. I never even, that's very common. Yeah. Never even crossed my mind. So I'm walking through this courtyard thinking to myself, I consider myself so lucky and lucky is a synonym for blessed, you know, privileged to know what I know about God. Yeah.

And have a relationship with him. And I'm walking through and I'm thinking, why do all, why do I know about that? And none of these people do right. You know, like what I know about God and Jesus and the Holy spirit feel like such a privilege. And I was like, and none of you do, it felt unfair. And I started to get a little bit bitter, like toward God.

And I was like, you're doing this This is unfair. You know, this is not right. Um, I don't like this, you know, at all. And as I was walking, I, it's one of the times in my life where I don't know if it, the voice was audible, but it could have been, but really clear. Um, a voice said to me, I will take care of all my children.

And I was so intrigued by that. And then about a month later, they said, David, will you teach this course on world religions? And immediately. I thought of that, that night in China. And I thought. I'm about to learn some of the ways God takes care of his children. And so I did a deep dive because I was like, I don't think interest qualifies you to be a good teacher of a subject.

You know, I'm interested. I think it's great. But I was like, and so I took A world religion course, um, at BYU, I took one from an online Christian university. I took another one from, you know, I just, I started taking them from different people, different perspectives. I started reading, I started studying and, and then I started teaching that course.

And, and it was exactly, uh, what I had anticipated and hoped that in the end I saw and continue to see. The way God is so tender and taking care of all of his children. I love that. It just has been. So that's kind of what, that was like the birthplace of your interest in world religion. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. And then fast forward to now, what spurred the, you know, desire to. You know, put it out to the masses and not just teach it to only like a college curriculum, you know Well, you know what I after the first semester teaching it I Was so deeply impacted by it. Like this in the study of it. I, I, I was, I remember the last day of, uh, one of the courses that I took, um, as I was taking it, I was learning and I was like reading and I was so fascinating.

Oh, that's so interesting. Oh, wow. That's so similar to me. Oh, I didn't know that those were kind of my thoughts and feelings. I got onto the very last day. And I sat in my chair. And I just cried. I just cried thinking about everything I'd learned. And, and the same thing happened at the end of the first semester when I taught it, I, it had such a deep impact on my faith.

Right. I think someone can study world religions and come away with One of two conclusions one that we've all made this up to make ourselves feel better. I definitely heard that. Yeah, right It's all man made, right? Yeah, we all you know, how do we deal with death? How do we deal with disappointment? How do we deal with you know the world around us?

We've all made it up or you come away from it Realizing that God is much bigger than you ever imagined and that's the conclusion I landed on and I landed on it hard And, uh, it, it has impacted, um, and matured my faith in such spectacular, in such a spectacular way that I said to the university, I want to teach this every semester.

Like I, I, and to watch what happened to people that the same thing, Corinne, I could, I could almost to the week pinpoint when someone would start asking certain questions. And I, and I watched like, and I just watched people fall in love with a much bigger God and, and, uh, there's this, um, I somewhere along my studies came across this, um, I'm pulling out this little book that I have.

I'm so glad I brought this over. He's a rabbi. And, um, this is what he said. He said the encounter with people of faith, not within my tradition is a very enriching experience. I would even call it a religious experience. God, he says, God is more than any one of us can grasp. And if God relates to his children and all their diversity, then there must be diverse ways of being able to relate to him.

Yeah. And I watched people. Learn that and experience that and like, um, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. And it's, it was a thrill. It was a thrill. And so in the back of my mind, I always thought, um, and what I learned in the course too, I had with people in private conversations, people who were struggling with their faith and trying to reconcile, you know, some like discrepancies and doubts.

So a lot of people are right now. Right. And people are there. And the things I learned studying and teaching about world religions, like in many conversations with people, I watched have such a deep impact on them too. And, and it's not, it wasn't me. It's what we, what I was learning and discovering and experiencing.

And, and anyway, so in the back of my mind, from that very first semester, I was like, everybody should take this. Everybody should like, everybody should learn these kinds of things. Like, like, I just feel like there's so many benefits to it. Not just like personally, obviously, but like we are all on this earth together.

And if our faith traditions are the most important part of us, how are we going to be, we're so connected in the world right now. How are we supposed to be good neighbors? I, do you know Nish? Yeah. Okay. Love her. Same. So I remember when Nish moved to Salt Lake, she, and I met her soon after she moved to Salt Lake.

And for those who don't know Nish. You're sad one day put on your bucket list. Okay to meet her, but she is um, a more she's an evangelical christian and she moved to salt lake city, which is predominantly latter day saint christian. And so she got here and realized without knowing before she moved.

There's like, wow, there is a dominant religion there that I was on before she moved here. Not here, but you talk. So she didn't know that. So she got here and she was like, wow, everyone kind of goes to the same church. They have the same lingo. They kind of understand the same things. There's temples.

There's a stake center. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. They'll learn all these things. And, um, and when, when I met her, She said she was she had attended church meetings. She was reading the Book of Mormon, which is a book of scripture That's unique to Latter day Saints Christians She'd attended general conference Which for those who don't know is it as a meeting where we listen to our prophets and apostles are in our church leaders She was participating in the programs of the church The young women's program.

She was earning, you know, her personal progress. She was, that's a program that we have for the, for the teenage girls in our church, and she was doing all of those things. And I was so intrigued by it, you know, and meeting with our missionaries, you know, with no intention of converting, you know, or changing churches.

And I was intrigued and asked her, why are you doing that? What's motivating you for, to all of this. And then she's the one who, who taught me that concept of wait, someone's faith is the most important part of who they are. Yeah. So she said this, how can you love your neighbor? Well, unless you understand what they believe what's in their heart.

And uh, that's so powerful. So good. And that's another reason. I'm just like, man, I want to put this kind of stuff into like the state legislature, you know, like teach kids, like to learn about other people's faith traditions. Like that's, it's so valuable, like just to be a part of the human family. That's so valuable.

Um, not to mention how spiritually valuable, you know, it's been to me personally. Yeah, well, I have a question about that because I feel like a lot of religions, including ours, feel like they have the truth, right? I, that's kind of like a. Typically a common thread is like, we have like, this is it. And so when you have, you definitely have that in our faith tradition and you have it in a lot of others.

How do you break that down so that people can see that, you know, as at least as Christians, like we're all the body of Christ or as believers, like we all have so much more in common. That's, that's something that I, Feel like I really try to teach my kids, but I don't feel like it's necessarily part of our church culture to be talking about that.

And, you know, so how do you get people to see that? Well, you know, I think I can only speak for Our particular faith traditions culture, you know, it's the one I live in and it's the one I know Um when you just said that I that we don't really talk much about that, you know in our I would say Oh, that's a tragedy.

That's unfortunate because we have It's not just a good idea, which I think it is. It's um, it's a foundational like truth Um, we have our articles of faith Um, 13 like statements that are founding, you know, profit made to describe the beliefs of the Latter day Saint church. And he said, and number 13, we believe all things.

We hope all things. Um, if there's anything that In this world that is virtuous, lovely of good report or praiseworthy. He didn't just say, accept it. He said, seek after it, go looking for them. Um, Brigham young was another president of our church, as you know, and I got to pull out his exact quote because he said it, um, Joseph Smith said it a little bit more eloquently, you know, in the articles of faith, and this is the way Brigham said it, but you know, it's his personality and style.

He said, rest. I want to say to my friends, we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth, or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it. It's ours. We claim it. Right. So we just said, we believe, you know, now I think there's obviously some breakdown to that because, um, well, let me, let me just say this, a friend of mine who I really admire, really wise friend taught me one time, this, um, He said, when you're looking for a faith tradition, you're not looking for a true one among false ones, or a good one among bad ones.

Right. The faith tradition you choose, you're choosing because you believe. It's the most mature in truth, goodness, and beauty. And if someone were to ask me, why do you, why do you choose to be a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints? I would say, according to my beliefs, I think it is the most mature in truth, goodness, and beauty, not across the board in everything, you know, but just like.

Generally speaking as well. I was like, Oh, I find really mature truth and goodness and beauty here, but not all of it. That's what you would say. That's interesting. That's not where I would go with that. Oh, where would you go? But I also think that you're probably a much more intellectual than I am.

Honestly, like I wouldn't, I wouldn't think of it that way. I would just feel. Probably inclined to talk about how it feels, how it feels to me, like, you know, and how it's blessed my family and how I've had experiences that I could never deny. And so those experiences have led me to feel compelled. To dedicate my life to God in this way, because it's the thing that I've had the most experience with and it feels right.

And it feels true to me. And, and I would add that in Shirley, I would, I would definitely add that in because I think when we talk about something like what is true, you know, we have a scripture in, um, in the book of Mormon, a very famous sermon that a prophet gives Alma. And he asks the people to do an experiment on the word.

He says, he said, live it out. And then he actually uses this word. I'm just pulling it up as I'm, cause I, I want to get this, get this right, where he uses this phrase and it's exactly what you're saying, right? He says, um, uh, let's see.

Okay. He says, now let's compare the word or truth unto a C. Now, if you will give place that that seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed or a good seed, and it's interesting to me that he uses true and good as synonyms with each other. And then for the rest of the sermon, he gets rid of the word true and just says good, and he just says, try it, try it, your evidence will be whether it's true is if it's good.

Right. What are the fruits? What are the fruits? What are the fruits, you know, of this particular, you know, I think you can find those good fruits growing. Not, not, I think, I know in every faith tradition I've ever encountered, you know, in this world. Yeah, so let's talk about, I'm like, I'm dying to ask you, let's talk about some of those.

Like, what are your favorite things about, like, just pick a few things and, and teach me. Like, I love that Jewish people do this, or I love that Indian people do that. Oh, yeah. Like, and, you know, maybe some of the things that you're even like, like, We could use some of that. Oh yeah. Yeah. Tell me some of the things.

Okay. Um, this might make this a really long episode. I'll try and be brief, but okay. Hindus believe in an unlimited number of. Um, the expressions of God for Latin, but I'm just going to use that word. They don't use the word God, but, um, uh, an unlimited number of expressions. So you could say, how many Hindu gods are there?

Someone could say 30, someone could say 3, 000, some count 300, 000 of them. And a Hindu person will pick the God that they most relate to. Based off their, their story, their description, their, their character. They're all according to Hinduism's manifestations of the ultimate reality. There aren't really individualized, right?

But they'll pick one that they really are drawn to and they relate to. Interesting. And at first that seems like wild and just like, especially to a Western mind, we're just like, no, no, no, no, stop. Like you're inventing your own truth. You can't, you can't say that. You can't do that. And yet I realize that I'll go and pick a painting of the savior and I will pick a very particular one that I am drawn to.

All of them are manifestations of him. But I'll pick the one that really speaks to me. And they do the same thing in their worship also, where they'll say, if you're more of an intellectual person, there are intellectual ways to relate. If you are more emotional, there are emotional ways to relate. If you're more of a get down and, and do what's right and like, you know, person, there's a way to relate to that and Hinduism gives you permission to relate to God.

And connect with God in the way that fits your personality. There's no like, yeah, yeah. There's no one right way to relate to and build relationship with, with God. I love that. I'm gonna tell you one other thing about Hinduism. I love because it's so cool. If you ever go to a Hindu temple, it is colorful.

It is ornate. There are smells, there are sites, there are sounds. There are just, it is like a piece of art. The outside of them, they're just like, you know, um, and the reason they're built that way is because it's supposed to draw your heart to it and draw your heart away from the mundane of mortality into something higher.

And I like, I love that. And Latter day Saint temples are built the same way. We like make them look like we have smells. I know we should, we should like, you know, someone ought to borrow like that cookie smell from the Incredicoaster. And if it, if it was that when I walked in, that'd be so, that'd be such a good experience, but at least that idea of like, Oh, let me capture your mind and your attention and in your heart.

Um, I think Buddhists understand mindfulness better than anyone in the world. Yes. Um, you can relate to this as a Latter day Saint, but as far as we go with mindfulness and Latter day Saint theology is, Hey, if you have a bad thought, sing a hymn. You know, that's like, that's not, that's like, okay, but that's not as mature as the Buddhists are in mindfulness.

You know, I will say there's, there's things that I have learned in doing the church's 12 step program pretty intensely and, and being like highly involved in that, that I, Sometimes I'm like, where did I, how did I just miss that Sunday? Every time, how we actually believe in meditation, but we don't talk about it.

Right. You know, like there's things where they, we, we sing this one song that's search, ponder and pray. But we don't talk a lot about the ponder piece. We don't talk a lot about meditation, but there's so much to be gained from like having that stillness and, and listening to God. And I feel like that's, that's something that like, like you're saying, other religions just nail it.

Right. And what I would say is. then let's learn that from them. Yeah. What do you, I want to say to, to a Buddhist person, what do you have to teach me? And I want them to say back and what do you have to teach me? And like, you know, we, there's scripture, um, Paul talks about that spiritual gifts. are scattered among the body of Christ, you know, to some is given one to some is given another that all may benefit thereby.

Yeah. And I just apply that to a worldwide setting to the Buddhists are given some gifts. And to the Christians, another, and to the Muslims, one that all may benefit there by like, what can we learn from each other? You know, so one thing about that Buddhist mindfulness, I love so much is just what you said, the idea of take a blank canvas before God and let him paint on it, whatever he wants, like, just you.

Yeah. That mindfulness is, and oh, it's so rich. I mentioned Muslims. I love the way a Muslim person, the word Islam, um, comes from, uh, the word to dedicate or consecrate or surrender. So to live as a Muslim is one who's living as someone surrendering their heart to God. And also surrender. This is so interesting that you bring this up because just this week when we were at our ARP 12 step meeting, it was step three was the, you have like a step that you do every week.

So this week was step three. And when I shared, I said, surrender was probably the most transformative. piece of the gospel that I didn't know about until I did the 12 steps that I was like, how did I miss this? Like, did they teach it in Sunday school? And I just wasn't paying attention. Did they teach it in seminary?

Like, or in young women's, I don't remember this, but that concept of surrendering your will to God. There's some really great quotations in the ARP manual from, you know, Neal A. Maxwell about like surrenders. The only thing you can truly give to God, but I, I seriously feel like nobody taught me about that until I did the 12 steps.

And again, maybe I'm just not paying attention. You know, our church curriculum way better than I do, but I don't feel like it's something that we focus on. Well, yeah, I mean, and that's the thing. I mean, what you have, what, 30 minutes in a classroom or 10 minutes from a pulpit and you're just like, and, and people kind of pick and choose what they're inspired to.

There's just so There's other things that we're really good at teaching. You know, we're really good at teaching people how to pray. Like, like a little kid knows how, like my three year old knows how to pray, you know? Right. So there's things that we do well. And then there's things that I'm like, I feel like that was missing.

We believe in it. But we don't really focus on it, you know, yeah, and surrender will change your life. Yeah, for definitely. And I love that. You know, you mentioned this earlier when I study like the, the beliefs of Muslims, I'm just like, we have so much in common. So much. I agree. When I've talked to my Muslim friends, it's Like baffling how many things are parallel in our religions and when they talk about when you get to hear someone talk about the concept of surrender or consecration and they'll use different words, but it helps you love that concept that you believe in your own faith tradition.

You're like, wait, I do the same thing, but the way you're describing it, I've just heard it with the same words again and again and again and again. And so like it's enriching and enlivening to hear somebody talk about fasting in a way that you're like, Oh yeah, I do that. But yeah, I, now I love it more because of the way that you just described it.

I, when I was in Jerusalem, um, my first time, At the Western wall, watching the Jewish people welcome in the Sabbath, they welcome, they call it Queen Sabbath. They welcome her in. Like she is an honored guest all day long on Friday, people at the store, at the stores, they're like, happy Sabbath, like it's Christmas time.

And when I saw them sing and they danced and they prayed and they, they will, I was like, I have. dreaded the Sabbath coming because of all the rules associated with like, this is what you can't do or whatever. And when I watched my Jewish brothers and sisters welcome in the Sabbath, like, like it was one of God's greatest gifts.

I've never, um, been this I w I've been different ever since I have celebrated the Sabbath in such a different way ever since then. And it's interesting because we share that we share with them the concept of Sabbath, but they taught me how to Sabbath, you know, correctly. Yeah. That's really cool. I'd love to, like, I'd love to learn more about that.

Cause that's, I love Sunday, but I don't think about it that way. Like let's celebrate it. Yeah. That's never been my mindset. Right. And so it's just a, it's beautiful to find so many, we're way more, we have way more in common than we are different. And there's, there's this phrase. So this course that I did, I named it, holy envy.

I brought me about that. I was going to ask, what about, what is, what is up with the envy part? That's really interesting. I think the envy part is, um, It came from, I borrowed it from this man. He was a bishop in the Lutheran church of Sweden. Christer Stendhal is his name. And interestingly, they were about to build a temple for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Sweden.

And there was a big pushback against it. Like a lot of, no, no, we don't want it. We don't, you know, and a lot of the pushback came from members of the Lutheran church. And so he called a press conference. He was a bishop in the Lutheran Church, later went to the Harvard School of Divinity, but at the time was there.

And where is a bishop in the Lutheran Church? That's not the same like as our bishop, right? Uh, yeah. Where would that be the equivalent? Like a state president. Okay. So, um, he calls a press conference to speak to particularly members of his own faith and anyone else who wants to listen. Yeah. He holds it at a Latter day Saint chapel.

Oh. Um, and then he says. He introduces to everybody. He says, I would like to give you three rules when you are engaging with people of other faith and when you're learning about other faiths. And he says, number one, learn from believers, not from enemies. That's number one. Yes. Yes. Uh, number two, he said, never compare your best to their worst.

We all have things. In our faith traditions and histories that we're like, I don't know what to, you know, but always compare best to best. And then number three, he said, leave room for holy envy. And that was a concept of find what is good and beautiful and admirable about somebody else's faith tradition.

Yeah, and an example he gave is he said he told everyone he says within latter day saint saint temples, they practice an ordinance called baptisms for the dead. They believe that a person can accept, um, the grace of Jesus Christ, even after this life and ordinances, the ordinance of baptism can be performed for on behalf of them.

And he talked about that and he said, that is such a beautiful concept to provide something for someone. But from the cost of your time, like simply to give a gift to another who couldn't do for it for themselves, he says, I see so much Jesus in that. And he says, I could see myself participating in an ordinance like that.

And he was like, that's holy envy. That is this idea of like, Oh, I love Jesus. The way that you do that, your passion, your conviction, it, it, it inspires me to, you know, we just ended the holy month of Ramadan where Muslims all over the world fast from sun up to sundown for an entire month. And they read the Quran that month and they increase their charitable contributions that month Every time ramadan comes around I want to do it and I chicken out every single time Because i'm just so they're not eating from sun up to sundown then when the sun goes down then they eat, right?

Okay all month long. Wow Um, and the reason having like one meal or they're getting up before the sun rises and having to yeah before the sunrise But they work they go to school. They do everything all day long And it's just next level. I'm telling you. I'm telling you because I like for me. I can fast on a fast Sunday way easier than if I'm trying to fast on a day that I have to run around and stuff.

Cause come on, like on fast Sunday, you like take a nap and you, you know, you can kind of like, you know, like know what's coming. But I swear if I try to fast during a regular day, I'm like consumed all day long. Like, Oh my gosh, I'm so hungry. And I got to get through, like you're saying, they go to work and school, like trying to power through things and not eat is actually really hard.

We don't work on Sundays typically. So like, For me, it's a lot easier to fast on a Sunday. So I can't even imagine doing that for a month, right? And where did that come from? From Muhammad from Allah, that it was a revelation to Muhammad to do that. And he just, um, you know, what's interesting about you talk to, you know, A Muslim friend said to me one time, like, it just re centers my heart on God during my typical work days.

And there's something interesting about, you know, on a Sunday, my heart is already kind of inclined to God because it's Sunday. But on a Tuesday, you know, when I'm at school, when I'm, you know, in traffic, there's like the, uh, my heart is being re centered. Yeah. And that's why, that's why, that's what. That's the envy I have for it.

That's the longing that I have for it. And you know, we usually don't use envy as a positive word. And I think Bishop Stendhal was just trying to convey the passion. That's not necessarily like the negative aspects of envy, but that passion behind somebody saying like, Oh my gosh, I, you know, It's definitely going to cause people to pause and say like, what is this?

Because it, it sounds, you know, so different from what you would intuit. Like, I think most people wouldn't intuitively pick. Holy envy as the name of a world religion course. So it's definitely going to be kind of a. Wait, what is you know head turner? What is that all about? You know, right and it's just been I just so I love that practice.

I just love any time. I encounter Another person of faith a building of faith a concept or idea. I try to approach approach it and practice Holy envy like what can I see here? That is For example, there's a um, there's a church in jerusalem called the church of the holy sepulcher Most of the Christian world, numbers wise, believes that is the location of Calvary and the Easter tomb.

There's another one in Jerusalem also called the Garden Tomb. And Latter day Saints typically are drawn toward the garden tomb. It's quiet. It's like a garden. It's um, you can see like the tomb there. You know, there, and, and so there are a lot of people who are drawn to that. They're like, Oh, I want it to be here is what they'll say, you know, because whereas the church of the Holy sepulchre is ornate, it has incense, it has gold, it has like lanterns, it has like chanting, have like, there's a lot that's going on that happens.

There was not my style of worship, you know, so you walk in and you're initially like jarred and you're just like, this can't be, this can't be it because, and then you kind of get down to the level where if you have a conversation with yourself, you would say, why? And you would say, because this is not the way I'm used to it.

And you're like, oh, okay. So do you see the problem, you know, in, in that. And you're like, yeah, and I remember going there and you take this staircase up to, um, where you would get to the Calvary's rock and the stone staircases are, they are, they have like an indention in them from years and years and years of, of people walking up those staircases.

And the spot right in front of Calvary is marble. And there's two knee imprints in, in front of it from millions now of knees bending before Calvary's cross. Wow. And, and there's just, there's something, I was like, this is not how I would build a church. This is not how I would like have the experience of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus.

But I'm so moved. by the devotion of a difference, of a different kind. That's not my own. And just, you know, seeing that and being inspired by it and thinking, I might not practice this same kind of devotion. I would like to practice this same level of devotion. Yeah. You know? Yeah. In my, in my own way. Yeah.

And so that's, uh, that's holy envy. I love that. Yeah. So cool. Okay, so I do just wanna talk for a minute too about, you know, why, why do you think this is. Beneficial. I mean, it feels all like true and beneficial and right. But you know, where do you think this is really going to help people? Because before we started recording, you talked about some people can get a little bit afraid, like fear based about, like, if I learn about other religions or I explore other things, and maybe it's going to pull me away from my faith.

And, and so why do you feel like this is important actually for people to build an understanding? And I mean, I can think of the reasons why I would like to do it. Um, We'll say yours because I think they're probably it. Well, so for me, I think that when I have conversations and I travel or I'm doing business or whatever, if I have a friend who does, you know, practices a different religion, it's so much.

Easier for me to understand why they do the things they do a little bit. Like when I learned the color code and I started understanding why Neil as a white acts, the way he does versus the way I do. And I'm like, Oh, in your brain, this is how you compute this. And this is how this makes sense. Where like, I came from a completely different iOS that God put into me, you know, so I think that it can help you probably.

in your interactions, but I also think too, I'm, I'm listening to you talk about all these religions and I'm thinking about missionaries that will go out to different places in the world and how it would probably really help them to understand someone else's culture. If they're going to go in and try to disrupt You know, and they're, they're bringing something in that's new.

And I think it probably would really help with like not offending people or relating to them. Or like, I can think of lots of different ways that I, this would be beneficial for missionaries. Um, and even some of the things I'm thinking of, but I'm just curious, like what your thoughts are about why this is important for people who are like, I already know what I know.

Like, why do I need to learn, you know, sure, sure. Um, let me say something about missionaries and then, and then remind me, um, John 21. If I forget. Okay. Okay. So just in case I go off and okay. Cause my oldest is a, is a missionary right now. And you know what? I think Jack has something very unique to offer the world.

I think, um, God has given, um, in the, in the restoration, um, gifts. that we now have to take to the rest of the world. That's why we send our missionaries out there. But one of the things I taught him is I want Jack, I want you to ask other people also about their beliefs. I want you to learn from them as well.

Yeah. And I think this, one of the things studying world religions will do is it kind of breaks down, you know, where Where you, you're kind of uneducated and you're a little feel like you shouldn't be uneducated. And so you don't engage in a conversation. There are some people who are really curious and who will just say, I've never heard of that.

What's that? But a lot of us will just don't want to look dumb. And so what kind of like not say anything, and I'm hoping that this course gives somebody like the courage and the permission for lack of a better word to engage with people of other faiths and and start the conversations and just like, you know, like, Oh, wait, this is what I've heard.

Is that Is that what you believe is that, you know, because those conversations can be so inspiring, like they can just be so enriching. And, and it's interesting that the study of world religions is like strengthened my own, my desire to be a better member of my own faith, you know, because I'm just like, I just, anyways, I think it just opens up the door for people to understand the world around them, other people, because.

I'm very, very clear when I teach the class, like on, you know, in the, in the online course, but also, you know, in my classes to say, everyone, I understand I am a middle aged like American. Latter de Saint Christian, like the, you know, Mm-Hmm. , like, I understand the, the limitations of, of that. I want to encourage you to, you can't take a course on Islam and then now understand what every Muslim person believes and understands.

Yeah. But if I give you a base. Maybe now you can approach what, you know, a Muslim or if you're engaged in conversation, you can say, Hey, I feel comfortable enough to just learn more, connect more. I just think the course, um, helps people keep the second great commandment really well to love people. Yeah.

You know, like, like you talked about with Nish. Yeah, exactly. Um, I also think it helps people love God more. And so at the end of. John 21, John, um, laments essentially that the, that his testament is over, um, that he's done telling stories and he just said, he says this line, he says, if all the stories of, you know, Jesus should be written down, the world itself could not contain the books.

That would be written. And when I get to that verse at the end of the book of John, every time my heart says, Oh, give me one more. Yeah. Can I have one more story? Like, what if he'd left out the pool of Bethesda story? Or what if he left out? The woman taken in adultery story, or what if he'd left out Mary at the tomb story, so there are other stories that I'm, I'm always left saying, give me one more.

And in, in a, in its own way, as we study world religions, we are studying the heart of God. We're studying the way that he has related to and spoken to people in their own language. in their own way of understanding. And it's, it's another way of just seeing the way God is taking care of his children, the way he's loving them.

And, and I think that it leaves you with that second conclusion. God's much bigger and he's better than I thought he was. And look at the way he relates to all of us in our different time periods and places. It just, it helps you keep the first commandment to love God. Um, even more so good. That's so awesome.

Okay. Last question, David, if there's one message that you want people listening to this episode to remember, what do you want that one message to be that, um, that God is so good that his he's liberal in his love and his grace and his gifts. And, uh, I can see that on a worldwide scale. And when I see that on a worldwide scale, it helps me see it in my own life, in my own little corner of this world a little bit better.

He really is as good as every faith tradition, um, paints him to be. And, uh, and, and, uh, and I love living a life under the care of God. And the watchful care and and the intentional care of uh, Of a father and a god who's like that. I want everybody to know that I want them to go to work I want them to ride the bus.

I want them to shop. I want them to Go on vacations all with this baseline of knowing i'm i'm i'm known And uh, i'm loved and i'm cared for By god in heaven Thank you so much. That was so good. Okay. David, where can people find you? Where can they purchase your course and, you know, follow along with all the other cool things that you're doing?

Oh, I bet my, the easiest is probably my home base is just my Instagram account, I think, which is, um, Mr. Dave Butler. So that's where that's the trunk of the tree where all the, all the branches will, will come off. I think that's probably the best home base. Yeah, and you give such great messages that Saturday night, it's like prep for Sunday church.

So good. I always love those. And then where's your course? Where can they find that the world religion, um, holy envy. Yeah. You could just look at the right now. It's in the link in my bio or right in there. So you could just. That would probably be the best place. Uh, yeah. Okay. That'll give you the most direct link.

I think. Okay. And we'll link to it in the show notes too. Okay. Cool. Fun. Okay. Well, thanks so much, Dave. This was so good. And should we give like a, we should give like a code for anyone who listens to this episode or something. Like a, a little, what's your, what's the code? And then we'll put it in there and then we'll set it up on the back.

Usually we do Mint Aero. Yeah. Let's do it, baby. Does that sound fun? Yeah. Yeah. Anyone who listens, let's give it. Yeah. Let's do it. Awesome. Well, thanks so much.

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