Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Twin Towers


  • 11/15/2021 - by Rubén Molina

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official message in which it expressed “its deepest condolences to those who had loved ones, friends, or colleagues who had been injured or killed in the acts of senseless violence that took place today. We pray for the innocent victims of these vicious attacks, and we ask that Heavenly Father guide President George W. Bush of the United States and his advisers in responding to these devastating incidents.

I was on bus 127 in the center of the city of Buenos Aires and the driver said to all the passengers: "I don't know what's going on, but my wife tells me that two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in the United States." After 20 minutes I got home, turned on the television and there I found out about the catastrophic events that occurred minutes earlier.  I did not understand anything; I was shocked by what I saw.

All television channels were showing live the tragic attack of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York. I could not take my eyes off from the television; the news was very confusing since they spoke that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. "What a horror!” I said.  What is happening in the world?

With my family we said a prayer over lunch asking God to bless all the innocent victims.

These suicide terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the Al Qaeda organization.

There were airliners that were hijacked to be crashed into various targets.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were hit by two Boeing 767’s from American Airlines and United Airlines. The Pentagon was also hit and a fourth plane crashed without reaching its primary target.

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official message in which it expressed “its deepest condolences to those who had loved ones, friends, or colleagues who had been injured or killed in the acts of senseless violence that took place today. We pray for the innocent victims of these vicious attacks, and we ask that Heavenly Father guide President George W. Bush of the United States and his advisers in responding to these devastating incidents.

"We join with others in prayer that the peace and love of the Savior bring us comfort and guidance in these difficult times."

As of September 11, 2021, five Latter-day Saints are known to have lost their lives on that tragic day.

Carolyn Meyer-Beug, 48, a member of the Santa Monica 2 Ward, Santa Monica Los Angeles California Stake, and her mother, Mary Alice Wahlstrom, 75, of the Kaysville 17 Ward, Kaysville Utah East Stake, were  aboard the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

Iván Luis Carpio Bautista, 24, of Richmond Hill Branch 3, Richmond Hill District, New York, was working in a restaurant located on the 107th floor of the first twin tower of the World Trade Center. He had planned to take 9/11 off for his birthday, but agreed to work in place of one of his classmates.

Another hijacked plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crossed the western side of the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing 59 passengers and 125 military and civilians inside the building. Among the victims were the following members of the Church: Brady Howell, 26, a member of the Crystal City Ward, Mount Vernon Virginia Stake, and Rhonda Rasmussen, 44, of the Lake Ridge 2 Ward, Mount Vernon Virginia Stake.

The missionary work did not stop in New York: As the attack occurred at 8:46 in the morning, the missionaries of the “New York New York Mission” still did not go out to preach; if the attack had occurred an hour later, surely many would have died.

Church of Jesus Christ President Gordon B. Hinckley offered messages of faith and comfort when he appeared on the Larry King Live television program on CNN.

Meanwhile an interreligious prayer for peace was held in front of the Obelisk of Buenos Aires.

With much silence, politicians and representatives of different religious confessions met on September 12, who condemned the terrorist attacks against strategic targets in the United States.

Each religion raised its prayer to God in a scenario where they were all united with a single purpose and this is the prayer for world peace, justice and unity of all peoples.

They were the President of the Nation Fernando De la Rúa, the Governor Carlos Ruckauf, the Buenos Aires Head of Government Aníbal Ibarra, the former President Raúl Alfonsín, the United States Ambassador James Walsh, representatives of different political forces, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and primate of Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (in 2013 elected Pope Francis), who asked Heaven that "spare from the heart, families and peoples all kinds of violence."

Among the religions were Imam Ibrahim Al Alfi of the Muslim community, Hindu Swani Pareshamanda, Buddhist Oscar Fernández, Evangelical pastor Rubén Gutiérrez, Anglican Bishop David Leake, Muslim Sheik Abdul Karim Paz, Rabbi Daniel Goldman, representing to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Elder Carlos E. Agüero Area Seventy, Methodist Bishop Nélida Ritchie of Opus Dei, priest Patricio Olmos, Maronite Bishop Charbel Merhi and fellow Druze Raschid Mahmoud, pastor Juan Pablo Bongarrá, from the National Evangelical Christian Council, Archbishop Tarasios, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Pastor Juan Ángel Gutiérrez among other religious leaders.

To highlight is the fact that this was the first time in Argentina that religions met together, twinned for a common goal, "peace and justice in the world."

In the United States, the service on September 14, 2001, was held at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, the date that President Bush had declared a national day of prayer and remembrance. "We cannot bring the dead back to life," President Hinckley said, but we can "pray to Heavenly Father to bring comfort and solace to those who have suffered so much." He also said that he hoped Heavenly Father would hasten the day when men would turn their swords into plowshares and would "no longer train for war" (see Isaiah 2: 4). Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, other General Authorities, and the Tabernacle Choir participated in that memorial service. The service was broadcast to Church meetinghouses throughout the United States.

On September 20, President Hinckley along with 26 other religious leaders were invited by President Bush to the White House.

When President Bush asked for opinions, President Hinckley said, “Mr. President, we want you to know that we support you, that we pray for you. We love this country that is ‘under the protection of God’ ”.

At the request of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ, Church units throughout the United States held memorial sacrament meetings on Sunday, September 16; and throughout the world Church members reached out, with love and service, to those who had lost loved ones. Many Church members sheltered in their homes and meetinghouses for those who were unable to leave New York and detained at airports.

The humanitarian aid funds donated by the Church to the American Red Cross were used in large part to help with search and rescue work, emergency food and shelter, and other needs. The Salt Lake City Red Cross used some of the money to help travelers detained in that city obtain food and shelter. Additional help was also provided to the families of the New York City victims.

On October 9, 2001, the First Presidency approved the distribution of blankets, hygiene items, medical supplies, and newborn infant items to refugees from Afghanistan.

In this multiple attack, more than 3,000 people lost their lives and more than 6,000 were injured with mental, physical and emotional damage.

In spite of everything, this is how interreligious action began in Argentina, in this way the Interreligious Dialogue began in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, with a prayer in the Obelisk and with the official participation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints. Days.

This was followed by Forums, World Congresses of Interreligious Dialogue, Symposia, Talks, Musical Encounters, Interreligious Encounters and all kinds of interreligious meetings that later spread throughout the country with the participation in several opportunities of General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ. of the Latter-day Saints.


Rubén Molina.
Interfaith journalist member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Argentina.