“Shinto Priests Greet Elder Eyring at Historic Meiji Shrine in Japan,” Liahona, Oct. 2007, N1
Katsushi Toyama, chief priest at Tokyo’s historic Meiji Shrine, met with Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during Elder Eyring’s tour of Church areas in Asia and the Pacific islands.
Elder Eyring, along with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder David F. Evans, President of the Asia North Area, was invited to meet with Mr. Toyama to build bridges of understanding and goodwill.
Mr. Toyama told the visitors that there was no written book of Shinto doctrine similar to the Bible or other scriptures, but that followers manifest their relationship to God by striving for purity and righteousness in their lives.
Elder Eyring said members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints similarly strive for personal purity and righteousness in their lives. “Our prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, regularly admonishes members of our Church to make their beliefs an integral part of their daily lives,” he said.
Mr. Toyama first became familiar with the Church when he was hosted in Salt Lake City in the 1970s. More recently, this relationship has been nurtured as other priests from the shrine have visited Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In 2005, the BYU–Hawaii Concert Choir became the first Christian group to perform at the Meiji Shrine.
The meeting with Mr. Toyama took place in a small room at the shrine generally reserved for conversations with heads of state and their emissaries.
Emperor Meiji, for whom the shrine is named, ruled Japan from 1867 to 1912. He balanced a desire to retain the uniqueness of Japanese culture with a strong thrust to bring his country into the industrialized world.
The first baptisms in Japan took place in 1902. Today there are more than 120,000 members of the Church in Japan. The Church also has two temples there, one in Tokyo and one in Fukuoka.