Finding God in The City of Angels – Award-winning filmmakers Jennifer Jessum and Simon J. Joseph, Ph.D., take an in-depth look at the many faces of faith in Los Angeles, one of the most religiously diverse cities in the world.
Torah Pen Reflection
Judaism, like Christianity and Islam, is a religion of The Book, a religion that finds God through Holy Scripture. The Torah is comprised of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Jews never touch scripture with their hands but rather use a beautiful Torah pen such as this to follow the text. Photo: Jay Visit
The Angel Moroni stands atop the Los Angeles Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It is said that it was Moroni who delivered the Golden Tablets to Joseph Smith, the Founder of Mormonism. The Los Angeles Temple was dedicated in 1956. Its beautiful grounds and visitors’ center are open to the public at no charge every day of the week. Photo: Jennifer Jessum
Learn about Mormonism
There are many types of Buddhism practiced in nearly 150 different Buddhist Centers in Los Angeles. They all have in common: following the teachings of Buddha and engaging in the practice of meditation, mindfulness, Dharma study and community. Photo: Jay Visit
Hsi Lai Temple, 3456 Glenmark Drive, Hacienda Heights www.hsilai.org Learn More About Buddhism
Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a religion based on scripture. For Muslims, The Holy Qur’an is the literal Word of God revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In it are the laws, the commandments and the moral and social codes of behavior all Muslims follow. Muslims avoid depicting God through images. Islamic art focuses on the calligraphy of scripture and on geometric design. These texts were photographed in the office of the Director of The Islamic Center of Southern California. www.icsconline.org Learn More About Islam
Jain Center of Southern California www.jaincenter.net
Angels are super natural beings common to many faith traditions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. They are God’s messengers and also guard and protect human beings on God’s behalf.
Mosaic at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Los Angeles
Wat Thai Guardians
The Dervishes are Sufi Muslims from Turkey who are followers of the Persian mystic and poet, Rumi. They whirl as part of a formal ceremony called the Sema where they symbolically turn toward Truth and lovingly seek to reach God and then carry God’s Love into their own lives and out into the world.
The Mevlevi Order – The Threshold Society
Sikhs on Baisakhi Day
Image from Wat Thai Temple Learn about Buddhism
Censing the Gospel
Muslim Woman Praying
The word Islam means “to submit” . Muslims submit to the Will of God. They pray five times each day, often in congregations but also alone in an appropriately quiet and respectful place. The Holy Qur’an requires both men and women to dress modestly – for women this includes covering their hair. The scarf they use is called a hijab. Islam honors women as equal to men. The Holy Qur’an mandates reverence for women.
Guru Ram Das Ashram www.gururamdasashram.org Learn about Sikhism
Hare Krishna Chanting
Episcopal Priest Chanting
Christians, like their Jewish and Muslim brethren, have always included song and/or chant as an integral part of their worship. Unlike some religious or spiritual traditions, Christian chants and songs are usually not about the vibration or the music, they are about the words themselves.
Before people could read, they learned about their faith by learning its theology and stories through song. Gregorian chants, which are sung with no musical accompaniment, blend the many voices of the choir and/or the congregation into one and so the very act of chanting itself unifies the community.
St. John’s Cathedral
While the Aztec religion is not practiced as a religion per se in Southern California today, vestiges of it are recalled in various local festivals in recognition of the spiritual and religious heritage of the peoples who inhabited these lands long before the current settlers.
The Chumash and Tongva tribes are the Native American people who lived along the coast and inland in Southern California for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. Their rich spiritual practice is interwoven deeply and intimately with the land and all the creatures that inhabit it with them. They were and continue to be a peaceful people with a profound respect for the sanctity of all life. “Tongva” means “people of the earth”.
Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine
Paramahansa Yogananda was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced Kriya Yoga and meditation to the West. He founded the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) in 1920 as a spiritual organization dedicated to promoting the harmony of all religions through sharing Yogananda’s teachings and running yoga and meditation centers. It has over 600 temples and meditation centers around the world and is headquartered in Southern California.
The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine dedicated by Yogananda in 1950 is a beautiful 10-acre site located on Sunset Boulevard just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of visitors come each year to enjoy the scenic beauty and serenity of this spiritual sanctuary with its gardens and natural spring-fed lake.
Malibu Hindu Temple
The Hindu Temple in Malibu, dedicated the Hindu god Venkateswara, and built in the traditional South Indian style, was built in 1981. The temple has two complexes – the upper complex with Lord Venkateswara as the presiding deity and the lower complex with Lord Shiva as the presiding deity. In addition to the presiding deity, both complexes have shrines for other deities including Venkateswara, Rama, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman, Ganesh, Padmavathi, Bhoodevi, Shiva, Krishna and Radha.
The priests live on the grounds of the temple, which is open every day of the year at 1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302 http://malibuhindutemple.org/
Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple
Hsi Lai Temple is a traditional Chinese Buddhist mountain monastery in the United States, located in the foothill region of Hacienda Heights. The name “Hsi Lai” means Coming West in the sense of the “Great Buddhadharma Coming West.”
The temple is affiliated with one of Taiwan’s largest religious organizations, the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order. The temple, like its mother temple in Taiwan, practices Humanistic Buddhism, which incorporates all of the eight traditional schools of Chinese Buddhism – especially the Linji Chan and Pure Land schools – to provide guidance deemed most useful to modern life.
Hsi Lai Temple, 3456 Glenmark Drive
These images from the film give a glimpse of the rich religious and spiritual practices taking place in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, every day. In the midst of this environment The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out is creating a sacred space for all to get to truly know one another and build new relationships free from intolerance and discrimination.
Many of the locations and/or faiths seen here are partners in our efforts to create this new dimension of cooperation and respect,
strengthening and serving everyone in Los Angeles and beyond.
Images used with permission, © 2010 Flying Limbs Inc., Productions. www.FlyingLimbs.com