MORMONISM AND ISLAM, A COMPARISON
Islam and Mormonism-
BOTH RELIGIONS teach the restoration of prophetic gifts and divine authority after long periods of apostasy through the sending of a great prophet.
JOSEPH SMITH'S testimony is that he had sought the Lord as to what the true denomination in the church was. Then He received a vision, which told him that none of the churches were true, but they had all fallen away from the truth, but in these “latter days”, God was designating him to be a prophet to restore the true church.
MOHAMMAD'S situation was similar…that the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) had apostatized from the truth, and after 600 years, the Lord was raising up another prophet to show the people the “Truth” that had been lost for so long.
False Prophets have come on the scene in every generation, trying to add to or take away from the Words of the Holy Bible.
While it is true that throughout the centuries, God's people have continually erred from the Truth in one way or another, but the basic tenets or Truths of the Word of God have continued to this present day.
The doctrines of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19, 1 John 5:7); Of mankind's fallen nature (John 3:19; Romans 5:12); Of Jesus' atoning sacrifice (John 3:16; Romans 5:11); Of Jesus' resurrection (Matt 27:52,53, Matt 28:6); Of the resurrection of the just and the unjust (Matt 24: 31, John 5:21, 28, 29); Of the eternal nature of the soul of man (Matt 25:46, Matt 10:28); Of a coming Day of Judgment (Matt 25:31-46, John 5:28,29); Of the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Matt 25:46, Mark 10:30); And the choice that has been put before all mankind of heaven or hell (Matt 15:6, Heb. 3:14) has not changed since our Lord taught them to us!
Jesus Himself promised us:
Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Matt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
MOHAMMAD claimed to receive his revelations through the angel Gabriel.
JOSEPH SMITH also claimed to receive his revelations from the angel Moroni.
The Word of God teaches that we are not to pay heed to angels who teach us another gospel:
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
IN THE QU'RAN, we read of a great council which was held in the heavens at the creation of the earth.
Sura II. Section 4, verse 30:
Behold thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a viceregent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- Whilst we do celebrate thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what you know not.”
I think it is interesting that the Quran would present the Almighty God as being questioned as to the wisdom of His decision by the angels. But the Quran shows us that God won't be outwitted by His Angels!
In the following verses, we see that God tells Adam the nature of all things, and shows the angels that Adam knows more than they do, as proof that He was right in His plan. In verse 34, after God had proven to them that He was wiser than the angels (verse 33), we read this:
34. And behold, we said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam:” and they bowed down: Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith.
MORMON TEACHING also tells of a Grand Council held in Heaven between God and His angels, with a similar result. First we will look at a couple of entries in the standard dictionary of Mormonism:
Jesus, who is called Christ, is the firstborn of the Father in the spirit and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is Jehovah, and was foreordained to his great calling in the Grand Councils before the world was. He was born of Mary at Bethlehem, lived a sinless life, and wrought out a perfect atonement for all mankind by the shedding of his blood and his death on the cross. He rose from the grave and brought to pass the bodily resurrection of every living thing and the salvation and exaltation of the faithful.
In latter-day revelation we find many sources of information that clarify and substantiate the record of Genesis. The Joseph Smith Translation especially, a portion of which is presented in the book of Moses, offers the best available account of the early chapters. Of exceptional worth is Moses 1, giving an account of some visions and experiences of Moses previous to and in preparation for writing Genesis. This chapter is an introduction to Genesis, just as Genesis is an introduction to the remainder of the Bible. Other chapters of Moses specify certain events that took place previous to the creation of the earth, and form a proper setting thereunto, such as the selection of the Savior in the grand council and the rebellion of Lucifer. The book of Moses also supplies many other valuable concepts, including the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to Adam, Enoch, and all the early patriarchs
The Book of Moses, found in the Pearl of Great Price says this:
SELECTIONS FROM THE
BOOK OF MOSES
1 AND I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying-Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me-Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
D&C 76:25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,
26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him-he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!
D&c 29:36 And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil-for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;
37And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;
38 And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.
39 And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet-
THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
TRANSLATED FROM THE PAPYRUS, BY JOSEPH SMITH
26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
Both MOHAMMAD and JOSEPH SMITH were said to be uneducated men.
MOHAMMAD won the loyalty of men of great intelligence and high social standing such as Abu Bekr and Omar, who, because of their standing were implemental in furthering and lending credibility to Islam.
JOSEPH SMITH also won the loyalty of men of intelligence and influential social standing, such as Oliver Cowdery, who was a school teacher (thus making up for Joseph Smith's lack of formal education), Joseph Knight (D & C 12), who was able to assist in financing the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon , and Sydney Rigdon, who at the time was a prominent Campbellite preacher.
Some LDS Statements on Muhammad and Islam
Let's look at what some Mormon authorities have to say about Mormonism and Islam:
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, WORLD RELIGIONS
The Church's doctrinal posture toward Islam has also gone through phases. Islam is not mentioned in either the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants. Yet articles in Times and Seasons suggest that some LDS spokesmen initially echoed medieval Christian views of Islam as fanatical heresy (Editorial, 3 [15 Apr. 1842]; "Last Hour of the False Prophet," 5 [Apr. 1, 1844]; "Mahometanism," 6 [Jan. 15, 1845]). But speeches by apostles George A. Smith and Parley P. Pratt in 1855 evoked more positive traditional interpretations: that Islam, fulfilling biblical promises made to Ishmael (Gen. 21), was divinely instigated to "scourge" apostate Christianity and to curb idolatry. Perhaps unknowingly paraphrasing Muhammad ibn Abd alWahhab (d. 1792), George A. Smith applied historical judgment to Islam's experience: "As they abode in the teachings which Mahomet gave them,…they were united and prospered; but when they ceased to do this, they lost their power and influence" (pp. 3435). More recently, perhaps in the context of the Church's growth to global dimensions, Muslim cultures have figured prominently in dicta-such as those by President Spencer W. Kimball and Elders Howard W. Hunter, Bruce R. McConkie, and Carlos E. Asay-stressing that God is no respecter of persons on grounds of race or color. In the "Easter Message" of February 15, 1978, the LDS First Presidency wrote that Muhammad and other nonbiblical religious leaders and philosophers "received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations." On balance, Mormon teachings thus seem to have cast Islam in a positive historical role.
For general reviews of the literature, see A. H. Green, "Joseph Smith as an American Muhammad," Dialogue 6 (Spring 1971):4658; and "The MuhammadJoseph Smith Comparison: Subjective Metaphor or a Sociology of Prophethood," in Mormons and Muslims, ed. Spencer J. Palmer, Provo, Utah, 1983. This latter volume constitutes a collection of essays on the subject. For recent authoritative LDS statements, see Spencer W. Kimball, "The Uttermost Parts of the Earth," Ensign 9 (July 1979):29; and Howard W. Hunter, "All Are Alike Unto God," BYU Devotional Speeches, Provo, Utah, 1979, pp. 3236.
ARNOLD H. GREEN
On February 15, 1978 the First Presidency of the Church issued the following declaration “God's Love for All Mankind”:
The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals…. Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal Welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father.
Again, this is a logical result of the doctrine of “eternal progression” i.e., that as we are, God once was, and as God is, we shall become. The word of God plainly teaches that we are all creations of God, but it's not until we receive Jesus Christ into our lives, that we become children of God.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, Vol. 1, p.308-310 writes this revealing observation:
Confucius and other Chinese philosophers who knew little [p.309] about the worship of the true God possessed a knowledge of many important principles. Great moral truths were communicated unto them and they taught them. They were just as true, many of them, as if they had been taught by an inspired Prophet of God.
So with Mahomet, he taught many grand truths. So with Socrates, he possessed principles of truth which were divine in their origin. And there is no sect or party upon the face of the earth that we have ever read or heard about that does not possess some principles of truth. . . Confucius, Socrates, Mahomet, Plato and the noted men of antiquity, as well as those who had live in modern days, who taught truth, had not the keys of the Holy Priesthood nor the power and authority thereof to guide them in their teachings; hence, they ran into errors, and this gave rise to a great variety of views and doctrines and to schools of divinity that have existed and that still exist among the children of men.
The truth which they had was not unmixed with error, and many times the error was in larger proportion than the truth. This of course made everything uncertain, and the great cause of thankfulness which we as a people now have is the removal of this uncertainty and the bestowal of reliable knowledge, pure unadulterated truth.
(Feb. 1, 1877, JI 12:30) . . . I believe myself that Mahomet, whom the Christians deride and call a false prophet and stigmatize with a great many epithets, was a man raised up by the Almighty and inspired to a certain extent by Him to effect the reforms which he did in his land and in the nations surrounding. He attacked idolatry and restored the great and crowning idea that there is but one God. He taught that idea to his people and reclaimed them from polytheism and from the heathenish practices into which they had fallen. . . . There can be no doubt that Mahomet had much truth revealed to him, and he was raised up to do a great work; but his followers have departed in many directions from his teachings.
We see one Mormon authority who speaks more highly of Islam than he does of Christianity:
Journal of Discourses, Vol.3, p.39, Parley P. Pratt, September 23, 1855
I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we, as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked upon the history of Mahomet, or even the name; and even now we may think that Mahometanism, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful, and the other we look upon as something very pretty, only a little crippled; and for my part, I hardly know which to call the idolatrous side of the question, unless we consider Mahometanism Christianity, in one sense, and that which has been called Christianity, heathenism.
Mahometanism included the doctrine that there was one Godthat He was great, even the creator of all things, and that the people by right should worship Him. History abundantly shows the followers of Mahomet did not take the sword, either to enforce their religion or to defend themselves, until compelled to do so by the persecutions of their enemies, and then it was the only alternative that presented itself, to take up the sword and put down idolatry, and establish the worship of the one God; or, on the other hand, be crushed and cease to be, on account of the idolatrous nations around them; they seemed to act on the defensive, although it might legally be considered aggression.
The Greek and Roman Churches, which have been called Christian, and which take the name of Christians as a cloak, have worshiped innumerable idols. On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should rather incline, of the two, after all my early traditions, education, and prejudices, to the side of Mahomet, for on this point he is on the side of truth, and the Christian world on the side of idolatry and heathenism.
There are, no doubt, sections of country, and different localities in Asia, where the people have not walked strictly according to the regulations and laws given by Mahomet, and observed by his true followers.
I BELIEVE THE SEVERAL COMPARISONS OF MORMONISM AND ISLAM AND THE FAVORABLE LIGHT THAT CERTAIN MORMON AUTHORITIES HAVE GIVEN ISLAM SHOWS US THAT THE TWO RELIGIONS SHARE THE SAME SPIRIT, AND THAT SPIRIT IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH TRUE CHRISTIANITY.
THE DECISION IS CONTINUALLY BEFORE US; WE MUST CHOOSE WHO IT IS THAT WE WILL SERVE.
AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL NOT BOW OUR KNEE TO ALLAH, NOR WILL WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE FALSE god OF MORMONISM THAT ONCE WAS A MAN LIKE US.
6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
LET GOD BE TRUE...AND EVERY MAN A LIAR! JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
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