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Monday, February 20, 2006

M is for... 

Tonight I've been looking at how the non-Trinitarian groups view each other. Let's peek at Mormon-Muslim relations from a variety of vantage points.

Amos R. Jackson, a Mormon, has written THE CORRELATION OF MUSLIM DOCTRINE & LATTER-DAY SAINT DOCTRINE. Here's what his book covers:

Selecting gospel topics, the author quotes comparative passages from The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon, and the Qur'n (Koran). After hosting a foreign exchange Muslim student in the 1960s and being very impressed with the young man's spirituality, the LDS author began a several decade study of the Muslim religion. In 1985, to gain more understanding of the Muslims, Amos Jackson attended the Middle East Studies at the University of Utah. In 1989 he visited Indonesia and met with many renowned Muslim scholars.

Mr. Jackson writes, "As I studied the Qur'n, with all the commentaries and notes, I noted significant doctrinal concepts that are clearly corollary to those found in the accepted Scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." And his book contains comparative quotes from the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, and the Qur'n, on: Jesus Christ, Mary, Atonement, Plan of Salvation, Prophets, Priesthood, Covenant Peoples, and prayer. "It is my humble prayer that this undertaking might be a source of greater love and understanding between two great peoples who diligently seek to know God and the Prophets he has sent to give us guidance."

Basicchristian.org, which is neither Mormon nor Muslim, agrees:

The concept of Heaven for both Islam and Mormonism (Latter Day Saints) are basically the same. Both believe heaven to be some type of brothel where droves of women are there for their various whims. To both of them the rewards of heaven are sexual and physical; not Godly and not Spiritual....

Both Islam and Mormonism each came basically from one man each. Islam - Mohammed and Mormonism (LDS) - Joseph Smith....

Both are Strict Legalistic systems.

Both are Strict Political systems.

Both believe and follow Revenge, Lying and Killing as a way to further their cause.

Both deny that women posses the ability of eternal salvation. Muslims - that women do not live eternally like men do and therefore treat women accordingly here on earth. The Muslim "Virgins" of heaven are spirit beings and not earthly women. Mormons - that women can only receive their highest salvation by being married and submitted to a Mormon man. The marriage must take place in a Mormon Temple where the women is given a secret password that her husband if pleased by her will use to grant her entrance into his paradise....

Bible.ca continues the thread, along with a lot of references to Galatians 1:

1. Both were visited by an angel. Joseph Smith was visited by the angel "Moroni" and Muhammad by Gabriel....

2. Both were given visions.

3. Both were told that no true religion existed on the earth. In the published account of his life, Joseph Smith related that he became very disturbed when he was a youth because of the "strife among the different denominations," and this "cry and tumult" led him to ask God "which of all the sects were right — and which I should join." He was told that he must "join none of them, for they were all wrong... that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt..." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:8-19) N. J. Dawood says that Mohammed was also concerned with the fact that the Jews and Christians had "divided themselves into schismatic sects." In the scriptures given by Mohammed, we read: "Yet the Sects are divided concerning Jesus.... Truly, the unbelievers are in the grossest error." (The Koran, translated by N. J. Dawood, Surah 19, p. 34) In Surah 30, page 190, this warning appears: "Do not split up your religion into sects, each exulting in its own beliefs."...

4. Both were to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion. Islam makes claim that Adam and Abraham were Muslims....Mormons make the unsubstantiated claim that the church in the first century were Mormon....

7. Both claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.

8. Both claimed their holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.

9. Both claimed that their new "Bible" was based upon a record stored in heaven. With Islam, it is the "mother book" that resides in heaven with God. With Mormonism, it is the golden Nephi plates that the angel Moroni took back to heaven.

10. Both claim that the version we have in our hands today are identical to what the prophet revealed and that parts are not lost, altered and corrupted. Of course the proof that these claims are invalid is found in two books. The Mormon claim is proven false by a book called "3913 Changes to Book of Mormon" by Sandra Tanner. The Islamic claim is proven false by a book (In Arabic language) called, "Making Easy the Readings of What Has Been Sent Down" by Muhammad Fahd Khaaruun. Both books show that the copy of the book of Mormon and the Koran used today is different from what was originally used when each religion was started.

11. Both claimed to be a final prophet of God.

12. Both claimed they were persecuted because of their pure faith.

13. Both were polygamists who had many wives.

14. Both borrowed from paganism/polytheism. Muhammad incorporated that polytheistic moon god called "Allah" and "Allah's three daughters" into Islam. Basically Muhammad chose Allah from within 350 known gods that were worshipped in Arabia and proclaimed the moon god to be the greatest and only God. Smith borrowed from a doctrine called "pyramidology" and the Masons and other magic systems.

To be fair, I should note that many modern Christian practices from Christmastime can be traced to pagan origins.

16. Immediately after the death of Muhammad and Smith, a fight broke out from among the "faithful converts" as to who would succeed Muhammad and Smith. Both groups were plunged into irreparable division that has endured ever since. Islam and Mormonism both have squabbles among themselves as to who is the one true splinter group of their prophet!...

18. Both the Islam and Mormon religions have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders, are violent, polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.

Enough of the non-Mormons and non-Muslims. Let's look at a Mormon who became a Muslim:

[W]hen I was sixteen, I had a religious yearning. It was like a thirst that I could not quench. I thought I was satisfied with my religion of Mormonism. But the truth was, I wasn't satisfied. It was as if God was calling me. I decided to put the Scriptures under close examination. I put aside my Book of Mormon, and picked up the Bible. I studied it from a viewpoint outside of what my religion taught me, since my religion taught me how to interpret the Bible in a very specific and "official" way. Instead, I looked at it not as one who had no religion, but as one who wanted to follow the Scriptures to the fullest.

As I studied, I noticed how Christ taught only to the Jews. He would not preach to anyone except the children of Israel.

Well, except when he was in Samaria, and modern-day Lebanon, and modern-day Jordan, and talking to some Greeks. But other than that he only spoke to Jews.

Studying his life closely, I noticed that this man did not follow any religion that actually exists today. He was a follower of God's law as it was sent to the Jews in the past. Right there, my religion was questionable. I also read in the book of Acts that the apostles would not eat pork or any other foods that were earlier prohibited by God.

So Peter's dream before meeting Cornelius was just indigestion, I guess....

Studying it even closer, I saw that all Christian churches relied upon the teachings of Paul, whose letters actually contradicted many of the words of Jesus (peace be upon him). Now I knew that my religion was definitely in question.

I believed in one God, I believed in Jesus, I believed in Moses, I believed in Noah, and I believed in all of the other prophets who preached the worship of one God. But what other Books existed to replace the Bible? I believed that there were none.

Then I remembered what an old Muslim friend told me. He said that Muslims believe in the Qur'an, in only one God, and in all the messengers of God, which includes all of the Christian and Jewish prophets. At that time, I had a book that explained Islam at a very basic level. It was a great source for me. I began to understand Islam much more, and found it somewhat interesting.

And here's another ex-Mormon (and ex-a lot of stuff) who is now a Muslim (or at least was a Muslim over a year ago):

I am an American woman who has tried all different kinds of faiths. I was a Catholic, a Methodist and more recently a Mormon. I have searched for many years to find the truth. In my search I have come across some teachings of prophets, and some half mingled truths.

I had joined the Mormon Church at the request of my husband, and I tried to go faithfully for awhile, until I learned that some of the people found it more important to treat me with disrespect due to my own spiritual issues. I thought that if I tried hard enough that I could learn to believe in what they did, but I just couldn’t grasp all that they were teaching.

I went to church faithfully every Sunday, and I sat in the front row, and I led the choir, and helped teach some classes for children. As hard as I tried, I could never quite understand why I didn’t feel what they all felt. For awhile I stopped going to church and I avoided these people as much as I could. The hard part was that my husband was a very faithful Mormon, and he didn’t like that I had stopped going to church. I have read the Bible and found it to be a great source of understanding, but I still always felt like something was missing.

Some people in troubled marriages turn to the Internet for comfort. But this experience was spiritual:

A few weeks ago, I was online on the Internet and I met someone called Ahmad. I was very interested in speaking with him because he seemed to be very centered and well balanced....[A]s I listened to Ahmad speak, I could feel something warm and nice with his words. I couldn’t help but wonder what his beliefs were and why he was so confident, yet centered.

When he told me he was from Gaza, I was so impressed. I had never before spoken to anyone that was so far away, and who was so fun to just sit and talk. When he told me that he was a Muslim, and proceeded to explain some of his beliefs to me, at first I must admit, I was scared to even consider reversion. There were so many things that I didn’t understand, and yet I felt like I needed to know more.

We continued to speak for quite some time. Everyday, in fact, (even now). Ahmad sent me a lot of articles to read to learn more about Islam....

[L]ater I was on the phone with Stacey and Ehsan. She was calling me from Massachusetts , and him from the United Kingdom . We spoke for almost 3 hours and I could feel how much these people believed in what they were saying and I knew then that I had to be a part of it. I told them that I wanted to take the Shahada, and Ehsan guided me through it. Before I took the Shahada, my hands were shaking and my heart was racing because I was so nervous. When I had finished saying the words, (in Arabic even), my hands stopped shaking and I finally felt at peace. I began to cry for the joy that was in my heart. I had never before in my life had a feeling like this, and I was so happy.

And a Mormon chaplain helped the Muslims in Afghanistan:

At the request of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.S. military allowed a feast of lamb and sweets to be given to suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters held prisoner at the US base in Kandahar. The feast celebrated the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday, commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Captain Brian Reck, described as a "Mormon minister and chaplain of the battalion of military police guarding the camp" assisted in the feast by passing out sweets to the prisoners.

And there's a Muslim that converted to Mormonism:

An Iranian American who alleges he was tortured in Iran for converting to the Mormon faith and for allowing mixed dancing at his wedding has filed a lawsuit against the Islamic republic, activists announced Tuesday at a human rights conference in Los Angeles....

[Ghollam Nikbin] arrived in the United States in 1975 on a scholarship from the shah of Iran to study business management at Long Island University in New York. After the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the shah and installed an Islamic theocracy, Nikbin decided to stay in New York.

In 1982, he said, he converted from the Islamic faith of his birth to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after marrying a Mormon woman he had met on a volleyball court in New York. Nikbin said he had not been an observant Muslim, and was attracted to the Mormon Church because of the more honest people. The couple divorced two years later.

Although he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991, Nikbin said he returned to Iran two years later because he missed his family. But he said he was unprepared for the more restrictive religious environment that sharply proscribed mingling between women and men. On the night of his wedding to his second wife, Iran's morality police raided his party and arrested more than two dozen guests for mixed dancing, he said. For that transgression, the lawsuit alleges, an Islamic judge ordered him to be severely whipped with 40 lashes.

Nikbin said he was alerted by neighbors that security officials were starting to ask questions about him. He decided to return to the United States in May 1995. But he said he was stopped at the airport, taken to a prison and accused of changing his religionpunishable by death under Iran's Islamic law.

Although Nikbin said he initially denied the charges, the security officials produced his Mormon baptismal certificate.

After that, he said, he was beaten with an electric cable and hung upside-down.

He said that only his family's bribes to Iranian officials saved him from execution. Instead, he was sent to a mental hospital, where he was forcibly injected with unknown drugs.

Thanks to another bribe, he said, he was released in December 1998 after more than three years in detention and returned to the United States....

With the help of the Mormon Church and U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Nikbin was able to obtain visas for his wife and daughter to join him a year later.

And there's a blog entitled Midwest Mormon in the Mid-East:

Join me,Carol a displaced Chicagoan living in the UAE, as I apply Pres. Hinckley's Book of Mormon challenge to my life. As a Mormon married to a Muslim, with 4 Muslim kids, I've got lots of challenges, but I want to join my testimony with that of Elder Nelson when he states that "this book can help with personal problems in a very real way". Read how it works in my life and then put it to the challenge in yours. I invite you to: Read, Pray, Apply and then Blog the Challenge.

Dhimmi Watch links to this:

In a display of political correctness, San Jose, Calif.'s police chief has promised to observe the Muslim month of Ramadan.

Chief Rob Davis told the San Jose Mercury News that he was inspired after speaking to 7,000 Bay Area Muslims last year at the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting.

He will join local Muslims in going without food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the monthlong observance of Ramadan because he realized during his speech that they were hungry when he was not....

The chief, a Mormon, told the News his decision to observe Ramadan is not motivated by politics or publicity but by a desire to "truly understand."

Back to similarities. Lifeafter.org claims that the link between Islam and LDS is Freemasonry:

Now these similarities may be mere coincidence if there is not a link that in some way ties them together. That link exists, and it is Freemasonry. Freemasonry or the Masonic Lodge is a secret society that goes back several centuries. Freemasonry derives many of its symbols and mysticism from Arabia and Islam. They also profess belief in a God that they call the great architect of the universe. There symbols include the Arabic sword and crescent moon. The Shriners come from the thirty third degree of Freemasonry and are known to dress in ancient Arabic attire including the Fez and swords. Folklore says that the hat known as the Fez was named for the city of Fez, Morocco, where thousands of Christians were slain at the sword of Islam. As a sign of honor, the Muslims dipped the top of their hats in the blood that flowed through the streets. Mormonism is also filled with secret rituals and ceremonies that have been derived from Joseph’s family’s membership in the Masonic Lodge. One example of this is the oath given by Mormons in a temple ceremony, "We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so; we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by their roots”. This is strikingly similar to the oath of the First Degree of Freemasonry, “... I will ... never reveal any part or parts, art or arts, point or points of the secret arts and mysteries of ancient Freemasonry ... binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots....”. In both ceremonies the thumb is drawn across the throat to show the penalty. In Utah, Mormons cannot join their fraternity because of the things that happened in Nauvoo and they believe that Smith stole the Masonic rituals.

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