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Joseph Smith, Jr. and Muhammad

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  • Joseph Smith, Jr. and Muhammad

    While searching the Internet, I came across this site which compares Joseph Smith, Jr. to Muhammad:

    Striking and troubling parallels between Joseps Smith and Mohammed.

    Although this is a critical review of Joseph Smith, Jr. written from a mainstream Christian viewpoint, it actually seems to gives more credibility to Joseph Smith, Jr. when viewed from a Muslim or Daheshist viewpoint. I think Joseph Smith's comments concerning Muhammad gives Muhammad credibility as a genuine prophet of God for Latter-Day Saints.

    I should mention that some of the "facts" stated in the article are not accurate or are misconstrued:

    "Both were to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion. Islam makes claim that Adam and Abraham were Muslims, a claim that is as ridiculous as it is undocumented from either history or archaeology. Mormons make the unsubstantiated claim that the church in the first century were Mormon."

    Mormons do not make the claim that the "church in the first century were Mormon". I agree with the absurdity of that statement since the early Christians would not know who the prophet Mormon was - Mormon wasn't born until around 400 AD - nor was the "Mormon" church established in the first century. Latter-Day Saints do however make the claim that the beliefs about God in the Mormon church are more accurate to the beliefs of the church in the first century than the idea of the Trinity in mainstream Christianity.

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

    I don't know of Joseph Smith, Jr. ever making this claim and the article gives no reference. Many succeeded him as prophet in the LDS faith and some claim he appointed successors. Because of his martyrdom, the appointed successor was not made completely clear to the saints. Some say he appointed Hyrum Smith, but Hyrum Smith was killed with him. Others believe it was to be Joseph Smith, III, but he was still a young boy when his father was killed. Sidney Rigdon wanted to be the guardian of the faith. Others followed James Strang who claimed to be receiving revelations. The majority followed Brigham Young and the apostles across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley due to the following occurrences:

    "Said he, during that period, "I now rejoice. I have lived until I have seen this burden, which has rested on my shoulders, rolled on to the shoulders of other men; now the keys of the kingdom are planted on the earth to be taken away no more for ever." But until he had done this, they remained with him; and had he been taken away they would have had to be restored by messengers out of heaven. But he lived until every key, power and principle of the holy Priesthood was sealed on the Twelve and on President Young, as their President. He told us that he was going away to leave us, going away to rest. Said he, "You have to round up your shoulders to bear up the kingdom. No matter what becomes of me. I have desired to see that Temple built, but I shall not live to see it. You will; you are called upon to bear off this kingdom." This language was plain enough, but we did not understand it any more than the disciples of Jesus when he told them he was going away, and that if he went not the Comforter would not come. It was just so with Joseph. He said this time after time to the Twelve and to the Female Relief Societies and in his public discourses; but none of us seemed to understand that he was going to seal his testimony with his blood, but so it was."
    Journal of Discourses, 13:164 (December 12, 1869).

    "Joseph had sent letters to the Twelve to hurry home to Nauvoo and among the first was Sidney Rigdon who hurried home from Pittsburgh and laid claim to be guardian of young Joseph, the eldest son of the Prophet, and was using his influence to get the Saints to sustain him. He began to organize the Church. [He ordained] apostles, and preached to the Saints sustaining his claims as young Joseph's guardian, and appointed a day for a general meeting for the Saints to sustain him, his object was to [be] sustained before the brethren of the Twelve would arrive in Nauvoo. Brother Parley P. Pratt was among the first to arrive, and he and Brother Willard Richards, two of the Twelve, labored with Sidney not be in a hurry until the Twelve would arrive, but he was determined to have the vote taken according to his appointment. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball arrived one day before the meeting, and others had arrived previously so that nearly all the Twelve were in Nauvoo. William Marks, President of the [Nauvoo] Stake, called the meeting to order, and took charge of the meeting. After the opening exercises Rigdon spoke of his claim as guardian to young Joseph showing the necessity of the office, which took between one half to one hour.

    There was a great multitude attending the meeting, more than one half the crowd could not find seats, and stood on their feet. Never were so many at one meeting that I ever saw. I was sitting down and could not see the speakers on the stand. I was listening very attentively, so that I could hear every word.

    I heard a voice speaking, I was surprised, and jumping to my feet, expecting Joseph the Prophet was speaking, having heard him often in public and private, so that I was quite acquainted with his voice. This was a strong testimony that the Twelve Apostles were the rightful leaders of the Church and that the mouth of Joseph had fallen on Brigham Young. Out of that vast multitude about twenty votes for Rigdon to be guardian of young Joseph until he should come of age, he then being a boy of ten or eleven years of age. Rigdon, Marks, and these that sustained him were cut off from the Church, and the Twelve were sustained as the successors of Joseph the Prophet.

    William Adams, "History of William Adams, Written by Himself," January, 1894, typescript copy, BYU Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Provo, Utah, 8-9.

    Note: Adams' experience is an important witness that the Lord was testifying to the Saints that Brigham was the rightful successor to Joseph; he heard Joseph's voice, while others saw Brigham transfigured so that his appearance was that of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The History of the Church notes, however, that Sidney sought to become "a guardian for the Church," not to young Joseph, and that Sidney "harangued the saints for about one and a half hours" (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., 2ded., edited by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-51], 7:231).

    "With the death of the Prophet Joseph, there grew conflicts and dissentions over the right to Church leadership. It was a time to try the faith of each member and many fell away. Many were hoping the church was finished. Sidney Rigdon, Joseph's former counselor, claimed that no one could be a Prophet and Joseph's place by mere appointment, the people must wait for God to call a Prophet. A meeting was called for August 8th, to decide the matter of a "Guardian," as most of the Apostles were now back home. When Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, started to speak, Jane suddenly sat up electrified! Her back tingled. Her heart raced, she hardly breathed. Joseph Smith's voice spoke to them! She sat up straighter to see better. Brigham seemed taller, as tall as their slain Seer. She strained forward. . . . Yes, he even looked like their slain Prophet. Shocked, dazed she sat, feeling more than hearing, listening to the whisperings within her, and that familiar voice once again. She wasn't alone in her perception. . . . for turning tear brimmed eyes around her she saw others wiping their eyes, some of the brethren on the stand cried unashamedly. The Prophet to succeed Joseph had been chosen! The family of William and Jane remained staunch and true to the leadership of Brigham Young from that moment on."
    "Biographical Sketch of William 'Young' Black and Jane Johnston Black by Geniel Robertson," typescript copy, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City, Utah.

    "Mormons, contrary to Scripture, "baptize the dead" by gathering genealogies of all men who lived on earth. This contradicts the Bible."

    Does it really contradict the Bible?

    "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Corinthians 15:29)

    Why would Paul mention baptism for the dead and use it as evidence in support of the doctrine of resurrection if it were not a practice contemporary to his time?

    "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)

    Elijah did appear to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836 (Doctrine & Covenants 110) and restored the sealing powers of the Priesthood which seal together married couples and generations making eternal families possible - thus turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children through the salvation extended in baptism for the dead and subsequent saving ordinances. (See also Doctrine & Covenants 128)

    "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."

    This is a rather rash and blanket statement meant to condemn a religion for the malicious actions of its fundamentalists, extremists, and splinter groups. Brother Andrew who wrote the lower section of the article forgot to add Christianity to the list of having followers who commit violent acts in the name of God and mention that Abraham, David, Solomon, and other prophets mentioned in the Bible were also polygamists.

    Joseph Smith, Jr. was against forcing his religion on other people and very much against using violence for that cause. "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Articles of Faith 11) Joseph Smith taught that violence is justified when in defense of a violent attack on one's life and liberty, but, even then, he taught that if the harm is borne patiently and not retaliated that the person and/or family that was harmed or affected would be blessed many fold. (Doctrine & Covenants 98:23-26) Joseph himself received much abuse which he did not retaliate, but in many cases when the lives of his friends were in danger and the saints faced extermination, he did not hesitate to defend them.

    There is an account in the Book of Mormon where Nephi is commanded by "the Spirit" to slay Laban, the reasons behind it, and relates Nephi's reluctance in following that directive. (1 Nephi 4:14-18) The Book of Mormon has a number of accounts of prophets who were constrained to go to war to defend the lives and liberties of their people but it makes the distinction between people who are justified in defending themselves and people who delight in bloodshed and power who are not justified. (ie. Alma 43:45-49) There were also those written about in the Book of Mormon who would rather suffer death at the hands of their enemies than take up arms in defense. (Alma 24:16-17)

    There are possibly other misconstrued "facts" in the article about either Mormonism or Islam of which I have missed and have not mentioned here. I do not believe I know enough about Islam to comment on statements in the article about Muhammad or Islam.
    Last edited by WingedPaladin; 11-13-2007, 08:34 AM.