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Church releases ‘Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles’ to enhance understanding between 2 faiths


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a new 35-page pamphlet designed to enhance understanding between those of Muslim and Latter-day Saint faiths.

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 20, ”Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles” is available online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org in six languages — Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Spanish and Turkish, with German and Russian versions will come later.

The same resource in the same languages is also found in the Gospel Library app, opening first “Books and Lessons” and then the “Interfaith Relations” section.

The document’s introduction states: “At a time when societies and religious believers want and need mutual understanding, this pamphlet:

  • “Signifies a conscientious effort to provide dignity and tolerance for Muslim and Latter-day Saint believers.
  • “Represents hours of conversation and study by religious scholars and others, including Muslims from diverse backgrounds. It recognizes that no individual scholar or religious imam, or group of scholars or imams, can represent all of Islam.
  • “Does not interpret the Qur’an. It does seek to understand some Islamic tenets and practices as explained by Muslim scholars and religious leaders and to portray these tenets in a positive and engaging manner.
  • “Illustrates common themes found in Islamic and Latter-day Saint beliefs and practices but does not make judgments regarding these beliefs or practices.
  • “Seeks to provide mutual understanding while requesting forbearance and patience if any of its words or efforts fall short of that intent.”

Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak at the final session of the two-day BYU conference “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives” on Oct. 19, 2021. The session was held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building.

Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak at the final session of the two-day BYU conference “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives” on Oct. 19, 2021. The session was held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

During an October 2021 Brigham Young University conference on Islam, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles previewed the new resource, designed to introduce Muslims — the followers of Islam who number 1.8 billion across the world — and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to each other.

The Apostles’ presentation in the final session of the two-day conference “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives” was taped and is the basis of the 30-minute video that accompanies and supports the new booklet, which is the result of years of work as well as collaborations with Muslim imams in the Sunni and Shi’a communities. The pamphlet acknowledges special thanks to Masjid Muhammad, the Nation’s Mosque in Washington, D.C.; the Muslim Unity Center in Michigan; and the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake in Utah.

Muslim and Latter-day Saint faiths are different in a number of core doctrines, but many values and the ways in which the faiths are practiced are similar and reflect love of God and fellow man, Elder Bednar said.

“As we undertook this effort with Muslim colleagues, we noticed how much there is in common between the two faiths,” he said in the video.

“For example: Both Latter-day Saints and Muslims have sincerely held beliefs like faith in God, prophets, scriptures and holy places. We share common values like the importance of family, chastity and helping those in need. The lifestyles of followers of both faiths include practices such as prayer, fasting and protecting our physical health.

“The common beliefs, values and practices in both faiths extend beyond any political, ethnic or cultural boundaries.”

Pamphlet sections note some of the shared beliefs:

  • Faith in God: Faith in an omniscient and omnipotent God is a foundational belief of Muslims and Latter-day Saints. Both express their faith in God in thought, word and action.
  • Prophets: Muslims and Latter-day Saints believe in the vital role of prophets to provide guidance from God.
  • Jesus Christ: Muslims and Latter-day Saints share many beliefs about Jesus Christ. He plays an important, though different, role for both groups.
  • Scriptures: Revelation from God given through messengers as scripture is the foundation for learning God’s will, keeping commitments and participating in faithful worship.
  • Prayer: Human beings must communicate with God through daily prayer, with prayer central to both faiths.
  • Chastity: God delights in purity and chastity.
  • The role of women: Women are essential in society and in the home.
  • Family: The family is the fundamental unit of society and an essential source of joy.

Other sections focus on helping those in need, fasting, physical health, holy places, life after death, love for God and humanity, and religious diversity.

In the video from the October 2021 conference presentation, Elder Bednar renounces the disparagements and generalizations some Latter-day Saints have made about followers of Islam.

“We feel badly and misrepresented when a news report notes that someone who committed a grievous crime was a Latter-day Saint. Or when our Church is confused with offshoot groups whose conduct is contrary to ours,” he said.

“In a similar way, to suggest that all Muslims are tied to grievous crimes here in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world is just as inaccurate and offensive to Muslims. Muslims disavow any such actions, just as Latter-day Saints do. Every major religion has extremists who misinterpret the teachings of their own religion or who seek to do wrong in the name of religion.”

He and Elder Gong underscored the Church’s efforts with Muslims in defense of religious freedom.

“As we meet with Muslim leaders across the world, we talk about defending religious freedom,” Elder Gong said. “People of faith need to stand together for tolerance and dignity of people of all religious beliefs.”

Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak at the final session of the two-day BYU conference “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives” on Oct. 19, 2021. The session was held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building.

Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak at the final session of the two-day BYU conference “The Islamic World Today: Issues and Perspectives” on Oct. 19, 2021. The session was held in the auditorium of the Joseph Smith Building.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He read an 1841 Nauvoo City ordinance that emphasized religious tolerance during the beginning of the Latter-day Saint movement: “Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city.”

The Church, Elder Bednar said, feels “very strongly about religious freedom not just for ourselves, but for all. Like some Muslims in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world, members of our Church have felt the effects of persecution and profiling and we join with good people everywhere in condemning such actions.”

He shared observations on religious freedom that he made at the virtual 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum in Saudi Arabia, when he called for solutions to COVID-19 that do not cut people off from their worship experiences.

Elders Bednar and Gong are among the Church leaders frequently interacting with Muslim leaders. Notable highlights include:

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets Linwood mosque victim Ahmed Jahangir and imams in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 21, 2019. Jahangir is recovering from his injuries from the attack. Two imams represented the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where innocent worshippers were gunned down March 15, 2019, in Christchurch.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets Linwood mosque victim Ahmed Jahangir and imams in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 21, 2019. Jahangir is recovering from his injuries from the attack. Two imams represented the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where innocent worshippers were gunned down March 15, 2019, in Christchurch.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talks with Imam Ahmed Tabakovic, Islamic Community of Bosnians in Italy, during the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talks with Imam Ahmed Tabakovic, Islamic Community of Bosnians in Italy, during the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.

Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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