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Before anything else, a point of order. This question has the ability to be construed as mean-spirited towards my Mormon brothers. I'd like to hope that I have the credibility on this site to be believed when I say, this question is NOT intended as a forum in which to bash Mormons. Answers that are not respectful to Mormons will be downvoted by me and will NOT be accepted.


So, when I was with Baptist missionaries in Kazakhstan, I first heard the line that "You know, Mormons and Muslims are almost exactly the same religion." They both claim that the Bible needed updating, they both deny the Trinity, they both tend to emphasize works over faith, they both are revelations by an Angel to a conveniently placed prophet, they both divide heaven into different levels for increasing belief, etc... And, recently I watched this 6 minute video from a Lutheran making a very similar claim. To an evangelical or another Christian predisposed towards rejecting Mormon claims, it's very persuasive stuff.

As such, I'd like to hear the counter-claim. How does the Mormon church react to being so closely compared to the Muslim religion? My suspicion, of course, is that the Mormon church rejects such comparisons, but I wonder what aspects of the faith they would use to differentiate themselves from Islam. Likewise, the video linked above is short enough to be fact-checked and debunked. Lutheran Satire is normally fairly level-headed (although deliciously funny, such as when they skewer Westboro Baptist Church). So, what is the case that Islam and Mormons have nothing in common?

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Your second question sounds ok, because it is concerned with the reaction of Mormons, be it a personal reaction or a collective reaction. Your first question is misleading, because at first glance it looks like the answer would be "There are many differences. Too many to name." –  Anonymous Sep 30 '13 at 0:23
    
@affablegeek I really like your question a look forward to read the answers from Mormons. However, I do wonder if there could be one correct answer or is this a polling question? –  The Freemason Sep 30 '13 at 0:40
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+1 for a thorough, interesting question. Just one comment about the quoted claim. To me, that's like knowing that a Camry has two axels, a steering wheel, headlights, and doors, then comparing it to a Ford truck, saying: "They both have two axels, a steering wheel, headlights, and doors, so they must both be the exact same type of vehicle!" –  Matt Sep 30 '13 at 0:41
    
@SomeFreeMason I would argue that since the question can easily be narrowed to the claims made in the video, it's not a polling question. To be sure, some answers may be more persuasive in debunking the same claims than others, but the parameters are definable and answerable. It's not an open-ended list, but rather a defined set that can be answered and evaluated. Matt's already got a good start (but then again, he's always good at these questions :) –  Affable Geek Sep 30 '13 at 0:56
    
Watched the video. I wonder what the real Satan is thinking about it! –  Gulshan Sep 30 '13 at 6:32
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4 Answers 4

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From an LDS perspective, Islam actually looks much more like traditional Christianity than Mormonism, because, despite the similarities mentioned above, it lacks what Latter-Day Saints consider one of the most important features of their faith: continuing revelation.

The simple fact of the matter is that Islamic doctrine ends with its "conveniently placed prophet," whereas Mormonism begins there. Islam, much like conventional Christianity, has a closed canon and a belief that, after a certain arbitrary point in the distant past, no more prophets or scriptural revelation are given, or have been needed.

By contrast, the modern successors to Joseph Smith and the Apostles who presided over the church in his time are considered to have the same authority and divine responsibility today as their mid-19th century counterparts. In fact, Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of the Church, proclaimed that this is an essential feature of Mormonism:

It matters not who lives or who dies, or who is called to lead this Church, they have got to lead it by the inspiration of Almighty God. If they do not do it that way, they cannot do it at all.

-- Addendum to the first Official Declaration, emphasis added.

The importance of continuing revelation and the continuity of the authority of the church is also underscored in four of the thirteen Articles of Faith, which Joseph Smith wrote as a brief synopsis of the fundamental principles of LDS doctrine:

5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

...

9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

While many superficial similarities exist between Mormonism and Islam (or, to be honest, between just about any two religions you could name,) the idea of continuing revelation, that the heavens are not sealed, that prophecies and divine leadership and guidance from the Lord have not ceased, is quite a unique thing, particularly among the Abrahamic religions.

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There are other revelatory sects of Christianity, notably the Society of Friends (Quakers). Quaker beliefs are, of course, quite different from those of Mormons, and I do not mean that Quakerism looks like Mormonism (or Islam). My only point is that the idea of continuing revelation is not unique to Mormons. –  MετάEd Sep 30 '13 at 23:37
    
I don't have enough for an answer, but this link is helpful in understanding: lds.org/ensign/1972/03/islam-and-mormonism-a-comparison –  staples Jul 18 at 13:01
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Mormons claim that there were several witnesses to God's revelation to Joseph Smith. In the Testimony of Three Witnesses and the Testimony of Eight Witnesses, there were several people who signed a document stating that they had seen the tables of gold from which Smith read. The eight-witness testimony states the following:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

By contrast, Muhammed was a prophet who received revelation from the angel Gabriel while praying in a cave. (Sorry for quoting Wikipedia.)

Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the year 610 and commanded Muhammad to recite verses which would later be included in the Quran.

Regarding your second question, I'm afraid I can't answer it with cited sources. Because it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch, I will venture to guess that Mormons would regard the authenticity of Joseph Smith's revelation as verifiable and Muhammed's as not verifiable. As to Muslims' defense of Muhammed's authority, I suspect at least some would point to the supernatural events attributed to Muhammed.

I'm not sure if this is normal procedure on Christianity.SE, but... disclaimer: I am not a Mormon or a Muslim.

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@Matt Your mistake here is assuming Muslims use the same definition of "prophecy" that you do. They do not. In fact if you research your Christian theology a bit you'll find the definition they use isn't that different than a solid Christian one. Prophecy isn't always predictions about the future, it is relaying a message from God: declaring the word of the Lord. This could be about situations past, present or future, the important part of prophecy is the source of the material, not the subject matter. As such according to Islam, the whole of the Qur'an is prophecy. –  Caleb Oct 1 '13 at 11:07
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One of the major differences between Islam and Mormonism is that Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus:

Qu'ran, Surah 5:17 YUSUFALI: In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things." PICKTHAL: They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. SHAKIR: Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely, Allah-- He is the Messiah, son of Marium. Say: Who then could control anything as against Allah when He wished to destroy the Messiah son of Marium and his mother and all those on the earth? And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them; He creates what He pleases; and Allah has power over all things,

Whereas the Book of Mormon explicitly affirms it:

Book of Mormon, Title Page- And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—

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LDS belief is in direct opposition to Islamic belief. Mormons violate the entire basis of Islam called Tawheed or the oneness of Allah. To Muslims, without the belief of the oneness and uniqueness of Allah you have fallen out of the scope of Islam and are Mushrik (associating partners with Allah.) Tawheed is the most fundamental belief in Islam. It is so fundamental that saying "ashadu an lailaha illallah" (I believe there is no god but Allah) upon death can save a man from the fire of hell and is narrated in various authentic hadith. It should be noted that if the dying man only says "ashadu an lailaha illallah," he is granted entrance to heaven as these sahih hadith state:

The Prophet(pbuh) said: "Whoever says: there is no god but Allah enters Paradise." Tabarani narrated it from Abu Dharr in the Kabir (7:55), Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (31), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:251), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (2:422), al-Haythami in Majma' al-zawa'id (1:18), Ibn 'Adi (7:2639), Abu Nu'aym in the Hilya (7:174), and al-Bazzar from Umar'.

The Prophet(pbuh) said: "Whoever says there is no god but Allah enters Paradise even if he commits adultery and even if he steals (i.e. even if he commits great sins)." (Nasa'i, Tabarani and others from Abu al-Darda' - sahih).

It is important to note that Tawheed (the belief in the oneness and uniqueness of Allah) is so important that one need not bear witness that Mohammed is a messenger at all. Bearing witness that there is no god but Allah is sufficient.

Primary contrasting beliefs

Surat til-Iklas can serve as one of the bases for Islamic Tawheed:

  1. Say, "He is Allah , [who is] One,
  2. Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
  3. He neither begets nor is born,
  4. Nor is there to Him any equivalent."

As anyone who is informed of both Islamic and Mormon theology could see, Mormonism is the direct opposite of Islam as far as belief is concerned.

  1. Mormons belief in the existence of other deities so their god can not be one.
  2. Mormons end all their prayers with "In the name of Jesus Christ" so this Ayat is violated.
  3. Mormons belief that God begets spirit children with his celestial wives and God was born of a man before he received exaltation.
  4. Mormons believe as man is, God once was. As God is man may become. So there are an infinite number of gods like their god.

More notable differences

  • Mormon women don't observe hijaab (covering for women) except a kind of wedding veil headdress in the temple.
  • Mormon men don't have to be circumcised.
  • Mormons have mixed services where shaking hands with men is actually required i.e. through the veil in the temple.
  • Mormon women don't get a dowry.
  • Mormons don't ritually slaughter animals.
  • Mormons can wear bathing suits in public.
  • Mormons eat pork.
  • Most Muslims love coffee and tea and these are permissible acts.
  • Mormons don't do Hajj.
  • Mormons don't pray 5 times a day.
  • Mormons don't make ablutions in order to pray.
  • The typical Mormon fasts 12 days a year while Muslims fast over 30 days a year.
  • Mormons keep meticulous records of their members both living dead while Muslims have no such custom.
  • The LDS church is a kind of central corporation in Salt Lake City through which all meeting houses and the Mormons therein are controlled. Muslims have no such custom.
  • Mormons meet socially with free mixing of women and men. Muslims frown on this type of behavior.
  • The Mormon scriptures have no rhyming.
  • Mormons have no rules for reciting scriptures such as Tajweed or Tarteel.
  • Mormon prayer is unstructured and is similar to du'a (personal supplication) as such their prayer has no resemblance to salat (practice of ritualistic prayer) which has to be preformed a certain way to be accepted.
  • Mormons can't have more than one wife while Muslim men can have four.
  • Mormons routinely have pictures and statues of Jesus and prophets in their meeting houses or temples while you will never find this in a mosque or the house of any believer of Islam.
  • Muslims believe there are 4 types of creatures created by Allah: the jinn (made of fire and unseen by man), the angels, mankind and animals. Mormons do not believe in the jinn.
  • There is no continuing revelation in Islam. However, we do follow Fatwah (religious edicts) that are made by ijtihad (independent reasoning) and Qiyas (deductive analogy.) We have no scholars that are appointed by God.
  • We do not believe that Jesus is divine but only a man.

Similarities

  • Both Mohammed (pbuh) and Joseph Smith received revelation through an angel. 2. Both Mormons and Muslims are prohibited from gambling and drinking alcohol. 3. Both Mormons and Muslim place importance on moral behavior.

  • We do believe Jesus was born of a virgin and the Messiah and will return in the last days.

Works Before Faith

  • In Islam you can be a very moral and good person but are still an unbeliever and a Mushrik (associating partners with Allah). This is evidenced in Islamic history in the story of Abu Talib. Abu Talib (the uncle of Mohammed (pbuh), the father of Ali and the wife of Fatimah (daughter of the prophet (pbuh)) died without accepting Islam and clung to the beliefs of the Meccan polytheists. He was, however, a good and moral man and supported prophet Mohammed (pbuh). This is good evidence that your works will not save you and your faith and belief in Tawheed (Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah) is required to enter paradise.

The similarities are superficial. I think that it is apparent, by my answer to this question, that it is impossible for two religions to be similar that contradict each other so seamlessly on basic belief.

References

I have been a practicing Muslim for twenty years. I am studying Islam at Islamic Online University under Sheikh Bilaal Philips. I was briefly a member of the LDS Church for two years and I received temple endowments.

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There is some good content in here but it needs to be adapted to this site and this question or it will get removed. We need to remove the truth claim bits and just keep the identified differences. Also Islam's reaction to these differneces is not relevant to this question. The LDS perspective on them is what is called for here. –  Caleb Jul 18 at 13:23
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