A new 35-page pamphlet called “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles” appeared online Wednesday on websites and apps of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Why it matters: Muslim and Latter-day Saint leaders work together across the world because of their shared values. Latter-day Saint leaders have said they want church members to better understand Muslims, work and live together with them and help root out bias against Islam.
- The pamphlet’s publication was first announced in October at a BYU conference on Islam. Learning more about Muslim neighbors “will help us be more kind and more accurate in what we say and feel about each other,” Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said at the time.
- Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve used the conference to repudiate all disparaging statements made by Latter-day Saints about Muslims, including those that repeated stereotypes. He called stereotypes wrong and offensive: “Such biases cause those who feel that way to overlook the kindness and goodness of the overwhelming majority of all Muslims,” he said.
- Elder Bednar said the booklet was produced over several years with the help of Muslim imams.
Shared values: The pamphlet outlines common values held by the two faiths. “Both Latter-day Saints and Muslims have sincerely held beliefs like faith in God, prophets, scriptures and holy places,” Elder Bednar said. Common ground includes:
- Foundational belief in an omniscient and omnipotent God, and adherents express their faith in him through thought, word and action.
- Prophets provide vital guidance from God.
- Jesus Christ plays an important, though different, role for both groups.
- Revelation from God given through messengers as scripture is the foundation for learning God’s will, keeping commitments and participating in faithful worship.
- Human beings must communicate with God through daily prayer.
- Fasting promotes spiritual growth and temporal well-being and brings faithful members closer to God.
- God delights in purity and chastity.
- Women are valued and are essential in society and in the home.
- Family is the fundamental unit of society and an essential source of joy.
How to find the pamphlet: The new publication is available online at at ChurchofJesusChrist.org in six languages — Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Spanish, Turkish. German and Russian will be added later.
- It is also is found in the church’s Gospel Library app under “Books and Lessons” in the “Interfaith Relations” section.
The bigger picture: Latter-day Saint leaders work with important Muslim leaders around the world on issues regarding the family, religious freedom and more. They initiate local efforts through missionary couples and ask local church leaders to do the same.
- President Russell M. Nelson visited with Muslim leaders in New Zealand in 2019 and donated $100,000 to help repair mosques damaged in terrorist attacks.
New Zealand mosque shooting: Gunshots shattered a day of prayer, but gave rise to interfaith resolve
- Elder Bednar traveled to Sudan last year to meet with Muslim leaders who previously visited church headquarters.
- Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Twelve established and strengthened relationships with several Muslim leaders around the world who joined him at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Italy last fall, including Haji Allahshükür Hummat Pashazade, the Sheikh ul-Islam and Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, who is based in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is 96% Muslim.
- Latter-day Saint Charities has worked with Islamic Relief to provide millions of dollars of needed relief in dozens of countries. Last week, the church published a photo essay from a medical clinic it is supporting in a camp for Palestinian refugees in Jordan.
- Latter-day Saint Charities and church members have worked around the world to help Muslim refugees.
Rooting out stereotypes: Elders Bednar and Gong said more about offensive generalizations made about Muslims.
- “To suggest that all Muslims are tied to grievous crimes here in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world is … inaccurate and offensive to Muslims,” Elder Bednar said. “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.”
- “We feel badly and misrepresented when a news report notes that someone who committed a grievous crime was a Latter-day Saint,” he added. “Or when our church is confused with offshoot groups whose conduct is contrary to ours.”
- “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.”