Archive for January, 2012

I had been in Alcoholics Anonymous for some time before I discovered that the Serenity Prayer used there and in other 12-Step Groups is actually a faint shadow of the powerful prayer that was originally included in a sermon by Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943.[1]

So, for your edification (and for mine, for it never gets old) is that original prayer:[2]

The Serenity Prayer
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


[1] While there is much I would like to say about how the potent source of the original movement (the power of Jesus Christ to seek out, save, redeem, and restore lost sinners ensnared in sin) has slowly leaked out  and left AA a hollow, less efficacious shell of what once was, I will save it for a later blog.

[2] Source: Serenity Prayer Wikipedia article . Please note that the prayer was not originally untitled.  I have added the title that it was later added by Bill Wilson and AA for the sake of aesthetics.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold
thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter
thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
that every good work or thought found in me
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley.

“Monument Valley” by Frank Wilson

 (from “Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions” edited by Arthur Bennett)

by Bill Mahlstadt

Can’t be bought
Can’t be seduced
Can’t be stopped
Forward I go

Won’t be distracted
He’s all I know

Won’t give up
Won’t give in

Get down on my knees
Time and again

No matter the cost
No matter the time

I’m already dead
My life is not mine

Whatever I do
Wherever I’m called

It’s His Infinite love
That overcomes all

With faith I declare it
With love I proclaim

There’s no other God
Called by His Name

And Friend

I’ll walk with You now
And even when

When I don’t sense Your presence
I know you’re there

Never has been
One as faithful
As You

by Fred W. Anson
It was a simple question that was posted on Yahoo Answers . . .

Q: What’s your experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? (good or bad)?
My question is what is your experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, its followers (also known as Mormons) and if you could get one message through to Mormons and/or non Mormons, what would it be?

… and, even though most of it got chopped off, here was how I answered in full:

Q: What’s your experience with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? (good or bad)?
A: I’ve never been Mormon but I have a lifetime of Mormon friends and family members and I’ve had direct experience with the LdS Church.

First, I’ll say that my direct “face-to-face” experience with Mormons has been overwhelmingly positive.

Here’s how I described my face-to-face experience with Mormons in a Facebook article:
“Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Collectively they represent a rich, colorful, tapestry of personalities, talents, giftings, callings, and, yes, even beliefs. Or put another way, I find MUCH good in the Mormon people and Mormon Culture which I applaud, celebrate, revel in and strive to protect. … Mormons are our family members, our friends, our colleagues and our neighbors I do NOT dislike them – in fact, I love Mormons.”[1]

In face-to-face settings Latter-day Saints have always opened their hearts and homes to me and my family even though many of them know that in my role as a Mormon Studies scholar I am generally critical of the of the LdS Church, it’s leaders, Mormon Doctrine, and many aspects of Mormon Culture.

Second, I would also have to say that my direct experience with the LdS Church in Mormon Chapel meetings, Sunday School classes and, sadly, the funeral of a family member, has been equally positive. Their meetings are generally uplifting, inoffensive, include many bits of useful bits of “sage wisdom”. I generally leave feeling better than when you went in – I would liken them to what I experienced in Dale Carnegie classes, Self Help, and/or 12-Step meetings only with Joseph Smith sitting in Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, Denis Waitley, Dr. Bob Smith, or Bill Wilson’s chair respectively.

Without question the worst “face-to-face” experience that I had in a Mormon Chapel meeting was when we attended a 3-hour “Fast & Testimony” meeting.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these meetings, here’s how they’re described in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
“An LDS fast and testimony meeting is normally held on the first Sunday of each month, where faithful members of the Church are invited to bear a verbal witness of their feelings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The meeting usually follows a fast by the members, usually from at least two consecutive meals and from liquids also. The fast is officially broken by partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In modern scripture, fasting is described as “rejoicing and prayer” (D&C 59:14), which implies that it is more than just abstaining from food. That tone of devotion is also the feeling associated with contributing fast offerings, giving the equivalent cost of the meals, or more, to be used for the poor. The fast and testimony meeting becomes the locus of spiritual sensitivity and contrition, of concentration on the things of God.”[2]

That’s all true but what it fails to mention is that the testimonies tend to be overtly formulaic following this template:
“I TESTIFY TO YOU, I KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE. I KNOW JOSEPH SMITH WAS A PROPHET OF GOD. I KNOW THE MORMON CHURCH IS TRUE.”[3] And sometimes an, “I love my family/husband/wife/mother/father/etc.”  got thrown as would an “I also testify that (fill in name of current LdS President) is a true prophet of God” and usually ending with an, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

However, by the end of the 3-hour session, I found that so many of the testimonies were almost word-for-word identical that it was a bit creepy.

But the most unsettling thing of all was when a parent would hold a far-too-young-to-fully-understand child up to the mic and have them parrot the formulaic testimony that they whispered in their ear. This occurred several times, resulting in dabbed eyes from the audience, and tears of joy from family members of the child.

Frankly, it was beyond weird, it was extremely unsettlingly and garnered a, “What the heck is going here? What’s wrong with these people? What’s wrong with this church?” from this author.

In fact, someone captured the audio one of these incidents on YouTube, listen to it for yourself, don’t take my word for it.[4]

But without question, the worst experiences that I’ve had with Mormons has been on the Internet. The Internet brings out the bad side of everyone but Mormons seem to really, really, really go from “Jekyl” to “Hyde” there.

image credit “Flame Warrior” by Mike Reed

It seems that unless one is glowingly positive about the LdS Church and/or Mormon Culture on the Internet one is quickly labeled an “Anti-Mormon” and subjected to a litany of relentless personal and ad-hominem attacks that, frankly, I was shocked and surprised at given how I’d been treated in all my direct face-to-face Mormon experiences.[5]

I think that Richard and Joan Ostling described this well in their book on Mormonism when they said:
“The thin-skinned and image-conscious Mormon can display immature, isolationist, and defensive reactions to outsiders, perhaps because there is no substantive debate and no “loyal opposition” within their kingdom. With some, it almost seems that the wilderness is still untamed, the federal ‘polyg’ police are on the prowl, and the Illinois lynch mob is still oiling muskets and preparing to raid Carthage Jail. All too often Saints use the label “anti-Mormon” as a tactic to forestall serious discussion.”
(“Mormon America: The Power and the Promise (2007 Edition)”; Richard N. and Joan K. Ostling; p. 115)[6]

So, in the end, my feelings about the LdS Church and the Mormon people goes something like this:

Dislike? Hardly!
Contend with? Gladly!
Expose? Regularly!
Oppose? If necessary.
But through it all, and at the end of the day,
I LOVE Mormons!

Q: If you could get one message through to Mormons and/or non-Mormons, what would it be?
A: To Mormons, my one message would be two questions:
1) “How important is it to you that the truth claims of the LdS Church are in reality true?”
2) “Why do you stay in a group that it’s been documented engages in Mind Control tactics and behaviors?”[7]

And to non-Mormons it would be two statements:
1) “If a Church – any church, including the one that I may be in – claims to have the truth it’s probably a good idea to find out if it’s lying to you first.”
2) “The best place to find out about a religious group – any religious group, including the one that I may be in – is from former members.”

I hope that this helps.

Fred Anson, “Through it all, and at the end of the day, I LOVE Mormons!”  
[2] Mary Jolley, “Fast and Testimony Meeting”; The Encyclopedia of Mormonism 
[3] The Mormon Testimony “I Testify to You…”‘
[4] “Mormon Parent Coerces Testimony From Child”
[5] In fact, I wrote a Mormon Expression blog on this subject:  ‘Falsely Accused: My Life As An ‘Anti’’ 
[6] Link to “Mormon America” page on Amazon
[7] The assertion that the leadership of the LdS Church and it’s membership engages in Mind Control tactics and behavior isn’t given lightly and/or without empirical support. It is a long standing and widely held view backed by a growing body of evidence:
“The BITE Model and Mormon Control”
“Is Mormonism a Cult? – A Rebuttal”
“The BITE Model Applied Toward Mormonism’s Two-Year Missionary Program”
“The BITE Model Applied Toward Mormonism”

by Fred W. Anson
Perhaps you found the opening of Mike Tannehill’s recent Mormon Expression blog as current and thought provoking as I did:

Link to referenced blog

“There has been a great deal of talk lately regarding whether or not Mormons are Christians. This is not a new argument, it is actually as old as the church itself. When the Church was first founded many thought the nickname of ‘Mormon’ was somehow a reference to Mohammed and that the church was in fact an Islamic faith.”[1]

My first thought was that the historical record exposes the modern assertion that Mormon leaders have always insisted that the LdS Church is “Christian” for what it is – a myth. Rather, it shows that until recently[2] Mormons have wanted no part of Christianity as they saw themselves as something better, purer, more exalted and more enlightened than the “poor, miserable priests” and “the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth”  – as Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball referred to the Christians of his day. [3]

And other early Mormon Leaders were equally clear on this point:
The First Six Mormon Presidents“What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world”[4]
Joseph Smith, January 2, 1843

“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense…. It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”[5]
John Taylor, January 17, 1858

“Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom.”[6]
John Taylor, March 1, 1863

Yet, surprisingly their tone not only softened but actually glowed when they spoke of Muhammad and Islam:
“I believe that Mahomet [Muhammad]–who the Christians deride and call a false prophet and stigmatize with a great many epithets–I believe that he was a man raised up by the Almighty.”[7]
George Q. Cannon, September 2, 1883

“About six hundred years after Christ a prophet rose in Arabia, by the name of Mahomet, who was born in 569…  
Now this man descended from Abraham and was no doubt raised up by God on purpose to scourge the world for their idolatry.”[8] [9]
George A. Smith, September 23, 1855

And Joseph Smith certainly didn’t seem to mind if the religion that he founded was equated with Islam or he with Muhammad – rather he seemed to embrace such comparisons with zeal when he famously said:

General Joseph Smith with Sword“I will be to this generation a second Muhammad, whose motto in treating for peace was the Alcoran [Koran] or the Sword. So shall it eventually be with us Joseph Smith or the Sword!”[10]
– Joseph Smith, October 14, 1838

So is it any surprise that seventeen years later (in his September 23rd, 1855 address) Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt was still swinging that sword:
“The Greek and Roman Churches, which have been called Christian, and which take the name of Christians as a cloak, have worshipped innumerable idols. On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should rather incline, of the two, after all my early traditions, education, and prejudices, to the side of Mahomet, for on this point he is on the side of truth, and the Christian world on the side of idolatry and heathenism.”[11]

Parley Pratt“Though Mahometan institutions are corrupt enough, and need reforming by the Gospel, I am inclined to think, upon the whole, leaving out the corruptions of men in high places among them, that they have better morals and better institutions than many Christian nations; and in many localities there have been high standards of morals. So far as that one point is concerned, of worshipping the one true God under the name of Mahometanism, together with many moral precepts, and in war only acting on the defensive, I think they have exceeded in righteousness and truthfulness of religion, the idolatrous and corrupt church that has borne the name of Christianity.”[12]

So apparently, the assertion that early Mormonism was more akin to and aligned with Islam than Christianity (while, of course, being superior, more enlightened, and a step above both) isn’t far fetched at all – in fact, it seems that early Mormon leaders enthusiastically embraced the idea.

But what about Modern Mormonism, surely it’s Christian – right?

Well, as respected Religious Journalists, Richard and Joan Ostling note, “…it is surely wrong to see Mormonism as a Christian derivative in the way that Christianity is a Jewish derivative, because the LDS faith is in radical discontinuity with historic Christianity.”[13] And expanding on the Ostlings, the late Catholic Scholar, Richard John Neuhaus clarified stating that:  “…Mormonism is inexplicable apart from Christianity and the peculiar permutations of Protestant Christianity in nineteenth-century America. It may in this sense be viewed as a Christian derivative. It might be called a Christian heresy, except heresy is typically a deviation within the story of the Great Tradition that Mormonism rejects tout court.”[14]

Continuing, Neuhaus goes on to explain:
“For missionary and public relations purposes, the LDS may present Mormonism as an ‘add-on,’ a kind of Christianity-plus, but that is not the official narrative and doctrine.

A closer parallel might be with Islam. Islam is a derivative of Judaism, and Christianity. Like Joseph Smith, Muhammad in the seventh century claimed new revelations and produced in the Quran a ‘corrected’ version of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, presumably by divine dictation. Few dispute that Islam is a new and another religion, and Muslims do not claim to be Christian, although they profess a deep devotion to Jesus. Like Joseph Smith and his followers, they do claim to be the true children of Abraham. Christians in dialogue with Islam understand it to be an interreligious, not an ecumenical, dialogue. Ecumenical dialogue is dialogue between Christians. Dialogue with Mormons who represent official LDS teaching is interreligious dialogue.”[15]

So, Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention appears to have showed great insight when he famously observed:
“I think the fairest and most charitable way to define Mormonism would be to call it the fourth Abrahamic religion – Judaism being the first, Christianity being the second, Islam being the third, and Mormonism being the fourth. And Joseph Smith would play the same character in Mormonism that Muhammad plays in Islam.”[16]

And this view isn’t limited to Christian scholars – consider this analysis by Literary and Religious Critic, Harold Bloom:
“Mr. [Mitt] Romney, earnest and staid, who is deep within the labyrinthine Mormon hierarchy, is directly descended from an early follower of the founding prophet Joseph Smith, whose highly original revelation was as much a departure from historical Christianity as Islam was and is.

Joseph Smith, killed by a mob before he turned 39, is hardly comparable to the magnificent Akiva [whom Bloom theorizes invented Judaism], except that he invented Mormonism even more single-handedly than Akiva gave us Judaism, or Muhammad, Islam.”[17]

Thus the words of an early 20th Century editoral committee for Fleming H. Revell have stood the test of time:
“It is generally observed that Mormonism is similiar to Mohammedanism in it’s endorsement of the practice of polygamy and its ideas of heaven. Many other points of similarity between these systems have been noted by students, and the Book of Mormon has marked resemblance to the Koran. As all ancient religions have a modern equivalent, Mormonism can justly be claimed to be the modern form of Mohammedanism, and not incorrectly termed ‘the Islam of America.'”[18]

So the consensus throughout the ages and on both sides of the divide has been that Mormonism isn’t Jewish, Christian, or Muslim – though it may derive forms, terms, and rites from all three. Furthermore, the parallels between Mormonism and Islam are simply too pronounced and too plentiful to ignore:

Similarities between the origins of Islam and those of Mormonism:
– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were reportedly inspired to start their movements by angelic visits.
The Archangel Jibreel (Gabriel) in the case of Muhammed, and the Angel Moroni for Joseph Smith (following a visit Smith claimed to have received from God and Jesus Christ three years earlier). In each event, the angel in question helped to prepare the prophet to receive a series of revelations from God.[20]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith left behind authorized books they claimed to be direct revelations from God, books that their followers accept as Scripture.[19]

Joseph Smith Receiving his call and The Gold Plates from the Angel Moroni– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were persecuted by hostile locals and later forced to relocate (from Mecca to Medina, and from Missouri to Illinois, respectively) during the formative periods of their careers.[19]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith established theocratic city-states during their respective ministries, Muhammad being invited to take the rule of Medina, while Joseph Smith would found Nauvoo, Illinois.[19]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith both had humble beginnings.
Neither had formal religious connections or upbringing, and both were relatively uneducated. Yet both founded new religions by creating their own scriptures. In fact, followers of both prophets claim these scriptures are miracles since their authors were the most simple and uneducated of men.[20]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith created new scripture which borrowed heavily from the Bible while simultaneously deviating from it.
In his Koran, Muhammad appropriates a number of Biblical themes and characters—but he changes the complete sense of many passages, claiming to “correct” the Bible. In so doing he changes many doctrines, introducing his own in their place. In like manner, Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon, much of which is plagiarized directly from the King James Bible. Interestingly, the Book of Mormon claims that this same Bible has been substantially corrupted and is therefore unreliable. In addition, Joseph Smith went so far as to actually create his own version of the Bible itself, the “Inspired Version,” in which he both adds and deletes significant portions of text, claiming he is “correcting” it. In so doing he also changes many doctrines, introducing his own in their place.[20]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith saw themselves as prophesied in scripture, and both saw themselves as a continuation of a long line of Biblical prophets.
Muhammad saw himself as a continuation of the ministry of Moses and Jesus.[21] Joseph Smith saw himself as a successor to Enoch, Melchizedek, Joseph and Moses. Joseph Smith actually wrote himself into his own version of the Bible—by name.[20][21]

Artist's recreation of the Book of Mormon Plates– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith held up their own scripture as superior to the Bible.
Muhammad claimed that the Koran was a perfect copy of the original which was in heaven. The Koran is therefore held to be absolutely perfect, far superior to the Bible and superceding it. In like manner, Joseph Smith also made the following claim:
“I told the Brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts, than by any other book.”[23]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith, despite their claim that the Bible was corrupt, admonished their followers to adhere to its teachings.
An obvious contradiction, this led to selective acceptance of some portions and wholesale rejection of others. As a result, the Bible is accepted by both groups of followers only to the extent that it agrees with their prophet’s own superior revelation.[20]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith claimed superiority over Jesus Christ.
Muhammad taught that Jesus was just another of a long line of human prophets, of which he was the last. He taught that he was superior to Christ and superceded Him.

In comparison, Joseph Smith also made the following claim:
“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”
(“History of the Church”, vol. 6, p.408409; )[20][24]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were polygamists who had many wives.[25]

Other similarities between Islam and Mormonism
– Belief that good deeds are required for salvation just as much as faith.[19]

– Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form;[19]

An open Koran

– Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter;[19]

– Belief that one’s marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion;[19]

– Belief that there are multiple degrees or spiritual levels in heaven;[19]

– Belief that a believer’s family, if appropriately faithful to the religion, can join them in the next world, only if they are equally faithful;[19]

– Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ;[16]

– Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity;[19]

– Absolute prohibition of alcoholic beverages,and gambling;[19]

Poll: Pastors say Mormons not Christians

Click on image to enlarge and read poll results

– Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion’s rite differs in form, frequency and purpose;[19]

– A “top down” clerical hierarchy that is drawn from the laity and placed into leadership roles, without any requirements for completing collegiate or theological training first;[19]

– Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet;[19]

–  A continuing history of sects, or splinter groups, who claim to be following the “original doctrine” of the founding leaders and whose practices include violence against dissenters and critics, as well as polygamy. [20]

Given these similarities and parallels – along with it’s long legacy of simultaneously denouncing and distancing itself from Christianity – it seems both logical, and reasonable that the LdS Church begin to proudly and publicly embrace it’s unique role as the Fourth Abrahamic Religion and drop the modern Mormon pretense that it’s Christian.[26]

[1] Mike Tannehill, “The Mormon Christ”; Mormon Expression Blogs; November 27, 2011
[2] As in the David O. McKay era and later. For a full treatment of how Mormonism slowly transitioned from a movement that considered itself separate from and atagonistic to Christianity to one that insisted that it be identified with it, see “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism” by Gregory A Prince and William Robert Wright.

This mid-20th Century shift was also lightly, but poignently discussed in the PBS Frontline documentary, “The Mormons” in Part Two.
[3] Heber C. Kimball, “Oneness Of The Priesthood – Impossibility Of Obliterating Mormonism – Gospel Ordinances – Depopulation Of The Human Species – The Coming Famine, Etc.”; July 26, 1857; Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, p.89
[4] Joseph Smith, “Teachings of Joseph Smith”, p.270
( also see “Documentary History of The Church”, pp.217-219 )
[5] John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Volume 6, p.167
[6] John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Volume 10, p.127
[7] George Q. Cannon, The Journal of Discourses, Volume 24, p.371
[8] George A. Smith, The Journals of Discourse, Volume 3, p.30
[9] George A. Smith, The Journals of Discourse, Volume 3, p. 32
[10] Joseph Smith made this statement at the conclusion of a speech in the public square at Far West, Missouri on October 14, 1838. This particular quote is documented in Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History, second edition, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), pp.230–231.

Brodie’s footnote regarding this speech contains valuable information, as follows:
“Except where noted, all the details of this chapter (16) are taken from the History of the [Mormon] Church. This speech, however, was not recorded there, and the report given here is based upon the accounts of seven men. See the affidavits of T.B. Marsh, Orson Hyde, George M. Hinkle, John Corrill, W.W. Phelps, Samson Avard, and Reed Peck in Correspondence, Orders, etc., pp. 57–9, 97–129. The Marsh and Hyde account, which was made on October 24, is particularly important. Part of it was reproduced in History of the [Mormon] Church, Volume 3, p. 167See also the Peck manuscript, p. 80. Joseph himself barely mentioned the speech in his history; see Vol. 3, p. 162.”

Please note that Bill McKeever’s artcle, “Joseph Smith – The Second Muhammad?” also contains interesting and valuable information regarding Smith’s speech based on the Marsh statement which Brodie references.
[11] Journal of Discourses, Volume 3, p.41; a transcription of the entire address can be read here.
[12] Journal of Discourses, Volume 3, p.38; a transcription of the entire address can be read here.
[13] Richard Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, “Mormon America”, p. 324
[14] Richard John Neuhaus, “Is Mormonism Christian? A Respected Advocate for Interreligious Cooperation Responds”; “First Things”, March 2000
[15] Ibid
[16] David Van Biema, “What Is Mormonism? A Baptist Answer”; Time Magazine, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007
[17] Harold Bloom, “Will This Election Be the Mormon Breakthrough?”; New York Times Sunday Review, November 12, 2011;
[18] Bruce Kinney, D.D., “Mormonism The Islam of America”; Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912; p.5.
[19] Wikipedia, “Similarities Between Muslims and Mormons”
[20] Paul T. Trask, “I Will Be a Second Muhammad”
[21] John Ankerberg & John Weldon, “The Facts on Islam”; Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1998; pp.8–9. Also see Eric Johnson, “Joseph Smith & Muhammed”; El Cajon, CA: Mormonism Research Ministry, 1998; pp.6–7.
[22] Genesis 50:26-36 of the Joseph Smith TranslationA good analysis of this topic can be found on pp.108&109 of “Part Way To Utah” by Paul Trask
[23] History of the Church, vol.4, pp.461
[24] History of the Church, vol.6, pp.408409
[25]  See “Muhammad’s wives” and “Remembering The Wives of Joseph Smith”Also note that Joseph Smith, Jr’s record (AFN: 9KGL-W2) contains the names of his polygamous wives. This is particularly interesting since as of the date of writing is owned and managed by the LdS Church.
[26]While not expliciting advocating this author’s stance in regard to assuming the “4th Abrahamic Religion” designation, some Latter-day Saint panelists on the June 14, 2011 Mormon Matters podcast (“Episode 37: Why Are Mormons Seen as “Dangerous” by Some Evangelical Christians?”) never-the-less agreed with this author that the Mormon claim that it is Christian is not only inaccurate and misleading but creating unnecessary friction and mistrust between the two groups.

This author agrees with that stance. However, you can’t drop the “Christian” label without replacing it with something. In the end, and after much thought, this author considers the “4th Abrahamic Religion” a fair and accurate stance that all parties should be able to live with.