Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (of Islam)

Posted: July 26, 2015 in Fred Anson, Islam, Mormon Studies


Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami’ al-Tawarikh (literally “Compendium of Chronicles” but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, (c.1307 CE)

by Fred W. Anson
In the wild world of Mormon Studies “parallel-mania” probably no subject has received more scrutiny and scorn than the parallels between Mormonism and Islam. A lot of ink has been spilled over it and there will, no doubt, be a lot more. I have been as guilty as anyone else in this regard. For example, in a previous article I pointed to the following similarities in support of my thesis that Mormonism is in fact more akin to Islam than Christianity and therefore should drop the pretense that it’s Christian and simply assume it’s place as the Fourth, distinct and unique, Abrahamic Religion:

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were reportedly inspired to start their movements by angelic visits.
The Archangel Jibreel (Gabriel) in the case of Muhammad, 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.[1]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith left behind authorized books they claimed to be direct revelations from God, books that their followers accept as Scripture.[2]
The Koran in the case of Muhammad and the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants in the case of Joseph Smith. The Brighamite followers of Joseph Smith (which is represented by today’s Salt Lake City denomination of Mormonism) later added The Pearl of Great Price which is a compilation of various and sundry revelations and scripture generated by Smith during his ministry.

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were persecuted by hostile locals and later forced to relocate during the formative periods of their careers.[3]
Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, and Joseph Smith from Missouri to Illinois.

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith established theocratic city-states during their respective ministries.
Muhammad was invited to take the rule of Medina turning it into a Theocracy, while Joseph Smith would found Nauvoo, Illinois and assumed absolute power as God’s prophet.[4]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith 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.[5]

– 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 Joseph Smith Translation (aka “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.[6]

– 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.[7] Joseph Smith saw himself as a successor to Enoch, Melchizedek, Joseph and Moses.[8] Joseph Smith actually wrote himself into his own version of the Bible—by name.[9]

– 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.”[10]

– 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.[11]

– 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 superseded Him.[12]

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.”[13]

– Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were polygamists who had many wives.
Muhammad had thirteen (13) wives including his first wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid. Joseph Smith had at least thirty four (34) wives including his only legal wife, Emma Smith.[14]

Other similarities between Islam and Mormonism
– Belief that good deeds are required for salvation just as much as faith.[15]

– Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form.[16]

– Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter.[17]

– Belief that one’s marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion.[18]

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

– Both engage in institutionalized testimony bearing. The Shahada in the case of Islam and the formulaic 5-point Mormon Testimony in Mormonism. 

– Lying to outsiders in order to protect the religion is considered acceptable – even virtuous: The Taqiyya in the case of Islam and “Lying for the Lord” in the case of Mormonism.  

– 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.[20]

– Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ.[21]

– Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity.[22]

– Absolute prohibition of alcoholic beverages,and gambling.[23]

– Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion’s rite differs in form, frequency and purpose.[24]

– 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.[25]

– Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet.[26]

–  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. [27]

While these parallels are rather broad and general, Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene found some surgically piercing parallels from Islamic and Mormon sources, bundled them up, and presented them in an amusing video:

Since they flash by so quickly on the screen during the video, here are those references:[28]

Reestablishing the one true religion
“Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man who had surrendered (to Allah), and he was not of the idolaters.”
Surah 3:67

“There is no reproach for the Prophet in that which Allah maketh his due. That was Allah’s way with those who passed away of old – and the commandment of Allah is certain destiny – Who delivered the messages of Allah and feared Him, and feared none save Allah. Allah keepeth good account. Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is ever aware of all things.”
Surah 33:38-40

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’”
Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History, 1:18-19, Joseph Smith

Christians changed the Bible
“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.”
Surah 4:157

Joseph Smith
John 1:1 (Joseph Smith Translation)
“In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.”
(Meaning: Jesus is not God)
– versus-
John 1:1 (KJV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
(Meaning: Jesus is God)

Rejection of the the Trinity
“And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? He saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right.”
Surah 5:116

“I will preach on the plurality of Gods… I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.”
–  “Sermon in the Grove”; History of the Church 6:474, Joseph Smith

“We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons.”
“The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent”
Jeffery R. Holland (LDS Apostle June 23, 1994-present), General Conference, Fall 2007

“where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being.”
“Godhead”, official LDS Church website

Rejection of justification by grace through faith
“They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire.”
Surah 5:72

Joseph Smith
“The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil.”
“The Articles of Faith”, James Talmage, (LDS Apostle, 1911-33), pg. 432

Good Works Required for Salvation
“To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward.”
Surah 5:9

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
The Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith, article 3

Multiple Levels of Heaven
Seven Levels: Firdaus, ‘Adn, Na’iim, Na’wa, Darussalaam, Daarul Muaqaamah, Al-Muqqamul, Amin, Khuldi
(click here for supporting evidence from an Islamic source) 

Three Degrees of Glory: Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial
(click here for supporting evidence from an official Mormon source)

Higher levels of heaven based on perfect obedience
“Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straightness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others). And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults– and who forgives the faults but Allah, and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done. (As for) these– their reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and excellent is the reward of the laborers.”
Surah 3:134-136

“They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. They are they who are the church of the Firstborn…These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.”
Doctrines & Covenants 76:51-54, 70

“And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four.”
Surah 4:3

“And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.”
Doctrines & Covenants 132:61

Change in theology based on political environment
When politically weak in Mecca: Let’s be friends, Christians and Jews!
“And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.'”
Surah 29:46

When politically strong in Medina: Die, Christians and Jews, die!
“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
Surah 2:191

Before wanting statehood for Utah: God says we must practice polygamy!
“I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant [polygamy]; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”
Doctrine & Covenants 132:3, Joseph Smith (July 12, 1843)

“It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: “We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,”—the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.”
– Journal of Discourses 11:268-269, Brigham Young, “Remarks by President Brigham Young, in the Bowery, in G.S.L. City,” (August 19, 1866), bolding added for emphasis

After wanting statehood for Utah: God says we can’t practice polygamy!
“The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice. If we had not stopped it, you would have had no use for … any of the men in this temple at Logan; for all ordinances would be stopped throughout the land of Zion. Confusion would reign throughout Israel, and many men would be made prisoners. This trouble would have come upon the whole Church, and we should have been compelled to stop the practice.”
“Cache Stake Conference, Logan, Utah, Sunday, November 1, 1891”, Wilford Woodruff (4th LDS President), Reported in Deseret Weekly, November 14, 1891

“Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.”
– Doctrine & Covenants, Official Declaration-1, Wilford Woodruff (4th LDS President), October 6, 1890 (date of canonization into LDS Scripture)

The pre-existence of souls
“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! we bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were heedless of this.”
Surah 7:172

“And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.”
The Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham 4:23-26

Mormonism’s explanation for why some people are black, based on the pre-existence:
“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits.”
“Doctrines of Salvation”, Joseph Fielding Smith (10th LDS President) 1:61, 65-66

Summary and Conclusion
It’s been said that Satan isn’t very original or creative and his best ideas are stolen. And based on the stunning parallels between Islam and Mormonism alone there seems to be some truth to it. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries Mormonism was often referred to as “The Islam of America” and now you know why.

Joseph Smith receiving the golden plates from the angel Moroni. “The Restoration” by L.A. Ramsey (1873-1941)

Paul T. Trask, “I Will Be a Second Muhammad”

[2] Wikipedia, “Similarities Between Muslims and Mormons”

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Op cit, Trask

[7] John Ankerberg & John Weldon, “The Facts on Islam”; Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1998; pp.8–9. Also see Eric Johnson, “Joseph Smith & Muhammad”; El Cajon, CA: Mormonism Research Ministry, 1998; pp.6–7.

[8] Op cit, Trask

[9] Op cit, Ankerberg & Weldon

[10] History of the Church, vol.4, pp.461

[11] Op cit, Trask

[12] Op cit, Trask

[13] History of the Church, vol.6, pp.408–409

[14] See “Muhammad’s wives” and “Remembering The Wives of Joseph Smith”Also note that Joseph Smith, Jr’s record 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.

[15] Op cit, Wikipedia

[16] Op cit, Wikipedia

[17] Op cit, Wikipedia

[18] Op cit, Wikipedia

[19] Op cit, Wikipedia

[20] Op cit, Wikipedia

[21] David Van Biema, “What Is Mormonism? A Baptist Answer”; Time Magazine, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

[22] Op cit, Wikipedia

[23] Op cit, Wikipedia

[24] Op cit, Wikipedia

[25] Op cit, Wikipedia

[26] Op cit, Wikipedia

[27] Op cit, Trask

[28] The text that follows was derived from Pastor Fiene, “A Latter Day Re-Gift Quotes” with some additions to the Mormon sources by this author.


  1. Eric Lopez says:

    Those are some pretty terrible references bro. The author decided to quote something that Joseph never said himself, only a repeat by a dissented Mormon who used that quote to attack Smith who also later joined the Church again, which casts further doubt that Smith ever said that. Also, it extensively quotes Wikipedia. Sad to see that this is a dot ORG site.


    • It’s pretty clear you didn’t even bother actually reading the article Bro!

      For a start, the Thomas Marsh affidavit citation that you’re referring to[1] doesn’t even appear in this article – it was only used as an epigraph to promote this article on Facebook. In addition, the article quotes from many sources other than Wikipedia. And if you had bothered to click through to the Wikipedia article that is cited you would see why it was selected as a source: It condenses and consolidates from multiple Mormon and non-Mormons sources into a single, easy to reference, well documented location. Finally, the article also cites directly from the Koran and Mormon scripture as well as the other sources previously referred to. As I stated at the beginning “Bro” you didn’t read the article or give it’s content any fair or serious consideration – it’s obvious.

      As for your annoying, “sad to see that this is a dot ORG site” refrain, there’s no much to say that your ignorance of how the Internet domain system works hasn’t already said. The .org suffix was selected to send a clear message to ad-homineming Mormons like yourself (that think that such fallacious arguments are rational and reasonable) that no one is making any money here. In fact, it’s an “It costs the owner money out of his own pocket” website.” So, yes, Mr. Lopez this is indeed a non-profit website and always will be. Therefore, the .org suffix in is perfectly justified and appropriate.

      In closing, Mr. Lopez I would suggest that you actually start reading the articles, giving their content serious consideration, and then (and most importantly) get your facts straight before you comment. In fact, unless your future comment comply with the site moderation guidelines (see they won’t be approved from this point onward. I have been gracious to this point but my patience has run out.

      Thank you.

      [1] “I will be a second Mohammed to this generation…whose motto, in treating for peace, was ‘the Alcoran [Koran] or the Sword,’ so shall it be eventually with us, ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword.'”
      — Joseph Smith (History of the Church 3:167)


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