A new 35-page pamphlet called “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Beliefs, Values, and Lifestyles” is available at ChurchofJesusChrist.org in these languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Spanish and Turkish. German and Russian will come later. The pamphlet can also be found in these languages on the Gospel Library app by going to “Books and Lessons,” then opening “Interfaith Relations.”
The resource was first mentioned by Elders David A. Bednar and Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at a conference on Islam at Brigham Young University in October 2021 (islamconf.byu.edu). The pamphlet introduces Muslims (followers of Islam) and Latter-day Saints (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to each other. The booklet is the fruit of years of work, including collaboration with Muslim imams.
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“As we undertook this effort with Muslim colleagues, we noticed how much there is in common between the two faiths,” Elder Bednar says in the 30-minute video that accompanies the pamphlet. “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.”
While acknowledging differences between the two religions, sections in the pamphlet illustrate some of the shared beliefs. For example:
In the video, Elder Bednar repudiates disparaging remarks and generalized statements 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,” Elder Bednar says. “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.”
Also in the video, the Apostles emphasize the Church’s efforts with Muslims to defend religious freedom for everyone.
“As we meet with Muslim leaders across the world, we talk about defending religious freedom,” Elder Gong says. “People of faith need to stand together for tolerance and dignity of people of all religious beliefs.”
Elder Gong reads from an 1841 Nauvoo City ordinance that shows 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.”
Elder Bednar says the Church 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.”
Elder Bednar shares some of the comments on religious freedom he made at the virtual 2020 G20 Interfaith Forum, hosted by Saudi Arabia. At that forum, he called for solutions to COVID-19 that do not cut people off from worship experiences.
Church leaders frequently associate with Muslim leaders. This includes President Russell M. Nelson’s visit in 2019 with Muslim leaders in New Zealand to make a donation to rebuild their mosques damaged in terrorist attacks. In the same year, Elder Gong met with a Muslim leader while in Asia and Oceania. Elder Bednar has gathered in the past two years with leaders from Sudan in their country and on Temple Square. And Elder Ronald A. Rasband began a relationship with several Muslim leaders at the 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum in Italy.
This content was originally published here.