It's unjust to say LDS Church is anti-Semitic

By Dan Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 15 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

The "First Aliyah" or Jewish emigration to Palestine can be dated to 1882, and many consider 1897, the year in which the First Zionist Congress met in Basel, Switzerland, to create the World Zionist Organization, as the birth year of practical Zionism.

Mormonism isn't committed to any particular position on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but, plainly, while many Jews were abandoning the idea, a Mormon apostle was praying for their return to Jerusalem. And, while many Christians have used the Bible to justify prejudice against Jews, the Book of Mormon expressly condemns such prejudice.

It's simply unjust to claim that Mormonism is anti-Semitic.

Daniel C. Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU, where he also serves as editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and as director of advancement for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He is the founder of He blogs daily at

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