Thank you, Professor Peterson, for responding so well to Michael Youssef. One
thing I notriced about his column is that, when he states a
"similarity" between Mormons and Muslims, he then throws in something
about Muslim beliefs that is clearly offered to offend Evengeliucal Christians,
but which has NOTHING to do with Mormonism. But the juxtaposition of the
statements smears Mormons with the anti-Muslim statements. This is not only
illogical, it is downright deceptive. Frankly, I think Youssef is a
terrible example of a Christian, since he bears false witness against his
neighbors, surely not something that Christ endorsed. He spurs hatred toward
religious minorities, and is thus doing the work of Satan, just as surely as any
Muslim Jihadist. It is the example of such "Christians" that is
causing Evangelical churches like the Southern Baptists to shrink, even as the
Irony of Youssef's article is that his so-called "Biblical"
Christianity has more in common with Islam than does Mormonism.
@Bill in Nebraska says....If you honestly are seeking the answer it will
come.The problem with that statement is that you believe the answer
should be the same as your answer and that any different answer is wrong. Most
people that are seeking an answer do it honestly....including atheists. Seekers
often find different answers than you but you disregard the fact that other
honest seekers come to different conclusions than you do. You assume your
experiences and understanding should work for everybody when obviously it
doesn't. Nobody has the one and only recipe for finding answers, Bill. I could
read the entire BoM and related texts, the Bible, and sincerely pray my heart
out about it and still not find the same answers you have because my seeking
includes as much knowledge as I can possibly find about ALL belief. My honest
seeking has brought me "my truth". I've found "your truth"
very lacking in credibility and probability so I had no choice but to disregard
it. We all are honest seekers! Insisting you have the truth doesn't make it
truth....it only makes it YOUR personal truth and the truth for others who
believe the same!
Bill - you likewise do the same thing that you accuse others of doing. I quote
you parts of the word of wisdom that say you should eat meat sparingly and in
times of winter and famine. I would bet my house that you eat meat when it is
not winter. So you are breaking the word of wisdom as it was revealed by god to
Joseph Smith. That is backed up by scripture, yet you will say that this
particular aspect of the word of wisdom is now void. That would be
cherry-picking to its fullest. Talks of the leadership of the church that you
mention is not scripture. When a prophet speaks it is not scripture. You have
said that yourself. Everybody has certain doctrines and teachings they believe
and others they don't. They aren't fence sitters, they are honest - something
you should try. If you asked doctrinal belief questions to 100 different members
you may get 100 different answers. Undoubtedly you would not get 100 of the same
answers. Ignorance will not grant eternal life - correct, it is almost as if you
were preaching to yourself on that one Bill. Cherry picking to convert people is
It is so funny that Brahmabull and others state about cherry picking. Well lets
see, they cherry pick what to believe about the Word of Wisdom, about the Book
of Mormon, about having a living prophet upon the earth. The question comes
back you can't decide what you will believe in, what doctrine is wrong because
that is not your place to do so. Everything Mr. Peterson states and I have
stated is backed up by scripture and the talks of the leadership of the Church.
There is no judgement in this. You can't be ignorant today. You can't sit on
the fence and decide well I believe this but don't this. There is no fence
sitting. Either you believe or you are striving to believe, but you can't say I
don't believe this but believe this.Ignorance will not grant you
eternal life. We have the Book of Mormon, we have the Doctrine and Covenants,
we have the Bible, we have the Pearl of Great Price and we have living prophets
on the earth today. The Gospel in its fullness is here for everyone. There is
no cherry picking unless you don't believe. Listen to the Prophets.
Daniel Peterson writing an article about cherry-picking.... now that is funny.
Bill in Nebraska will cherry pick to mislead, he claims I cherry pick to
mislead, and now Daniel Peterson (who also cherrypicks with almost every
article) is accusing another of cherry picking. All too funny.
%Rockon, I really like your philosopy. And I really wish the world was like
that. But unfortunatly it is not and religion is one of the most destructive and
deadly endeavors of man. As a society man will have to learn to understand and
control religion or it will eventually destroy civilized society for man. There
is more fear and enmity over religion in todays world than there is politics.
Perhaps, in a small, small way people talking about it, like with these posts,
will help for better understanding and hopefully one day a solution to the
problem. I would like to see a truth in preaching law like there is in
advertising and lending. If it can't be honestly labeled of content and prove of
truth, then it can not be sold to the innocent public.
Great article, Dan. It's a simple article and very clear. How people fail to
understand is simply they wish to destroy.I do not care what anyone
believes unless they seek to directly harm others. C'est le vie. Everyone take a deep breath and leave everyone else alone. After the handbook
on teaching pigs to sing clearly says it is a waste of time. The pig isn't going
to sing and you'll just end up annoying the pig.Cut the
"anti" palaver against every religion and let people enjoy their truth
or fantasy so long as it isn't seeking to directly harm you.But
that's too much to expect in the real world instead of my charmed mental palace.
%Bill in Nebraska, I have the feeling that you are a man of good quality who may
have found happiness in your goodness and believes. However, I think for the
most part you are preaching to the choir here. Most of the posters here are
Mormons like yourself. Others, like myself, are people interested in people and
their thoughts and wish to learn from other's ideas. If you go outside of your
circle you will find true believers as ardent about their faith as you are about
yours. Every claim you make to substantiate your believe they use the same
rational. Those are the people you need to be preaching to: to see if you do
possess something special that they don't have. Myself, I like Mormonism as much
as I like most other isms; I have a lot of questions about Joseph Smith. I
wonder what kind of world it would be under Mormonism. I guess that is about as
good of way as any to judge the desirability of a religion.
Being a part of God's one and only true church certainly answers some questions
to life's mysteries, but it also makes it difficult because you can't apologize
that God happens to have one true church and you happen to be one of its
members. These are the subjective facts, plain and simple. So I can't fault
anyone for speaking boldly about their religion, but I'd sure like to.
@Bill, I think Vanka and krissy are right. You're right too: the spirit doesn't
lie. Only... what is truth? Is it the kind that is painted in a masterpiece,
sung in an opera, or revealed by a quantifiable, tangible experiment of science?
See, the thing is that we all have a hole in our hearts in the shape of God.
Blaise Pascal said something like that and I believe it. For many people,
though, it's a differently shaped void. Sam Keen was awakened one
night. He had a powerful burning in his heart; light and understanding coursed
through his body. His conversion experience confirmed his agnosticism. I know an
atheist who was visited by his diseased ancestors with messages of love. Oddly,
his atheism was confirmed. I witnessed a young man who had lived a rough life be
baptized into the LDS church. I saw the unmistakable look of joy in his face; he
had walked in the desert and finally found living water! I felt it too. I saw
the exact same thing happen to a man who finally met the lead singer of a rock
band he adored. What do you make of it?
Re: Kazbert"It sounds like Peterson is arguing against drawing
parallels between Mormonism and Islam mainly because Islam is a religion that
many Americans fear."Actually, it was Dr Youssef, and not Dr
Peterson, who drew parallels between Mormonism and Islam precisely because Islam
is a religion that many Americans fear. Youssef operates within the view that
Islam is evil (non-Christian), and through guilt by association he wants his
readers to classify Mormonism as non-Christian. Peterson's article
is designed to address Youssef's claims from within Youssef's own framework:
Does this alleged set of Mormon/Islamic similarities justify classifying
Mormonism as non-Christian (evil)? Peterson simply exposes the deceptions and
inaccuracies in Youssef's proposed similarities. His article is not intended to
address the underlying fear of Islam. People (especially Islamic
scholars) who are familiar with Peterson's writings and career know that he has
done as much as anyone to build bridges of understanding and trust between
Muslims and Mormons.
@Bill; There are many similarities between Islam and Mormonism, but also
significant differences.Along with Christians, Muslims believe that
God created all that exists ex nihilo (out of nothing). Mormonism is quite
different in its cosmology, claiming that God fashioned the universe out of
preexisting material. God is eternal in some forms of LDS theology, but so is
preexisting matter, including the material used by God to create human
beings.Mormonism has more in common with ancient pagan religions and
ancient Greek philosophy(polytheism) than it does with the Jewish, Christian,
and Muslim belief in creation ex nihilo. The issue of creation relates to
other significant world view issues, such as the source of moral values, the
problem of evil, and Gods power. It is important to note that ones belief in
creation has significant consequences and, in the case of Mormonism, the
solutions are inadequate. For instance, is the Mormon God too weak
to create ex nihilo? If so, then is he less than omnipotent? In contrast, the
Christian explanations of creation ex nihilo, the fall, and redemption offer
better explanations of the observable universe and of moral values.
I also take offense at the arrogance with which commenters display their truth.
Indeed, many of us have sincerely sought answers and got them. It is possible
to have faith in God and his Son Jesus Christ and not received Moronis promise.
Your interpretation to the Holy Ghost can indeed lie. Talk to any victim of
religious persecution. I also refuse to believe that the spirit of the devil is
with me when I pray. Thank goodness I dont cherry pick parallels to justify my
There you go again, Bill, calling those of us "dishonest" who have
sought, but got a different "truth" than you...When will
you actually listen to your own prophets: do not judge unrighteously.
Skeptic those who have honestly seeked the truth will find it in a way that is
different than the norm does. The Holy Ghost/Spirit does not lie, however, the
spirit of the Devil does. This is why it really is a matter of having faith in
God and his son Jesus Christ that is paramount to receiving the truth. When one
experiences the same over and over again through the same manner, it becomes
pure knowledge and not a belief. This is the problem that science can not and
will not be able to remanufacture regardless what they say. It just won't
happen. Just as the scriptures state that the so called wise man is a fool when
it comes to the Spirit. Intellectuals for the most part can't and will not be
able to understand how or when the spirit is talking to them. Therefore, when
they say they receive nothing, it is correct because it takes a MEEK person to
understand and listen to the spirit. As someone knows though, not everyone is
meek and humble all of the time so there are times when nothing is received or
heard. This leaves it to faith.
%Bill in Nebraska, Thank you for your thoughts, the problem is that following
your outline of methodology of arriving at your conclusion favoring Mormonism
isn't any different from other's studies of their religion and arriving at
different conclusion from yours; often times diametrically opposed to yours.
Therefore, it seems that you really don't know anything more than the others;
you like the others, choose to believe what you choose to believe. And that is
the extend of it: you beleive, they believe; and you have different believes.
Which is probably a good thing, if not, and if there is a god then he would have
(could have) made things clear to all. Right. It may just be a matter of what
ever makes you happy. Good luck.
Beware of people who have little positive to offer but who specialize in
criticizing and tearing down other people's beliefs. How is that a Christian
A very thought-provoking column on cherry-picking similarities. I have long
wished that critical thinking would be a mandatory class in public schools
(perhaps in high school). Too much of our thinking is made up of unopposed
illogic, and debates carried on with illogic on both sides.There is
one problematic statement for me: plainly intended to subtly
demonize the faith of the Latter-day Saints by associating it with a religion
that many Americans fear.Im confident that it was unintentional on
Petersons part (and indeed may perhaps merely be due to my own perceptions), but
this phrasing sounds in my ears like an indirect attack on Islam. It sounds
like Peterson is arguing against drawing parallels between Mormonism and Islam
mainly because Islam is a religion that many Americans fear. That is a valid
point, but I think it would have been well to add that the fear is irrational.
Leaving it as is sounds like Peterson feels the fear of Islam is justified.
As usual the same critics are the first to jump in with their versions to stir
up the debate. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
follow the biblical references much more closely than others Christian sects do.
This has been proven by many polls that although most members are can not site
scripture and verse they can relate the stories and the meanings far better than
most other Christians. Some critics go even so far as to say many members don't
know their own history and thus are naive in their faith. The problem is that
every area that most of the critics have questioned, so have many LDS members.
The fact is that the answers we have given back coincide a lot with that of the
Leadership of the LDS Church. Is this based on blind faith. NO it is because
many times we have searched, researched, searched again and then in the end ask
our Heavenly Father if that answer is true. As is the case most often the
Spirit (Holy Ghost) has confirmed that belief. There comes a time where belief
will and does become pure knowledge of said statements.
This article does exactly what it is supposed to do; show the other side of the
coin that Youssef blatantly ignores. Youssef has picked only the certain
elements of certain ideas (ie. scripture outside of the Bible) that are similar
between Mormons & Muslims, & disregarded the essential differences
between the elements of those same ideas (ie. the Qur'an denying the divinity of
Christ as the Son of God, & the Book of Mormon's affirmation of the Biblical
doctrine of Christ's divine Sonship). Youssef has made every connection he can
between the Mormons & Muslims while failing to acknowledge the overwhelming
differences between them, while simultaneously denying the overwhelming
similarities between Mormonism's version of Christianity & his own version
of Christianity. Youssef has one eye shut. The issue isn't about who's right or
wrong; it's about giving an accurate & fair portrayal of Islam vs. Mormon
Christianity vs. Baptist Christianity.And using the same book of
scripture (ie. The Bible) & interpreting it's doctrines differently is not
"cherry-picking"; the accusations against Mormon apologists being
guilty of the same hypocrisy Youssef has shown is not a fair comparison.
Vanka, I think you have a good point. Finding "parallels" is a
favorite technique of apologists. I have seen the technique used, fore example,
to demonstrate how modern doctrines or practices in Mormonism existed in ancient
Christianity. Once a sufficient body of data has been collected, it is usually
possible to find at least some points that seem to support a variety of
hypotheses. These points are gathered together and (in a manner of speaking) a
"bulls-eye" is drawn around them to lend credibility to a particular
claim.In fact, we all do this. We need this sort of thinking in
order to make sense of the world and to feel confident with our beliefs. I have
sometimes heard this referred to as "confirmation bias." Yes, it is
selective cherry-picking of the evidence. We take what makes sense to us and
leave behind what does not, at least until we come up with some way of weaving
it into our own narrative.
Youssef's conclusion seems to be based on the premise that Islam is deep,
daaaark, and terrible... ooooooo... spoooky (careful, there may be an Islamist
under your bed children). Mormonism is like Islam. Therefore it is also
spoooky. What a syllogism.First of all, I do not share Youssef's
premise that Islam is bad. Frankly, there are many things I appreciate about my
Abrahamic brothers (and Sisters). Their reverence for their prophet resonates
with my soul. I love how seriously they take the name of Allah - that they speak
of him with an abiding sense of holiness and of his influence in their lives.
Having read an english translation of the Qu'ran, the tenets of Islam seem to me
matters of peace, reverence, honor and respect.And frankly, I don't
balk at favorable comparisons to Islam, any more than I worry about positive
correlations to "orthodox" Christianity. But I am also very happy to
call out the differences.Pagan, you are correct - I do not expect my
faith to prove the truth of my faith to you. I do hope my behavior is an
appropriate expression of my faith.
"Cherry-picking similarities while failing to mention major differences is
a powerful way to misrepresent and mislead."What about
cherry-picking consistencies while failing to mention major inconsistencies?
That is also a powerful way to mislead. Yet Peterson himself did just that in
last week's column. See "Book of Mormon's consistency, complexity still
amaze" An apologist's job could be defined as cherry picking only the
supportive material, and Peterson has made a career out of it. So, I don't
think he should be the one to critique Youssef.
@RG"Furthermore, the famous scripture in Revelations about "not
adding" applies to man, not God"More specifically the
"add to the prophecy of this book" clearly refers to John's prophecy
in the Book of Revelation. So basically, it's "don't mess with altering the
wods in the Book of Revelation.
It seems that Youssef is added to a long list of so called
intelligent/knowledgeable people who are more comfortable seeking to live in a
world dark with shadow and falsehoods than in the bright sun light of truth.
'Offering an example, he observes that "They both have their own book of
'sacred scripture.' " Which is true, of course. In fact,
Mormonism has four such books. And while those Mormon books don't include the
Qur'an, they do include the Bible a fact that Youssef somehow omits. Islam
doesn't accept the Bible as authoritative scripture, but Mormonism emphatically
does.' - Article This article dosen't make sense to me.
On the one hand, it ACKNOWLEDGES the similarities then... claims
they are different. In this paragraph for example. This author in
this article agrees with the previous author about the 'book of scripture.' A
factual statement. Then, this author tries to make the distiction by
relying on the BELIEF OF said faith to seperate the two books of scripture. 'And while those Mormon books don't include the Qur'an, they do include
the Bible a fact that Youssef somehow omits.' Youssef was NOT
trying to say Mulsims believe Jesus Christ is the savior, he was still... citing books of scripture. Relying on your faith, to
support your faith is self-fulling prophecy. As, anyone who agrees
with you, belives as you do. Others, will not be swayed.
How are grapes like elephants? They're both purple, except for the elephant. As
a regular reader of Townhall, I read Youseff's column. He's a good guy but this
column was poorly thought. I'm tired of people claiming LDS are not Christian
because we believe in extra-Biblical scripture. A local columnist recently made
the same charge in the weekly paper, and in my published rebuttal I noted that
the Bible doesn't contain the word "Bible," or claim that all
scriptures are in the Bible, or that there cannot be any more. Furthermore, the
famous scripture in Revelations about "not adding" applies to man, not
God; and when it was written, there was no Bible. It is a coincidence that
Revelations happened to be the last book. Just because the Bible is the only
book of scripture the world has known about for centuries does not mean there
can't be more, although people who are so used to the idea that the Bible and
the "word of God" are one and the same sometimes have a hard time
thinking outside the box. Modern revelation existed throughout Biblical times;
therefore Biblical Christians are those who accept modern revelation.
Mormonism and Islam may not be all that similar in terms of doctrine, but the
two faiths do share some things in common.There are many people who
make fun of Muslim clothing, protest the building of mosques, claim that Muslims
are all terrorists, inaccurately demonize and misrepresent Islamic teachings,
preach that a devout Muslim cannot be a loyal American citizen, and suggest that
Muslims should be consigned to second-class status in the American political
arena.These are usually the same people who make fun of LDS
garments, protest the building of LDS temples, claim that Mormons are all
racists, inaccurately demonize and misrepresent LDS teachings, preach that a
Mormon president would answer to the LDS prophet instead of answering to the
Constitution, and suggest that Mormons should be consigned to second-class
status in the American political arena.It is particularly sad to see
some Mormons, who defend Mormonism against unfair and inaccurate attacks, have
no qualms with perpetuating bigoted and stereotypical attacks on Muslims.
Intolerance should be frowned upon, whether it is aimed against us Mormons or
against anyone else.
18 Hours ago, Justin Hart called him out on his deception in a piece entitled,
"Mormonism and Islam: Another Look" on the Town Hall website.
Cherry picking similarities is a powerful way to mislead. It goes both ways.
Comparing Mromonism to Islam puts Mormonism in a bad light. However, some
Mormons compare their religion to "traditional" Christian beliefs in a
similar way. They say they believe that Jesus is their Savior. What
they don't say is that they believe that salvation to them does not exactly mean
what it means to other Christians, who believe that salvation means spending
eternity in the presence of Heavenly Father. Instead they believe that
"that type" of salvation isn't given by Christ but awarded by works.
In this way that religion appears to be the same as evangelical Christianity,
when in fact it is not.
With all the "cherry-picking parallels" being used by FAIR, Maxwell
Institute, and other apologists, Daniel Peterson has the gumption to call out an
evangelical preacher for doing it?Matt. 15:7-9
Early apostles of the LDS church did make comparisons between Islam and Mormons,
but their comparisons were much more respectful of both religions. And, unlike
this Youssef guy, they actually knew enough about both religions to know what
they were talking about.