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Archive for the ‘Mormonism’ tag

What Is Scripture: Muslims and Mormons

The Qur'an. Image from Wikimedia Commons

The Compilation of Latter-Day Saints's Standard Works. Image from Wikimedia Commons

by James Faulconer

Because of the alliterative relationship between the words “Mormon” and “Muslim” and because of widespread ignorance among Americans about both groups, it isn’t at all unusual for people to confuse Mormons with Muslims. Given events of the last ten or fifteen years and the current political campaign, that ignorance is abating for both groups.

Most people know that Mormons are not Muslims. And, probably partly because of Mitt Romney’s campaign, they fear Mormons less than Muslims. Sixty percent of those polled are comfortable or somewhat comfortable with a Mormon presidential candidate. Only 38 percent feel that way about a hypothetical Muslim candidate. So Mormons have less work to do explaining themselves than Muslims, but both share the need to do that explaining.

It isn’t unusual to have Muslim visitors come to Brigham Young University, and because of my work at the university, I’m sometimes asked to help host them. When I first started doing this, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t afraid of Muslims, but I was ignorant of them. As a result I was nervous about how to talk with them. Everything I knew about Islam was merely factual, stuff I learned in school and from books, and from reading the Quran about fifteen years ago. To my knowledge, I had visited and talked with a Muslim face-to-face only once in my life before four years ago.

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Man Explores Twelve Traditions in Twelve Months

by Amanda Greene
from The Christian Century

Andrew Bowen sat yoga-style in his armchair, absent-mindedly fingering a set of Muslim prayer beads in his left hand as he talked about 2011 — his year of conversion.

But he’s not Muslim. In fact, the 29-year-old Lumberton resident doesn’t call himself by any of the 12 faiths he practiced for a month at a time last year.

Not Hindu (January). Not Baha’i (February). Not Zoroastrian (March). Not Jewish (April). Not Buddhist (May). Not agnostic (June). Not Mormon (July). Not Muslim (August). Not Sikh (September). Not Wiccan (October). Not Jain (November). And not Catholic (December).

Finding faith in God again was not Bowen’s aim. This young father of two was looking for faith in humanity.

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Religion Stories Of 2011: The Top 11

by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
from Huffington Post

In the final days of 2011 we pause to reflect on the year that has past — the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are the HuffPost Religion Top Stories of 2011.

The Muslim Spring
It started with a simple vegetable seller in Tunisia who, humiliated by the police and autocracy, set himself on fire at the end of 2010. One year later, the seemingly eternal regimes of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have fallen to popular uprisings and several others, including Syria, appear to be teetering. Once called the Arab Spring, Islam is increasingly being recognized as the fuel that fed the fire of these revolutions — a fire that that may both warm and burn in 2012.

The Dalai Lama Steps Down
The Dalai Lama made history when he relieved himself from his responsibility as political head of the Tibetan people to concentrate solely on his role as spiritual leader; ending one of the most enduring, if benevolent, theocracies in the world. Lobsang Sangay, the Harvard-trained legal scholar, is the the new Tibetan Prime Minister in a time when frustrations with Chinese policy is leading to a fiery form of radical protests by nuns and monks.

Mormons in Politics
The potential success of the Romney presidential campaign has fed a frenzy of discussion of what it means that a Mormon is in politics. The fact that Romney is not the only Mormon candidate (Huntsman) and that the Senate Majority Leader (Reid) is also Mormon doesn’t seem to stop the endless punditry and speculation. Will religious suspicion on the part of evangelicals in the primary and secularists in the general election doom this Mormon moment?

The Muslims Are Coming, The Muslims Are Coming
Fear of the “Muslim menace,” fueled by cynical politicians and well funded think tanks, has led to anti-sharia laws proposed and passed in states around the country. The fact that these states hadno pending pro-sharia laws is apparently beside the point. Creating bulwarks instead of bridges, the anti-sharia (read Muslim) movements seem to ebb and flow according to the political tides (think Park 51 in 2010). Get ready for a flood in 2012.

The End of the World
In order to give people time to repent, people with May 21 Judgment Day signs started popping up well before the announced date of the end of the world. The “prophet” of this apocalypse was Harold Camping, an elderly man with a drawling voice heard most prominently on his Family Radio empire. People left jobs, families prepared to be raptured and as the clock ticked down, the entire world held its collective unbelieving breath. And then time went on, and oddly a little disappointed, so did we.

Presbyterians Acknowledge Gays and Lesbians Can Be Ministers
Ho hum, gays can be ministers, too. Yet, for the Presbyterian Church, one of America’s most famously and proudly plodding religious traditions, to change its laws to allow openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy was a major step forward for LGBT rights and for the Church as a whole.

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Tolerance, Dialogue, and the Intolerable

by Jason A. Kerr
from State of Formation

Some years ago, a new high school was built in my hometown. At the old high school, Mormon students had been permitted to leave campus during the day for religious instruction (“Seminary”) at a small building across the street. With the tacit aim of putting a stop to Seminary, many in the community advocated for the new school to be a “closed campus.”  But after the local ministerial association wrote a letter in favor of allowing Seminary to continue on principles of religious liberty, the school board passed—by a single vote—a closed-campus policy that made an exception for the Mormon students.

At the time, my father was assigned to oversee the Seminary program in our local stake. Accordingly, he presented a letter of gratitude on behalf of the stake to the next meeting of the ministerial association, where the ministers received him quite warmly.

The ministers hadn’t counted on Dad continuing to attend their meetings, however. As Dad put it, he arrived the next month “with the stated intent to determine whether the LDS community could have a role to play in promoting faith and values within the community.” Unfortunately, that month the association had invited a speaker to address ways of dealing with the Mormons and their missionaries.

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Patheos Summer Series: The Future of Mormonism

From Patheos

By Elder Quentin L. Cook

Earlier this year, Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke to a crowd of 13,000 students at Brigham Young University about the importance of working together to preserve religious freedom. The cardinal’s eloquent and poignant speech at the flagship university of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was evidence of significant progress in the growing relationships between our faith and other faiths that share similar concerns regarding issues of tremendous importance.

Cardinal George said, “I’m personally grateful that after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have begun to see one another as trustworthy partners in the defense of shared moral principles and in the promotion of the common good of our beloved country.”

Becoming partners in the defense of shared moral principles starts with sincere efforts by religious faiths to understand and learn from each other. One of the sweetest experiences I’ve had is to accompany other faith leaders on tours of our newly built temples, our most sacred buildings, when they are open to the public. As a result, these religious leaders come to know and understand us better. Likewise, we gain a greater understanding and appreciation for their beliefs. It’s heartwarming that those of other faiths would take the time to appreciate something that is deeply personal and meaningful to me and other Latter-day Saints.

With this newfound understanding, no faith has a desire to compromise on its doctrine or beliefs. These relationships are not ecumenical; that is, we are not trying to come to an agreement on principles of doctrinal practice, but instead there is a mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and a desire to collaborate on important issues where we find common ground.

Finding common ground has translated into interfaith initiatives having lasting, positive effects throughout the world. For three decades, we’ve worked with other faiths and aid organizations to provide humanitarian aid in 178 countries to those in critical need. As we’ve partnered with Catholic Charities, Muslim organizations, the Red Cross, and many others, there is joy and excitement that comes from putting into action what we jointly view as good and needed for our fellow men and women.

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