Monday, December 29, 2003

Parallels: more on al-Islam, the Mormonism of the East
Western Catholicism has a bastard, Mormonism, by way of Protestantism and Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's imaginations. Eastern Christianity has its bastard, Islam, by way of Nestorianism, pagan Arab religion and Muhammad's own ideas.

Mormons have the Book of Mormon, 'another testament of Jesus Christ' (a slogan that should set off warning bells in any well-taught Protestant). Muslims have the Koran.

Both religions use Christian historical figures (Jesus and Mary figure prominently in the Koran) and terms but not in Christian ways.

Both in their original forms have plural marriage with multiple wives.

Both haven't got clergy in the sense that the orthodox Christian churches do - every practising Mormon man is a 'priest'.

Both ban alcoholic drinks.

The 19th-century Protestantism (really represented by evangelicalism today) that begat Mormonism also resembles Islam with a very simple theology and soteriology - a weak understanding of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ and 'just believe in Jesus and be saved for ever' is a lot like Muslims' denial of the Trinity and 'just confess that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet'.

They're wrong, they're no longer Christian, but culturally they're still kin - which is why Mormons blend in so well in American society. (Many people think they're just another conservative Protestant church, an impression I think the Mormons themselves encourage.)

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