Abraham is said to be the father of three religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It was Abraham that first rejected the pagan gods of his father and became a monotheist that believed in the communication of the “one true God” to his subjects humankind. The Hebrews kept records of their revelations from this God and wrote them in what are now called Sacred Texts. Obviously not all writings about God and His revelations are accepted by all people as the true word of God, and it is from these splits in belief that we see the subdivision of the various religions that have sprung from a common Semitic origin. Writings that are accepted as official communication from God are called a canon.
Most Americans are somewhat familiar with the Bible and its origins. The Old Testament is comprised of the writings of Ancient prophets such as Moses and Isaiah. Jews accept these writings as authentic and call them the Torah.
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew and like his contemporaries he accepted the Hebrew Scriptures as authentic accounts of God’s dealings with mankind. However, he created trouble with the authorities of his day by claiming they had misinterpreted those texts. He also claimed that their interpretations were more legalistic, making the letter of the law more important than the spirit of the message. Jesus’ message seems intended to bring his contemporaries back to the original intent of the text. Jesus’ disciples then recorded his teachings and their own activities preaching the teachings of Jesus which became what Christians now call the New Testament.
Many 0f his contemporaries rejected Jesus and his followers, and their scriptures, preferring to maintain a hold on their ancient writings rather than accepting any new and different revelations of God.
Likewise, Muslims believe that Muhammad was a messenger or prophet similar to Moses and Isaiah. They believe that Jesus was a prophet too.
Muhammad was born in 570 of the Christian era and passed at the age of 63 in 632 A.D. meaning that he lived six centuries after Jesus Christ.
Muslims believe that Muhammad received revelations and the word of God much like previous prophets had. These revelations were written down and constitute the Holy Book know as the Qur’an. Muslims believe that Muhammad was God’s last prophet.
Much the same as the Old Testament prophets had written their experiences and communications with God, and the New Testament prophets and apostles had written their experiences with God, known through Jesus Christ, Muhammad wrote his revelation about the desires of God for mankind to find peace.
But, just as the Jews reject the validity of the New Testament, Christians reject the Qur’an as the legitimate word of God because they believe that the last prophets were the ancient disciples of Jesus. Even if a group still believes in prophesy or the authority of God to speak on matters of morality, there are very few bold enough to canonize those teachings in a sacred text.
Mormons are one of the few groups to break this mold. They accept into their canon the Book of Mormon, which they believe is an authentic revelation from God through the Prophet Joseph Smith. But like other sacred texts, the Book of Mormon is not accepted by those who already have their preferred Holy Book. The Book of Mormon anticipates this rejection of more modern Holy Words when it states:
- 3 — And because my words shall hiss forth many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
- 4 — But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
- 7 — Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
(2 Nephi 29:3-4, 7 in the Book of Mormon).
The Mormons accept the Jewish Old Testament, and the New Testament of the prophets, nevertheless they reject the Qur’an as the legitimate word of God.
It is human nature that once we settle on a particular belief, we do not accept changes or additions to that belief. The Jews reject the later teachings Jesus, the Christians and Jews reject the written word of God that proceeds from the prophet Muhammad, and all of them reject the writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Mormons accept as valid the words of the Jewish and Christian prophets, but reject the words of the Prophet Muhammad.