Before discounting the thought of any parallels existing between Mormonism and Islam, students and faculty have the opportunity to attend the 11th annual Mormon Studies Conference March 10 -11 at Centre Stage where the theme will be “Mormonism and Islam: Commonality and Cooperation Between Abrahamic Faiths.” In the 1830’s, the Mormon prophet Josheph Smith was compared to the Islamic prophet and founder, as their roles in each religion bear similarities.
These comparisons were merely attempts to demean both faiths, but they reflect a sense of cultural misunderstanding that still exists in some form today, a misunderstanding this conference aims to address.
The conference organizers hope to provide reliable information from both Mormon and Muslim experts, explore similarities and differences between the two faiths and clarify public misconceptions.
“We have a growing number of Islamic worshipers in our community and at UVU, and we want to shed some light on misconceptions of both Islam and Mormonism,” said Boyd Petersen, lecturer and program coordinator of Mormon Studies at this university, in a press release.
The conference will feature speeches by scholars and practitioners of religion, as well as panel discussions.
“We tried to draw from the local community and beyond … to bring in both practitioners of religion, as well as scholars,” Petersen continued in the press release. “We want to build bridges between academia and the general public, as well as between the faiths.”
There will be two keynote addresses, one on Thursday and on Friday. The keynotes will cover “Overcoming Injustice: The Prophet Muhammad’s Legacy for Modern Muslims” and “Mormons, Muslims and the ‘Ground Zero Mosque.’ ”
A UVU Alumn and Chairman of the Middle East Policy Council, Omar Kadar will be presenting Thursday’s address and Stephone Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University will be giving Friday’s address.
The conference will also cover additional topics, religious in nature.
The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. both days and will conclude at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday and at 2:50 p.m. on Friday.