A discussion has come up on another list about what exactly it means to
teach the gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.
Although this response that I'm about to quote was forwarded to that
list, I thought people here might find it of interest, as well. Let me
make clear this is not an "arrow" -- I am not aiming it at anyone,
especially in light of our sometimes heated discussion on Iraq, which is
why I gave it a totally new subject name. I just thought this was
interesting and encouraging, to see how much progress the Church is
making quietly and behind the scenes in the Islamic world. It reminds me
of the patient decades of work it took to get the Gospel behind the Iron
Curtain (even before the actual evil systems of government there fell).
The terms in quotes are terms that several different people on that list
used in the course of a particular thread that has paralleled out own
"War in Iraq" thread in some ways.
"Granting, for purposes of discussion, the notion that Arabs are 'happy
as clams' and 'uninterested' -- for which notion, by the way, I see
precious little evidence (at least, no more than for most other ethnic
groups) -- I don't understand how it would deliver us from the
obligation of taking the gospel to them. The Swiss, the French, and the
Swedes are, by and large, uninterested and seemingly content, as are,
overwhelmingly, the majority of people everywhere, yet we send
missionaries to them as part of our divine mandate to preach the gospel
to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. (I don't recall the
scriptures ordering us to take the gospel to 'all nations, kindreds,
tongues, and peoples except for the complacent, the satisfied, and the
"Besides, (a) a substantial minority of Arabs are, in fact, Christians,
(b) more than a few Arabs and Muslims have joined the Church
notwithstanding the current lack of formal proselytizing in
predominantly Arab and Muslim areas
and notwithstanding certain other very formidable obstacles, thus
belying the notion that they are all 'uninterested' and 'happy as
clams,' and (c) the Brethren clearly feel that the Arab/Islamic world is
worth their time and attention. (My wife and I spent a couple of hours
just last night, for instance, with a member of the Twelve, one of the
presidents of the Seventy, the ambassador of Jordan to the United
States, and their wives.)
"You may quote me.
"dcp" is Prof. Daniel C. Peterson of FARMS, ISPART* and Prof. of Arabic
at BYU. He is probably the Church's leading Arabicist (Arabist?).
* Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts,
an Institute at BYU, of which FARMS is a subsidiary, kind of like some
"imprints" are subsidiaries of larger publishing houses. ISPART hasn't
received as much publicity as FARMS but it was responsible for getting
the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit to come to SLC during the Olympics, and
they have been active in cultivating LDS-Islamic connections. Not long
ago they translated a mediaeval Muslim commentary into English for the
P.S. We have an Egyptian Copt in our stake who has a fascinating story.
Mind you, she joined the Church here in Edmonton, but her story was
included in a book, "A Moment From Eternity: True Life Accounts of
Present-day Pioneers," by Bob Layton, a well-known local radio and TV
personality who's LDS. It was put out as our stake's sesquicentennial
pioneer project. Since we're pretty far north of Mormon Country, it was
decided not to look for your run-of-the-mill pioneer stories (no offence
intended), but to look for something typical of *our* area, and Sis.
Nazek Habib's story was one of them that was selected. She's a petroleum
engineer, which is what brought her to "Oilberta." If anyone's
interested in her story, I can scan the chapter and send it to them.
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high
and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
authorís employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.
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