A Tale of Two False Prophets By Jack Kettler

The American Muhammad: Joseph Smith, Founder of Mormonism

Concordia Publishing House, 2013

by Alvin J. Schmidt, MDiv, PhD

A Review by Jack Kettler

The author, Alvin J. Schmidt, MDiv, PhD, is professor of sociology emeritus at Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL, and a fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Fraternal Organizations (1980); The Menace of Multiculturalism (1997); and How Christianity Changed the World (2004). Dr. Schmidt is professionally well prepared, in addition to being a Christian gentleman to write this thought-provoking book on seventy parallels between Mormonism's founder, Joseph Smith and Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

Because those within the world of Mormonism cannot ever accept any criticism of their founder that would call into question his claims to be a prophet, it would be helpful to see what other objective individuals are saying about Dr. Schmidt's book:

Dr. Alvin Schmidt is one of the foremost living specialists on the world's religions. ...No one is in a better position to identify the parallels between Islam and Mormonism and their radical differences as compared with creedal Christianity.” - John Warwick Montgomery, PhD, DTheol, LLD; Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Christian Thought, Patrick Henry College

“At a time when Christianity is under assault worldwide, this painstakingly researched and superbly written account of seventy parallels between the founders of two thriving socio-political faiths, Islam and Mormonism, should be compulsory reading for all.” - Uwe Siemon-Netto, PhD, DLitt Director, Center for Lutheran Theology & Public Life

“A must-read for everyone who wants to understand Joseph Smith and Muhammad. It is extremely well researhed and yet very readable. Schmidt reveals the dark side of both men in a logical, compelling way that will enlighten and equip the reader.” -Ted Baehr, JD, LHD Founder and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment

The American Muhammad is a well-written and scholarly book - fascinating, well-researched, and eye-opening!” - Bill Federer, Author of What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an and a Frequent guest on radio and TV programs.

“Alvin Schmidt in The American Muhammad did what no other Christian historian has ever done by gathering seventy valuable parallels between Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and Muhammad, the founder of Islam....What history overlooked, Schmidt provided the missing links, proving that the two flowed out of the same dark fountain.” - Walid Shoebat, Author of Why I Left Jihad (2005), nationally known speaker.

To start, we should consider the following quotes to see that Dr. Schmidt is not alone in seeing similarities between the founders of the religions in question:

“The Prophet inculcates the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies are superior to the laws of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic ocean; that like Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was, 'the Alcoran or the Sword.' So should it be eventually with us, 'Joseph Smith or the Sword.' These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adam-ondi-Ahman was between three and four hundred.”1

“Modern Mohammedanism has its Mecca at Salt Lake... Clearly the Koran was Joseph Smith's model, so closely followed as to exclude even the poor pretension of originality in his foul 'revelations.' “2

“The student of Mormonism will be struck with the similarity of experience and claims of Joseph Smith and Mohammed.”3

Schmidt's book in a scholarly fashion, presents, discusses and analyzes seventy-some parallels between Muhammad and Joseph Smith. Schmidt used as his source material for this book, the Koran, the authoritative Hadiths, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pear of Great Price.

The following list is a brief overview of Schmidt's extensive analysis:

Both Muhammad and Smith claimed to be visited by angels.

Both claimed to have received visions.

Both were illiterate or uneducated.

Both were told in visions that no true religion existed on the earth anymore.

Both claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.

Both had no knowledge of the original languages of the Bible.

Both set out to restore the lost faith as the one true religion.

Both wrote a book they claimed to have been inspired by God.

Both claimed their holy books were the most correct and perfect books on earth, even though both religions had revelations that needed to be corrected.

Both claimed the source of their revelations, a perfect copy of the Koran and Smith's gold plates are now stored in heaven.

Both claimed to be a final prophet of God.

Both seemed unaware or unconcerned with Jesus' warning of the coming of false prophets who would lead people astray.

Both were narcissists and both had an individual who functioned as an alter-ego.

Both were polygamists.

Both committed adultery by violating the seventh commandment: “Do not commit adultery” with other men's wives and both showed no concern or knowledge that had God established the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman in Genesis 2:24, and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:5.

Both borrowed from paganism and polytheism.

Both were considered military generals.

Both had to flee for their safety.

Both were theocrats.

Both named no successor.

In conclusion, Schmidt writes: “...it is important to note that Smith's and Muhammad's many parallel activities have left an enduring legacy. That legacy has affected and continues to affect not only their followers but in different ways also non-followers. Only several, some of the more salient ones, are discussed below: (1) false revelations and false prophecies, (2) anti-biblical and anti-Christian teachings, (3) polygamy, (4) aggressive proselytizing, (5) theocracy, and (6) condemning the Christian church and rejecting the cross.”4

And finally, all that needs to be said, is best stated by the Apostle Paul:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8-9


  1. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 3, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1978), p. 167.

  2. The Women of Mormonism, Frances E. Willard, 1882, Introduction, p. xvi.

  3. The Rocky Mountain Saints, T. B. H. Stenhouse 1873, p 2.

  4. Alvin Schmidt, The American Muhammad: Joseph Smith, Founder of Mormonism, (Saint Louis,Concordia Publishing House, 2013), p. 248.

End of review

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. He served as an ordained ruling elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He worked in and retired from a fortune five hundred company in corporate America after forty years. He runs two blogs sites and is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com