This weekend’s Hamblin-Peterson column in the Deseret News:
Although he’s sadly far from alone in purveying this nonsense, the most vocal advocate of the “Allah is a pagan moon god” meme apparently continues to be a rather . . . um, colorful Evangelical writer by the name of Robert Morey.
I once had a run-in, many years ago, with Dr. Morey. It was just after my wife and I had moved to Utah and into our new home. The internet wasn’t yet a factor in our lives — yes, we’re that unimaginably old — so all of this took place by snail mail.
A lady wrote to me from somewhere, asking me what I thought of Robert Morey’s apparent claim to have read every book in the Library of Congress on Mormonism before writing his rather slim little book How to Answer a Mormon. (A prolific author, radio guest, speaker, and organizer, Morey has, as of today, published something on the order of twenty books on various “cults” and “false religions,” including many on Islam and one entitled How to Answer a Jehovah’s Witness. In 2007, he issued a volume entitled Is Eastern Orthodoxy Christian? I haven’t seen the book and don’t know how he answered his question, but, alas, I’m not particularly optimistic.) She plainly admired the How to Answer a Mormon, and thought that it was the definitive work on the subject.
I had never heard that claim of his before, but I responded that I didn’t believe it. I noted that more books are published on Mormonism every year than anybody can realistically keep pace with, and that the Library of Congress’s collection on Mormonism is very large and has been accumulating since the 1830s. Moreover, I pointed out, there was absolutely no sign, in How to Answer a Mormon, of such reading. Not merely because the book isn’t very good — which it isn’t — but, simply, because it cites almost nothing. There isn’t anything in the book to suggest great learning or erudition on the subject of Mormonism; it’s pretty much the usual run-of-the-mill Evangelical anti-Mormon polemic.
Evidently, the lady immediately passed my comments on to Dr. Morey because, within a week or so, a letter from the author himself showed up with the mail at my house. It was so impassioned and angry that I was frankly surprised that it hadn’t melted my mailbox.
Dr. Morey denounced me as a lazy pseudo-scholar. He said that he always systematically reads every title in the Library of Congress on a religion before he writes about it. He had, for example, read every book in the Library’s collection on Islam before writing on that subject. Maybe I was too slothful to do such basic work, but he certainly wasn’t!
I’m afraid that I wasn’t convinced. The number of books published on Mormonism is enormous, and I don’t believe that anybody has read them all, could read them all, or would even find it remotely useful to have read them all. But if titles on Mormonism are extremely numerous, titles on Islam are virtually uncountable. There isn’t a scholar on the planet who has read them all. It would be physically impossible.
His claim was ludicrous, and I didn’t respond.