We’re going to conquer the world . . . politely

I was once out shopping with two friends: one a devout Muslim and the other your garden variety who-gives-a-toss-about-religion Anglican. This was back when I believed firmly in Mormonism, and myself and the Muslim began teasing one another in friendly fashion about who would be able to convert the other first. I don’t remember the precise words but this is an approximation of the conversation.

Me: Our missionaries were interested in meeting your Imam.
Muslim: Do they want to try to convert him?
Me: Dunno. Maybe they will.
Muslim: Or maybe they’ll be converted to Islam.
Anglican: You two are both trying to take over the world.
Me: “Take over” is a bit harsh, isn’t it?
Anglican: I don’t think so.
Muslim: It depends on the context of the word, but yes, we will take over in the sense that we will become the dominant religion on the planet. Everyone will join Islam, but it will be a willing conversion.
Me: Wait, wait. You’ve stolen my church’s plan.
Muslim: We’ll see who’s right then.

Christians, Mormons and Muslims have a stated goal to conquer the world. Most believe this will be a voluntary, happy process. Few think it should be done with violence or intimidation. But all varieties of monotheists can agree that whilst other faiths should be restricted or at least not promoted, spreading their own is no problem. Members of a particular sect never think of their activities as imperialistic or threatening. They are simply taking over the world. Politely.

Incidentally, the Muslim friend (who guest posted here as Fatimah) is now also an atheist. The who-gives-a-toss-about-religion Anglican still doesn’t give a toss about religion, and is still nominally Anglican.

Where Muslims often teach that all people are born Muslim (and prefer the term “revert” to “convert”), Mormons believe that eventually everybody will be transformed into a Mormon. The bonus round provided by Mormonism seems kinder than the options provided by Islam or Christianity, which hold that if you chose wrong in this life you are doomed to burn. On the other hand, posthumous conversion shows terrible disrespect for the lifestyle a deceased person chose for themselves. Even if you died for being a Jew. I was baptised by proxy for my grandmother, who died when I was a teenager. She knew all about Mormonism. I do not know if she objected when my mother converted. I never heard her discuss religion with my mother, which is odd because my mum (like a good Mormon) brings up the gospel as often as possible in daily conversation. Every member a missionary, eh? When my mum married my dad, Gran and my grandfather stood outside the temple, shut out from the ceremony because they were not Mormons. I remember in Sunday School seeing object lessons where a very long bit of string was stretched out. The length of string represented eternity, and this life was a tiny little knot on the string. Since I’d been baptised for my Gran just a few earth years after my mum’s wedding, it seems silly that they didn’t let her in to view the sealing. After all, if they were just going to forcibly convert her once she was dead, what difference does it make? She ends up a member one way or the other.

Depending 100% on your viewpoint, aggressive evangelism of the type employed by Mormons, Muslims, and other faiths with imperialistic leanings (read: Monotheism) is either a friendly effort to square those who don’t know any better with the will of God or a horrifying attempt to conquer the world. I suppose it just depends on your perspective.

2 thoughts on “We’re going to conquer the world . . . politely

  1. Sounds like an interesting shopping trip, and your suggestion that the missionaries might convert the imam made me smile. Years ago I was sitting in a RS “Cultural Refinement” lesson in a BYU married student ward. The teacher was discussing an Islamic country, then made the aside that “Islam is a huge religion — almost as big as Mormonism.” It’s funny now, but back then we took it to heart. After all we were the one and only true church bent on converting the world, blinded by our own narcissism.

  2. Scary stuff. Mormons definitely plan to take over the world (and muslims, obviously–they are even more blatant about it I think). My dad has actually said “the government NEEDS to be and will be taken over by mormons.”

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