I served in the Philippines Mission from Nov. 1967 to Nov. 1969. My group of 7 Elders and 1 Sister were the first called to the newly organized Philippines Mission in 1967. We served under Paul S. Rose, who had arrived in August of 1967. The Missionaries serving there, up to that time, were from the Southern Far East Mission. About 70 Elders were assigned to the Philippines when our group arrived. At the time, the total members in the Philippines was about 3400. The goal for the coming year was to baptize another 1000. (Compare that to the approximate 400,000 there now.) One of the most peculiar stories circulating amongst the Elders, and even mentioned in our orientation those first few days after our arrival was about the Iglesia Ng Kristo church, (literally translated "Church of Christ) nicknamed the INK. The reason for its being mentioned was its similarities to and its early beginnings as a result of contact by its founder with the Mormons in Salt Lake City. The founder of the Iglesia Ng Kristo was a Filipino man named Manalo. Sometime around 1915-1918 it is alleged that Manalo went to see the Mormon President, Joseph F. Smith. The story is that he gained an appointment with Pres. Smith and in that meeting, told Smith that he believed the Mormon Church to be the true Church. He asked that Pres. Smith make him an Apostle and he would then return to the Philippines and do a great work, including bringing a million members into the Church. That would have been an extraordinary number, considering that the total number of Mormons in the world at the time was less than 1 million. Manalo's offer was rejected. He returned to the Philippines, and using the Mormon church as a pattern proceeded to organize a church and bring over a million people into it. He proclaimed himself to be the "Angel of the East" as mentioned in Revelations. He declared that he was empowered to restore the true church to the earth, and that prophesy declared that the that come from the "isles of the sea". Every scripture in Isaiah and Revelations that mentions angels returning or "isles of the sea" have a place in the doctrinal underpinnings of that Church. Remarkable to the Mormon Elders serving in the Philippines is the similarities in architecture, church organization, fervor, and member participation. The Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City could be the source form of many Iglesia Ng Kristo buildings both inside and out, including spires, roof line, interior balconies, organ loft, etc. In northern Manila there a six spired large beautiful building that is a modern rendition of the Salt Lake temple. It is hauntingly similar to the Washington Temple, so much so that Filipino Mormons are sometimes made anxious by their Inglesia Ng Kristo friends when the two buildings are compared. It is reported that an LDS General Authority said about those INK buildings, that one day they would be used by congregations of Mormons.
Though this account is hard to prove, I may offer some of what I have gathered over the years.
Left: Aerial photo of INC Central Temple Compund in Diliman, Quezon City
Right: Aerial photo of LDS Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah
Top: The INC Temple by day (take note of the Tabernakulo behind the temple)
Bottom: The LDS Temple by day. The Tabernacle dome appears to the the left behind the temple.
Left: INC Temple by night.
Right: LDS Temple by night.
Left: Eagle statue guarded by 3 lions found in the F. Manalo Compound in San Juan facing the gate along Gruet St. The INC Central Office used to be housed in this compound. Felix Manalo claims to be the Bird of Prey described in Isaiah 46.
Right: Gigantic 4,000-lb eagle atop the Eagle Gate near the LDS Temple Square. This acts as the gateway to Brigham Young's properties which includes the Lion House which houses the rest of his wives, so called for the lion statue guarding the gates of the house. Brigham Young is sometimes called "Lion of the Lord" by the LDS.
Left: The spired worship house in the historic Punta, Santa Ana, the place where it all began for the INC.
Right: The spired Assembly Hall at the southwest corner of the Temple Square built in 1877.
Top: A spired INC "kapilya" of generic design. This shot was taken from San Luis, La Union in the Philippines. (Taken from Pasugo)
Bottom: The spired LDS Manila Temple found along Temple Drive in Quezon City, Philippines.
During the research I have done, I have come across more interesting facts:
The Mormons have their official choir, the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
Interestingly enough, the INC boasts of their own INC Tabernacle Choir.
The INC's Tabernakulo has so much similarity with the Mormon Tabernacle at their Temple Square with regards to its dimensions and other features that it deserves it's own blog page. Stay tuned for that.
The INC calls its university the New Era University. Incidentally, Ka Erdie's name was a play on New Era: Era New - Eraño. The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints publishes an official magazine called New Era.
The LDS are said to have entered into a New Era under Brigham Young when he established the Salt Lake City colony.
There are others, such as the practive of block voting, which was practiced by the Mormons during their time at Nauvoo to assert their position as a minority, a belief which they abandoned as a condition for Utah's statehood and entry into the Union.
And then there is the last messenger doctrine (Felix Manalo vs Joseph Smith) and the church restoration doctrine.