Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog Tour: Latayne C. Scott's The Mormon Mirage

Today, I 'm happily participating in a blog tour for Latayne C. Scott's The Mormon Mirage. Why? It's a look by a former Mormon at the teachings and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the issues facing that group today.

The Mormon Church is certainly a force to be reckoned with in America today. From the efforts of Mitt Romney to run for President, to the Mormon efforts to see Proposition 8 pass in California, there has been no shortage of discussion of Mormon beliefs in America. But what do Mormons believe? Mike Huckabee caught criticism in the Presidential Primaries for calling Mormonism a cult, and Mitt Romney made a speech defending his religion, which was not unlike then-Senator Obama's speech defending his church involvement. Yet many remain convinced that Romney's failure at the polls was somehow related to American misunderstanding of Mormonism.

So, what do Mormons believe? Are they simply family-oriented Christians, or are they a different group altogether? This is the question many American Christians have of Mormonism. Mormons may have questions about the differences between their beliefs and history and the viewpoints of mainstream Christianity. The real question between us all: are Mormons just a branch of the Christian family?

Scott's answer, from personal involvement and research, is a resounding "no." Throughout her book The Mormon Mirage, she details both the differences in theological issues between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity, and the inconsistencies across Mormon history. At the end of the book, one cannot help but wonder how anyone remains involved in Mormonism. However, that's a question this book cannot completely answer. Part of the answer has to do with how the Mormon Church has handled criticism over the years: deny it exists, then remind the faithful that there will always be attempts to lead them astray, then change the subject. It's how many groups actually handles criticism, and it works until people start to truly examine the information.

However, The Mormon Mirage is not an attack book. Neither is it a dry, academic read, like the information on Mormonism in such books as Martin's Kingdom of the Cults (not to run-down Martin. It's a reference work, it should be dry and academic.) Instead, Scott has struck the middle ground of a passionate writing that is based on facts. You can read her passion to persuade, and her broken heart over those still involved in Mormonism. You can also see the footnotes, the research, and the facts to check for yourself.

Is this a book to simply drop off at your Mormon friend's house? No, probably not. As a prominent ex-Mormon, most church members have likely heard of her, and will drop this book off a cliff somewhere. It is a good read for a Christian seeking to understand Mormonism, and then one to share through a relationship with Mormons you know. Scott highlights at the beginning that her departure from the Mormon church was not driven by broad appeals to leave Mormonism, but rather by relationships with Christians. From those relationships, she examined information from people she trusted. If we as Christians would persuade Mormons, we would be wise to follow that example.

All in all, this is a book worth reading. For more blogs reviewing this book today, check the link here at Zondervan.


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