Sic et Non
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The Cardston Alberta Templeof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(Click to enlarge)
I and others will undoubtedly have much more to say about this book over the coming weeks and months:
This article is enlightening, joyful and true! The world awaits the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the LDS perspective and doesn’t realize it.
“This is, to be sure, heavy-duty stuff.”
How interesting it is that concepts we take for granted and which seem so logical (God with a body) seem to be a complete mystery to so many. The author is liberated enough to admit that “this idea was something that was bubbling in the back of my mind for years….”
At the very least, this book will stimulate discussion. It could spur much more than that.
I recently read the book and found it engrossing. The author has taken care to have his manuscript reviewed by knowledgeable Mormons, so I could not identify a single instance in which he misunderstood or misrepresented LDS doctrines or the historical record. That included correcting a couple of minor inaccuracies in his article “Mormonism Obsessed with Christ” that appeared in First Things journal and has been adapted as a chapter in this book. In both that article and in this book, he makes the refreshing admission that he had been teaching his students about Mormon beliefs for several years without having actually read any material portion of the Book of Mormon. When he did so, he was struck by how strongly Mormonism worships the Christ of the New Testament, and asserts that Mormonism is clearly an interesting but legitimate branch from the Christian tree, one that strikes out boldly in a new direction while rooted in the Gospels.
Part of this book is clearly a response to the writings of Truman Madsen, especially his book Eternal Man, which draws out the implications of Mormonism for the major philosophical questions of our era.
He has some interesting things to say about whether Mormonism is or has a theology, including repeating statements of some leading LDS scholars that Mormonism specifically avoids the systemization that is inherent to theology.
How refreshing that he had an actual Mormon preview the manuscript. I am astounded at how par for the course it is for famous authors from major institutions to write bestselling books about the LDS Church, while the books contain elementary mistakes that could have been corrected by a 12-year-old deacon. Good for this author!
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