David S. T.'s Reviews > Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction

Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman
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's review
Feb 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: religion
Read from February 11 to 12, 2012

I was pleasantly surprised that this book, while being written by a Mormon, for the most part at least briefly address some of the complaints that people have with the Mormon church. I've only read one official Mormon history book but it ignored anything which might cause questions. This one mentions things like the Mountain Meadows massacre, polygamy, Smith's seer stone arrest, changes on the editions of the book of Mormon, not allowing black priests until the 1970s ect. and of course just how different Mormon's have moved from orthodox Christianity, for example “God learned to be divine”, he was a man and had a father, lived on an earth and was taught and advanced under the tutelage of a preceding god (pg 74).

This is all done in an apologetic fashion though. For example Joseph Smith bought some ancient Egyptian Papyri, he claimed he could translate them (before hieroglyphics were understandable), the translation of this book became the Book of Abraham (which contains some bizarre doctrine). Many years later when scholars could translate hieroglyphics, the Papyri were given to scholars who pointed out that it contains nothing found in the book of Abraham but is instead a common rites of the dead passage, this is admitted in the book but followed by a few of the common Mormon views, 1) parts of the original Papyri were lost and those contained what Smith translated or 2) Smith's translation was in fact a spiritual translation and inspired by the holy spirit, not so much a literal translation.

The apologetic tone of the book didn't bother me though, I fully expect a Mormon believer to give a defense of his religion, and overall I'd like to hear the reasons why a Mormon believes the way he does. This short book did what I hoped it would and that is provide a brief introduction to Mormonism. I'll definitely pick up this guys Joseph Smith biography in the coming months.


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