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Mormon America - Revised and Updated Edition: The Power and the Promise Paperback – October 9, 2007
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For statistical reasons alone, the Mormon Church demands a reader's attention: in just 170 years, the Church has grown from six members to more than 10 million; if current rates of growth continue, membership could hit 265 million by 2080, which would make it the most important world religion to emerge since the rise of Islam. Mormon America clarifies the reasons for the religion's rapid growth: "It was from the beginning optimistic and upbeat, a reaction against the establishment New England Calvinism.... It was a religious version of the American dream: Everyman presented with unlimited potential." The book also investigates the Mormons' immense wealth (relative to size, this is "America's richest church, with an estimated $30 billion in assets and something like $6 billion in annual income, mostly from members' tithes.") It anatomizes the minutiae of Church governance (Mormonism is ruled by a self-perpetuating, all-male hierarchy, headed by a "President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator"), details the many rules that govern the Mormon lifestyle (famously, they avoid caffeine and alcohol; the Church's mandates extend even to the proper technique for "dispos[ing] of worn-out holy underwear"), and summarizes the Mormon scriptures. Mormon America is a compulsively readable book, not only for its insightful analysis and wealth of factual information, but also, and most importantly, because it respects its subject rigorously. "This is a real faith," the Ostlings write, "and must be understood in those terms, without caricature." --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone who believes the sterotype of Mormons as brain-dead religious fundamentalists are in for a shock when they read this first-rate journalism. The Ostlings write with great empathy about the complexity of life for people who take religion seriously. The chapters on our intellectual culture are as balanced as anything I've read on that subject. The sections on practice are accurate, too. The Ostlings come very close to revealing what it's like on the inside--they ultimately fail to catch what it really feels like, however, because of the ultimately unbridgeable gap between description and the indescribable faith that lies at the heart of a believer's life. That's not really their fault of course--it's like trying to describe in words what the color "blue" is like. Orthodox Judaism has gotten a lot of respectful attention recently because of the nomination of Sen. Joseph Lieberman for vice-president. Many reporters have revealed a new sensitivity about how devout people live. The Ostling's book should be considered at the forefront of this new attention to the relationship of faith and American culture.
There are a number of minor errors, but overall I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of this work. The Ostlings have obviously dedicated countless hours to research and interviews, and constructed their book with meticulous care. I would recommend it to anyone unacquainted with the LDS faith that wishes to know more about us.
Naturally, the Ostlings do not shy away from controversial topics, the inclusion of which in this book will no doubt upset some Church members. They also seem to feel an obligation to present both the positive and negative aspects of the faith as they see them. They are, after all, both non-LDS and journalists. I am convinced that their book represents their honest attempt at a neutral assesment of the Latter-day Saint religion and its importance in the modern world. There is much here for readers to appreciate, whether or not they share the authors' attitudes toward the Church.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full disclosure first: I was baptized into the LDS church at age 15 in 1975 but stopped going a little over a year later. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bruce Baskin
And as unbiased as I've seen. Mostly facts, events, and what mormons believe. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know about the roots of Mormonism and the belief... Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. Tanca
this is like the fourth time I've had to write a review about a Mormon book, so i'm just going to say the same things i did for the other four. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Diana Rivera
Excellent, informative read. This is an important time to learn about Mormons and what they believe and how they operate. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by sensei1633
The first hundred pages of "Mormon America" cover the early history of the church, but readers who are expecting a comprehensible account of Mormon beginnings and the... Read morePublished on August 22, 2012 by jsa
The book was full of pertinent facts, but very repetitious. One was left With the impression that the authors had compiled a series of essays for publication in book form.Published on March 28, 2012 by Ruth H. Christenson
The authors wrote in the Preface to this 1999 book, "Should non-Mormons write a book about Mormonism? The coauthors are, admittedly, conventional Protestants... Read morePublished on September 1, 2011 by Steven H Propp
What I like best about this book is that the author goes out of his way to try to avoid bias. This is the only thorough book on the subject that I have found that I feel like is... Read morePublished on August 10, 2011 by Glenn