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I'm the token Mormon in a Bible study group consisting of mostly evangelicals and mainstream Protestants. It has been an enjoyable group to be part of because we are willing to learn from each other and appreciate our differences. We decided to tackle the subject of Mormonism and Dr. Jackson's new book was suggested since several of the groups members knew him. I would have preferred a book written by a Mormon, but after a quick glance at it I agreed that is looked like it was something I could work with. I also figured something written by an evangelical could explain some of our doctrines in terms that other evangelicals could understand since Mormons use some common terms differently than other Christians.

In general, the book met my expectations. Dr Jackson in most cases does a very good job of explaining Mormon history and doctrine. He tended to use LDS sources and mostly reputable non-LDS sources. There was one major source that he used that I consider unreliable, which was Ostlings's Mormon America: The Power and the Promise. Almost every time I read something that I thought was misleading or distorted he referred to this book. Most of those distortions have been addressed by Mormon scholars, which I felt the need to correct with my study group. Another problem I had as a Mormon was his use of demeaning terms to describe some of our history or doctrines.

In the history section there were instances where he brought up controversial or partial facts without bringing out the Mormon response. One key example is where he mentioned the fact that some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon left the church, but failed to mention that none of them ever denied their testimony and several of them eventually returned to the church. In other areas that are controversial, but true; Jackson was very fair in his presentation. Examples include his discussions on polygamy and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

In the doctrinal sections, Jackson explains things rather clearly, but sometimes tries to make the Mormon position sound more extreme than it is. An example of this would be how he tries to show that Mormons think other Christians are fools for only believing in the Bible, and implies that for other differences. Mormon's are taught to love and respect people from all religions. Another example is that he makes it sound as though the Mormons have no respect for the Bible. Mormons have a deep love for the Bible and feel that they take it more literally than many other Christian religions. In most cases though, he does explain the doctrines adequately.

Jackson also does some apologetic work explaining why he feels some of the Mormon doctrines are wrong, but mostly uses blanket statements stating that the Bible or early Christians don't agree and moving on. An example is where he absolutely states that no early Christians ever believed in the concept of a pre-existence or another example where he states that early Christians never believed in the Mormon concept of the Godhood. By reading the works of the apostolic fathers, one can see that there were a very wide range of beliefs, including some that are close to what Mormons believe. The whole reason for the great councils of the 4th century was to try to eliminate some of these beliefs. Chapter 9 on the Mormon requirements for salvation is where he does the most apologetic work and does not do a fair job of stating the Biblical arguments that the Mormons have. This is obviously a controversial chapter for Protestants on the subjects of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, authority, and faith vs. works. Most of these arguments have been going on between Catholics and Protestants for years. From an apologetics point of view this book is geared toward Protestants, and not Catholics or Orthodox.

Obviously I have mixed feelings on this book. For a book by a non-Mormon explaining Mormon beliefs it does a very good job with the few exceptions I've noted, plus a few others. His research was very impressive, and the way he explained things was very clear. I believe that most Mormons would not like this book due to its tone, but would probably agree that he is mostly accurate. There are enough exceptions that I had to explain to my study group, that I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book. I do believe it would take only a few changes in future editions to make it more acceptable to myself and other Mormons.
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on December 21, 2014
This book presents a basic history of the Mormons. It gives enough details to understand this religion and yet does not get bogged down in minute points and explanations.

The Christians in the USA use to understand this group was a cult, and certainly were not Christians. That is no longer the case, and many consider them to be a mainstream Christian denomination. Mitt Romney only added to this acceptance.

This book can educate people on the beliefs. Christians should know and understand that they believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, that the Father God was a human before he became God, and the top Mormons (and only the top) can attain godhood where they are given many wives (and a planet) to produce spirit children for this earth. Also, explains the emphasis they put on baptism.

It is clear and concise. Easy to read. You will not need another book to understand this religion…unless you desire to go deeper; this book will give you the basics.
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Mormonism seems to be on the rise. I read recently that some estimates suggest that by the end of this century there may be close to 300 million Mormons in the world. With the Mormon obsession with proselytizing and with their skill at winning converts, it seems a given that we will hear more and more in years to come about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Once considered little more than a fringe cult, it is fast entering the religious mainstream.

Many Christians seem unsure of how to react to the rise of Mormonism. Mormons are adept at using Christian language and in affirming their love of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. But behind the language and behind the similarities is a whole world of difference. Christians do well to arm themselves with some knowledge of this religion and of those who adhere to it. In his new book Mormonism Explained, Andrew Jackson offers a book that can do just that. A short study and one geared to the popular level, the book, well, it simply explains Mormonism. I do not mean to be flippant but in this case the title really summarizes the book. Jackson looks at the religion's origins, its teaching and then spends several chapters teaching about the Mormon concept of salvation. In about 200 pages he gives a ground-level introduction to this religion and shows how it is not consistent with the Christian faith.

Perhaps a useful way of summarizing the book would be by providing this, an endorsement I wrote for it many months ago: Mormonism Explained is a lucid and steady guide to the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Relying on Mormonism's original sources, Andrew Jackson shows what Mormons believe and how they practice their faith. With this religion ever more in the mainstream and with much confusion as to what it really teaches, this book is a valuable, accessible and timely contribution.
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on May 4, 2015
Outstanding book. Simple and direct in explanation, and thorough in covering the entire topic of the under - understood topic of Mormonism. A
book that has been past to friends who desired further understanding of the subject, and each gave a like opinion.
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on February 17, 2016
as described. thanks.
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on June 6, 2015
Good information.
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on May 26, 2008
The marriage of my grandparents was sealed in the Mormon temple in Utah which has evoked my interest in trying to understand more clearly their religious beliefs and was also the reason for my reading Mormonism Explained.

This book presents a systematic approach to the Mormon religion starting with the origin of Mormonism and how it has evolved to what it is today. I appreciate the fact that the author's extensive resources come directly from the Mormon books of faith and leadership teachings with no attempt to interpret these statements according to his own personal view. Rather the author compares Mormon doctrines to mainstream Biblical Christianity and allows one to come to his/her own conclusion on the validity of the doctrines set forth by the Mormon church.

This book presents an in-depth understanding of Mormon theology which is both concise and insightful as the author presents the Mormon teachings for what they are, in and of themselves. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain an understanding into the Mormon church and how the religion is practiced today.
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on May 17, 2008
As the author of Mormonism Explained, J. Price's review of my book is quite unfortunate, although not that surprising.

As a Mormon, I realize that Price might not agree with some of my conclusions, but he provides no specific content inaccuracies in my book. Actually, Price's review is no review at all, it is more of an empty denouncement.

I trust that Latter-Day Saints will provide more thoughtful and detailed reviews in the future, for Price has not done them a great service.
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on April 28, 2008
Dr. Andrew Jackson's Mormonism Explained: What Latter-Day Saints Teach & Practice is an excellent resource for Christians and non-Christians alike who are attempting to understand the Mormon religion. Meticulously investigated, yet accessible, this book presents the Mormonism as is, with very little commentary.

The first half of the book spends its time looking at the inception of the Mormon faith. It is a bit dry, but will likely appeal to history buffs out there. In order to understand the beliefs of the Mormon faith, one must understand where it came from and the primary players. Jackson does a great job of condensing Mormonism's storied past and keeping it accessible enough for the novice historian.

The second half of the book is likely what will appeal to most people who pick up the title. This is where Jackson lays out what it is that Mormons actually believe. There has been no end to the confusion on this matter. It did not help matters that Jackson is an evangelical Christian writing about a faith he is not part of. But, as any thoughtful person would do, Jackson set aside his differences and consulted several Mormon scholars and organizations to help him systematically explain Mormon beliefs. And, of course, Jackson also uses Mormon scripture and writings in his explanations, also.

Here, readers will find discussions about the Mormon understanding of being "the one true Church" on earth, continual revelation, and how salvation is understood and attained in Mormonism. The most interesting of the chapters, in my opinion, is the chapter titled, "The Worldview of Mormonism." It is in this chapter that Jackson best explains the Mormon mindset that so many Christians tend to misunderstand as they begin conversations with or have debates about Mormons and their faith. From the outset, Jackson is clear that, "Mormonism and Christianity advocate two deeply contrasting and conflicting worldviews." And he is also clear that Mormonism is a full-fledge worldview, one that many people take for granted in the conversation.

Mormonism Explained is actually the best resource I've read about Mormonism. Rather than taking a point/counterpoint approach, Jackson has offered thoughtful Christians a chance to see into the mind and world of people who believe differently than Christians. While I am convinced that Mormons are deceived as any other sinner is deceived by Satan, this book helps me to better understand where they are coming from in order to better engage the conversation and offer spiritual truth.
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on January 25, 2012
I was hesitant to buy this book because of frustrations earlier in life trying to find answers about Mormonism or LDS as it is referred to today. When I first approached an elder years ago about learning more I was quite shocked to see that two missionary youths no older than 16 tops came by knocking on my door to minister to me the next day! I must admit I was rather amused that these two kids who were more uninformed about their religion than even I was as an outsider were sent to minister and teach me. They knew nothing about their own beliefs and were barely out of the cradle themselves. If you could have seen the look on their faces when I mentioned gods as in plural to them it would be the real tell. They had no idea of the plurality of gods in their own belief system. This went on as I later learned that even the elder I had first spoken with had little knowledge of what he actually believed in. As it turned out he was just raised in the religion as his dad before him and his dad before him and really did not know that much about it at all! I must say this was surprising but I don't know why. I found much the same with Catholicism also. In fact much like Mormon I've found different teachings from the same church depending on where you go. Meaning they teach different philosophy in Illinois than they do in West Virginia and still different again in Arizona or Washington State. Its not as universal as you might think regarding these teachings which makes them hard to nail down. I was pleased to learn that the author had similar experiences to my own in trying to learn more about Mormonism.

Anyway, I do find it somewhat fascinating that a Christian Rev. named Andrew Jackson would be interested in picking apart an opposing religion rather than focus on his own religion and write about that. I find it very interesting that his eyes miss very little when regarding the LDS but now if the author could just use those same eyes and turn them on his own religion he may indeed see that many of the claims or belief systems of his own religion are just as flawed and just as baseless as those pointed out in the book on Mormon. Not that it matters to me one way or the other but honestly Rev. Use those same eyes to pick your own religion apart and then maybe you'll get somewhere. Trust me it's full of flaws and your bias prevents you from seeing it.

There are answers here about what Mormon is and how it came to be. A good portion of it is direct quotes from LDS prophets past to present. It is worth the read and it is a thin book easily read rather quickly. The author does write well and is easy to follow. Its written with a slight bias mostly but stronger at other spots for his own religious views which is to be expected I guess and you can see that come out now and then with some additional comments noted to push the 'nonsense' of Mormon teaching home for you so you can see that the author's own religion using the bible as it's base is much more legit. At least that was my impression reading parts of the book. I find it odd, even amusing that a, re-written, mistranslated, misinterpreted, multi-edition bible that is just as baseless for many of the claims and stories it contains with no historical cross reference or other verification at all is used as solid proof to counter another baseless fanstasy story book on Mormon but that is another story!

If you are interested in short but sweet coverage of the basic tennants of Mormon this book will help you. I found it worth the price once you can smile at the little comments noted by the author in places. It may also help you to see your own religion a little differently because I feel that once you start picking apart an opposing religion you cannot help but find all the faults in your own if you are truly objective and remain unbiased following the facts where they lead you instead of twisting them to fit into your approved of view of the world and how it works. Overall the Rev gets a B+ for effort but his bias is apparent so take what you read here with a grain of salt. Its not like he went into this with no motive I mean come on. I think in the end the book is basically done to discredit the Mormon religion making it look weak if not look like a criminal cult following in places. Not that this is a bad thing but one cannot help but see the irony that someone from the Christian side of things which is about as corrupt and organization as they come, can expect to come in and shoot down Mormon using his own religion as more credible for source material and philosophy! Gotta say wow with that one sorry! Hilarious how easy generations forget the atrocities of the Catholic church, monks, zealots of other faiths be they Christian or other and in just a few short years. Here we have one religion famous for baptizing Indians only to immediately take their heads so they die and go straight to heaven afterwards without a chance to sin again that is going to critic another religion who's leader was murdered in a jail cell for the BS corruption based behavior they maintained in their own history. How ironic is that? What is that saying? The pot calling the kettle black!? Anyway, its short, it has facts mixed with a few snide slipped in comments hoping to sway your viewpoint back toward bible vs Mormon books but done in a nicely veiled attempt. You will know more about the LDS once you get through it though so if that is what you wanted well, this book will suffice.
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