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Beyond Mormonism : An Elder's Story Paperback – October 1, 2015
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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About the Author
James R. Spencer is a former Mormon Elder who left the Church of Jesus Christ in 1974 and eventually became a pastor of an Evangelical church. He has published eight books on the cults, the occult, and secularism.
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Top customer reviews
This book has enough basic information about non-Biblical LDS doctrines to help someone who doesn't have an understanding of their teachings to have a conversation with a Mormon and also clearly shows how the Mormon missionaries start the process of mind control, but what I found the most helpful is reading about the thought process of a very strong LDS church member/elder from the first glimmer of 'something's not quite right in this church' to the incredibly painful realization that if the church is wrong and the Bible is right, they would lose their family, their friends, and even their business/employment (if it was within the church). The excommunication process is very painful because the church involves so many areas of a loyal member's life and the mind control is subtle but strong, truly they stand to lose everything they have known and loved. It is not an easy or quick process to disentangle oneself from the church's control of mind and life. This helped me understand that ex-Mormons need longtime support, much love, kindness and prayer.
Please, if you are investigating this church, do not suspend your God-given reasoning powers to depend on your 'feelings' (LDS terminology 'burning in the bosom'). God ask us to REASON with Him, Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:" and Matthew 7:7,8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Feelings are not a reliable indicator of faith, feelings are fallible. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” and Proverbs 28:26 "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered."
Lastly, research the many failed prophecies of Joseph Smith (google will give you many). God never said to judge a prophet by praying about him or by a good feeling in your heart. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID OF HIM.” Jeremiah 14:14, "Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart." and Ezekiel 13:6, 7 "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?"
If you are searching for salvation, call on God and read the BIBLE, not the Book of Mormon! God promises in Jeremiah 29:11-14 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD"
I recently moved to the area in Idaho where many of the events related in this book took place and bought this book in an attempt to better understand my many Mormon neighbors. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I have actually visited several times in the home of one of the persons mentioned by the author as a valuable mentor who helped him come to grips with the conflict between the Bible and various teachings of the Mormon church.
The thoughtful manner in which the author recounts his spiritual journey makes this book a useful read for both Mormons and non-Mormons alike.
Spencer tells his own story simply and forcefully. The missionaries who first taught him the foundations of the faith did so in terms echoing more familiar Christian denominations, and only after the convert is deeply embedded in church social networks does he start to learn tenets of the faith that he finds deeply troubling. He is struck, as was I, by the techniques of faith instruction - - essentially, repeating doctrines over and over, and telling people to read the Book of Mormon and pray until they believe. This is not a community of questioners.
Like other books of the genre, this one "exposes" some LDS beliefs that are normally not discussed outside the temple. Spencer does not describe the ceremonies, and treats his fellow church members with respect. This book is really more about him than about them, though he ends up having deep doctrinal disagreements with the Church. If you are interested in a journey into, through, and out of Mormonism, this is a good one.