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Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice Paperback – April 30, 2008
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"Mormonism Explained lays out clearly what Mormons believe. Chapters on Mormon history are especially enlightening. Jackson shows how Mormonism diverges from orthodox Christianity in key matters of theology, but his tone is that of a careful teacher who seeks to explain rather than merely to debunk."
—Mark D. Roberts, Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence, Laity Lodge; Author of Can We Trust the Gospels?
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a rapidly growing, international religious movement whose leadership allows for more diversity of thought than many outsiders realize. Jackson is aware of these obstacles, has worked hard to overcome them, and has succeeded admirably."
—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
"With Mormonism ever more in the mainstream and with much confusion as to what it really teaches, this is a valuable, accessible, and timely contribution."
—Tim Challies, Christian Blogger Challies.com; Editor, Discerning Reader; Author The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
About the Author
ANDREW JACKSON (MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a seminary professor and a senior associate pastor of discipleship and leadership development at a large non-denominational church in Mesa, Arizona. He has traveled to the original homelands of all the primary religions of the world, taught world religions on the college level, and is a frequent blogger and author.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
book that has been past to friends who desired further understanding of the subject, and each gave a like opinion.