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One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church Paperback – July 29, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A conservative Christian writer and director of the Religious Information Center in Southern California, Abanes presents an unvarnished history of Mormonism. As in some of his other works, such as End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon, his intention here is primarily to expose falsehoods and contradictions. In the process, he has created a chronological account of Mormonism that includes many things often intentionally suppressed by leaders of the Latter-day Saints (LDS). Abanes knows his facts and documents his material with careful footnotes, creating a good counterweight to the one-sided image presented in LDS-approved histories. He makes use of private journals and secular articles of the times as well as a wide range of scholarly writings. The resulting book gives a piercing historical overview of Mormon teachings and development. It also looks at contemporary Mormonism and the controversial changes in language and policy, which have resulted in the projection of a more mainstream image. This well-researched and readable history will be of interest to anyone seeking an objective Mormon history and is recommended for both academic and public libraries. C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A piercing historical overview of Mormonism's teachings and development."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568582838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568582832
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been an active, (temple recommended holding) Mormon for over forty years. I have also studied Mormon history quite extensively. I find this book to be mostly accurate albeit a little subjective and biased at times.

Most Mormons have a very limited understanding of their own church's history. The LDS church goes to great lengths to suppress any history of their religion that is not "faith promoting" and have even "changed" history to make it less troubling. They discourage members from reading material they deem inappropriate. Because of these policies most church members are taught a very simplified, sanitized and inaccurate version of history. Then when they read a book such as this that exposes some of what really happened, they lash out by exclaiming they are "lies" and "anti-Mormon" propaganda and they give the book a poor rating. If you look at the one star ratings of this book, you will notice that they are almost all by Mormons who feel the history of their church has been wrongly depicted.

One of the other things you will notice from Mormons who are upset about what is written is that they will never say exactly WHAT is inaccurate. They will never be specific. Whenever I ask an active LDS to be specific about the "lies," they will usually just say "everything." Others will admit that they never really read the book, but they "heard" it was anti-Mormon propaganda.

This type of angry terse response is understandable, however, considering the indoctrinization that they have gone through. Having a belief system challenged is very unsettling. Many Mormons, however, have learned and accepted some of the "shady" history of the Mormon church and are still active, believing members - with a somewhat different perspective.
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By A Customer on April 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I received this book through a friend. I am a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yes, a Mormon. I was raised in the church and believe it is the Restored Truth of the Gospel. I read this One Nation Under Gods and it does tell accurately what we believe. But as I read through it, it seemed like I was reading these beliefes for the first time. In context of history, I started understanding why we believe the way we do. That was good.
But I also am now faced with some things about my church that I confess, I do not understand how it can be true. But I looked up some of the things Mr. Abanes talks about, and I found his references to be completely accurate. Again, I don't understand how this could be.
Everything is changing and Mr. Abanes' book has opened my eyes to, I suppose, truth. However, this is not pleasant. His explanation on polygamy, Utah life in the 19th century, and how our prophets have been leading us is disturbing. But the documents and quotes are there, which show what has been going on. This book has changed me, my thoughts, and I think, it might change my life. I need to read more. For now, this book seems like a good history, although not a pleasing one to have to read.
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By A Customer on April 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a Mormon, but I don't think I will be one for very long. I have been doing my own research into the history of the LDS church for several years now, and can assure readers that everything Abanes says in this volume is true. I have personally looked through many of the documents he used, although certainly not all of them by any means, and he accurately represents their contents.
And despite my own investigation, which has been very deep, Abanes was still able to furnish several bits of data I never knew-- those missing pieces I could not find on my own.
My heart is heavy, but my mind and soul have been enlightened. It's time to move on, and I encourage other Latter-day Saints to do the same thing. Abanes' book is a great place to start learning the truth. It contains no sarcasm, no anti-Mormon comments, no nasty tone so often present in books about the church. The tone is respectful, fair, and true.
I quote one of my favorite shows: "The truth is out there."
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Format: Paperback
Most Christians in America are at least remotely familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Their missionaries (usually friendly, well-groomed young men and women traveling in pairs) are a common sight in many places. Most would believe them to be Christians who held some quirky beliefs concerning Joseph Smith. Those more attuned to apologetics would be able to pinpoint specific doctrinal aberrations taking the Mormons far outside the accepted boundaries of the Christian faith. Yet even they would likely classify them alongside other heretical groups following the idiosyncrasies of a charismatic leader and thus miss historical currents in Mormonism giving them a unique place in American religious history.

Richard Abanes meticulously sifts through the facts surrounding the early history of Joseph Smith and his followers in One Nation Under Gods and presents perhaps the most complete treatment of Mormon origins yet published. The result is understandably controversial as the official mythology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is shown to be built upon fantasy, deception, paranoia, and violence. Given the respectable image presented by contemporary Mormonism, the untidy events of the past are quite shocking, but Abanes backs up his claims with extensive documentation.

The book is divided into four sections detailing the period leading up to John Smith's "revelations", the development of the Church as a separatist movement in various states and the reaction against them, the institution of a Mormon theocracy in the Utah territory, and the mainstreaming of Mormon beliefs beginning with Utah's statehood.
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