Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mormonizing of America by Stephen Mansfield

The Mormonizing of America, How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture, is a well-written, well-researched, well-balanced page turner. Stephen Mansfield takes you through Mormonism from it's very beginning all the way through modern day. It shows both the positives and negatives of this religion by giving statements from both Saints and outsiders.
As a Christian pastor, I found the doctrines or as they say "revelations" of the LDS(Latter-Day Saints) to be a balance of offensive, comical and just plain ridiculous. Offensive in that is calls any Christian pastor a servant of Satan, or any church that isn't LDS a "false" church. It's comical and disgusting when Joseph Smith sees a fourteen year old girl that he wants to marry and all the sudden has a revelation that she is supposed to give herself to him. And then when his wife doesn't approve of him going out and marrying other women, he suddenly has a revelation that God will destroy her if she doesn't except polygamy. And it's absolutely ridiculous to think that God was a human who had sex with the Virgin Mary and conceived two sons named Jesus and Lucifer. It's ridiculous to think that Adam and Eve made a good choice in the Garden of Eden. And one of their key doctrinal statements is that "As man is, God once was. And as God is, man may become."
The author does a good job of pointing out that this book is built around one man's ideas and what outsides would call wild imaginations or even Satanic visions. Even the Mormon leaders of today admit that this religion is built on Joseph Smith. And the author does a good job in digging into the life of this man and finding things that really blow my mind to think about. He was a man who loved the occult. He almost worshiped Mohammad. He detested certain parts of Christianity. He spoke in tongues and had revelations that black people are demons. He invented nations of people for his book of Mormon. He believed that the New Jerusalem will be in Jackson County, Missouri. He plagiarized books and then called them scripture. He rewrote the Bible and then placed himself into the book of Genesis.
It sounds crazy and it is. But the author did a great job of balancing the Mormon point of view with their critics point of view. He allowed the Mormon people to speak freely in this book. He allowed them to argue their doctrine, to defend their faith without making them look like uneducated, backwoods kooks. He simply presented them as well-educated, hardworking, patriotic Americans who happen to believe in the divine anointing of Joseph Smith.
Overall, I am quite shocked at what I found concerning this religion. It's amazing that 14 million people believe this, including many prominent businessmen and politicians. As a Christian, to read of a religion that has it's basis in the occult, secret societies, and the "revelations" of man, I am troubled. And yet, I believe in freedom of religion. If they choose to believe that, then so be it. This is America. This is freedom.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Worthy Publishing with the request that I write a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

God Bless,
Marcus

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