Book Review – Leaving Mormonism
Something is afoot in Evangelicalism today. Evangelicals have confused the gospel and what it means to be Christian with a certain brand of American political conservatism. This has far reaching ramifications (more than can be covered in this review) but one in particular is the blurring of the lines between what is and what is not historical orthodox Christianity. This is especially true when it comes to those religious groups which are political allies and chief among these is the religion of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) — or Mormonism.
The question at hand is whether or not the teachings of the LDS church are sufficiently orthodox to be called Christian, or if they are something altogether different. The question is not whether Mormons are moral people or if they are sincere in their faith. This is a given. I do not believe that I have ever met an insincere Mormon- or an immoral one although I know that they exist. All of this aside, it is important and healthy for both sides to recognize that significant differences do exist and that they exist for good reasons. We should always give one another permission to disagree — even if the disagreements are sharp and divisive. After all, there is a reason why you are a Christian and not a Mormon. Likewise, if you are a Latter Day Saint reading this review, it is good and healthy to recognize that there are reasons why you are a Mormon and not a Presbyterian. Acknowledging that we believe differently, and not allowing those differences to hinder dialogue will go a long way in our mutual quest for truth.
Leaving Mormonism, is a book written by four scholars who have examined the biblical, historical, scientific, and rational evidence and have decided to leave the Mormon church. This inside look into Mormonism is what makes it unique and more credible than other books which are written from an outside perspective. No matter how well researched an Evangelical critique of Mormonism is, it can never reach the same degree of credibility as a critique written by those who have been on the inside. These four contributors speak with a greater authority on the issues. This authority to speak on Mormonism is elevated further by the impressive academic credentials of the contributors.
One of the things that really touched me in Leaving Mormonism is the love with which all four contributors write when speaking of those who are inside Mormonism. It is clear that none of the authors harbor any bitterness or hatred for Latter Day Saints despite having rejected its doctrine. In fact, the exact opposite can be said– all four authors go out of their way to express their deep love and fondness for Mormons. This love for Latter Day Saints is why they have written the book. In short, their academic credentials only serve to bolster the credibility that their love for Mormons gives them. Throughout the book they are respectful and yet confident in their disagreements.
One of the key characteristics of Leaving Mormonism is that it not only addresses the differences between Mormonism and historic Christianity, but the authors also spend a good amount of time addressing the common objections to God that have become popular in recent years by the “new atheists” such as Dawkins and Hitchens. This is to address those Mormons who have not only left Mormonism, but who have embraced atheism after leaving their faith. This is a growing phenomenon that I wasn’t aware of, but appears to the path of choice for those who leave the LDS church.
After reading Leaving Mormonism, I am convinced that this is a book that every thinking Christian will find worth reading. For those who are uncertain if there are any significant differences between historic Christianity and Mormonism, this book will settle that matter. Those who are wanting to minister to their LDS friends but have a hard time understanding their emphasis on their testimony will find this book very insightful as well. Leaving Mormonism is a fair assessment of key differences and a call to love our Mormon neighbors as we seek to respectfully discuss the hope of the gospel as found in the cross of Christ.
Where to purchase
You can purchase Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds from ChristianBook.com, Amazon, or directly from Kregel Publications
About the Authors
Corey Miller, PhD, is the President/CEO of Ratio Christi (2015). While he grew up in Utah as a sixth generation Mormon, he came to Christ in 1988 and he has since been a youth and college pastor, a Bible college and university professor, campus minister, lecturer, and first and foremost an evangelist. From 2009-15 he served on staff with Cru’s Faculty Commons ministry at Purdue. He is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Indiana University-Kokomo. He is variously published and is co-editor of Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric (2014) and co-author of Ex-Mormon Scholars Tell Why: Testimonies and Reasons (forthcoming, 2017). He holds masters degrees in philosophy, biblical studies, and in philosophy of religion and ethics. His PhD is in philosophical theology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
He is well versed in all academic and ministry strata of university life via both classroom and campus ministry. He understands worldview issues and also how to communicate winsomely with evangelistic fervor. Miller now lives with his wife Melinda and three children in Indiana. He is passionate to unify the body of Christ to defend and proclaim the truth of the Gospel in winsome and bold ways.
Lynn K. Wilder, Ed.D, Lynn is a wife, mother, grandmother, scholar, and author with a doctorate in education. During more than a decade as a professor and researcher, and 20 years as a public school teacher, she has produced more than 50 scholarly publications, written four books, and mentored hundreds of students. Her experience, passion, and expertise lie in how to advance the academic and social-emotional success of “marginalized” students (in the book she calls them the world’s “throwaways”) who struggle in school. Once tenured faculty at Mormon Church owned and operated Brigham Young University (BYU), Dr. Wilder resigned from BYU and then from the LDS Church in 2008 when she experienced a crisis of faith. She currently teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University, speaks, writes, and enjoys time with 7 much-loved, vivacious grandchildren.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an online 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.”
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