Many thanks to the kind folks at Zondervan Academic for the opportunity to review Latayne C. Scott’s The Mormon Mirage, 3rd Edition.
As each of us goes about our daily business at the office, store, and elsewhere, it is likely that we will rub shoulders with a Mormon at one time or another. Heck, sometimes they even show up right at the front door. During these encounters, the conversation can at times be confusing at best. While Christians and Mormons may use some of the same words, the theological meaning each side places on these words are often oceans apart. In order to be better prepared for these occasions, I’d encourage you to educate yourself on the history, theology, and practices of the Mormon Church. For an accessible, layman’s terms approach to the subject I highly recommend Latayne C. Scott’s The Mormon Mirage, 3rd Edition. Latayne is uniquely suited for this particular writing task. Unlike many authors who can only offer the perspectives of an outsider looking in, as a former Mormon, she offers the perspectives of a former insider.
The first part of the book is comprised of eight chapters. Here, Latayne recounts her own journey into and later out of Mormonism. In the midst of sharing her story, she also introduces the reader to Mormon founder Joseph Smith, various writings of the Mormon Church (Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, etc.), and Mormon theology. The second part of the book is comprised of three chapters. Chapters nine through ten discuss nine issues the Mormon Church must face today, including:
• The Influence of the Internet
• Mormonism in the News and the Public Eye
• Visibility of Polygamy and Splinter Groups
• Mormons and Politics
• LDS Academics and Intellectuals
• Dealing with “Antis” or Oppositional Media
Chapter eleven brings the book to a close with the final assessments of an insider looking back. Ultimately, Latayne left Mormonism, because she came to the understanding that it is not Biblical Christianity. It is her hope that the same truth that drastically changed the course of her life will change the lives of those standing where she once stood. Following chapter 11, you’ll also want to read the addendum, Evangelizing Mormons in the Twenty-First Century. If after reading this book, you would like to learn even more about Mormonism, be sure to consult the 41 pages extensive endnotes and 4 pages of materials listed under “For Further Reading” towards the end of this book. Last but not least, I was very pleased to see a subject index, Mormon scripture index, and scripture index at the end of the book. I’m always very appreciative of detailed indexes in books of this size.
I’d like to close by giving this book a five star rating. Latayne takes on a subject area that could be dry and boring to read and presents it in a way that is both engaging and informative. This book has just the right mix of personal stories and experiences interwoven with facts and research. I sincerely recommend this book to the Christian with an interest in learning more about Mormonism. This book would also be helpful to the Mormon who is struggling with their faith as Latayne was many years ago. Readers who enjoy this book may also want to consider Latayne’s first work of fiction, The Latter-Day Cipher (Moody, 2009).
Latayne C. Scott is the author of fifteen books in addition to other poems and articles. She lives in New Mexico with her husband Dan. They have two married children. You can learn more about Latayne’s writing and speaking at www.latayne.com and www.representationalresources.com.
Buy this book on Amazon: The Mormon Mirage: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today
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