Item description for Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice by Andrew Jackson...
Overview Jackson offers an introduction to the origins, beliefs, and practices of the Latter Day Saints to help Christians witness to them. Appendixes include LDS articles of faith, organizational structure, and terminology.
A concise, informative introduction to the origins, teaching, and practices of Mormonism today contrasted with historic Christianity.
Sociologist Rodney Stark estimates that by 2080, Mormonism will have 267 million adherents. As a leading rival to biblical Christianity in both America and Latin America, it is a religion to be reckoned with. However, Mormons are not so much a group to be feared by Christians, says author Andrew Jackson, as a mission field to be cultivated.
As a professor and a pastor in a city that boasts a large LDS community, Jackson has had not only many discussions with Mormon neighbors but with current and ex-members from every level of the church hierarchy. These conversations have led him to study this religion and write this book.
His systematic, concise, and well-documented work offers an easy-reading explanation of Mormon teaching and practice today. This book is the first place readers will want to turn for a primer on Mormonism's origins and specific doctrines, and what Mormons believe and why.
“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, author of The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
“One of the most comprehensive handbooks on the Latter-day Saints in print today. Highly recommended.” Michael S. Moore, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Meticulously researched.” Mark Daniels, Pastor, Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, Logan, Ohio
Reviews - What do customers think about Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice?
A Mormon's Considered Opinion Jul 14, 2008
I'm the token Mormon in a Bible study group consisting of mostly evangelicals and mainstream Protestants. It has been an enjoyable group to be part of because we are willing to learn from each other and appreciate our differences. We decided to tackle the subject of Mormonism and Dr. Jackson's new book was suggested since several of the groups members knew him. I would have preferred a book written by a Mormon, but after a quick glance at it I agreed that is looked like it was something I could work with. I also figured something written by an evangelical could explain some of our doctrines in terms that other evangelicals could understand since Mormons use some common terms differently than other Christians.
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.
Mormonism Explained May 26, 2008
The marriage of my grandparents was sealed in the Mormon temple in Utah which has evoked my interest in trying to understand more clearly their religious beliefs and was also the reason for my reading Mormonism Explained.
This book presents a systematic approach to the Mormon religion starting with the origin of Mormonism and how it has evolved to what it is today. I appreciate the fact that the author's extensive resources come directly from the Mormon books of faith and leadership teachings with no attempt to interpret these statements according to his own personal view. Rather the author compares Mormon doctrines to mainstream Biblical Christianity and allows one to come to his/her own conclusion on the validity of the doctrines set forth by the Mormon church.
This book presents an in-depth understanding of Mormon theology which is both concise and insightful as the author presents the Mormon teachings for what they are, in and of themselves. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain an understanding into the Mormon church and how the religion is practiced today.
Interesting Book May 20, 2008
This is a very informative book about what the Latter Day Saints teach and practice. Jackson has certainly done his homework, which is evident as he spells out clearly what Mormon's believe and why they believe the way they do. While it is full of information, the author has a very easy-to-read style.
Mormonism Explained is one of the most thorough books on Mormonism I ever read. It covers their history, beliefs, theology, and their diversity in beliefs. This book clears up some confusion I had about what Mormons really believe.
I want to note that Jackson does not put down Mormonism as he explains their beliefs, not as a critic but as a teacher. It is a good book for those who want more insight into this religion.
An Unfortunate Review May 17, 2008
As the author of Mormonism Explained, J. Price's review of my book is quite unfortunate, although not that surprising.
As a Mormon, I realize that Price might not agree with some of my conclusions, but he provides no specific content inaccuracies in my book. Actually, Price's review is no review at all, it is more of an empty denouncement.
I trust that Latter-Day Saints will provide more thoughtful and detailed reviews in the future, for Price has not done them a great service.
Not "explained," marginalized and pooh poohed. May 15, 2008
This author does not attempt to merely 'explain' Mormonism, he also inserts his own biases and belittles those beliefs equally well. This is not a 'scholarly' attempt to understand Mormons. If that is what you are looking for, buy the books by Jan Shipps, an actual scholar.
There is a reason the editorial reviews are all by non-Mormons - they don't seek real understanding any more than the author does. They seek understanding on their own terms, and to justify their own biases.