Item description for Breaking the Mormon Code: A Critique of Mormon Scholarship by Matthew A. Paulson...
In Provo, Utah, there exists the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) renowned as a Mormon think-tank, FARMS is owned and operated by Brigham Young University (BYU) and the Mormon Church. Their mission seeks to repudiate the opposition, applaud its supporters, and justify many peculiar Mormon doctrines. This book demonstrates that FARMS often twists the truths to justify Mormon doctrines. To justify their position they often will utilize inane accusations, misquotes and equivocation. This collection of deceit from Mormon scholarship is what Matt Paulson has identified as the breaking of the Mormon Code.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Breaking the Mormon Code: A Critique of Mormon Scholarship?
A critical look at Mormon scholarship Jul 8, 2007
Matt Paulson has done a good job researching LDS scholars (i.e. FARMS) and showing the lack of peer review and faulty conclusions that many of them have made. He brings forth lots of footnotes (thanks for not making these endnotes!) and shows expertise in his look at how the gentlemen at the Mormon-funded FARMS are lacking in crossing their t's and dotting their i's. In fact, they are quite sloppy in their "research" and then have very little Christ-like attitude in their criticism of the "anti-Mormon" writers, myself included. It's one thing to disagree--as I certainly disagree with their position--but it's another to be mean-spirited, sarcastic, and generally obnoxious in how they present their information. If "pride" is still a sin, then the FARMS folks are certainly guilty of disobeying Mormon 10:32. Overall, I think Paulson has done a service to the Christian community in putting this book together, and it ought to be read by those who are interested in Mormon/Christian apologetics.
Truth Seekers need this book! Jan 28, 2007
"Breaking the Mormon Code," by Matthew Paulson, is a well-written critique of Mormon Scholarship in regard to Christian theology. Paulson does a thorough job of bringing to light the central issue of how LDS scholars and Brigham Young University religion professors misuse foundational Christian beliefs to support Mormonism's non-biblical doctrines.
This book is unlike other apologetics in that Paulson does not set out to prove that Mormonism is theologically incorrect. Instead, he reveals the ways in which Mormon scholars deceive their readers by misquoting, taking out of context, and misapplying the teachings of the Early Christian Church Fathers. Paulson also touches on a few of the many scriptures the Mormon Church twists into aberrant meanings through eisegesis and exegesis. Through the use of fallacious arguments these same scholars attempt to seduce Mormons and Christians alike into believing that there is little difference between what Christian Church Fathers taught and what the LDS Church teaches today.
Paulson shows that, "In Mormonism there is no salvation outside the Church. For Mormons salvation comes by faith, repentance and works within the LDS Church, including the ritual of water baptism. Mormons who leave the Church or those who are excommunicated are essentially outcasts and essentially `damned' unless they repent. Church members become candidates for excommunication as they apostatize from the teachings of the Church. It has been said that `an apostate is...one who flatly denies the divine nature of the [LDS] Church...' Why should evangelic Christianity accept Mormonism when LDS dissidents are typecast as evil apostates and non-Christians?" (p. 19).
The author makes a good point in the above quote. If someone leaves Mormonism and becomes a Baptist, for example, he is no longer a candidate for salvation in the highest of the Mormon heavens. In fact, he is labeled an apostate! As a Christian, could you imagine a Baptist saying that one who leaves their congregation to attend a Methodist Church is no longer Christian or no longer saved? Of course not! However, the LDS Church can require complete and exclusive loyalty because Mormonism falls outside the parameters of biblical Christianity.
The book's introduction explains what the official Mormon "honor code" is and outlines how LDS scholars break this code by distorting the facts and engaging in polemics in their attempt to reinvent Mormonism. The honor code states in part, "The substantive standards of academic honesty stated in this policy apply a fortiori to faculty. Indeed, all members of the BYU community are expected to act according to the highest principles of academic integrity" ([...]) (Viewed 01-27-07)
Chapter One illustrates the tactics LDS scholars use against anyone they consider opponents of Mormonism, such as Christian scholars, apologists, ex-Mormons, and those in counter-cult ministries who provide factual information that reveals embarrassing LDS doctrines or history. Anyone exposing discrepancies in Mormon writings or teachings quickly become targets of ad hominem attacks by LDS defenders, who attempt to impugn the character of those who speak out. Instead of addressing the issues with honest and integrity, many Mormon scholars resort to polemics. Examples of degrading terms used by these scholars against opponents are given by the author; "anti-Mormonoids" "militant fundamentalism," and those believing we are saved by grace alone have been referred to by one LDS scholar as "filthy dreamers."
The following chapters in Section One explain the basics of Mormon beliefs and the ways in which LDS scholars often distort or misapply Christian teachings and Bible verses to conform to LDS beliefs. The topics covered include; the Trinity, deification of man, polytheism, the authority of the Bible, original sin, baptism for the dead, Hellenization of Christianity, salvation with works, and the redefining of "Christian" and "Jesus."
Section two covers the subject of FARMS (Foundation for Ancient research and Mormon Studies; pro-Mormon site) and The Book of Mormon. Paulson answers questions such as; Does FARMS prove The Book of Mormon? Are there two Hill Cumorahs? Does Chiasmus validate The Book of Mormon? The last two chapters give reasons not to believe FARMS and demonstrate how FARMS is losing the battle.
"Breaking the Mormon Code" is not leisurely reading for a Sunday afternoon. It is a meaty analysis of the issues relating to Mormon vs. Christian scholarship. At 276 pages in length, the book is not exhaustive, yet gives the reader enough information to see there is a major problem within professional LDS apologetic circles. Paulson gives citations and references in footnotes and breaks some of the longer chapters into manageable subsections. Although the reader can get bogged down in places by comparisons of doctrinal positions and theories through the centuries, Paulson does a good job of using only those examples that have direct bearing on his contentions.
I highly recommend this book to those who are serious about investigating the writings of LDS theologians to find the truth about contemporary Mormonism's pretensions to Christianity. Paulson assists the reader in determining whether or not the writings of LDS scholars can be trusted and taken at face value. I believe there is enough evidence in this book to demonstrate that Mormon scholarship, particularly among prominent BYU professors and FARMS, does not subscribe to the highest levels of integrity and academic honestly, and that it is in the best interest of Mormons and Christians alike to evaluate Mormonism in light of the evidence.
Very Solid Dec 20, 2006
Matt did a great job documenting his sources. If you're interested in looking under the hood of Mormonism, this is the book for you. I'm glad somebody has the guts to take them on.
Solid and refreshing Dec 19, 2006
Paulson's book performs two very valuable services in the academic arena. First of all, he demonstrates conclusively that many LDS scholars have been less than professional in the way that they have selectively quoted-- and sometimes, misquoted -- early Christian Fathers and heretic writers of the last 2000 years, with the aim of making it seem that Mormonism restores the original, doctrinally pure Gospel of the first century AD. Paulson's second contributions are his helpful charts and lists. Especially useful is the comparison of classic Christian creeds with the LDS Articles of Faith--which is, as Paulson shows, indeed itself a creed. - Latayne C. Scott, Author, The Mormon Mirage, (Zondervan, 1979); Why We Left Mormonism, (Baker Book House, 1990) and After Mormonism, What? (Baker Book House, 1994)
Great Documentation Dec 18, 2006
I really like reading "Breaking the Mormon Code." I would recommend it to anybody who is interested in refuting Mormonism. The book has a great amount of documentation and the LDS scholars will be totally frustrated in trying to refute Matt Paulson. This book is a great read.