Criticism of Mormonism/Books

Table of Contents

Analysis of books critical of Mormonism

Analysis of books critical of Mormonism

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A

Response to claims made in American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, a work by author Sally Denton

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Response to claims made in An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer

Summary: In Insider's View of Mormon Origins was developed during a period of time that its author worked as a teacher in the Church Educational System (CES), and was published after the author's retirement from Church employment. The book attempts to explain many otherwise clearly described events of the restoration by reinterpreting them as spiritual rather than physical events.

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Response to claims made in "Answering Mormon Scholars" (Vol. 1) by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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Response to claims made in "Answering Mormon Scholars" (Vol. 2) by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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Response to claims made in "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon" by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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B

Response to claims made in Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism by Richard Abanes

Summary: This book could best be described as an Evangelical apologetic work against Mormonism. The book spends much time refuting LDS interpretation of scriptural passages in the Bible, often claiming that Mormons have misinterpreted the scriptures and that they require "deeper study." In fact, it is claimed that LDS scholars have only a superficial knowledge of the scriptures, at one time stating that "[p]roperly interpreting them is not as simple as reading today's newspaper"

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Response to claims made in "Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows" by Will Bagley

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Response to claims made in "By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri" by Charles Larson

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C

Response to claims made in Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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D

Response to claims made in Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism by Ed Decker

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Response to claims made in Deconstructing Mormonism by Thomas Riskas

Summary: Ex-Mormons online were initially quite excited to read this book when it first appeared, but it appears that few were able to actually understand what it was saying. As the author noted in an online ex-Mormon forum in May 2013, "The paradigm application of such deconstruction applied interpersonally (and "intra"-personally) is some version of the "Instructive Deconstructive Conversation" found in Chapter 1. And the metaphor I like to use for such deconstruction, when applied to Mormon and other theistic beliefs, is the taking apart of an "object of great price" piece by piece, as also presented in Ch. 1." [1] In summary, the author believes that he has, once and for all, "deconstructed Mormonism," and that one has to dedicate serious effort to reading his book in order to understand how that has been accomplished. Online discussion about the book in the ex-Mormon fora appear to have died out near the end of 2013, with the author periodically reappearing in an attempt to spur further discussion.

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Response to claims made in Do Christians Believe in Three Gods by RBC Ministries

Summary: This article is in response to a pamphlet that attempts to explain LDS beliefs to non-LDS readers. Unfortunately, the pamphlet sometimes misrepresents LDS beliefs and uses standard anti-Mormon arguments to make its point.


E

Response to claims made in Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn

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I

Review of claims made in In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith


Response to claims made in Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism by Richard Abanes

Summary: This book could best be described as an Evangelical apologetic work against Mormonism. The book spends much time refuting LDS interpretation of scriptural passages in the Bible, often claiming that Mormons have misinterpreted the scriptures and that they require "deeper study." In fact, it is claimed that LDS scholars have only a superficial knowledge of the scriptures, at one time stating that "[p]roperly interpreting them is not as simple as reading today's newspaper"

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L

Response to claims made in "Letters to a Mormon Elder" by James White

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Response to claims made in "Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church" by Simon G. Southerton

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M

Response to claims made in "Mormonism 101" by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson

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Response to claims made in Mormonism: Shadow or Reality by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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Response to claims made in Mormonism Unmasked by R. Philip Roberts

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Response to claims made in Mormonism Unvailed by Eber D. Howe

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Response to Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, a work by Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling

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N

Response to claims made in Nauvoo Polygamy: "... but we called it celestial marriage" by George D. Smith

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Response to claims made in No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn Brodie

Summary: Louis Midgley: "Though Fawn McKay Brodie forged a reputation as a controversial psychohistorian, it is her 1945 biography of Joseph Smith for which she has always been known among Latter-day Saints. She thought of herself, and has been portrayed by cultural Mormons, as an "objective" historian who had taken the measure of "the Mormon prophet." Her death on 10 January 1981 was followed by tributes in which she was depicted as a heroic figure who had courageously liberated herself from bondage to the mind-numbing religious orthodoxy of her parochial childhood and who had thereby set in place among Latter-day Saints what one of her admirers called "a new climate of liberation." Fawn McKay Brodie: A Biographer's Life—the latest and most comprehensive of these tributes to Brodie—constitutes a substantial addition to the tiny academic specialty that might be called 'Brodie studies'."[2]

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O

Response to claims made in One Nation Under Gods by Richard Abanes

Summary: In early 2002 a new book entitled One Nation under Gods (ONUG) appeared on bookshelves, promising to tell the "real" history of the Mormon Church. The author attempts to pull disparate sources together to paint a picture that, when compared to objective reality, more closely resembles a Picasso than a Rembrandt—skewed and distorted—obscuring and maligning the actual doctrines and beliefs as understood and practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than 150 years. FairMormon's original review of One Nation Under Gods was of the original 2002 hardback edition. The author has responded that there were editorial problems with this edition. We acknowledge that corrections were made in the paperback edition released in 2003 in response to some of the original reviews. Consequently, all previous FairMormon reviews have been edited for accuracy and tone, and the paperback edition of this work has been evaluated on its own merits. (It should be noted that the corrected paperback edition bears no markings indicating that it is a second edition or an updated edition; it simply appears as a paperback edition of the original.) This is an index of claims made in this work with links to corresponding responses. An effort has been made to provide the author's original sources where possible. In the subarticles linked below the hardback edition is represented by "HB" and the paperback edition by "PB."

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P

Response to claims made in Passing the Heavenly Gift by Denver C. Snuffer

Summary: This account of Church history contains numerous inaccuracies, distortions, and misrepresentations of the data.


S

Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example by D. Michael Quinn


Studies of the Book of Mormon by B.H. Roberts

Summary: The content of this book is not written by a critic, but its purpose and audience are often misrepresented by critics in an effort to make it appear that Roberts lost his testimony of the Book of Mormon.

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T

Response to the "Book of Lehi" by Christopher Marc Nemelka


Response to claims made in The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner

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Response to claims made in The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism by Normal L. Geisler

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Response to claims made in The God Makers: A Shocking Exposé of What the Mormon Church REALLY Believes by Ed Decker and Dave Hunt

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Response to claims made in The Mysteries of Godliness by David John Buerger

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Notes on The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition

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Response to claims made in The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) by Walter Martin, Hank Hanegraaf


Response to claims made in The Lion of the Lord by Stanley P. Hirshon


Response to claims made in The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D. Michael Quinn

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Response to claims made in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn

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U

Response to claims made in Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

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A review of claims made in "Understanding Mormon Disbelief" by the Open Stories Foundation


V

Response to claims made in Visions of Glory by John Pontius

Summary: This work, which purports to give an account of near death experiences (NDE) and visions of the last days contains some true principles, but violates Church doctrine in both content and approach. It also contains some ideas that contradict LDS doctrine on key points.

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W

Response to claims made in Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma by Wayne Cowdery, Howard Davis, and Donald Scales

Summary: This book attempted to revive the moribund Spalding manuscript theory for the Book of Mormon. Cowdery et al. claimed to have discovered Spalding's handwriting in the Book of Mormon original manuscript. In addition to the insurmountable historical problems with the Spalding theory, the supposed "Spalding" handwriting has likewise been found in documents produced in June 1831--fifteen years after Spalding's death.

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Notes

  1. Thomas Riskas, posted in Recovery from Mormonism (May 31, 2013).
  2. Louis Midgley, "The Legend and Legacy of Fawn Brodie," FARMS Review of Books 13:1 (2001).