Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians, many of them say. Should Mormonism be viewed as just another Christian denomination?
McKeever and Johnson want us to know of the many differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity. I think they have done a superb job in doing exactly that.
I really like how the authors define terms at the beginning of each chapter. Mormons often mean something very different by a term from what Christians understand the word to mean. The authors go through beliefs topic by topic, beginning with God, the most important teaching and the foundation of any religious belief system. They show that the Mormon concept of God is very different from that of evangelical Christianity (such as God having a body and a pre-existence as a mortal). They follow with the Mormon teaching on Jesus (brother to Lucifer, the result of impregnation of Mary by Elohim) and the Trinity (rather a plurality of Gods).
They continue with the LDS concept of humans (spirit children of God with a pre-existence before physical birth), the Fall (a wise decision with God's full commendation), and Apostasy (from when the apostles died to Joseph Smith's restoration). The authors explore the LDS concept of Scripture and the reliability of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
They continue by looking at salvation, grace, repentance, works and how the LDS understanding differs from evangelical Christianity. They do the same with heaven and hell, the sacraments, how revelation is received, the temple ceremonies and garments, and some controversial beliefs and decisions.
I really like the way the authors have documented their work. There are many footnotes as they quote from official LDS documents and other sources. I also like how they compare the LDS teaching to evangelical Christian belief on every topic they cover.
This is a very good book for anyone interested in LDS teaching and how it compares with the truth of the Bible as understood by evangelical Christians. For some, it will be a surprising revelation. For others, familiar with the LDS teaching, this will be a good resource for a complete review of Mormon beliefs and practices. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter so this book could be used for a small group or a class discussion. A bibliography and various indexes in the back make this a good resource book for all.
Bill McKeever is the founder of Mormonism Research Ministry in El Cajon, California, and the author of Answering Mormons' Questions. He and his wife live in the Salt Lake City area.
Eric Johnson also works with Mormonism Research Ministry. He and his family live in the Salt Lake City area. You can find out more about the ministry at http://www.mrm.org/.
Baker Books, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.