Humanity is full of horror, and always has been. God wept that He gave humankind their agency, and asked them to love each other and to choose Him, but they were without affection, and hated their own blood (Moses 7). Tragedies in interactions between individuals, families, tribes, towns and nations add up to plagues like racism, sexism, war, and slavery—and they have always been endemic on earth. They still are, despite a modern Pax Americana that has mitigated much of them for those likely to read this. It is for these that God wept, knowing the suffering that people were bringing upon themselves and others because of their choices. Continue reading
Review of Paul F. Fink. Comparing and Evaluating the Scriptures: A Timely Challenge for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons. Lompoc, CA: Summerland Publishing, 2008. 166 pp. $16.95 (paperback and e-book format).
I expected better things from Professor Fink’s book, as it points out on the cover that he started as the son of a “conservative Christian Minister” and ended as a professor of philosophy; such a life journey, made thoughtfully, ought to sow very interesting things to say. His stated purpose is broad: an “orderly,” “even-handed” analysis of the Bible, Koran, Torah, and Book of Mormon. He invites readers to imagine themselves on a jury—one called to impartially evaluate the evidence regarding these sacred works, with minds cleared of presupposition and bias, and required to conclude with completely logical answers to the questions Fink poses at the end of the book. Continue reading
Abstract: In his book on Mormonism, the Reverend Andrew Jackson claims to explain “the teaching and practices of the LDS Church,” with an intended audience of non-Mormon Christians but also “interested Mormons.” He doesn’t succeed well. Although his presentation of Mormon history is mostly fair, his discussion of the faith of Latter-day Saints devolves into the usual anti-Mormon tropes, to which he adds a celebration of a simplified evangelical theology. What might have been a useful, straightforward account of The Church of Jesus Christ and its history ended up, instead, as a clumsy attack. Reverend Jackson eventually re-released his book under a different title as a warning against what he considers Mitt Romney’s reticence to publicly explain his faith to the Reverend’s specifications. The later iteration of Reverend Jackson’s opinions was not even revised beyond a new introduction, making plain his basic antagonistic agenda.
Review of Andrew Jackson, What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice: Mormonism Explained, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books [a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers], 2008. 208 pp., with four appendixes, name index, and scripture index. $29.64 (paperback). Continue reading