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Book Review: What Every Mormon (and Non-Mormon) Should Know: Examining Mormon History, Doctrines and Claims

By Edmond C. Gruss & Lane A. Thuett
(Xulon Press, 2006)
Reviewed by Eric Johnson

To order this book directly from Amazon,click here: What Every Mormon (and Non-Mormon) Should Know

Former Mormonism Research Ministry associate Lane Thuett teamed with Edmond Gross to put together a well-documented 500+-page book on the subject of Mormonism. The authors have pitched a winner as they utilize a great number of authoritative sources to show that Mormonism is truly much different from historical Christianity.

The book is fully documented, with more than a hundred pages of footnotes included in the back. (It would have been nice if these notes had been incorporated as footnotes so the reference could be seen without flipping pages, but that’s not the way most publishers work.) Broken down into thirteen chapters, the book deals with such issues as the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Godhead, priesthood, and salvation. Utilizing more than a thousand quotations—honestly, I didn’t count, but there were at least this many and probably many more—the authors use boldface type to highlight certain parts of each quote. This feature helps attract the reader’s eye to the most important element of the longer quotes, which the authors usually provided with the surrounding context.

I can imagine many readers who are not familiar with Mormonism scratching their heads when they see what this religion really is all about, which is much different from the sanitized public relations image presented by Salt Lake City. While the authors do quote Christians such as Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Bill McKeever, and other experts of the LDS religion, their main source is the Mormon leaders themselves. A Mormon could question the authority that these leaders really had. But how can anyone argue with the idea that these men are supposedly representing the restored church and that all other churches have nobody to lead them in this authority? If these LDS leaders weren’t qualified to teach true doctrine, then why should they be trusted in anything? Those who would try to minimize the history or doctrines that emanate from the LDS Church are barking up the wrong tree. The information provided here should really bother “every Mormon (and Non-Mormon)” alike.

One of the most enjoyable parts in this book, at least for me, was Lane’s 9-page testimony given in Appendix A, complete with 16 pages of notes that include interesting tidbits. Lane was raised LDS and found Christ only after spending three months investigating the church to see if the Christian critics were wrong. His conclusion: “The LDS leaders were the ones lying to me; it was the ‘anti-Mormon’ writers who had actually been telling the truth.” (p. 373) Lane has paid a cost for leaving his original faith, but he says that he proudly “witnesses to their members about their doctrines. I know the position that Mormons are in, having been there myself; and I understand the kind of spiritual struggles they labor under. My heart aches for them to know the truth.” (p. 376)

As it can be seen, I think quite highly of this important work. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone who wants to better understand the LDS religion.

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