With Mitt Romney running for president I was curious to know what this book was presenting to the world. A heads up, I am a Mormon.
Stephen Mansfield, the acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, has highlighted the growing popularity of Mormonism—a belief system with cultic roots—and the implications of its critical rise. Mormons are moving into the spotlight in pop culture, politics, sports, and entertainment via presidential candidates like Romney and Huntsman, media personality Glenn Beck, mega-bestselling Twilight author Stephanie Meyer, and The Book of Mormon, the hottest show on Broadway. Mormonism was once a renegade cult at war with the U.S. Army in the 1800s, but it has now emerged as not only the fastest-growing religion, but as a high-impact mainstream cultural influence.
The introduction was cute and funny, almost like an LDS member poking fun at himself. I laughed and had to share with my friend a few of the funny quirks. One thing to note is that there are a few outdated ideas such as the prompting to have 13 children being common. It’s way more common to have 2 or 3 these days although there are a few who have 5. The church doesn’t really get involved and would definitely counsel (if asked) for a family to not have more than they can provide for.
I found this book to be a basic introduction to the beliefs of the church. The author claims to neither deny or defend and for the most part this was true, but it tended to have an overtone of the authors opinion of doubt. Especially towards the history of the church’s founding as well as the life of Joseph Smith. I would say this book is about 80% true and the remaining 20% wasn’t well researched and is the authors assumption based on his own observations. Girls ARE allowed to go on missions, in fact many of them do. As a researcher who has spent time in Salt Lake meeting with church officials, surely he would have seen hundreds of them, as well as elderly couples serving missions as well. This is just one incorrect observation that he mistakingly published as fact.
Overall, I would summarize the authors opionion that the church itself, MEH, but the resulting people are hard working, loyal, and successful, which is why we hear about so many of them in the public eye.
In summary: not really worth the read. Browse the first 10 pages in the book store and you get the best parts. If you want to check it out yourself, The Mormonizing of America is on Amazon.