Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mormonizing of America by Stephen Mansfield

Jacketed Hardcover
How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture (from the Worthy Publishing website)

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 Stephenie 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.

My thoughts:  First of all, I found that this was not a deep nor controversial book written as a theological expose of Mormonism.  It is a clearly written and, I believe, thoroughly researched and documented write dealing with the "birth" of the Mormon religion here in America, what the Mormon writings and individuals actually say and speak of themselves, and the achievement of many who hold to the Religion of Mormonism as their faith in he areas politics, military, arts and entertainment, high business positions, and creation and ownership in mammoth business holdings.

Stephen Mansfield has written an easy to understand book that is of timely importance to us at this juncture in American history.  We have an accomplished politician, business man, family man, and leader in the Mormon church seeking the highest office in the land - that of President of the United States.  Therefore, it would bode well for each of us to understand somewhat about the inner workings of this man an the things he holds dear in his heart , mind, and life.  For they will affect his leadership skills and decisions if he should be chosen to lead this nation just as they have shaped his life up to this point in time.

There are roughly 2% of the population of the United States who are declared Latter Day Saints (Mormons).  Yet that 2% is now in position to wield influence in many areas of life on a day to day basis.  They achieve because their religion calls for them to achieve.  It is in their belief system. Theirs is a doctrine to be ever moving forward, progressing, and advancing in education.  They are bred to manage and to lead because if they do it on this earth, they will surely do well in the afterlife on other earths.

It has long been understood by anyone who has studied anything about the beginnings of this religious system, that it has been highly controversial and created strife and ultimate banishment.  Their belief in polygamy (though some still practice it, the majority claim it is no longer a practice).  Their belief that Africa-Americans are banned from belief - though that, too, changed. And yet, they usually produce model citizens who are productive, well-behaved, healthy, achievers.

The media is proclaiming that a "Mormon Moment" has arrived.  They (Mormons) have a candidate for President of the United States.  They (Mormons) are receiving good, popular press on individuals who are in the spotlight - including Glen Beck, newscaster.  Back in 1960 John F. Kennedy was elected as the first Roman Catholic President of the United States.  Controversial. Unheard of.  Perhaps that was a "Catholic Moment."  Assuredly, folks looked at the Catholic Church with a strong looking glass and were ever watchful of Kennedy's decision being affected by his religious beliefs and association.

Just what is included in Mansfield's book.
  1. Background  on Joseph Smith (LDS Church founder) giving his family background, what shaped his life, etc. How he found the Golden Plates and translated them.
  2. The evolution of Mormon religious tradition, the Book of Mormon, and credibility relating to Smith and the Book of Mormon.
  3. Their belief as to the origins of the American Indians.
  4. Pictures of key individuals and places.
  5. Controversy and violence between the LDS Church and Christian groups historically.
  6. A timeline following the birth and growth of Mormonism.
I appreciate the easy to read style in which Mr. Mansfield has prepared this work.  It makes it accessible reading for the lay person or for the scholar who desires a brief but thorough description of this religion that is Mormonism.  I personally take issue with all the "tenets" of the Latter Day Saints' teachings and beliefs and consider them totally in error regarding the nature of God and the person of Jesus Christ.

  Read an Excerpt:  Download PDF

About the author:   Stephen Mansfield is a writer and speaker best known for his groundbreaking books on the role of religion in history, leadership, and modern culture. He first came to international attention with The Faith of George W. Bush, the New York Times bestseller that influenced Oliver Stone’s film, W. His book The Faith of Barack Obama was another international bestseller. He has written celebrated biographies of Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Stephen speaks around the world on topics of faith, leadership, and culture. He is also the founder of two firms: The Mansfield Group (MansfieldGroup.com) and Chartwell Literary Group (ChartwellLiterary.com).

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary copy of The Mormonizing of America" by Worthy Publishing in order to facilitate my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Material about the author, the book, and the trailer were gleaned from the Worthy Publishing website. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, it is hard for me to believe that you disagree with "all of the 'tenets' of the Latter Day Saints' teachings and beliefs"! We do "believe the Bible to be the word of God". I am not sure you would like me to completely trust a book about your religion that was written by a non-believer! I invite anyone who really wants to understand "Mormons" to read the Book of Mormon. Or ask us. As fellow Christians, is that too much to expect?


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