Until I read this book I was mildly pro-Mormon, viewing the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) as a net plus for the country and for the Mormons themselves. After all, the Saints gave us Mitt Romney, a decent man who might have been a fine President.
Author Regina Samuelson [a pen name, a nom de plume, an alias, a nom de guerre] is inching her way out of the Mormon closet with this confessional contribution to the debunking of the faith that has helped make Mormons among the most successful people in the U.S. Mormons rule Utah and are highly influential is several other Western states.
Samuelson entertainingly and sometimes shockingly tells the story of her involvement, submersion really, in the Church, along with vignettes about many other members, and helps us understand why she no longer believes, although she is afraid to be known as an apostate.
She directs us to several books that have shown the “history” of the Church to have been largely fabricated, as was its core document, the Book of Mormon, which purports to tell of the coming of Jesus Christ to Latin America in the distant past, for which no evidence exists. The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. God lives on an unnamed planet by the star Kolob. Joseph Smith translated the BoM revelations inscribed on gold plates that later disappeared, dictating the BoM to a scribe who sat on the other side of a curtain. Some of Smith’s work involved “improving” the translation of earlier Biblical texts.
Smith and Brigham Young were notorious womanizers, as well as polygamists. They showed little concern for the travails of their followers during their arduous early-nineteenth-century westward migration.
The doctrines and the Church’s hierarchy place women in second-class roles, primarily as breeders and then mothers. The “lucky” ones go through extensive and intensive indoctrination as children, attend Brigham Young University, marry a fellow Mormon who has returned from a two-year mission, produce babies and help economize at home so 10% of the family income (a tithe) can come off the top and go to support the Church.
Men and women get recruited for “callings,” absorbing even more of their time and energy. Once a Mormon, your Church, your friends, your family require you to sacrifice repeatedly for the good of the LDS.
The emphasis on female chastity before marriage, while making out-of-wedlock births rare, leads to pent-up sexual demand that Samuelson believes explains why Utah has the highest per-capita consumption of pornography. Over and over, she details a rigidity of thinking and behavior that makes “blind faith” and “dysfunctional” and “Victorian” seem understatements.
The book’s dedication is touching and instructive:
To all those who have struggled as I have,
Who have yet to struggle as I have,
And to those who love us anyway.
One can only sympathize with the plight of good people who have built their honest faith on rotten foundations. They will populate the Earth at rates rivaling those of the Moslems, another all-inclusive religion that subjugates its adherents, especially women.
This review was also posted at http://amazon.com,
where the book can be readily purchased.