This is one book I’ve been meaning to blog about, ever since I finished it, over a year ago. You can see that I had it on my “books to read in 2022” list over here.
I found it as a book on CD at my local public library. For about two months, I listened to it in the car any time I drove the car. It is such a great book. I really love the ending, with how he talks about believing in miracles.
Here are some great quotes from the book:
“My own experience is that while some people choose belief from a range of possible options, and other people choose skepticism from the same menu, there are many people for whom faith or doubt appear more as an unearned inheritance than a personal choice. To be sure, as moral agents we decide what to do with the various givens in our life–but we don’t get to choose our givens.”
“What one does with seemingly damning facts is a matter of judgement. They have to be interpreted and may take on a different aspect when viewed from another angle.”
“One of the primary reasons why some members of the church have become disenchanted, disappointed, or even angry in recent years is because they were never taught to expect skeletons in the closet of church history and so are shocked when they find them.”
“Many of our problems stem from the fact that in the church we have developed an erroneous cultural notion of prophetic infallibility that has its foundation neither in scripture nor in the teachings of the modern prophets themselves.”
“When certain things are off limits–implicitly or explicitly–then some people will naturally suppose that the church cares more about public image than about truth and the the truth will somehow destabilize the very foundations of the church’s claims. That is simply not the case, as attested by the many scholars who are deeply familiar with the hard issues but remain faithful nevertheless.”
The people who choose to stay are not simply naive or blind or victims of false consciousness–any more than those who choose to leave are inherently biased, blinded, or wicked.”
“Mormonism is wonderful in all its swirl of paradox, contradiction, and challenge. Mormonism’s whole is greater than the sum of of its parts. It is not docile to either its best or worst features.”
It’s a wonderful book about how to respect people with doubt in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yet also respect people with belief.
Here is a video of the author in a presentation that basically encapsulates the book. (Fun fact: he is speaking at the very church building I attended for many years in my youth and had my wedding reception.)