Just completed reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Mormonism
I figured I'd write a review. Not sure who all has checked out the LDS faith, but it is a compelling faith. I sometimes post things on this blog that are of a religious nature, but not too often. You may be wondering why I decided to pick up this book.
I recently met a person, who in the first 5 minutes, absolutely captivated me. From her countenance and posture to her positive, friendly attitude she exuded confidence. The feeling is probably not mutual, but nevertheless I was intrigued. Well turns out she is a member of the LDS faith, so that's what prompted me to check out the book.
This review is not an attempt to explain LDS faith, per se, but I wanted to point out a few of the things I learned which I am in agreement with, and which I think are positive aspects of the LDS faith. (NOTE: I didn't really find anything I thought was negative.)
First is the concept of Original Sin. This concept holds that we are all born sinners and that man is born pre-determined a sinner. The LDS don't believe this, I don't either. If we were there would be no reason for free will or Christ for that matter.
Second is the concept of free will. With out free will, we could not be accountable for our actions because we had no choice. Free will is a concept embraced by LDS. The LDS focus more attention to the time Jesus spent praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, as opposed to other Christians that wear crucifixes symbolizing Jesus' death. This focus puts primacy on the concept of free will, and the importance of choice. Whether we choose wrongly or rightly, we must choose between a choice of alternatives. There is no getting around this, its the basic axiom of our condition as human beings. When you make no choice, you have inadvertently chosen. Through our actions we demonstrate our values. Whether our actions are in harmony with our short and long term interests is a subject for another posting.
Third is the equality between men and women. The LDS see all people as equal in God's eyes. Men and women may have different responsibilities, but one is neither held in a higher or a lower position. The differing responsibilities are complementary.
Fourth is the concept of eternal family. The LDS place immense value on family. From rearing children, fidelity, etc... In the LDS concept of the afterlife, we will be re-united with our family in God's presence. I didn't have the best family life growing up. I was able to see a lot of the wrongs things to do, and some good ones. For me, the family unit complete with the mother and father, is irreplaceable and a necessary part of raising children.
Fifth is consistency of the Church. The LDS has an established program that promotes stability in thought, worship, and actions so that all members regardless of where they have come to the faith, can feel a sense of togetherness and shared heritage.
There are plenty of gems in this book, I only wanted to point out a few things in this blog posting. If you're interested, I say pick up the book and give it a whirl, you may be surprised.