Reddit mentions: The best christian denominations & sects books

We found 1,583 Reddit comments discussing the best christian denominations & sects books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 488 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

1. The Orthodox Way

SPCK
The Orthodox Way
Sentiment score: 20
Number of mentions: 53
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2. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
Sentiment score: 16
Number of mentions: 27
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8. Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
Sentiment score: 7
Number of mentions: 21
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u/jasonellis · 2 pointsr/exmormon

I feel for you. I decided I no longer believed just as my younger daughter was being born. My timing was just slightly better, as I was somewhat out the door, but not publicly, at the time of her blessing. So, I was able to give a good blessing that was more of a general "your parents love you, make good decisions" then anything Mormon specific.

My wife also left eventually, but it was after some pretty rocky conversations and tense times in our marriage. I would wait for times when she would say something that I could use as an "in" to say something about church history she didn't know about. Joseph's polyandry, especially with teenage girls, is very powerful stuff with many women. So, if a report came out about a guy in the news that had sex with a teenage girl, my wife might say how that is gross, and I would reply "Joseph Smith did it multiple times" and leave it at that. It planted seeds. Later she would bring it up and ask for supporting details. Try and think of what responses she might give to those ("back then, men married younger women", etc.) and have calm counter-responses to those points. It will get the wheels turning. Eventually, like I said, my wife left and is now a more ardent/militant atheist than I am. I can proudly say my children will not be brainwashed by any religion.

I would also emphasize that you need to really concentrate on your love for her. Women are taught in Mormonism that their marriage is their key to exaltation. They cannot do it alone, they need a priesthood holder sealed to them. They can see this apostasy of yours as the end of their marriage in a very real way. Constantly ensure her of how much you love and cherish her, and how you need her in your life. That will help comfort her that you are in it with her and not to take off and be a sinner in the world.

Good luck. If you need "softer" info that your wife can read if she gets to the point that she is willing to look, there are resources people can recommend here. I would recommend these:

  1. Why people leave the Mormon church. This video takes the approach that people leave for legitimate reasons. It isn't the best as far as conclusions, because in the end it tries to say that they should stay, but it can get her started in reasons from a non "anti" point of view.

  2. 20 Truths About Mormonism. I LOVE this site and don't think it is referenced enough. Have her read it in order, because the intro is very important, as it sets the context that he is only seeking truth, and that is why he left.

  3. Remembering the wives of Joseph Smith. This site is good in that many members don't think Joseph was a polygamist, or that much of the story are just anti lies that are spread. It has a wonderful table on the front page that shows his wives, their husbands at the time Joseph married them, and how old they are. The links are to a short biography of each, with reference links to the LDS church's own family search genealogy web site for source info.

  4. Book: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. Great book. Also, this interview (4 PARTS) with the author is wonderful to listen to, maybe even before reading the book.

    Good luck!
u/unsubinator · 8 pointsr/DebateAChristian

First, look up evangelical counsels (also here).

>Christ in the Gospels laid down certain rules of life and conduct which must be practiced by every one of His followers as the necessary condition for attaining to everlasting life. These precepts of the Gospel practically consist of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, of the Old Law, interpreted in the sense of the New. Besides these precepts which must be observed by all under pain of eternal damnation, He also taught certain principles which He expressly stated were not to be considered as binding upon all, or as necessary conditions without which heaven could not be attained, but rather as counsels for those who desired to do more than the minimum and to aim at Christian perfection, so far as that can be obtained here upon earth.

Going back a few verses from the verse you referenced, we read that Jesus said to the crowd:

>Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

Elsewhere, we read that Jesus tells us:

>Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Obviously a Christian's duty is always to those in greater need than he. And if what you own stands between yourself and helping with food, or clothing, or shelter, than what you own is an obstacle...not just to Christian perfection, but to charity--which is the greatest (and most fundamental) of the virtues.

But of all the people we read about who Jesus interacted with, the only person he explicitly told to "sell all you own" was the Rich Young Man, to whom he said, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

>When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Though this man says he had "kept the commandments from his youth", his heart was not where it ought to have been. His heart was where his treasure was--with his possessions.

But that Jesus never intended all of his disciples to sell all of their possessions is proved from the fact that so many of his disciples had homes of their own (including Peter; he had a wife or at least a mother-in-law to look after) and Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. The Gospel of Luke mentions several other women who, "helped Jesus and his disciples out of their own means.

In Acts we read that the disciples "had everything in common, but we read in Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (11:22) that the Corinthians had homes to eat and drink in. And taking up a collection from the Corinthians for the relief of the poor in other churches, a thing that they themselves had desired to do, Paul writes:

>I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Indeed, in presenting a dishonest sum, the profit made from the sale of their possessions, Ananias and Sapphira were told by Peter:

>Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.

All this is to show that it was never understood, either during Jesus' earthly ministry, or in the earliest days of the Church, that in order to be a Christian and to inherit eternal life one had to sell all of his possessions.

But Paul, writing to the Philippians, wrote:

>Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Secondly, if you've never seen an example of Christians selling all they have than you must be ignorant of monasticism. In fact, all consecrated religious have taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

There are examples really too numerous to list. The whole 2,000 year history of the Church is
replete with examples of men and women giving up everything for the aid of the poor, to ease and comfort them in their distress, to sit with them, mourn with them, laugh with them, to share in their struggles, their joys, and their sufferings. To feed them, clothe them, and most importantly to pray with them and to pray for them. To suffer for them...

I was just reading today a story about a Russian Orthodox monk who was approached by a gypsy who asked him for some money. The monk happened to be a priest and the gypsy had heard, incorrectly, that priests always had money. The priest's companion, also a monk and a priest, tried to explain to the old man that they really hadn't any money at all, but the elder priest, taking in the old man and, as the Gospel says, "looking at him, he loved him", took off his new leather shoes which a friend had given him, gave them to the old gypsy, and walked away barefoot.

It's said that St. Francis, if he saw someone in the cold without a cloak, would excuse himself from his company saying, "Excuse me, but I've borrowed my brother coat, and I have to give it back to him," and he would go over and give the poor person his own habit.

St. Teresa of Calcutta took poverty so seriously that she literally suffered through and for the poor she loved so much. The order of religious sisters she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, possess as little as possible to fulfill their mission of caring for the poorest of the poor and dying.

This is the book from which the Russian monk's story comes:

Everyday Saints and Other Stories

I absolutely agree that most Christians could do more. We're most of us lazy, greedy, jealous, petty, proud, when we should be industrious, caring, prudent, and humble. And above all, we
all* have room to grow in the direction of charity.

But also bear in mind that the poor also includes our families, our wives, our husbands, and especially our children. And a mother or a father's duty to his or her children is paramount. We truly feed and clothe the poor when we care for our children. And most of us (parents) have it easy. My wife, who grew up in communist Poland, can tell stories of extreme poverty and want--when parents would go without food just so their children could have their fill.

u/SuperBrandt · 28 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Oooo this is my wheelhouse!

First, I would recommend looking at the Mormon History Association Best Book awards going back to 1966. Quality scholarship, research, and writing are a mainstay with them.

Required reading:

Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet by John Turner / Brigham Young: American Moses by Leonard Arrington

Considered two of the best books about early Utah and the Brigham Young years. Arrington's book was considered groundbreaking when he wrote it, and Turner's book brings in the valuable perspective of the non-Mormon writing about Young. For many Mormons, Turner's book will be less sympathetic to Young than Arrington's, but Turner also worked closely with the Church Archives (and spoke glowingly about them and that process), so his research had access to some better sources. If you need a primer for Brigham Young, I recommend Arrington's book. For a Brigham Young graduate level course, I recommend Turner.

Early Mormonism and the Magic Worldview by Michael Quinn

To understand much of what happened in early Mormonism, you must understand the role that folk magic played in the lives of Americans in the 1800s. Quinn's research at this time was top notch, and he was a quickly rising star among Mormon historians. Considered one of his best works, and foundational to the understanding things like seer stones, divining rods, visions, and everything else that happened in the early church days.

David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Greg Prince

Covers late 1940s - 1960s Mormonism, one of the "rising moments" of Mormonism when we went from a Utah-church to a worldwide church. Prince had amazing access to the journals of President McKay's secretary, which led to some candid discussions about things like the publishing of Mormon Doctrine by McConkie, blacks and the priesthood, ecumenical outreach, and politics.

Spencer W. Kimball by Edward Kimball / Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball by Edward Kimball

Ed was Pres. Kimball's son, and the books cover both the apostle years and presidency years of Spencer W. Kimball. If you had to choose one, get Lengthen Your Stride, but make sure it has the CD that comes with the book. This has the unabridged manuscript prior to the Deseret Book edits, which is much more interesting.

By the Hand of Mormon by Terryl Givens (heck...anything by Terryl Givens!)

I'll admit - I'm a Terryl Givens fanboy. By the Hand of Mormon was the one that first got me in to him, mostly because he took the Book of Mormon as a serious work of literature to examine it's merits. It's not as devotional as many traditional LDS books about the Book of Mormon (it was put out by Oxford University Press), but it really gave me a deeper appreciation for the Book of Mormon as contemporary literature. Also check out Viper on the Hearth (Mormons on myth and heresy), People of Paradox (Mormon culture), When Souls had Wings (the pre-existence in Western thought), and so many others.

And just because I'm a big book nerd, here's the list of books that are on my desk right now that I can give you quick reviews if you want:

u/Malphayden · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

First off, Welcome! You are a special snowflake, and don't let anyone tell you different! Also, I love cream cheese brownies and wine. Something in common already :). Secondly, I'm a catechumen (officially in the process of joining the Church) so take anything I say with a grain of salt as I'm definitely still learning. Other more experience Ortho folks will chime in I'm sure.


Having already attended some services with the intention of continuing I'd say you've got the right idea. Others here, like myself, experienced Orthodoxy first in books. It can be easy to read and read while never going to see and experience for yourself. So, good on ya.


If you're interested in supplementing what you're learning in the services and conversations with the priest, there are lots of good books and web resources. A couple books I’d recommend would be “The Orthodox Way” by bishop Kallistos Ware and “The Orthodox Church” by the same author. The first book deals more with Orthodox spirituality and the second starts off with some history in the first half and teaching/doctrine in the second half. Search through this sub-forum and you’ll find a lot of great questions/answers and links to some great articles.


I’m also a big fan of this blog by Fr. Stephen Freeman.
Feel free to ask any questions you have, there are some really great people in the sub-reddit that will be glad to help you out.


ps...My wife's interest in Orthodoxy isn't at the same place as mine. In my opinion it's best not to rush them or try to crame Orthodoxy down their throats in our new found enthusiasm. Pray for them, be patient and trust God to work on her heart is His own timing :)

u/PhilthePenguin · 7 pointsr/Christianity

>Where do you draw the line between religion and superstitious nonsense? Frankly, I'm having a difficult time separating them at all. Too many people say, "I don't understand how that works, therefore God."

There are principles for reasonable belief. The three I can think of are:

  1. Faith must not conflict with what you know. Faith exceeds knowledge, but it cannot bypass it.
  2. Make sure your beliefs are internally consistent (you'd be surprised how many Christians ignore this principle)
  3. Your faith must be living: transforming you into a better person. A faith that makes you into a worse person is a bad faith.

    >Assuming that Christianity is correct, how can one know with a little more certainty? I'm willing to make a leap of faith, but without some credible evidence, it's like trying to ford the Mississippi river. Can we bring it a little closer to "caulk the wagon and float it across?"

    Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes, but it's going to require some research on your part, and by research I don't mean a few google searches. Books can be a good friend. Some others here may be able to recommend good books about the historicity of Jesus and the church, but I tend to favor the philosophical and metaphysical.

    >Assuming there exists some evidence sufficient to convince me of Christianity's veracity, which version is correct and how can one know? Or does it really matter, since every Christian church agrees on the most important points?

    It's incredible unlikely that any given church is correct on every single point of doctrine. The best you can do is take up the protestant ethic by studying for yourself to see which doctrines appear to be the most reasonable. Looking for the "correct" church is a red herring, in my opinion.

    Examining your faith can be a very rewarding experience, even if you end up becoming atheist/agnostic. Just don't take in more than you think you are ready for.
u/4blockhead · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Feel free to skip over my essay, and down to my recommendations. The essay is intended to add some context for someone trying to understand mormonism from the outside.

The mainstream branch of mormonism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is starting to diverge significantly from its historical roots. The folk magic/occult practices found at the church's origin are now considered completely foreign and abhorrent. The same for the practice of polygamy, it is disavowed and a distant memory within the mainstream church. The membership hardly remembers how central of tenet plural marriage once was. It isn't a relevant part of the religion anymore.

The original church is being watered down and the rough spots sanded over and evened out. The temple rituals originally included some very disconcerting elements and language. They have been significantly revised over time. First, they modified their nude bathing initiation to be a semi-nude washing off with a small hose. Now, as I understand it, all washing is omitted. Initiates are allowed to wear undergarments and not be naked under a sheet. Now, the officiant doesn't touch the initiate at all, if I understand correctly. Also, the death oaths for revealing the secrets of the temple are gone, as is the oath of vengeance against the United States of America for not preventing the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

The personal priesthood interviews to determine worthiness are another thing that is being changed and toned down within mainstream mormonism. The change is being driven by new order mormons, NOMs, who are putting their ward bishop on notice that they won't tolerate the bishop asking invasive questions of their children. I don't think that would've have gone over very well when I was a youth in the church. My parents would have been excommunicated for trying to dictate terms to the bishop. Still, today, I assume that some bishops would not accept terms presented by the NOMs.

I believe studying the church's origins helps to show that the church is not the one-true church that many of us have been taught that it was from birth. Studying the early history shows their practices were even more cultish than today. That said, outsiders would still consider their current secretive, masonic-based temple rituals plenty cultish, though.

Outsiders need to be able to separate its history from its current practice. Except for the temple, the LDS church's Sunday and weekly worship services are standard fare, albeit with a significant time commitment each week. Most of their services are about propping up their mythology, with some socialization- getting to know one another thrown in. They don't delve too deeply into any troubling elements of scripture, or of church history or former practices. The lessons are standardized by committee. Certain topics are definitely too hot to handle. If I were to say one thing about it, I think church is now more about being one of the ways that is used to present their family into the community, especially in highly mormon communities. It's a way to primp and preen, and try to impress the neighbors. Parents thoroughly wash, dress, and parade their families before the other members of the ward. The goal is to appear to be the perfect mormon family. To add the final piece to the puzzle, the family must fall into line and prove they are worthy of respect, that means regular participation in temple rituals. To be eligible to attend the temple, the member must affirm they agree with and try to follow the current theology of the church 100%, but mostly that boils down to agreeing to pay 10% of their income to the church. At this point, I think the temple rituals are a lot like Tevia said in Fiddler on the Roof in the lead in to Tradition! They don't know why they do those rituals, but it was good enough for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, so it must be good for something. The faithful would say it is a requirement to seal a legal agreement with god; it is buying an insurance policy that says families are forever.

I'll stop here, except for stating that a new dynamic is emerging in the church. People are quitting, either by simply not attending (going inactive), or by formally resigning. Issues like the church's support for prop 8 begin to call into question whether the church is on the right side of history. They see the tremendous cash outlay required to build their mall and wonder whether the church is making the right kind of financial choices for a so-called charitable organization. As noted above, these issues can lead a member to begin to question whether their church is everything it claims to be. Is it the one true church? That question runs headlong into the buzzsaw of early mormon history. The information is available online that shows that it is not what it claims to be. Of course, this type of research can lead to loss of faith. What happens when only one partner in a marriage learns the truth? How should young adults respond to their parents' expectations for them knowing that missionary work for something they don't believe in is not something they are wiling to do? How should young women attempt to break out of the rigid sex roles and limited life plan offered by mormonism? I discovered these existential, heartbreaking, and painful experiences detailed here on this subreddit. The politics of how to deal with that fallout when the blinders come off and people face a new reality is what the subreddit is mostly about. It provides a new community for those who are looking for a new worldview, free from the clear cut and rigid worldview presented from childhood as the truth.

Recommendations

u/nocoolnametom · 2 pointsr/exmormon

The Oxford Short Introductions Series has a great volume on Mormonism that covers the faith in a very even-handed and neutral manner. If you're pressed for time, this would probably be the best thing to read. The Dummies and Idiot's Guide are actually not that bad in their presentation of the faith; they're both by what would be termed "liberal Mormons" and do a pretty good job of being realistic in their presentation (though both still being very positive, of course, but they're not conversion texts).

To understand the different faiths in the Latter Day Saint movement you need to understand the history of the faith as so much of the faith claims are rooted in historical events. Books like Rough Stone Rolling and No Man Knows My History give a good overview of Joseph Smith's life. The upcoming Brigham Young biography by John Turner seems like it will also be a good source for information on Young's tenure as president of the Church as it will discuss some of the darker/stranger issues like blood atonement and Adam-God. If you want to go in depth on the history of the Temple ritual, I'd recommend Buerger's The Mysteries of Godliness.

The last information I would give is that most (but not all) books published by Christian publishers should probably be avoided. Nowadays most of them are factual in their content, but their presentation is not meant to provide an understanding of the LDS Church but rather is meant to provide a multiplicity of reasons not to associate with the faith. A few exceptions I'd say are most books by Sandra and Gerald Tanner, and By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus which is an amazing overview of Joseph's "Book of Abraham" and the history and implications of the papyri Smith used in producing it which were rediscovered in 1967 to the subtle consternation of the CHurch ever since.

u/smithaustin · 5 pointsr/latterdaysaints

If you have any interest in books (sorry--that's my jam), Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings is a fantastic collection of essays, sermons, some blog posts, and other writings by Mormon women about feminism. It has the benefit of being easily digested in small chunks that stand alone pretty well, so you can skip sections that don't interest you as much or jump to some areas that really speak to you.

I actually think the book Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact might be another great option for what you're looking for. It's by a very believing Mormon woman who until a few years before writing the book had worked for the church (I think in PR if I remember right) and it basically has two halves: first, explaining to Mormon men (and many women) who don't see any problems with sexism in the church why faithful members feel that there really is (and they're not crazy); and second, laying out suggestions that could be implemented at the local level that wouldn't be against any church policies but which could alleviate some of the problematic aspects of Mormon culture w/r/t sexism.

A few other book options to consider: Mormon Women Have Their Say Essays from the Claremont Oral History Collection; Mormon Women: Portraits and Conversations (covers everyone from a Utah housewife who started a major charity to a woman who fought the Marcos regime as a communist guerrilla in the Philippines!); Educated: A Memoir (a memoir about growing up in a seriously dysfunctional Mormon family but going on to achieve awesome stuff); literally anything written by Chieko Okazaki (or even listen to some of her talks in General Conference to the worldwide church)--she is beloved by literally every Mormon woman I've ever met, liberal or conservative; and Carol Lynn Pearson has written some great stuff about women and Mormonism, like The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men and (if you're into one-woman plays) Mother Wove the Morning. Many of these have Kindle editions if you don't like hard copies.

Anyway, hope some of that might sound interesting to you. Good luck!

u/aletheia · 3 pointsr/Catacombs

First, go to a parish. We really do what the books say, but you can't learn the faith from books. The faith must be experienced and lived or you are missing 90% of Orthodoxy. If you do determine to go, go for a month before you make any decisions. Stand in the back and just absorb and listen without critical thought, but feel free to ask questions and participate as far as you are comfortable to. After that month, dig for every fault and fracture you can find. Ask questions about what you object to, demand explanations for what causes dissonance for you. Then start the process of making decisions. I might also suggest trying out the sign of the cross, a prayer book, and a little fasting, but that's up to you and any discussion you may have with a priest.

As for what got me started. Honestly, the thing that got me was the people here on reddit, particularly /u/silouan. There is a sizable contingent of us here here.

As far as the Church itself, I was struck by the sense of what's holy. There are parts of the building (the altar), our lives (daily prayers, fasting), our population (the clergy) that are intentionally set apart to service of God. This seems like a good and right reaction to God. I had never seen such reverence, awe, beauty, and worship as in an Orthodox church. 2 years in I'm used to things and my mind wanders as much as it did any place else, but the services still feel like worship and prayer, never a performance. As my mom once said (slightly paraphrased) "You actually deify Jesus."

Beyond that, I buy the historical arguments the Church can make regarding its connection to and constancy in adherence to the faith of the Apostles. There is a wealth of information regarding this in the form of both primary sources (Bible, Didache, Church Fathers, and so on), and in the form of modern summaries such as Bishop Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way.

It might also be interesting to note for a long time I didn't want to be Orthodox. Some of the stuff we do looks weird from the outside. Fasting it not easy. In the Americas choosing to live an Orthodox life goes against the stream of much of our thought, even the general Christian stream of thought. Choosing to truly live the faith to the fullest we can manage will make us counter-cultural anywhere. The Orthodox claims on truth are also very exclusive. The exclusive claims were also disturbing to my democratic, denominational tendences. I knew that by accepting this I was stepping out onto the last bastion of religion, or at least Christianity, for me. There is no place else for me to back up to. No surer foundation for me to search back in history for.

u/SuburbanGirl · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

It seems to me that you are having a bit of a crisis of faith /u/villaged . I'm sorry it took me so long to figure that out about you.

Joseph Smith was a guy that was far from perfect. Changing the story of the First Vision is only the tip of the iceberg. If you'd like to learn more about the man the founded Mormonism I would recomend stopping in at Deseret Book and picking up Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard L. Bushman. This is a book that is great for folks that are not sure about Mormonism and don't want to read any "anti-Mormon" literature. If you'd like to learn more after that you can wander into the Utah Lighthouse Ministry and speak with the awesome folks there.

Another wonderful resource for folks that have questions is New Order Mormon. The moderators of the board there work very hard to keep the discussion open and to help folks get honest and well researched answers to their questions.

As for me personally, I left Mormonism almost 10 years ago because I couldn't stay in a church that was (in my opinion after doing my own research) lying to me about its founding. I don't believe that Joseph Smith had a vision of God and Jesus, and I think he was a con man that started a religion. I think that Brigham Young was a tyrant that forced people to do his will and he put them in situations where they had no choice but to follow his commands.

That being said, I love Mormons. Most of my family is Mormon and many of my closest friends are Mormon. I guess this is why I feel like I need to defend incorrect statements about Mormons. I'm not trying to convert or deconvert anyone, I just want the truth out there.

If you have other questions that you'd like to discuss with me please feel free to message me. Or you can find me on NOM or some of the other boards I mentioned above. I hope you are able to find peace.

Namaste

u/HalTheRanger · 2 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Others have given good suggestions, but I'll add my own thoughts. First, let me recommend "Joseph Smith--History" which you can read here, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng. That is the canonical description of the initial events (visions, angelic visitations, etc.) that led him to found the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was written by Joseph Smith himself in the mid 1830s. If you have downloaded the LDS "Gospel Library" app for Android/iPhone, it's also available via Scriptures->Pearl of Great Price->Joseph Smith--History. It's just a few pages long.

Secondly, I recommend the Book of Mormon, which we view as a book of ancient holy scripture like the Bible. According to Joseph Smith's account, he was given the ancient record from an angel of God and translated it miraculously in 1829 (when he was 23), then returned the ancient record to the angel when complete. It describes God's dealings with a branch of the Israelites who migrated to the Americas around 600 BC. It's named after Mormon, who (according to the book) lived around 400 AD and was instrumental in compiling the records of the various prophets before him in addition to adding his own account. This book is core to my own personal witness that he was a true prophet. It's around 450 pages long, and as scripture it is fairly dense, so it's not just something you can read in an afternoon. You can read it online here, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng, or in the "Gospel Library" app via Scriptures->Book of Mormon. Or, if you would like a hard copy, you can request a free copy here: https://www.comeuntochrist.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon-request. (Free books are made possible by donations of church members.) Someone else recommended a few chapters to begin with, which sounded good to me. I'll add a suggestion, namely 3rd Nephi chapters 11-27 where it presents an account of Jesus visiting these people after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem. And starting from the beginning is also not a bad plan. Certainly read the modern introduction and the testimony of the various witnesses who said Joseph Smith showed them the ancient plates from which the book was translated.

Thirdly, for a more in-depth historical view, I strongly recommend Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400077532. He's an award-winning biographer, and this is a fantastic book with a very complete description of Joseph Smith's life. (Also quite lengthy, but I found it easy to read.) To me it strikes a great balance between being respectful towards Joseph Smith and those who view him as a prophet (Bushman himself is a believer), and being historical and not afraid to talk about things Joseph Smith did which were somewhat questionable. It made Joseph Smith a very human figure to me. Most other accounts of Joseph Smith's life by contrast are very one sided--presenting only the good about Smith to argue that he was a true prophet, or presenting only the bad about Smith to argue that he was a fraud.

Good luck in your quest to learn more! Don't hesitate to ask more questions here.

u/kerrielou73 · 1 pointr/exmormon

You're allowed to want basically the same things the church wanted for you. You don't need Mormonism to fall in love with a great guy who's lifestyle and goals align with your own. It sounds like you may be very naturally religiously inclined and that's okay. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to believe in God in the traditional sense to have the same connection and focus on understanding God. Mormons do not have a monopoly on spirituality.

In some ways Mormons lead ascetic lives that aren't terribly dissimilar from monks or nuns. They abstain from much of the world's pleasures and concerns. They spend a great deal of time in religious worship and thought. They primarily socialize with each other. They live in a monastery of the mind, rather than a physical one. Unfortunately it's not a very good monastery, but guess what? Now you have choices.

I would recommend looking up Karen Armstrong and reading the Spiral Staircase. Armstrong was on her way to becoming a nun. Near the end of her Noviship she began to doubt, but her passion for knowledge of religion and God never left and she has spent her life studying it. You will probably be able to relate to her anguish and feeling of loss of the life she so deeply wanted to live. If you like it, read A History of God. Remarkably, Instead of remaining angry, though you certainly feel it, especially near the beginning, her intense passion for religious knowledge kept her intensely fascinated.

If you want to keep a connection to your pioneer ancestors you have to go beyond the CES letter. It's invaluable, but it's not designed or meant to take you beyond the point of disbelief. Instead or in addition to, read the works of believers who have studied the early church and it's people in great depth with both curiosity and compassion, rather than anger and nihilism. You don't have to believe what your ancestors believed to stay connected to them. Knowing Mormonism isn't true isn't the same as intimately knowing the truth of it's people and the time and place they inhabited. Put yourself in the mind of a historian who loves what and who they study and wants to get to know them, even in their flaws, beyond the faith promoting anecdotes shared at family reunions.

Start with Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, which is sourced from the RLDS archives and In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton, who is still a member.

edited to add: It would likely be too much for your family to handle now, but at some point you might look up the Unitarian church or the Quakers (underground railroad anyone). If you miss a religious community you can find one much more focused on actually doing good; not just self justifying busywork.

edited edited to add: Mormon Enigma and Sacred Loneliness should be okay to read in front of your mom so you also don't have to feel like you're sneaking around. Replace the fear with curiosity. It will be okay.

There's evidence even Mother Teresa seriously doubted the existence of God. It didn't stop her.

u/ordinaryhumans · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Highly recommend reading a good book together with your wife written by LDS women about Emma Hale Smith. It will help you both appreciate Emma's perspective and is well researched. It's called Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. http://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Enigma-Emma-Hale-Smith/dp/0252062914 It was sold in Deseret book stores. There shouldn't be too much about this that threatens your wife but if read together can lead to interest in that time and good discussions together. This was very helpful for my wife and I when we were in a similar situation two years ago. Show more love now with your wife, your courage honesty and integrity will make a huge difference, that's what's real, that's what's good.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Sorry for the late reply :)

Be the Bee is aimed at a younger audience, but good nonetheless; https://www.youtube.com/user/y2am

Father Barnabas puts a lot of stuff online, and I would say I am a fan; https://www.youtube.com/user/evanorth1

St. Vassa is popular, but I never really watched her stuff; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-FBwgf93rU-g8BH3xiuUQ

The Orthodox Church is said to be a good book for beginners to read, but I only have experience with The Orthodox Way (second link);

https://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Church-New-Timothy-Ware/dp/0140146563

https://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Way-Kallistos-Ware/dp/0913836583/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=41NsOK%2BN-1L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR103%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=Q586C5F1SZ5NXSYWQANR

The Orthodox Study Bible is also a great tool; https://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Study-Bible-Hardcover-Christianity/dp/0718003594


Adoption is a great and selfless thing to do. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.


Good luck, and I hope your journey goes well.

u/MetaphoricallyHitler · 3 pointsr/Christianity

It's an excellent choice. Like others have said, reading more than one book with different viewpoints on Christian fundamentals is a good idea, which is why I love threads like this, so thanks for posting.

Here are some suggestions from my own explorations in the last few years.

---

Mere Christianity

What Christians Believe by the venerable Bishop Ken Myers (im_just_throwing_this_out_there)

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul, for more of a basic Reformed theology perspective

Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth, for a Reformed-ish (emphasis on the "ish") perspective sometimes called "neo orthodoxy". It's a summary of a much (much) larger work, and it's probably the toughest read out of the other books I'm recommending, because it encapsulates quite a bit of his very complex thought in a pretty short space.

The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware for an eye-opening perspective and well-written about a tradition I knew nothing about from my American, Baptist/evangelical upbringing.

The Catholic Religion by Vernon Staley, which is actually about the Anglican church. This was recommended to me by an Anglican redditor.

Someone already recommended Simply Christian by N.T. Wright. I'm about halfway through this right now. Being a regular on this sub, where his theology is pretty popular, I wouldn't say it's mind-blowing to me, but your mileage may vary. It's certainly a good read so far; his writing style is clear and easy to read (I think even easier than Lewis), and it seems like a good jumping off point for further exploration (he has other books I want to read, and I figured I'd start with his introductory book first).

u/pseudokapi · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I think Pope Francis is sincere, but I also think that it is more complicated than merely "doing what is needed to heal the breach." The Schism is as much about people as it is about theology. Human beings and the relationships between them are complicated at the best of times. The self-understanding of these two communities has been distinct for so long that it is easier to argue than to find common ground. There are currently "Byzantine" Churches in communion with Rome and it hasn't worked out terribly well for a lot of them (though there have been bright spots).

If I might be so bold, the "liberal" people (I don't like that word, but I don't have another one) in both camps can hardly see the point in being separate, though they would like to change things in both their Churches in other ways that would make them unrecognizable. The challenge is to have the "conservative" people satisfied with the process and expected result of re-approachment, enough to establish common cause between them. A traditional Catholic has to see that the Orthodox showing up won't force them to budge on things that they are fighting with progressives in their own Church about. The same with the Orthodox. The famous resistor of "false union" Bishop Mark of Ephesus doesn't just appeal to those seeking to preserve the Orthodox faith, but also traditionally committed Catholics.

And what happens if the Catholics are willing to compromise on a great many things, but the Orthodox get difficult on some point? Would not the Catholics feel abused? "We've come all this way and it hurts us and you still won't give up on point 9?" This has been the problem with the Miaphysites. It looks like all the theological issues have been resolved, but we seem to be left with Saints and Anathemas on both sides that have rooted the problem beyond reconciliation. We seem to be "right there" except we have beloved saints on both sides that effectively said, "you can never go there." What do we do with these saints? How do we understand them?

As for something to read. There are several books depending on your interest in using big words. :)

Lossky would be the heavy weight: http://www.amazon.com/The-Mystical-Theology-Eastern-Church/dp/0913836311/

Though I much prefer Zizioulas, more approachable and puts apophatic theology in balance: http://www.amazon.com/Being-Communion-Personhood-Contemporary-Theologians/dp/0881410292/

Of course Bishop Timothy Ware's book is the usual "internet standard recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/The-Orthodox-Way-Kallistos-Ware/dp/0913836583/

If you want something very approachable (almost no technical terms) and a little more "what does this mean" you might try an introduction to sacramental theology in general: http://www.amazon.com/For-Life-World-Sacraments-Orthodoxy/dp/0913836087/

And probably the least "theological" but I think this is both my wife and my favorite: http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Water-Wine-Oil-Experience/dp/1888212918/

u/B0BtheDestroyer · 1 pointr/Christianity

That's fair. I can't say I believe in the Christianity I was raised in either. I was raised in a more fundamentalist atmosphere and have become more of an academic Christian.

I'm not sure if I think morality is relative, but I am pretty sure our understanding of it is relative. Maybe there is some morality that exists outside of context, but once we start applying it wholesale everything gets hazier. Nothing can be applied wholesale; we can only understand things in context because we only exist in context. But this may be my love for postmodern philosophy talking.

If you are still interested in studying the Bible, I would encourage looking at modern academic commentaries/articles (getting suggestions from a professor or pastor that you trust might be helpful) as well as exploring other more foreign Christian theologies, such as Eastern Orthodoxy. Some places to start might be a basic book on exegesis such as The Bible Doesn't Have to Be Hard to Read and good article on the JEDP theory. On the subject of Eastern Orthodoxy, some good accessible books are The Orthodox Way and For the Life of the World.

u/Pixelated_ · 5 pointsr/exjw

Reading Ray Franz's book opened my eyes and I'll be forever grateful to that dear man. Here it is, it was just re-released this week! It's quickly sold out but will be in stock very soon.

Reading your post made my heart glad, and you can take a deep breath, you will be fine. The fact that you're here now shows you've already taken the first big step in getting your freedom.

I was in your shoes 2 years ago and i still can remember the incredible relief that I felt when I realized Armageddon is made up, they just use it to control the rank and file, identical to the Catholics and their fearmongering about Hell.

Reasearch! Research! Research, the King and his Kingdom!

In research you will find your freedom. It's better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.

u/ENovi · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I would be happy to! Christ the Conqueror of Hell does a fantastic job of explaining the Orthodox view on Hell. This book does a fantastic job of introducing Orthodoxy to Protestant and Catholic Christians. In fact, it was written by a Protestant. Because of that, he does a great job of explaining some unfamiliar terms or practices to his audience since he is coming from the same place. It's essentially a very well educated Western Christian explaining the Eastern Church to other Western Christians.

I can't recommend this book enough. It's an anonymous story describing the journey of a Russian Christian and his journey through the faith. It's really uplifting and surprisingly entertaining for a book written in 18th century Russia.

Finally, if you're looking for something deep, I would recommend this one. Vladimir Lossky was a brilliant Orthodox theologian who focused on the "mystical" side of Christianity vs. the more "scholastic" approach of the West. Really, anything by him is worth your time.

Let me know if these are what you're working for. If not, I may have a few more books I can recommend. I personally think these are a great place to start.

u/AlfredoEinsteino · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

This is a particular difficulty in Mormon history--for a long time anything put in print seemed to have an extreme bias one way or another. In recent years there seems to be a greater effort in Mormon Studies in adhering to better historical standards that I think result in better, more accurate, and less biased narratives. Personally, I don't think I'd use Krakauer as a source because he's a good writer, but not a historian.

I think better sources to use would be:

Richard Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling (2005). Bushman was a history professor at Columbia University and is a Mormon. His bio of Smith will likely be considered the "standard" bio for years to come. It's a bit longish, but I think it's very readable regardless if you are Mormon or not.

Robert V. Remini's Joseph Smith (2002) is a quick read--a lot shorter than Bushman and a good overview. Remini was a history professor at the University of Illinois and is not a Mormon. He's best known for his massive biography on Andrew Jackson, a contemporary of Smith.

Fawn M. Brodie's No Man Knows My History (1945) is old, but is still often referenced. Brodie was a history professor at UCLA. She was raised Mormon, but was later excommunicated. Her book is a psychobiography which is a historical approach that has largely fallen out of fashion these days.

I'd definitely recommend looking at josephsmithpapers.org. It is an on-going publication project that is putting digital images and transcriptions of all of Joseph Smith's personal papers as well as the papers produced by his clerks under his direction. You'll find letters, revelations, early editions of the Book of Mormon, and all sorts of stuff! I'd take a look at Smith's own personal history written in 1832, and his history begun in 1838 and continued over the years even after his death and finally finished in 1856. (For more info on these specific documents, be sure to read the text under "Historical Introduction" in the bottom half of the pages.)

Another good narrative on that site is the book written by Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith. You can find the published 1853 version here. (Skip most of the early stuff--she spends a lot of pages talking about her own parents and childhood. While interesting, it's probably not pertinent for your paper.)

The site also has a good overview of Joseph Smith's life and his papers written by Richard Bushman and Dean Jessee too.

There are a lot of academic journals out there too that will have articles about various aspects of Joseph Smith's life or of his contemporaries (in no particular order): BYU Studies, Journal of Mormon History, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Mormon Historical Studies. You can find articles in BYU's Studies in Mormon History database and I bet JSTOR or other places probably have some of them.

If you need help finding info on a specific aspect on Smith, feel free to send me a message and I'll try to help best I can.

u/415800002SM · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Hi! I also recommend the Mormon Expression podcast. It's a 6 part series, on Masonry. See http://mormonexpression.com/.

  • I would also recommend reading this address by president David O. McKay

    http://www.understandingyourendowment.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/DavidOMcKaysTempleSermon.pdf

  • I also recommend Toscano's analysis of the temple endowment as a messianic sacrament. This is discussed at length in "The Serpent and the Dove" (try the second edition). He does a rich analysis of the symbols.

    https://www.amazon.com/Serpent-Dove-Messianic-Mysteries-Mormon/dp/1514240033/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479989901&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+serpect+and+the+dove

  • I would add that due to the Masonic character of the endowment, each person is invited to discover / assign the meaning of the ritual to himself/herself. You may receive inputs of the meaning from the ritual itself. Even the covenants may mean different things to each individual. There is no authoritative interpretation. Unfortunately, when the ritual is changed the meaning is changed too.

    One interesting aspect of the interpretation of the ritual were the lectures held after the ceremony to explain its meaning. This is documented in Buerger's "The Mysteries of Godliness"

    (https://www.amazon.com/Mysteries-Godliness-History-Mormon-Worship/dp/1560851767/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479990756&sr=8-1&keywords=The+mysteries+of+godliness). I recommend reading the explanations about the keys of the priesthood as related to prayer.

    I have mentioned before here in this sub that Brigham Young wrote THE lecture at the veil in 1877.

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/adamgod.shtml

    In it you can learn about the character of God as manifested in Adam.
    This lecture was morphed into a summary of "the instructions, ordinances, and covenants, and also the tokens, with their keywords, signs, and penalties, pertaining to the endowment, which you have thus far received" in the 1980s (or before). This lecture ended with this beautiful statement (in part it is taken from BYoung's lecture at the veil).

    "Brethren and sisters, strive to comprehend the glorious things presented to you this day. No other people on earth have ever had this privilege, except as they have received the keys of the priesthood given in the endowment.

    These are what are termed the mysteries of godliness--that which will enable you to understand the expression of the Savior, made just prior to his betrayal: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent."

    May God bless you all. Amen."

    What I mean by quoting all this: at first there was a lot of help to understand the meaning. The ritual had practical use in everyday life (order of prayer), and the people who designed the ritual were alive to guide in this aspect. Masonry was a stepping stone for sure. Then you arrive to the point were the deletions/etc obscured the meaning to the point that you are alone to understand what it means. In 1989 the lecture said that the "keys" received in the endowment are to understand the expression of the Savior recorded in John 17 (and D&C 132).

    So, in practice this means that: (1) you have to experience the ritual, (2) study, meditate, etc (3) try to live what it means to you in order to achieve spirituality. By spirituality I mean what David O McKay once said:

    "Spirituality, our true aim, is the consciousness of victory over self and of communion with the Infinite" (David O. McKay, In Conference Report, Oct. 1969, 8).

    Hope this helps a bit. Cheers!
    (sorry if it is long).
u/heywhatareyoudoing · 40 pointsr/mormon

Hang in there, man. Your story is a common one, and one I’m all too familiar with.

My wife’s reaction was almost identical. We are in a good place now, but it took us almost 4 years to get here.

Here are some resources that have helped:

u/amertune · 15 pointsr/latterdaysaints

> In my understanding polygamy is not officially gone from church doctrine, but rather just not currently practiced. Reading OD1 seems to confirm this as in no place does it strictly repeal it. Is this true? Will polygamy be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom and would it be practiced again should the laws of marriage in the United States change to permit it?

Yes, it is still doctrinal and does still shape sealing policies. I've been taught that it would be practiced again in the future and that it is practiced in the CK. I don't, however, believe that.

> I've heard rumors and read accounts of prominent Mormon leaders (Joseph Smith & Brigham Young in particular) marrying women who already had husbands that were still living. Is this true? What is the reasoning behind this?

Yes, it's true. I don't know the reason. It's one of the most troubling aspects of the historical practice of polygamy.

> In the afterlife, can someone marry my wife? (We are sealed in the temple)

Who really knows what exactly will happen in the afterlife?

> Brigham Young had children with multiple (like... 15ish?) wives? Why were these children not permitted to have a father they didn't share with so many others? Did Utah Territory have a significantly larger female population than male?

Brigham had children with 16 of his 55 wives. In a lot of cases, I don't really see a significant difference between growing up with Brigham Young or Heber C Kimball as your father and growing up without a father—especially when those fathers spent so much time off on missions. Utah didn't have significantly more females than males. The census actually indicates that there were more men than women. AFAIK, it was only a small number of men that were able to get a large number of wives. Elder Widstoe talks about it in his book "Evidences and Reconciliations", and concludes that they practiced polygamy not because there were surplus women but because they believed that God commanded it.

> D&C 132:62-64. Do we still believe that? Why is that still in the scripture, it seems very... ... not what I learn in Sunday School. Man owning women, man sleeping with many women - women being denied the same, if the original wife disagrees God will "destroy" her... this is a bit concerning, please tell me I'm misunderstanding this.

No, I think that you do understand these verses. I don't know whether or not "we" (the Church) believe them, but I don't accept them. They're in the canon, but any lesson that includes section 132 is usually selective about how it covers it and mostly just covers the blessings of eternal (one man and one woman) marriage.

Polygamy is difficult to understand and easy to judge. There was some good that came out of it (including me), but a lot of it was also done poorly.

If you really want to learn more about polygamy, I would recommend reading history books.

Here are some good ones you could look into:

u/dschaab · 6 pointsr/DebateAChristian

For the past year I've had regular conversations with the missionaries who work in our area. In an effort to understand their beliefs I've gone through several books, among which is Grant Palmer's An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, which deals with issues like the authorship of the Book of Mormon, the golden plates, and other hot-button issues. Palmer, an active Mormon, ends this book with the conclusion that Joseph Smith probably never translated anything correctly; that the Book of Mormon is an amalgamation of the Bible, 19th-century doctrine, and his own fruitful imagination; and that some of the foundational events (such as the First Vision) were the result of elaborations over time. Yet Palmer does not reject Mormonism and instead calls for a renewed focus on Jesus Christ.

When it comes to the question of whether Mormons are Christians, I think we must tread cautiously for two reasons. First, Jesus said that it's not our place to decide whether someone else is saved; that authority belongs to Jesus alone. Second, Mormonism is a spectrum like any other system of thought. Someone like Grant Palmer could identify as Mormon while clearly demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit that always accompanies saving faith. In the same way, it's possible for someone to identify as Christian and yet clearly fail to keep in step with the Spirit.

I tend to think that if Paul were to write a letter to the Mormon church today, he would write something like his letter to the Galatians. The Galatians were given the plain and simple gospel, yet they were convinced by a rogue sect to add on all the burdens of following the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. Did Paul consider the Galatians to no longer be Christians because of this? I don't see a clear indication of this. What is clear is that Paul insisted that the gospel remain absolutely pure, even if an angel brought a different gospel. This is a good lesson for the Mormon church as well as Christian denominations.

What keeps Mormonism going is not the evidence for their faith (since there is little if any at all), but their reliance on emotions (the "burning in the bosom") as a sort of spiritual divining rod for truth. Random chance will ensure that some small fraction of people will get a positive answer to their prayers, even if it's purely coincidental. The fact that emotions are so untrustworthy is precisely why Jonathan Edwards preached against the dependence on one's emotions as proof of conversion nearly a hundred years before the Mormon church was founded.

The aspect of Mormonism that most concerns me is not its unique beliefs, but its tendency to produce atheists. It seems to me that most Mormons who leave their faith because of the lack of evidence also assume that Christianity, on which Mormonism claims to be based, has just as little evidence in its favor. I firmly believe that Christianity is an evidence-based religion, and so I spend a lot of time talking with the missionaries about the reliability of the New Testament and the historicity of Jesus's resurrection. They may never leave Mormonism, but if they do, I want them to see that Christianity is a rational choice.

u/lamsiyuen · 2 pointsr/latterdaysaints

May be it would be helpful to point you to some honest source that seeks to give a non subjective and fair evaluation for the claims of the church.

  1.   A book that provides a general view on how to go about thinking about hard church issues. It is really good. Entitled the Crucible of Doubt by Teryl Givens: https://www.amazon.com/Crucible-Doubt-Reflections-Quest-Faith/dp/1609079426/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=crucible+of+doubt+givens&amp;amp;qid=1561524835&amp;amp;s=books&amp;amp;sr=1-1<br />


  2. My favorite book to start thinking very thoughtfully and from an academic perspective on the book of Mormon. Incredible stuff. Entitled “Understanding the BOM” by Grant Hardy: https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Book-Mormon-Readers-Guide/dp/0199731705/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&amp;amp;psc=1&amp;amp;refRID=KBX8MX63A88H3GCBCHYR

  3. My favorite book on early church history focused around the life of Jesus Christ. Written by the renowned Columbia U History Professor Richard Bushman. Entitled Rough Stone Rolling: https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400042704/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=richard+bushman+rough+stone+rolling&amp;amp;qid=1561524690&amp;amp;s=books&amp;amp;sr=1-1

  4. My favorite book on modern day church history. It is a careful look at the David O McKay era with incredible source material. It completely changed my view of how the upper echelons of church governance works, but somehow at the same time strengthened my faith in our very fallible leaders. Entitled The Rise of Modern Mormonism by Greg Prince: https://www.amazon.com/David-McKay-Rise-Modern-Mormonism/dp/0874808227/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+rise+of+modern+mormonism&amp;amp;qid=1561524807&amp;amp;s=books&amp;amp;sr=1-1
u/Ibrey · 6 pointsr/Christianity

You often hear a number quoted from the World Christian Encyclopedia that there are some thirty thousand denominations, but when you look into how that number was counted, you find it's an exaggeration; they're counting each liturgical rite of the Catholic Church as a separate denomination to come up with hundreds of denominations of Catholicism alone, each autocephalous Orthodox Church is its own denomination even though they're all in communion, every church in the Anglican Communion is its own denomination, and so on.

The major Christian divisions are Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. All these groups share belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement, summarised in the Nicene Creed. Groups that have historical connections to Christianity but reject these fundamental tenets, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Muslims, are often thought of as not being part of Christianity at all.

Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination, accounting for just more than half of the world's Christians. The Catholic Church bases its claim to authority on historical continuity with the Church founded by Jesus in the persons of the apostles, with St Peter as their head. The head of the Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome, or the Pope, who stands in the same relation to other bishops that Catholics believe St Peter did to the other apostles. The main dogmatic authorities accepted by Catholics are the Bible, the canons of the twenty-one ecumenical councils, and certain papal documents, which have defined the faith with increasing precision as questions have arisen over the centuries. The Credo of the People of God, issued by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and now known to have been drafted by the philosopher Jacques Maritain, summarises these teachings. A good book on Catholicism is The Catholic Catechism by Fr John Hardon.

Orthodoxy is the dominant Christian tradition in Slavic countries and what was once the Eastern Roman Empire. Like the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church bases its claim to authority on historical continuity with the Church founded by Jesus, but it is more decentralised, with no bishop having any real enforceable authority over other bishops. The major division in Orthodoxy is between the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox. The Oriental Orthodox recognise the first three ecumenical councils as authoritative, but split from the Church over the Council of Chalcedon's definitions of the dual nature of Christ. The Eastern Orthodox recognise only the first seven ecumenical councils (the same accepted by Catholics), with anything those councils did not define being a matter of private theological opinion; they are often thought of as having parted ways with the Catholics in 1054, but this is an oversimplification. The division developed more gradually. A good book on Orthodoxy is The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware.

Protestantism is the dominant Christian tradition in parts of Western Europe and countries once colonised by the United Kingdom. It is the most diverse branch of Christianity. Protestants reject Catholic and Orthodox tradition, claiming to have restored the beliefs of the Church established by Jesus on the basis of the Bible alone. Most Protestants respect the first four ecumenical councils as having upheld biblical teaching, but reject the doctrine of later councils as unsupported by or contrary to Scripture. Within Protestantism, four major streams of tradition can be distinguished: Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist. Anglicanism was founded when the Catholic Church in England split from Rome, originally for political reasons related to King Henry VIII's concerns about succession, and later became influenced by Lutheran and Reformed ideas. It has historically been defined by a confession of faith known as the Thirty-Nine Articles, but nowadays the Church of England's own clergy are only expected to affirm that they appreciate or respect this historic creed. Lutheranism derives from the ideas of Martin Luther, who rejected the authority of the pope and councils after concluding they had rejected the teaching of the Bible and the Church Fathers about justification. The primary Lutheran creed is the Augsburg Confession. The Reformed tradition derives from the work of John Calvin, a French theologian who was active at roughly the same time as Luther. It has historically been defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith. Anabaptists—not to be confused with Baptists, who descend from the Anglican tradition—are named for their practice of delaying baptism until the person is old enough to understand the faith and choose it for themselves. They are represented today by the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites.

u/seeing_the_light · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

&gt;Is Christianity monotheistic?

Yes, without question. This is a very complicated subject, but an important point to be made here is that the Orthodox approach to God is apophatic, in that we define God only by what He is not, since it is assumed that any concepts that can be thought of automatically fall short of describing God in a positive matter just by the fact that we can think of them. We don't try to rationalize everything, but if you want the most concise Orthodox exposition on the Trinity, I'd recommend this book, it is extremely well written and a great introduction to Orthodox theology - which is very different from Western Christianity.

&gt;My question is, if you are arguing for the positive benefits of religion, why do you need to bring metaphysics and supernatural phenomena into the pitch instead of just convincing people to be more moral?

Because, again, it's not about morality. It's not a question of good or bad, it's a question of what is healthy for you and what will make you sick. It's about consequences of actions. It's the West that has turned what at one time was a cure for religion (speaking of Christianity here), into an autocratic, hierarchal "religion" based on fear and power. When Christianity first started, it was seen as more of a hospital than a Church, Churches were places where the sick were healed, which is where I was going at first with my post here.

&gt;Why was God so personal, nosy, and showy back in the day, but he is conspicuously missing today?

Is he? The Orthodox mindset states that God is quite immanent, but that we must first make ourselves receptive to Him. This is what the strict regiment of fasting and prayer is for. I am a vegan basically for half of the year. This isn't a casual abstract belief system, it's a way of life.

u/MetalSeagull · 9 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

Try Krakauer's other well known book Into Thin Air, and because there's some controversy regarding his version of events, also The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev who was a major player that day.

Krakauer's other book Under the Banner of Heaven is a good "true crime" style story about some Morman murders, but may not be enough like Into the Wild to appeal to you.

Over the Edge of the World is more of a history, covering Magellan's circumnavigation of the earth. It was facinating and definately had intrigue, machinations, and survival elements.

Another book on exploration and survival, Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage

And another one, Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson. I think this is the one I read, but I can't be certain. It doesn't seem to be as well regarded, but i thought it was still interesting.

A book on diving and survival: The Last Dive, Chowdhury

The Hot Zone could be thought of as science survival. Anyway, you'll probably love the opening bits in Africa, although it does slow way down after that.

Far away from survival, but still about travel are the wonderful Bill Bryson's travelogues. Witty and informative. In a Sunburned Country and A Walk in the Woods are particularly recommended.


u/ExiestSexmo · 2 pointsr/mormon

Here is a multi-volume work of the history if the LDS church written by B.H. Roberts. It's like 80 years old so it is a bit outdated in a few areas.

Rough Stone Rolling is a biography of Joseph Smith written by Richard Bushman. It is generally considered to be the pretty good historically and is pretty well cited.

I also find Wikipedia to be a pretty good starting point for studying different topics in LDS history. Apparently there does end up being some editing wars for a lot topics so you have to be careful.

A new 4 volume narrative history of the LDS church has also been announced and will start coming out next year. That might end up being good.

Edit: just realised I didn't read your post well enough. I just gave you general history sources when you were asking for specific leads. Sorry about that. I hope someone else the info you're looking for.

u/tonedeath · 5 pointsr/exmormon

Thanks for mentioning us pre-internet pioneers of exmo-ness.

I left in late 1995. Made the mistake of reading Richard S. Van Wagoner's "Mormon Polygamy: A History"

I felt so guilty for reading that book. But, I just couldn't put it down. It was the first time I felt like someone was giving me a real picture of Joseph Smith the man, not the myth. Decided I needed to balance out what I was getting in Van Wagoner's book with something more "church approved." Went to Deseret Book. Asked the girl working if they had anything on polygamy. She said she thought they had one book- they did. It was the book I was already reading.

That was the moment I took the red pill. There was no turning back and the floodgates were opened. I then read:

  • No Man Knows My History
  • Quest For The Gold Plates
  • By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus
  • Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders
  • Secret Ceremonies
  • Where Does It Say That?

    And then I started checking out copies of Sunstone and Dialogue.

    I started checking out some of the articles at Utah Lighthouse Ministries and made one trip to their book store, but I was already becoming an atheist and I didn't really like how they weren't just trying to debunk Mormonism but also trying to sell born again xianity.

    By November of 1996 I was already attending a Unitarian Universalist congregation and also pretty much an athiest at that point.

    When stuff like MormonThink came along, I was already pretty much post-Mormon. And, when I discovered r/exmormon, I was suddenly surprised at how much I liked watching what was happening here.

    I'm always surprised at the announcements people make about being done with this place. But, then I found it when I was already over all the emotional rage at having been deceived. I think I just like watching the train wreck at this point. People's posts here really give me the sense that Mormonism is imploding at a rate faster than this stodgy institution is prepared to deal with- makes me happy.
u/Jennsinc · 5 pointsr/JehovahsWitnesses

Hi there. I was born &amp; raised JW. 37 years. At 19 whilst i was disfellowshipped i married an unbeliever. Then l was reinstated 11 months later. My husband never became a believer but supported me &amp; our 2 kids in it. We rarely were invited to gatherings &amp; no Brothers ever reached out to my husband like is encouraged in the publications. We always felt like outsiders. I voiced to my mother over &amp; over that something was wrong i just couldn’t put my finger on it. And then it happened. I found out why.
Here is my letter i wrote my JW Family &amp; friends.
https://www.bcbpa.com/anonymous-canada

Your gonna wanna watch this court footage. It happened in the summer of 2015

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCZ6rs9OvQLaoydMR6GjsqQ

Here is the link to the only ever Governing Body member to wake up and leave
https://www.amazon.ca/Crisis-Conscience-struggle-between-religion/dp/0999499211/ref=asc_df_0999499211/?tag=googlemobshop-20&amp;amp;linkCode=df0&amp;amp;hvadid=293003641842&amp;amp;hvpos=1o1&amp;amp;hvnetw=g&amp;amp;hvrand=218145622079509894&amp;amp;hvpone=&amp;amp;hvptwo=&amp;amp;hvqmt=&amp;amp;hvdev=m&amp;amp;hvdvcmdl=&amp;amp;hvlocint=&amp;amp;hvlocphy=9001283&amp;amp;hvtargid=pla-434348371353&amp;amp;psc=1


Here is his interview

https://youtu.be/iK3F9hBcy2M

Here is the actual JW history

https://youtu.be/VE3zp9FiyiQ

u/ElderSalamander · 1 pointr/exmormon

The book Recovering Agency could be helpful for you and your friend to read, it would be from an outside perspective of a different church which your friend may be more willing to listen to. It's really good, as is using logic and reason. http://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Agency-Lifting-Mormon-Control/dp/1489595937

The other book is The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine one of America's Founding Fathers. you can get it free online or for not much on amazon, it is a very excellent book and a good read.

u/edric_o · 23 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Welcome! We believe that the Orthodox Church is the original Church founded by Jesus Christ, yes. The best way to get a good idea of what Orthodoxy is about is to visit a local parish near you, but here are some books that I would recommend:

The Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Way

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

Know the Faith

On the topic of visiting a local parish - do you live in the US? If so, there is a great online search engine to help you locate nearby Orthodox churches.

u/planeray · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Not mormon specific, but there's a great one called Talk Origins (play store link, couldn't find it in iStore) that goes through a lot of creationist claims in a FAQ way.

I've also got the kindle app for whenever I'm bored - you can email yourself documents and it'll sync across multiple devices. Quite easy to load up a bunch of eBooks ahead of time to have a read through. Mormon wise, Under the Banner of Heaven is excellent, as is It's Not About the Sex, My Ass.

u/NotADialogist · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I don't know whether a catechism is the best kind of resource to provide. He should contact the priest nearest to him and establish a relationship - let the priest guide him. One way or another, he will need a spiritual father.

Depending on your friend's disposition, I might be more inclined to recommend Elder Cleopas' The Truth of Our Faith. Personally, I would definitely not recommend any of Clark Carleton's books. They are not inaccurate - I just think they are too polemical.

I would also strongly recommend Everyday Saints. The book is not any kind of catechism, but it gives a very strong sense of what an Orthodox life feels like, even though it is written from a Russian monastic perspective. The same holds true for Mountain of Silence, which is from the perspective of a Greek layperson.

u/frodwith · 11 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

You've asked some pretty big questions. It'd be hard to answer them in a reddit comment. My primary recommendation would be to talk to your priest.

On the other hand, if you're not comfortable with that for some reason, maybe you could try to ask some more specific questions. If you just don't know what to ask, I recommend reading The Orthodox Way.

You can also try listening to some podcasts at Ancient Faith Radio.

If you'll indulge my curiosity - I am a convert, and it seems somewhat astonishing to me that you are asking this question :) How old are you, roughly? How is it that you are here with us (thank God!) and do not have more of an understanding of your faith? Please don't take offense at my question - the parish I attend is about half converts and has a wonderful Sunday School program for the youth. I understand this isn't the norm, but would just like to hear more about your circumstance. Thank you :)

u/kickinthefunk · 1 pointr/exmormon

"Mormon Feminism" compiled by Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Hannah Wheelwright. It has all of the essential feminist essays that show the history of an empowered relief society, women's blessings, and the political influences that diminished women's roles in the church. (see here: https://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Feminism-Essential-Joanna-Brooks/dp/0190248033)

For instance, it has these essays that were very important in my faith transition:

  1. "A gift given, a gift taken" - women's blessings and how they ended in 1946 when men coming home form WWII https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/029-16-25.pdf

  2. "Mormonism's Odd Couple: the Priesthood-Motherhood connection" - how misogyny has been used by the patriarchy throughout time to subjugate women, e.g. Nazis used a lot of the same arguments Mormons use http://signaturebookslibrary.org/woman-and-authority-13/

  3. "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother" - how Heavenly Mother could be the Holy Spirit based on BoM and D&amp;C scripture, got Janice Allred excommunicated - https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V27N02_27.pdf

    Also, I'd consider "The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy" by Carol Lyn Pearson https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Eternal-Polygamy-Haunting-Hearts/dp/0997458208
u/kosmastheaetolian · 2 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I have heard a number of atheist/agnostic types who have come to love the book "Everyday Saints." I don't know why this is (although it's a marvelous book).

https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Saints-Stories-Archimandrite-Shevkunov-ebook/dp/B00AZM6MM8

Although again, as others have noted there sometimes is no "magic book."

Another book that someone else already recommended is "Wounded by Love." Funny enough, in either that book or another book by him called "Christ is Fullness of Life," St. Porphyrios seems to speak against trying to coerce/force children (I am assuming older ones) even into coming to church and instead advises parents to simply pray for their children and respect their free will. I am in no way evaluating this position, it's just an interesting perspective.

u/rick7475 · 12 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman:

http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400077532


The best researched biography of Joseph Smith by an award winning historian who taught at Harvard, Columbia and BYU who is also an active believing Latter-day Saint.


Edit: If you like archaeology and the Book of Mormon, then try Mormon Codex by John L. Sorenson:

http://www.amazon.com/Mormons-Codex-Ancient-American-Book/dp/1609073991/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;amp;ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1450660578&amp;amp;sr=1-1&amp;amp;keywords=Mormon+Codex

u/Raiyeon · 1 pointr/television

I was in a similar situation as you. I won't try to guess your current views on the Watchtower organization, but let me share my experience.

For two years I was disfellowshipped, but still believed it was The Truth. We have a special acronym for this over at r/exjw - POMI (Physically Out, Mentally In). It is not a good situation. You try to lead a normal life, but deep down you feel deeply guilty and unworthy, convinced that, when Armageddon comes, God will personally destroy you for turning your back on Him. It's virtually impossible to do anything meaningful with your life when you live with this burden.

Fortunately, after 2 years I gave myself permission to research my faith.... actual research. I read Crisis of Conscience. I visited JW Facts. I soon realized that, it wasn't all "apostate lies" like I had been warned. Rather, I had been lied to by the Governing Body my entire life. I really can't put into words how joyful it is to be set free from Watchtower guilt.

My point is this: There is life after Watchtower. And it's more rewarding and satisfying than I could have ever imagined.

u/jpoRS · 3 pointsr/Outdoors
  • Deeper/Further/(Eventually)Higher - If I can't be out riding, might as well watch people riding things I never could.
  • Anything by Jon Krakauer. Into the Wild is an obvious choice, but Eiger Dreams and Under the Banner of Heaven are great as well.
  • Ride the Divide is a good flick as well, and available on Netflix last I checked.
  • 3point5. Pro-deal pricing can be addicting.Plus being in the top 5% for snowboarding, camping, and running have to count for something, right?!
u/YoungModern · 12 pointsr/exmormon

&gt; You better believe I am going to plug it here for two reason: 1. This is my target audience…

Yes, /u/Porter_rockedwell, this is your target audience. Luna Lindsey plugged her book Recovering Agency here and even bought banner adds for the top of the page, and I remember much complaint but lots of praise. I suggest that you make your book available for kindle, which is easy for amateur self-publishers and how most people here would buy it.

As far as /u/daysofapostacy goes, it's seriously bizarre that anyone would claim that /r/exmormon is a lucrative place to gain followers for a fashion blog instead of sticking to bourgeoise TBM Utah Valley-girls. If /u/daysofapostacy was chasing fame and profit she would gone on pretending to be TBM. Choosing to come out as apostate is probably going to hurt her business.

u/greatjasoni · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

The Orthodox church features heavily in the Brothers Karmazov and there are a lot of great books about it.

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware is an overview of their practices and beliefs and how they affect life as a whole. It references the Brothers K a lot, especially the life of Father Zosima. The themes of Dostoyevsky are fundamentally rooted in Orthodox tradition. This book takes those same ideas and goes much deeper into them. The same author has another book on the history of the church that is pretty good too.

Everyday Saints was a recent nonfiction bestseller in Russia about monastics living under soviet occupation. It's beautifully written. It reminded me a lot of Brothers K. It's a sprawl of Russians balancing drama with weighty religious themes.

But neither of those are in the literary cannon. For classic literature with similar themes I'd highly reccomend Moby Dick. The book is so famous that people forget how good it is. It's one of the greatest works of American Literature ever. The prose is a massive step up from translations of Dostoevsky while covering the same themes as Brothers K just as deeply.

Also, if you like Brothers K you'll like all his other works. Notes from Underground is my favorite and very short. But they're all good. Tolstoy is great too and has much better prose if you're down to read another giant book. War and Peace and Anna Karenina are both solid members of the cannon.

Shakespeare's plays might be too short to count but all his works cover the same themes too.

u/Prob_Bad_Association · 2 pointsr/exjw

If you happen to like reading, and are interested in more on the history of Mormonism, I once read this biography of Joseph Smith called No Man Knows My History. It was actually recommended to me by a District Overseer I knew a long time ago, (he knew how much I loved to read) which was really the only reason I got away with reading it at the time. People would see me reading it and ask what I thought I was doing and I would just tell them the D.O recommended it to me and they would shut up. Anyway, it was fascinating, well written, and really just an interesting perspective on the history of the church.

u/wishitwasepic · 1 pointr/Christianity

I would like to mention that the Catholic Church divided from the true church in 1054. Pointless argument by the Catholic church since they are the first "Protestants." I do think that the TRUE church exists but it is neither in Catholicism or in Protestantism. A good comparison of Christian Doctrine, with great explanation is this book Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

This is also available as a free podcast. Highlights theological differences and why they matter.
Edit: Wanted to add something

u/RWeGreatYet · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Modern:

u/johnybackback · 1 pointr/AskReddit

&gt;Much longer issue here, and some of the research is so new that it is only a few years old. In summary though, the hypocephali, the lion-couch scene, and the sacrifice/altar scene were all used by ancient Egyptians as a "and/also" metaphor. It was one story used to tell another. Or in other words, the author got to create stories analogous to commonly known stories. It's hard to find a modern day equivalent, it's so foreign to our way of thinking. Since the original authors of these died, we can never know what the author intended by his or her use of these scenes.
&gt;
&gt;Also, to state the attached text to the scrolls were the Book of Abraham is incorrect reasoning. It was common practice to attach vignettes to entirely different texts. We assume "if they're adjacent, they match". This is not the case with Egyptians. Further underscored by the idea that Facsimiles 1 and 3 are not even referenced in the adjacent extant scrolls we do have.

Everyone watching, this is that self delusion in action. Your explanation is so ridiculous that it doesn't even warrant a response. Pick up a copy of "By His own Hand Upon Payprus." Your excuse is that basically the symbols we see don't actually mean what we think they mean, even though we can read them. I have a book full of pictures my dad bought at Deseret Book that has the little hieroglyphic on the margins, and a very lengthy "translation." We have the book the "translators" used to code what each symbol supposedly meant. The very fact the church locks these documents up and doesn't talk about them is all the proof one should need. Even Hugh Nibley's assistant who was assigned to review left the church.

It does disprove it, and non-peer reviewed ramblings of paid apologists can't cover up the obvious truth.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1560851570/ref=kinw_rke_tl_1

As far as the Kinderhook plates go, why are you trying to slander the man who created the plates? That was the tactic the leaders of the church took BEFORE we found them, and scientifically proved that they were not ancient, and were in fact created by the very process described by the guy who waited 36 years to announce it. A more pertinent question would be why did every Prophet, Seer, and Revelator defend Joseph Smith's claim that he could translate the plates up until we actually found them and science vindicated the farmer?

The people who planted the plates weren't the ones that claimed he translated them. William Clayton, Joseph's trusted scribe who recorded all sorts of very important revelations and church documents was the one who claimed that. And you expect me to believe that out of nowhere he just noted some random note about the Kinderhook plates that he made up and never mentioned again?

Obviously the conspirators were hoping that eventually Brigham would have tried to translate them. It doesn't matter why they waited so long, we know that they created them, and the church has already admitted that. But I guess that footnote in History of the Church is still around so you may have not understood the latest apologetic argument.

So rather than resorting to lying and slander to defend the church, I'd suggest you start being more honest in your research.

u/superherowithnopower · 8 pointsr/Christianity

For Orthodoxy, you could read Fr. Thomas Hopko's The Orthodox Faith (also called the "Rainbow Series" because the 4 books are published in differently-colored covers). You can buy them, but the text is also on the OCA website here: The Orthodox Faith

It's a general overview of the doctrine and life of the Orthodox Church.

There's also The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Timothy) Ware. These are pretty commonly suggested to a person interested in learning about the Church.

In addition, though, to reading, I would suggest actually attending services at the various churches you're considering. Between the time I left the Southern Baptists and the time I joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, I visited around a number of places and did a good bit of reading and discussing.

In the end, though, I think experiencing Orthodox worship was at least as important to my decision to become Orthodox as my reading was. For me, Orthodoxy just seemed real; there was just something there in the Orthodox services that I didn't sense anywhere else.

u/NoMoreCounting · 2 pointsr/exmormon

First off, welcome! I'm glad you're here. But I'm sorry for what you're going through right now, and for the loss of your parent. What a hard situation. I'm not exactly sure what to say for each of your three points (except I totally agree with you on the 3rd - those thoughts pop into my head too). But I just suggested these two books for someone else on here, and I'm going to recommend them to you too. They were both helpful to me in sorting out what I was feeling, and why. Good luck!

u/crvd · 2 pointsr/exmormon

As for Freemasonry itself, you will have to be very discerning with the information you come across, and especially on reddit.

In the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, it is said,
&gt;
&gt; -&gt; 30. Never do anything which thou dost not understand.
&gt;
&gt; -&gt; 31. But learn all thou ought'st to know, and by that means thou wilt lead a very pleasant life.

I advise against joining Freemasonry as a means to contrast it with Mormonism. A prominent feature of the Mormon temple ceremony is the trade of oaths with penalties for guarded information. This is also present in Freemasonry, and though they would portray themselves as benevolent, there is much to cast this into doubt.

I'm happy to direct you towards information relevant to your search. Maybe this information is not exactly what you are asking for, but I'm sure it will broaden and deepen your understanding of the topic at hand.


  • Joseph Smith and Kabbalah:
    The Occult Connection by Lance S. Owens


  • Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn
    (Amazon)

    Both of these works were rigorously researched and have cited sources. Quinn's Early Mormonism and the Magic World View has over 300 pages in notes and sources. It is my opinion that if you don't have an understanding of the esoteric, occult foundation of Mormonism, then you don't understand Mormonism.

    Personally, it has allowed me to temper my understanding of Early Mormonism and the actions of my ancestors. For some, learning this may only condemn it further.

    After finding the edges of the current popularly held views of scientific materialistic reductionism, we are left looking at chaos and nondeterminism with wonder. There are so many evidences that our universe and our existence is much more meaningful than society would admit. Without passing judgement on the details of early Mormon history, I now have greater context for understanding it.

    If you should find yourself lost in searching for answers within the paradigm of linear thinking, send me a message. I have found that some of the greatest minds have been marginalized or silenced for embracing nonconforming, nonlinear, nondeterministic thinking.
u/seeminglylegit · 1 pointr/exjw

I am so sorry that this is happening to you. You are right to be concerned - this could very easily tear your family apart. I have seen it happen firsthand when someone in my family was recruited into the Dubs then became totally alienated from her non-Dub husband. You could very easily end up in a situation where both your wife and your child are brainwashed into thinking you are a bad influence and that only other Dubs are worth spending time with. You definitely do not want to be complacent about this. The JWs are not "just another religion". It is a very dangerous and nasty cult.

My advice would be to immediately start "studying" the JWs yourself - but NOT with their own material. JWs don't know their own history very well at all, but you can find a lot of eye opening stuff using outside materials like http://www.jwfacts.com

Here are the three books that I would strongly recommend you purchase and start reading right away:

The Reluctant Apostate: Leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses (a very long and well-researched explanation of the JWs - if you can only read one of these books, I would make it this one)

Combating Cult Mind Control (not focused on just the JWs, but a general book about how cults operate and how to try to work with someone to get them out)

Crisis of Conscience (an older book written by one of the "Governing Body" members that ended up leaving the religion)

If you read those books, you will learn a LOT about how the JWs operate and have ample proof that this is not a legitimate religion. However, you can't confront her directly with this info. She has been programmed by the cult to reject any direct attack on the religion.
However, as you read them, you will probably think of some questions that you'll have for your wife about the Dubs. Start asking her questions NOT in an aggressive way but just in a "curious" sort of way. For example, "What do you make of [this thing]? What is the JW explanation for that?"

When people are being brainwashed, you can't confront them directly about it. That just makes them dig their heels in. You have to slowly dismantle the belief system by asking them questions and forcing them to realize for themselves that the cult doesn't have a good answer for it.

I also recommend trying your best to find excuses to spend time away from home on meeting days to keep her away from the dubs as much as possible. Time spent away from the indoctrination sessions can often help people realize on their own that it is bullshit.

u/fili-not-okay · 5 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Met. Kallistos's The Orthodox Church is a good start, but I recommend the older version if you can find a copy. I also cannot recommend Clark Carlton too highly. He is a philosophy professor, did a superb podcast entitled "Faith and Philosophy," and has written several books about Orthodoxy; check out hisintroduction to Orthodoxy for Roman Catholics.

u/bwv549 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

One thing that helped me was to focus on the transcendentals like truth, goodness, and beauty. This book was great for that.

I also started trying to write out what it was I believed in. Most of it has stayed pretty constant, but some has changed slightly as I've thought more about my beliefs.

Best to you!

u/Bundude · 3 pointsr/religion

Not sure if this fits under your definition of "world religions" but Mormonism is currently undergoing an interesting, scholarly reassessment of its history. Mormons have a pretty unique and (if I may say so myself) fascinating cosmology that you may enjoy learning about. If you're interested I would start by reading Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling.

u/mcquintessence · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Dude was sly: He went to Missouri to evade legal action on the part of a wealthy man that he convinced of the existence of a motherlode of precious metals which Smith foresaw using a "seeing stone." Utah is the only state to declare war on the Union. One of the more interesting of Smith's abilities was that to commune with god and dictate the Doctrines and Covenants (now a power only granted to president of LDS and rarely used at that). Polygamy was an addition via the D&amp;C's revealed to Smith after falling in love with a woman outside of his marriage.

Source: Trying to be as accurate as I can by memory from reading Under the Banner of Heaven

u/xcaughtxdeadx · 1 pointr/latterdaysaints

All great suggestions here! I just wanted to add that Royal Skousen's Earliest Text edition of the Book of Mormon is also a great option. No pictures or footnotes, but it flows really well and there is lots of space in the margins. The verses are broken down into what he calls "sense lines" and it makes it super easy to follow. I felt like I was breezing through it.

https://www.amazon.com/Book-Mormon-Earliest-Text/dp/0300142188

u/papalsyrup · 1 pointr/mormon

&gt; Can you think of any parts of the Smith narrative that don't fit with the sex-and-power idea, outside of trivialities?

Have you ever read anything about Joseph Smith from a sympathetic perspective? I don't mean apologist literature. I mean work that is actually trying to understand Joseph Smith, rather than to support a preexisting thesis. Things like Rough Stone Rolling, In Heaven as it is on Earth, American Crucifixion, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, etc. When the events of Joseph Smith's life are put into their full, rich historical context, it quickly becomes apparent that J.S.'s motivations were complex and variegated. Certainly sex and power played a role, but so did sincere, intense religious belief, a desire to unite and redeem his family, and a firm conviction that God was working through him. For instance, the money digging events can only be understood when put into the context of early 19th century folk religion, as Quinn does in Early Mormonism. This is not an avaricious Joseph Smith, but someone who is trying to help lift his family out of poverty using methods of folk religion that were ubiquitous in the region.

u/HitchensNippleJuice · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Orthodoxwiki.org is a pretty good go-to site for specific topics from an Orthodox perspective. Wikipedia for that matter is excellent if you want a more secular perspective.

Also, this is a great pair of books (by the same author, incidentally) on both the history and practices of the Orthodox Church. Though keep in mind they're written by an Orthodox bishop, not a secular historian.

The Orthodox Church (this one's the history book)

The Orthodox Way

I was able to find a copy of The Orthodox Church at a local library.

Also, this is a great podcast about Byzantine history. It isn't really about the Church specifically, rather the Byzantine Empire, which was intimately tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church for many many years (history's kind of a side interest of mine).

u/PostMormon · 1 pointr/exmormon

For a TBM, he does a pretty good job staying neutral, but yes, he has his biases.

You might prefer his:

https://www.amazon.com/Insiders-View-Mormon-Origins/dp/1560851570

Grant Palmer's book is fantastic.

u/atheist_teapot · 16 pointsr/todayilearned

Lee was eventually convicted and executed, but the others all escaped punishment for the most part (albeit living as fugitives). Brigham Young played a role (enormous to some, tacitly implying in others) and yet has a university named after him.

It's not to necessarily blame the Mormons, but they did secede from the United States and were not very good at integrating with society under their initial leaders. To claim that Mormons are actively trying to destroy the United States now is as spurious as saying that Obama is a Muslim communist nazi.

Krakauer's excellent Under the Banner of Heaven contains a well-investigated version of the story, as well as a good amount of the Mormon history.

u/kohakumidori · 1 pointr/occult

Thank you for this reply. I forgot about that Article of Faith, that's very useful in instances like this. Mormons certainly do have an interesting history. I was so shocked when I learned about all the unpleasantries about church history (with the scrying, the Jupiter Talisman, etc). It definitely helped drive me away form that religion, because it wasn't what I though it was. But actually, now that I'm more into "the occult" side of things, that bitterness that I felt about the church has worn off and it's become more of a fascination.

On a related note, I've been wanting to get this book, Early Mormonism and the Magick World View. Have you read this, by chance? If so, what did you think about it?

u/zensapiens · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Dude, I've been right where are currently are. I decided to go on the mission and then to BYU and only recently ended up circling back around to my previous doubts and leaving the church. Oh how I wish I could go back to my pre-mish self and just move on. Pressure from family and friends is real.

&amp;#x200B;

As you make this decision, I would recommend reading When Mormon's Doubt by Jon Ogden. It has helped me navigate those relationships as I've move on from the church.

&amp;#x200B;

Good luck! Sending you love through the binary

u/bananajr6000 · 9 pointsr/exmormon

Here is a great book about it:

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

It wasn't just Smith Jr and the peep stone (whitewashed to "seer stone",) there were lots of other magical practices the Smith family engaged in. From dowsing that has been scrubbed from the D&amp;C (now listed as the "Gift of Aaron", you know, the one with the staff that allegedly turned into a snake?) to animal sacrifice and the nature of the solstice and what it had to do with recovering the mythical golden plates, the Smiths were deeply engaged in folk magic and the occult. Smith Jr had a Jupiter talisman in his pocket at his death that you can get a replica of today on eBay, and hairs from his and Hyrum's head were placed in walking canes that can be seen at the Daughters of the Pioneers museum today.

One more thing: Smith Jr supposedly learned how to scam people use a seer stone from another seer, Sally Chase and (allegedly) used her stone to locate his first one. I believe it was simply an attempt to legitimize his own scamming by showing he learned from another confidence schemer. Smith Jr never found any treasure that was recovered with his peep stone other than the golden plates, which no one has ever seen, including none of the 3 or 8 witnesses or anyone else. And where are the plates today? Taken away in to heaven? Really?!?

u/Traveledfarwestward · 1 pointr/changemyview

I keep seeing this thing where people want "the government" to take care of more and more stuff for people. Can we instead say "the taxpayers should pay for this, including paying for anyone that wants to have huge families and contribute nothing at all to the rest of their community". See https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FC1R2S/ for a good take on how some very out-there crazy communities essentially live off of the rest of the taxpayers by using whatever they can to get money.

I mean sure, it'd be nice. I'm all for revising the tax code. But how many immigrants are you willing to absorb, how many other people are you willing to pay for, and how high are you willing to see your tax rate go? The money has to come from somewhere, and the people you take the money from, they tend to get pissed off if you just hand it out to people they don't think contribute very much. That causes a lot of friction, and tends to attract a lot of people who just see free money and services, so there's no need for them to stay and fight or stay and try to improve the place where they're at?

u/zart327 · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Bret Metcalfe’s Book demonstrates how the first books of the BoM were produced at the end of the “translation “ process after the rest of the book had been written because of the loss of the 166 pages Joseph continued on and did not backtrack to first produce Nephi until the end of the process. He shows how the specific details about Christ were written after the later portion of the story had been produced and how vague Joseph is in the first few books with names and places and the story as he perhaps could not remember the names or details written in the 116 pages of the book of Lehi.

Dan Vogel’s you tube accounts demonstrate how the BoM directly deals with issues in Joseph’s home and family issues in an attempt to bring family together on theological issues and draws on the popular issues of the day such as the presumed advanced lighter skinned peoples who were responsible for the mounds and advanced civilizations they observed.

Michael Quinn’s Early Mormonism and Magic World View truly provides the context for Joseph’s treasure digging and how the BOM fits into the magic world perspective even to the day Joseph looked for the plates to have significance in the magic calendar. It is not valid to view the history without the magic overlay.

The most important thing to discuss is the spirit and elevation emotion see https://mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2017/08/premium-fix-faith-crisis-one-weird-trick-wood-vs-steel-tools/


https://www.discoverbooks.com/New-Approaches-to-the-Book-of-Mormon-Exploration-p/1560850175.htm?gclid=Cj0KCQjw753rBRCVARIsANe3o44oLXnpzGkS8gnEgABdjlmH8YPThwelpNYor5d3N75kKSd8g662I3waAjxbEALw_wcB

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv91bBcxP_pnTAArZuIJqFUPuj8zS2Xwa

u/Joe_Sm · 7 pointsr/exmormon

Dude: Close this deal.


• Grant Palmer's Insider's View of Mormonism

• Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith


MormonThink.com


Close this crap now. Immediately. If you haven't read the two books, they are super easy reads. Nearly as easy as the CES Letter. DO IT!!!

u/jachinboazicus · 4 pointsr/hiphopheads

The Mormon church is rich as FUCK.

And they are one of the few established religions that take $$-making so seriously as to schedule annual settlements with their members.

I like the pre-prohibition Mormonism that dealt in the occult like Jupiter Talismans, seeing stones, completely mis translated papyrii (the PoGP sure is a fun read), and other cool out-there shit.

Post capitulation (ditching polygamy for statehood, changing/enforcing the WoW during prohibition, Elohim deciding black people were cool as of '78) Mormonism is boring AF.

This is the good stuff:
https://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

u/tyler611 · 1 pointr/latterdaysaints

That depends on what you think of academic works. I think it's super fascinating! But I'm into that kind of thing. Check out the reviews here! I use it as more of a reference than a straight through read. Most of the text is the Book of Mormon itself as well as textual comparisons of the extant original manuscript, printers manuscripts, and 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon.

u/richenloaf · 1 pointr/exmormon

I agree with many of the comments here, I think a few soundbites here and there aren't going to do much unless you have a more solid understanding. I would strongly recommend this book
so you can really discuss the issues from a knowledgable standpoint. Besides, maybe you will find out the Mormon church is really true and he will baptize you. Haha.

u/Dogzillas_Mom · 4 pointsr/JUSTNOMIL

&gt;Last thing you need to know, the in-laws are VERY LDS (Mormons) and we are very not.

Ah. There it is. Fucking mormons with their ridiculous ideas about booze. One beer = falling down gutter drunk who has thrown their entire life away. It's insane.

I'm an exmo and I am so sorry about these people. They believe they are God's chosen people and truly, that they are better than you and everyone else. So therefore, they think they deserve to steal your child from you because a lifetime of religious cult brainwashing is better than if mom has one beer after the kid goes to bed at night. /s

Get a really good lawyer to defend yourselves, obvs. I'm sure that working with CPS and the Guardian ad litem is helping your case as they see y'all are working hard and are good parents.

Document the damages. The court costs, lawyer's fees, therapy, security measures taken around your home, any above-and-beyond hard expenses that you've incurred as a result of defending your family from religious cultists. Hell, I'd get a lawyer on board with Steve Hassan's work on exiting cults and start painting your in laws as Jim Jones type brainwashed cultists. Make THEM look like the unfit parents because they are.

Then find a personal injury attorney--they don't get paid unless you do, so initial consultations are free. If they think they can win your case, and you've collected sufficient evidence that their campaign to steal your children has traumatized you and your child(ren), they will take your case and go after them for every dime they can squeeze out.

There are two other books that can help you build a case that mormonism is actually a dangerous cult and your children are far safer with their own loving parents than these unhinged religious nutcases. (I know, I know, but mormons are soooo dang nice. I lived that shit and mormons are NOT nice behind closed doors. They are nice in public so people don't realize how terrible their cult actually is.)

One book, "Recovering Agency" is one of the best about exiting mormonism. The other one, is a story about a horrible murder, but the early chapters really lay out how mormons are mind controlled and where all their wonky doctrine comes from. Those books, plus Steve Hassan's BITE model regarding how to define a cult, could be super useful in laying a case that these mormon grandparents may very well be dangerous AF. You might also read Elizabeth Smart's book about her kidnapping because the people who kidnapped her were trying to start an offshoot cult of their own -- the kidnapper/rapist was an excommunicated mormon who thought the mormon church was too modern and liberal.

I strongly suggest doing some reading and making your attorney aware of relevant portions that might help you fight back ONCE the custody bullshit is resolved. Until then, document, document, document, and let your attorney do all the talking.

u/hatekillpuke · 2 pointsr/women

Scott Carrier is absolutely brilliant on the radio, but I found this piece to be a bit unfocused. Reading it in his voice seemed to help a bit.

If you found this story interesting, I highly recommend Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. Krakauer more deeply explores Elizabeth Smart's story, along with many more in an absolutely fascinating book.

On the lighter side, Dave Chappelle asks, How old is fifteen really?

u/KickinTheTSCC · 3 pointsr/exmormon

When I was NOM transitioning to exmo, my wife was already mentally out, the only way I felt comfortable ever baptizing our then 1-year-old daughter, would be if my wife could participate on some level, either as a witness or participate in the confirmation circle. I got to this after reading about the historical practice of women's blessings, see "A gift given, a gift taken" and I'd get this book to start reading to prepare your daughter with some mormon feminism, Modern Feminism: Essential Writings

u/lemon_meringue · 42 pointsr/SRSWomen

I would be very, very cautious of any religious organization that compels you to formally "join" it (complete with secret ceremonies) and forces you to tithe to be a full-fledged member. It seems to me that true religion is transparent rather than secretive. The LDS organization is anything but transparent. Have you read Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven? If not, I highly recommend it (the Amazon reviews are also a good resource) for a very thorough and unbiased history of the LDS movement. This is another recent article about the LDS that brings up some pretty troubling dealings on the business end of things.

I spent several years out in the American West living very close to a large LDS community and I saw a lot of very upsetting things go on within that community. Most of them had to do with the mistreatment of women and children, but a lot was simply cronyism and manipulation. It is a community that works very hard to keep appearances up to "outsiders", but they weren't able to hide everything.

I'm sure you are considering this conversion very carefully and I don't mean to undermine or disrespect your personal beliefs in any way, but I'd really encourage to you spend a great deal of time reading accounts from people (especially women) who have left the LDS church before you decided to join. Their recruitment can be quite intense, but it does not tell the whole truth behind the organization.

In the context of this community, I will also say that is is next to impossible to be a feminist and a Mormon at the same time. The ideologies conflict that violently.

OK, I will shut the fuck up now. Best to you in whatever choices you make in your life!

u/josephsmidt · 6 pointsr/latterdaysaints

&gt; Is the book of Mormon peer reviewed?

Start with By the Hand of Mormon by Terryl L. Givens, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide by Grant Hardy and The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text by Royal Skousen.

These are three independent works, all published by reputable academic presses (Oxford and Yale) by scholars whose scholarly credentials have landed them academic positions at accredited institutions of higher education.

If you want the real deal, start here and learn and see academic scholarship at it's finest painting a majestic picture of this incredible text.


u/silouan · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The Orthodox Church by Oxford professor Timothy Ware (a.k.a. Orthodox Bishop Kallistos) is a good overview of history and belief.

In the west, if we're not careful, we fall into this narrative of "Rome fell, then it was the dark ages, then in 1520: Luther!" We tend to forget that outside of western Europe Rome was alive and well into the 16th century, never forgot the world was round, and never lost touch with its roots in Semitic culture and Christian readings of classical philosophy. Until the Islamic jihad, there were more Christians east of the Euphrates than west of it, in Christian cultures reaching across the 'Stans to Tibet and parts of China.

For a less history-and-doctrines view, The Orthodox Way is a good look at how OrthoFolks pray and live.

u/QuickSpore · 3 pointsr/exmormon

http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400077532 - Rough Stone Rolling - The best biography of JS that I've ever read.
http://mormonthink.com/ - Probably the best researched and least partisan resource.
http://20truths.info/ - 20 Truths about Mormonism

u/infamousjoe2 · 1 pointr/exmormon

And the same applies to you as well. If that's how you want to play the game then neither of us can be right.

As for me and my house, I will rely on the evidence of those that were there and concluded it was a fraud. Their witness, coupled with historical fact, calls the very foundation of Mormonism into question. The historical record stands and it does not support the position that the Book of Mormon is a historical record of people that populated the Americas in 600 BC.

And as for observation and logic, think about the following events:

  • Joseph found a stone in a neighbors well (fact)
  • Joseph used said stone on treasure expeditions (fact)
  • During these expeditions Joseph would put the stone in a hat and position his face in the hat to divine where the party should dig (fact)
  • Joseph was convicted of fraud for doing this in 1826 (fact)
  • Isaac Hale relates that Joseph told him he never could see anything in the stone and that it was a con (Isaac's personal testimony)
  • Joseph translated the Book of Mormon using the same method that he used when treasure digging (fact based on eyewitness testimony)

    So which scenario is more likely? Joseph was conning people during the production of the Book of Mormon much like he was during his treasure digging? Or is it more likely that a rock would display words that Joseph would read to a scribe and that a supernatural being directed Joseph to a set of plates that he never used during the translation?

    You really need to read Early Mormonism and the Magic World View.
u/jawabait · 9 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I was raised in a conservative Baptist church. The book "Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy" by Fr. Damick was one of my introductions to the ancient faith. It covers Orthodox understanding of a multitude of other denominations and religions -- although it does not get super in depth. It is a friendly, easy to read tome.

There's a 20 episode companion podcast that is pretty great, too.

u/nanabean · 3 pointsr/ExMoXxXy

I recommend Maxine Hanks' Women and Authority: Re-Emerging Mormon Feminism (1992) for some perspective on feminism within Mormonism. Mormonism is fundamentally patriarchal, which has made feminism and feminist theology necessary. Sister Hanks was excommunicated for the anthology as part of the infamous September Six purge, as well as some of the book's contributors, including D. Michael Quinn.

There's also a new book, Mormon Feminism: Essential Readings (2015), edited by a handful of prominent Ordain Women players. I have not yet read it, so I can't vouch for it, but it could also be informative.

I have appreciated Feminist Mormon Housewives and the community they provide for Mormon women-- active, transitioning, and ex.

u/mormbn · 9 pointsr/mormon

&gt;doesn't mean he had any interest in living with them

We know this isn't true. That he lived with them and slept in their beds is explicitly documented in some cases.

I recommend Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, an excellent biography of Emma by two faithful LDS historians.

u/Fuzzy_Thoughts · 5 pointsr/mormon

This article seemed appropriate to share in light of Pres. Nelson's recent remarks (pulled from this summary article on lds.org):

&gt; “Jesus Christ invites us to take the covenant path back home to our Heavenly Parents and be with those we love,” said President Nelson. He stressed that we can be together with our families in the next life only if we receive sacred ordinances in the temple and keep the covenants we make there.

&gt; ...

&gt; Now, as President of His Church, I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now.

___

I'd highly recommend everyone read Jon Ogden's book When Mormons Doubt: A Way to Save Relationships and Seek a Quality Life.

u/dudleydidwrong · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Lots of people here are or have been in the same boat. You are not alone.

Focus on your relationship with your wife and kids. Most people recommend going very slowly with spouses. You will have to bring up your issues some day. If nothing else your wife may notice your change in attitude. The critical thing at that point (or before that point) is to make sure your wife knows that you love her. You are questioning the church, not your marriage. Many TBMs have trouble making that distinction.

The second most important thing is that when you do start talking to your wife about church issues is to make sure she does not run to her family for advice. That is one reason to start slowly at the very edges. Ask that she keep your confidence. Cultivate the idea that this is something that the two of you have to work out together, and that family interference will only make it worse. It is the two of you against the world.

A family member or close friend leaving the church might be an opportunity to talk about why they left. I know you said that your families are uber TBM, but don't be surprised if someone does come out as ex.

One thing you might do is get a copy of No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie. It is an old book. Get it in paperback and let your wife see you reading it. Encourage her to read it with you.

I think the book used to be sold at Deseret Books, but I don't see it on their website. It might still be available in a brick and mortar store. Here is the Amazon link if you can't find it an official church site.

u/i8doodoopuss · 7 pointsr/IAmA

I know that the literature you are allowed to read on a mission is very limited. However, before you go, you could do some research on Joseph Smith as a person. He was a very colorful character, and had an extremely interesting life. Sometimes you have to go outside of official church doctrine on him to get the full picture because they don't want their prophet to look like what we all are: flawed human beings.

Myself, I am a non-believer. However, even with the flaws Joseph Smith had, I don't think that precludes anyone from believing that his message has value.

Edit: http://www.amazon.com/No-Man-Knows-My-History/dp/0679730540/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1405797598&amp;amp;sr=8-4&amp;amp;keywords=joseph+smith

I would STRONGLY recommend this book. I feel it gives a balanced account of his life. It's not a book that tries to demonize JS, nor a book that portrays him as a perfect, godly man. It's just a book that tries to get at what his life was all about.

u/jebkr · 2 pointsr/occult

I’m an exmormon! This book will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Joseph Smith and his magical practices.

https://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

Also, if you want to know why members like me are leaving, this website explains all the dirty laundry of Mormonism.

Cesletter.org

A relevant passage about Joseph Smith and magic in the ces letter:

“In order to truly understand the Book of Mormon witnesses and the issues with their claims, one must understand the magical worldview of many people in early 19th century New England. These are people who believed in folk magic, divining rods, visions, second sight, peep stones in hats, treasure hunting (money digging or glass looking), and so on.”

If you have any more questions about the real story of the book of mormon without being preached at, feel free to ask me or the exmormon subreddit.

u/timoneer · 1 pointr/IAmA

  • Which part of the mormon movement do you belong to? Community of Christ? Temple Lot? Bickertonite? Strangite? Cutlerite? Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? How do you know that your particular branch is the true church?


  • Have you ever read "No Man Knows My History" by Fawn Brodie?


  • What is your opinion on the origins of the Book of Abraham? Specifically, how do you rectify the fact that the original papyrus that Joseph Smith claimed to translate was found in the 60's and accurately translated by Egyptologists, and it had nothing to do with anything J.S. said it did?


  • Have you ever seen any of the 3 Nephites, or heard stories about them?

  • If polygamy was made legal in the United States, do you think that the LDS church would have another "revelation" and allow it for their members again?



  • Have you been to r/exmormon?

u/Irish_Whiskey · 2 pointsr/religion

The Case for God and The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong are both good. The God Delusion is a simple breakdown and explanation of most major religious claims. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by the Dalai Llama is an interesting book on ethics. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook is 150 funny and insightful pages on Islam. Under the Banner of Heaven is a shocking and fascinating account of fundamentalist Mormonism. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan discusses religion, and Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot are my secular versions of holy books. And of course given the occasion, I can't leave out God is Not Great.

I recommend avoiding authors like Lee Strobel and Deepak Chopra. Both are essentially liars for their causes, either inventing evidence, or deliberately being incredibly misleading in how they use terms. Popularity in those cases definitely doesn't indicate quality.

u/Disguisedasasmile · 2 pointsr/exjw

Of course!

This was amazingly helpful to me: https://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies

Teaches you the history and context behind the Hebrew Bible and Greek Scriptures. It’s a great intro to a deeper look at the Bible. I learned so much from those two courses. They are pretty long, but well worth it.

Then I would recommend checking out Bart D Erhman’s books. He has a few lectures on audible and YouTube.

Also, I highly recommend reading Ray Franz’s book Crisis of Conscience. He was a Governing Body member in the 70s/80s who left and wrote an autobiography about his experiences. It’s mind blowing.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0999499211/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1522373103&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&amp;amp;keywords=crisis+of+conscience+by+raymond+franz

u/Girl_with_the_Curl · 3 pointsr/Broadway

The show will basically tell you everything you need to know, but in a nutshell: gold plates, Utah, Joseph Smith, mission, magic underwear. On a serious note, if you'd like to read up on the history of Mormonism in America, I'd recommend borrowing [Under the Banner of Heaven] (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1400032806/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_gzNczbGTWMEVV) by Jon Krakauer from the library. He's one of my favorite non-fiction writers and even if you don't read the entire book (which deals mostly with Mormon fundamentalists, i.e. polygamists), there are several early chapters that will tell you more than you need to know about how Mormonism developed as a religion and what Mormons believe.

u/iwasamormon · 7 pointsr/exmormon

Rough Stone Rolling would be a good place for her to start. You might enjoy it as well. It was written by an LDS historian, so it shouldn't be too scary, but it does tell a slightly different story than what we'd typically hear from the Church. It's not a book that's likely to convince her the Church isn't what it claims to be, but it could help her to see that the Church isn't particularly forthcoming with a lot of its history, and get her thinking on those terms.

u/duhhobo · 1 pointr/religion

While I don't consider it to be a cult, the history of Mormonism is extremely interesting, as is the life of it's founder, Joseph Smith.

A good book written by a member of the church is called "Rough Stone Rolling." Another great one by a non mormon is called "No Man Knows My History"

u/LightMinded · 3 pointsr/exmormon

I don't believe there is. However, on Amazon's listing you can send feedback to Audible requesting an audio version. The link is on the bottom of the right hand column.

&gt;Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

u/Nibble_on_this · 10 pointsr/politics

This is such a great short summary. You have a gift.

Another great book about the LDS sect is Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer (of Into the Wild and Into Thin Air fame). Excellent reporting and harrowing as fuck.

Fun fact: the mormon power structure hated that book so much they tried to have it removed from shelves in many Utah and Idaho bookstores.

u/thechivster · 2 pointsr/Christianity

The podcast and book by Eastern Orthodox priest, Fr Andrew Stephen Damick's sheds a great deal of light on all heterodox beliefs (he takes the standpoint of the Eastern Orthodox Church). It's quite informational and engaging :)

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodoxy-Heterodoxy-Exploring-Systems-Christian/dp/1936270137?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;keywords=orthodoxy%20and%20heterodoxy&amp;amp;qid=1462615776&amp;amp;ref_=sr_1_1&amp;amp;sr=8-1

u/tbown · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Don't leave us!!!!!!

The Roman Catholic Catechism is a great tool to understand Catholic beliefs.

Return to Rome is a book about someone who came from being a Protestant to being a Catholic.

The Orthodox Way is a good intro to Orthodox understanding.

Becoming Orthodox is a book about a ton of Protestants converting to Orthodoxy.

u/bobo_brizinski · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Light From the Christian East by James R. Payton - written by a non-Orthodox scholar who is sensitive to accurately describing Orthodox theology while making them accessible to non-Orthodox.

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware - not to be confused with his older classic, The Orthodox Church, which describes the historical development of the tradition. This work is more personal because of its focus on how Orthodox theology applies to the life of a Christian. Ware is an Orthodox bishop who has been famous for decades for his attempts to introduce Eastern Christianity to a popular audience.

Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology by Andrew Louth - Louth is a gifted Russian Orthodox scholar and priest who writes ably on a number of topics.

The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky - Lossky is one of the most influential Russian Orthodox theologians of the 20th century. This book is a classic introduction published in the 50s, and also advocates for a certain understanding of Orthodoxy that emphasizes its distinctiveness (the "mystical" part) from Western theology.

u/uphigh_downlow · 5 pointsr/ldscirclejerk

Here is my Top 10 list:

  1. The Original Manuscript of The Book of Mormon

  2. The Printer's Manuscript of The Book of Mormon

  3. The First Edition of The Book of Mormon (E.B. Grandin version)

  4. The Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition (Grant Hardy version)

  5. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (1981 Version)

  6. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (2013 Official online version)

  7. The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (Royal Skousen version)

  8. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (1920 Version)

  9. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (1994 Official MP3 version)

  10. The Book of Mormon (Penguin Classic version)

    Honorable mentions: Le Livre de Mormon; The Book of Mormon (Moroni's gold plated version); Book of Mormon Stories (children's edition)

u/melvin_fry · 10 pointsr/books

I wouldn't say it was the best non-fiction book I ever read but Under the Banner of Heaven was the best non-fiction book I read in the past year or two.

u/mistiklest · 8 pointsr/Christianity
u/willburshoe · 1 pointr/mormon

Joseph did posses a stone that he believed helped him see things which were hidden. His translation was initially through the Urim and Thummim, and as he learned to use that easier, he used his stone, and at some point probably no stone at all.


I don't have sources handy, so hopefully someone else will post some. A great book with tons of sourced info is Rough Stone Rolling. Fantastic book.

u/ErraticBiologist · 2 pointsr/exmormon

love those books, another great one and aimed at exmos Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control

u/upstart_crow · -10 pointsr/videos

Is a video of a guy dancing is all it takes to convince someone to find merit in a cult? If the Book of Mormon (the play) wasn't enough, try reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer for a great exposé of what Mormonism is about.

edit: added the word "in"

u/not_irish_patrick · 1 pointr/OrthodoxChristianity

A Crown of Life: A Novel of the Great Persecution is a good book, written by a Orthodox man (a deacon I believe).


Everyday Saints and Other Stories isn't fiction, but is still an interesting read.

u/BookEmDan · 1 pointr/exmormon

It's interesting to hear NOMs or other apologists explain this. Richard Bushman acknowledges this, but somehow passes it off like it would be expected of a boy from back then.

After all, the world was very different back then. He was a good boy from the country. /s

u/biggyww · 3 pointsr/news

Not to be critical, but I was raised in a religious household, and I started to question the doctrines of the church and the bible when I was a teenager. What was it that allowed you to believe so strongly and so blindly for so long? Was it your choice, or do you feel like you were manipulated into a sort of blind faith even into adulthood?

Also, are you all familiar with ["Under the Banner of Heaven"] (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FC1R2S?btkr=1)? Krakauer is a great author who really tried to give the history of the Church an even handed analysis, and as an outsider, I think he succeeded greatly. I don't think it was well received by LDS though.

u/ScruffyLookingNerfHe · 1 pointr/latterdaysaints

I enjoyed Grant Hardy's Understanding the Book of Mormon. It gave me some interesting things to think about while reading the Book of Mormon.

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Book-Mormon-Readers-Guide/dp/0199731705


u/Fuzzpufflez · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy explains Orthodox Christianity but also explains the differences between us and other churches through the lens of the Orthodox Church, explaining why we don't agree with them. It's a pretty good book.

u/TheMetropolia · 2 pointsr/Christianity

It isnt light reading, it isnt too difficult either, but you might like Valdimir Lossky's Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church as he does a lot to counter the problems you see in calling God a person, which he would agree are valid, while also maintaining the personhood of God.

https://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Theology-Eastern-Church/dp/0913836311

u/blessedBrian · 2 pointsr/exjw

Margaret Singer's Cults in Our Midst is a good one.

Luna Lindsey's Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control is worth a look (it does mention JWs too).

And Eric Hoffer's The True Believer should be in every right-thinking apostate's top pocket.

u/LucidSen · 1 pointr/exmormon

By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri by Charles M. Larson

Quick read, great full color foldout photos of the papyri (best available anywhere, I believe).

No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie

https://www.amazon.com/His-Own-Hand-Upon-Papyrus/dp/0962096326

https://www.amazon.com/No-Man-Knows-My-History/dp/0679730540

u/demian_slc · 1 pointr/SaltLakeCity

Start with Under the Banner of Heaven, /r/SaltLakeCity, and then slowly walk back your reticence. Utah is great, has quirks but is awesome. Seriously though, your job is relating and selling to Utahns? EDIT: spelling

u/ShaqtinADrool · 9 pointsr/exmormon

2 great books, on this topic.

  1. An Insider's View on Mormon Origins
    https://www.amazon.com/Insiders-View-Mormon-Origins/dp/1560851570/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1540922636&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=insiders+view+of+mormon+origins

  2. Secret Combinations Evidence of Early Mormon Counterfeiting 1800-1847
    https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Combinations-Evidence-Counterfeiting-1800-1847/dp/194414109X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1540922568&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=mormon+counterfeiting

    In summary: Joseph, and others, were heavily involved in conning others. This was their thing. These were not honest farmers trying to make an honest buck. They swindled people. The gold plates were just another con that eventually worked its way into a religion (only after Joseph couldn't sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in order to make some $).
u/HappyAnti · 2 pointsr/exmormon

"Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith"

Don't be confused by the title. It engages very successfully with Joseph's lecherous side all throughout. It's almost as much of a book about Joseph as it is a Emma. It merely looks at things through her perspective. It was written by 2 faithful LDS historians as a way to honor Joseph and Emma, but by the time they were finished their shelves were completely destroyed and both eventually left the church. This is why it is probably one of the best unbiased sources there is.

https://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Enigma-Emma-Hale-Smith/dp/0252062914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1540329851&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=emma+smith+mormon+enigma

u/DurtMacGurt · 4 pointsr/latterdaysaints

I recommend that you read this article and that you read this book.

An excerpt from the article:
&gt;Sometime after Henry and Zina were married, Joseph told Dimick Huntington, Zina’s brother, the story of why he was compelled to introduce plural marriage, and asked that Dimick tell the story to Zina. As Zina is quoted by one author to have said, “Tell Zina I have put it off and put it off until an angel with a drawn sword has stood before me and told me if I did not establish that principle [plurality of wives] and live it, I would lose my position and my life and the Church could progress no further.”

I would also add that Celestial law supersedes the Levitical law.

I suggest reading those things and go to the Lord about it to give you peace.

I too had questions about this and have been patient in receiving understanding. [D&amp;C 50:40] -
&gt;"Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth."

u/JosephSmithsGhost · 1 pointr/OldSchoolCool

Oh certainly he was very controversial, as was polygamy, but the age of the bride wouldn't have been at all in my understanding, and certainly doesn't constitute pedophelia. My great grandmother was around the same age when she was married.

Reread over my post in the other thread and I think you'll understand my point. I'm not supporting pedophelia or polygamy, I simply think it's unreasonable to lampoon Joseph Smith as a pedophile for having a 14 year old bride. Though I have no moral issue personally with either (a 14 year old bride that is, not pedophelia), they do both seem like really bad ideas. And of course a 14 year old in our culture today is rarely (if ever) prepared to make that kind of commitment.

Scharlatan, mad genius, or divine seer, he led a fantastically interesting life no matter how you judge him. Early Mormonism and the magic world view is a terribly interesting book if you're interested.

http://www.amazon.com/Early-Mormonism-Magic-World-View/dp/1560850892

u/derDrache · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy is one of the best taxonomies of Christianity that I've found. It goes through each major movement in Christianity, gives a short backstory for the cause of the movement, a description of each of the denominations that make up that movement, and does a compare/contrast with Eastern Orthodoxy. It's not exactly neutral, coming from the perspective of a 21st century American Eastern Orthodox priest, but I think it's remarkably good for getting one's bearings amidst all the different Christian groups out there. There's also a podcast version, upon which the book is an expansion.

u/ziddina · 9 pointsr/exjw

Welcome to the board! I found ex-JW information around 20 years after I left, but that was some years ago.

&gt;I still always go back to what if, or second guessing myself.

It's likely because you've never deconstructed the [false] beliefs that you were taught.

You've just now found out about the ex-JW groups, if I read your opening post correctly.

There is a mountain of information out on the internet now, about how wrong the WT Society was/is, and more significantly about how CORRUPT the WT Society was/is.

Someone's already recommended JW facts, right? I haven't read the rest of the thread yet.

Edit to add JW facts link: https://jwfacts.com/

And the book written by Ray Franz that first blew off the lid on the inner and extremely corrupt workings of the WT Society: https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Conscience-struggle-between-religion/dp/0999499211

Also, to anyone else reading this, if I haven't linked the most current version of Crisis of Conscience, please tell me. Thanks!

Oh, and John Cedars' book: https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Apostate-Leaving-Jehovahs-Witnesses/dp/0995669104

And his highly informative YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz1w0ll081JJiYcjb298pOw

Oh, and EXJW Critical Thinkers' channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpHhWSPtMDTSa8dzapmzo5A

u/Waksss · 1 pointr/Christianity

There's a book by Ted Campbell called Methodist Doctrine which is really just a simple intro to the Christian faith.

Orthodox Way is really good too. Maybe intermediate level reading, but good nonetheless.

u/z1011 · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Ex-catholic-baptist-orthodox-seeker here. I just started reading this today:
Clark Carlton The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About the Orthodox Church (Faith Catechism) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0964914182/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_h-3UBbHR4GB2A


Hope it helps you on your journey.

u/deuteros · 1 pointr/Christianity

If you're interested, The Orthodox Way is a good introduction to the eastern Christian perspective of God.

u/patlynnw · 2 pointsr/exjw

That Watchtower article is crap - you must always independently research Watchtower.


Here's the link to Amazon where the book can be ordered from:
https://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Conscience-struggle-between-religion/dp/0999499211/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1539476363&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=crisis+of+conscience+by+raymond+franz

&amp;#x200B;

Best of luck

u/ewilliam · 18 pointsr/news

I suggest you read Under The Banner of Heaven. Not only is it a fascinating read, but it will also explain how the FLDS's brand of polygamy (which is obviously the most prominent form of polygamy in the country) goes hand in hand with child rape.

u/Marcus__Aurelius · 1 pointr/atheism

The Mormon polygamists are now exclusively members of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), citing Biblical and prophetic precedence as proof and reason for their actions. An unfortunate outcome is that these sects are secretive, often residing in remote areas that are segregated from the rest of the population. The frequency of inbreeding and the desire to become "sealed" with several mates has produced a staggering rate of birth defects. For those interesting in learning more about the Latter Day Saints (LDS) or the FLDS, I highly suggest the following:

  • Irreligiosophy - a podcast by two former Mormons. They discuss their previous faith and many more issues.

  • Under the Banner of Heaven (Krakauer, 2003) - an excellent book that discusses the history, tenets, and culture of Mormonism. Additionally, it is carried by or carries a story regarding the murders committed by two FLDS members.
u/ClayChristensen · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Grant Palmer’s Insider’s View is a great start:
An Insider's View of Mormon Origins https://www.amazon.com/dp/1560851570/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_3IlOBbH90V1ZN