Books to Read

There is a concern about "anti-Mormon" literature. The implication being that if it is "anti" there must be something wrong with it. That can only be assumed if the Mormon church is telling the truth. Many of us have found it is not. There is some extremely poor material out there such as God Makers II. I would never use innuendo or lies to combat a lie, but unfortunately the producers of God Makers II stooped to trash and it confuses Mormons. They (Mormons) then think that if this is typical of all materials available on Mormonism from outside Mormonism, then there are no real historical problems with their church. Like in all things in life whether it be science, history, engineering etc., no one book has all the answers and one must study to be proficient in a particular subject. Studying Mormonism is the same. If it is truthful, it should be willing to be investigated from all angles.

Some of the materials I have found great to use are as follows. They can be ordered from any bookstore or you may find them at some of the larger libraries.

Places you can order over the phone:
Utah Lighthouse (801-485-8894) - They have the widest variety of books and reprints of manuscripts.
Benchmark (801-486-3111) - New and used (out of print) books.
Utah Missions in Marlowe, Oklahoma (405-658-5631) - I don't personally like how they operate. They do have books available.

" His Own Hand Upon Papyrus"

by Charles Larson.
Published by the Institute for Religious Research. 1340 Monroe Ave. NW Grand Rapids, Mi 49505-4604. This is an excellent book showing how JS made up the Book of Abraham. It is about $12.00. A great rebuttal by an unofficial LDS writer is "Written by the Finger of God" which is available from Deseret Book. The "Finger" book shows how absurd the LDS position is.

"New Approaches to the Book of Mormon"

by Brent Metcalfe.
This has about 10 excellent essays on various studies of Book of Mormon subjects. The overwhelming consensus of the authors is the Book of Mormon is still true, but must be regarded as a fictional story as it does not in anyway fit archeologically, culturally or in any other way with what life was like in central or south America. I liked the material on metallurgy as I have a couple degrees in metallurgical engineering. That alone was enough to show the BofM is fictional. This is published by Signature Books and is about $25.00 hard cover.

"Studies of the Book of Mormon"

by BH Roberts.
This is also published by Signature Books and shows how Joseph Smith used the book View of the Hebrews as the primary source for the BofM. It also raises many questions about the ridiculous stories Joseph Smith put into the BofM. I never thought about how crazy many of the stories actually are until reading this. BH Roberts was a general authority and these writings were not published until more than 50 years after his death. They were donated to the UofU. The book is around $20.00.

Utah Lighthouse (801-485-8894) has the widest variety of materials available on Mormonism. The classic is the "Shadow or Reality", which covers almost everything in one massive book. It is about $18.00. It is WELL worth getting. If you are only going to get one book - this is it!
You can get from Utah Lighthouse a CD-ROM including the original versions of the Book of Mormon, the D&C, the Book of Commandments, the Pearl of Great Price, View of the Hebrews, Shadow or Reality, and five other books.

"No Man Knows My History"

by Mrs. Fawn M. Brodie.
One of the best books about Joseph Smith and the origins of Mormonism. This book was written in 1945 by Mrs. Fawn M. Brodie. This book is an biography of the life of the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. To my knowledge it is also the first book of this type. This book dealt with all aspects of Joseph's life, starting with his ancestry and background. Mrs. Brodie did extensive research into Joseph's life before forming his religion, and also suggested some of the reasoning behind why he acted as he did. Along the way you'll also learn the basic beliefs and foundation of Mormonism and how it progressed throughout Joseph's life.
Mrs. Brodie supplied footnotes and references for all of her work. It is written in an easy style that assumes the reader knows little about Mormonism but doesn't make the reader feel stupid because of it. Reaction to her book among Mormons was as expected, they vilified her. She was excommunicated for it and it was ironic that her uncle, David O'McKay, was a member of the twelve apostles at the time (and later became Prophet.) Although he refused to read her book, a respected Mormon scholar named J. Reuben Clark asked the Deseret News to publish his long review of No Man Knows My History. In this review he did everything he could to discredit her, all pretty weak in my opinion. The only thing I didn't like about this book is Mrs. Brodie trying to play psychologist. She assigns motives to some of Joseph's actions as though they were made known to her. Other than that it's a historically sound book and one I'd recommend as the first book to read.

"The Lion Of The Lord."

by Mr. Stanley P. Hirshon.
A few words from the preface: This book is about a man who two and a half million people consider a prophet of God. As the author of the first biography of Brigham Young to be written in nearly fifty years and one of the few non-Mormons in this century to deal seriously with Young's religion, I have never allowed myself to forget the esteem in which he is still held. To add to my problems, I was told this book could never be written. At the Mormon Church Historian's Office in Salt Lake City, where I received no help or encouragement and was informed that a superficial, uncritical biography of Young published in 1876 had stood up for one century and would last for at least another, several people warned me I would never finish it. In this book I have deviated sharply from most of the previous studies of Mormonism both in interpretation and organization. Every other biography of Young has as much in it about Joseph Smith, Mormonism's founder, as about its subject. These volumes stress the period up to 1844, the year Smith was murdered, and practically ignore Young after he reached Utah. In contrast to my predecessors, I have tried to present Young's early years in perspective and have emphasized his Western experiences, which fully illustrate his powers of leadership. This later period shows that as perhaps no other American of his time Young covered numerous fields: religion, government, exploration, history, business, and sociology. He may not have been the towering giant his church likes to depict, but he was an usual man nonetheless.
I should like to conclude with a word about the vast hate literature of Mormonism. Several times in this book I have tested the reliability of certain apostates and visitors to Utah by matching their statements with later admissions by Mormon leaders. Those who would summarily discard the writings of all apostates might well compare Catherine Lewis's calmly reasoned and completely neglected Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons or William Hall's The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed, both of which I have used but with extreme caution, with Maria Ward's Female Life Among the Mormons and the pamphlets of Maria and Increase M. Van Deusen, which I have rejected as propaganda. It is foolhardy to believe everything an apostate said, but it is equally fatuous to lump the reasonable and unreasonable together and to dump everything written by the enemies of the church into the garbage can. Separating the truth from the untruth is, after all, the primary responsibility of the biographer and his most taxing obligation -- to himself, to his readers, and, above all, to his subject. Source: Preface to the book 'The Lion Of The Lion', by Stanley P. Hirshson. Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher, 1969. This is an excellent book about the second prophet of Mormonism, Brigham Young. It details his life from childhood to his death in 1877. Throughout you also learn more doctrine and the course the Mormon Church itself took under his leadership

A Very comprehensive listing of Mormon books is at this site below
Page of Honest Intellectual Inquiry