Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A More Embracing Mormonism

Review of Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, by Patrick Q. Mason


I am surprised — and delighted — that Deseret Book and the Maxwell Institute co-published this book by Mormon scholar Patrick Mason. It acknowledges that there are “troubling episodes” in the LDS church’s past and “apparent contradictions and conundrums in the church’s history, doctrine, and positions on current issues.” It discusses several of these issues at length, including withholding priesthood and temple blessings from blacks, Joseph Smith’s treasure digging, and the Mountain Meadows massacre. And it doesn’t shy away from honest critique.

But Mason is no rabble-rouser; he’s “all in” with respect to Mormonism, describing himself as a “believer and a belonger.” He “find[s] redemption and sanctification in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and he “can’t imagine being more convinced that God has ordained The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to accomplish its divine mission.”