Christian Books for Former Mormons

A couple of months ago I was asked for a list of books to help a former Mormons transition to Protestantism.  I reached out to some friends and we came up with this list.These books are listed in order of complexity and depth, starting with the easiest to read.

Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do

Starting at the Finish Line: The Gospel of Grace for Mormons

The Cross of Christ

An Exploration of Christian Theology

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

I also STRONGLY recommend getting a modern English translation of the Bible. I love the King James Version and I think it’s a great translation, I recommend it to all my 400 year old friends. The English language has evolved and some of the phrasing in the KJV is archaic which makes it more difficult to understand. The newer translation were all created consulting the oldest known manuscripts of the Bible and were translated from the original languages so you can trust them to be accurate. Fears of the “Telephone Game” are misplaced. I almost always use the NIV. I also highly recommend reading the Bible in a paraphrase known as “The Message”. It’s available for free on the YouVersion Bible App created by LifeChurch.tv.

I recommend a fresh reading of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews with an attempt to dismiss everything you’ve been taught about these scriptures. Try to read them as if this is the first time you’ve read. If you can read them each in one sitting I think your experience will be even better. Don’t view the chapters as natural stopping points.

Lastly there is a study program called LDS Transitions that was made by Christians in Utah who saw a need for it based on the large number of people that have started to transition out of the LDS church.

My favorite book for all Christians is “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard. It’s probably not the best book to start with as part of a transition, but sometime in your life you should read it.

Is God the Head of ISIL?

Jared C:

This is a great blog by an African Christian thinker, I think his post raises a lot of questions about what is at stake in finding an effective way to engage in religious dialogue with new forms of Christianity.  It seems that the the label “authentic” Christian may be tainted by the horrors perpetrated by Christendom and the debate may cover other sins of the church.  However important you think the label “Christian” is, I think we can’t let labeling controversies be a cop-out for not finding better ways of explaining Christ to cultures who are non-Christian/post-Christian, and not investing in non-sectarian Christian education.

Originally posted on Chronicles of a kid next door:

Is There Al Qaeda Version of Christianity? “Isandhlwana” by Charles Edwin Fripp – Transferred from fr.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Barbe-Noire using CommonsHelper. Original uploader was Georgio. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

I am interested in how believers from other, formerly non-Christian regions, respond to what Brian Zahnd termed Americanized Christianity. When confronted with this pathetic adulteration of authentic Christianity, Africans tend to accept the teachings with little questioning. Hence the proliferation of distorted and tainted forms of Christianity across Africa.

Presently, many Westerners (and Africans) address Christianity’s place in contemporary Africa as a colonial import. A subsequent repercussion is that Western forms of Christianity are referenced as the normative standard bearers for Christian authenticity…[T]he question of “which kind of Christianity is authentic” is less about critically examining issues in authenticity and more about asking whether indigenously-led Christianities ought to be treated as legitimate expressions of Christianity, or as exotic Africanized pseudo-Christianities.

Emily…

View original 672 more words

How accurate are your myths? –The Curious Case of Transubstantiation

In a friendly effort to get my friend SlowCowboy to eat his words regarding the importance of the doctrine of transubstantiation, I also want to present my case for a “Great Apostasy” during the very earliest history of the church.

There was quite a bit of discussion about  transubstantiation because Gnostic Docetists were being theologically cast out for taking the doctrine of transubstantiation too seriously. They didn’t take the bread and the water because they did not believe that Christ could be present in the bread and water because Christ was completely separate from the world. The doctrine that the bread and the water were also the Christ makes a very deep philosophical (not spiritual) point that the Gnostics Docetists were not getting. i.e. that the substance of Christ was before us and actually present, even inside of us.  This is perhaps a stronger point than “the Kingdom of God is in our midst” but it is really quite breathtaking as far as theology goes. The doctrine of transubstantiation allowed people to explain their faith accurately to pagan peoples.

Continue reading

God & Science

Biola University recently hosted an forum where the toughest scientific challenges to Christianity were fielded by William Lane Craig, JP Moreland and John Lennox. I thought the discussion was as candid as you could hope. Topics covered included the multiverse, the problem of the God in the gaps, historical Adam & Eve, and human sex with neanderthals. Hugh Hewitt moderated and kept the conversation lively and challenging.

Why Catholicism is true(?)

This is the best argument I have ever heard for Catholicism (I heard it 20 years ago when I was a Mormon missionary.):

1.   John 6 has consistently been interpreted to point to the mystery of the eucharist, and transubstantiation, even the earliest Martyrs agree on the doctrine of transubstantiation.

2. The Catholics are the overwhelming majority who have protected this holy mystery as part of the Church.

3. Some of the martyrs perished for their faith in this doctrine alone.

4. Dropping this mystery is terrible heresy, for it allows many come unto Christ that would not otherwise.

5. Heretic churches without this dogma condemn many people to purgatory.

Therefore the Catholic church is the catholic Church.

Mormons and the Puzzle of Christ

Christian J, asked an important question regarding the Bible.  How do we know we are not being deceived by spirituality or by “spiritual” books?

I think it is actually a very deep an important question about whether spirituality is bound to deceive us. What is superstition and what is not? I don’t think there is an easy or reasonable way to get rid of superstition. But sometimes superstitions point to the Truth, even though they look a like mere superstitions. The pragmatic conclusion is that words, books, or traditions are true when they point to true facts.

Myth and Spirituality open our minds to God. 

Our imaginations can conjure up any god, and conjure up sacrifice that this god requires of us to be made whole, to pass this test of life. We learn to look at our lives with our imaginations. We try to make sense of the drives inside us, and the rules we are required to live by in order to survive and thrive. Our imagination plus our innate understanding is our conscience. Continue reading

The effect of words

“When we wish to correct with advantage and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.”

“Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and meanings differently arranged have different effects.”

(Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 9, 23.)

In the summer after my plebe year at West Point, I went to a house party in Charlelottesville, Virginia. During the festivities one of my buddies let it be known that I could hypnotize people. This was met with a very skeptical response which I, of course, took as a challenge.

There were about twenty upper-middle-class DC-area students, ages 19-20, and a side group of 10, high-and-tight-shaven West Point cadets from all parts.  When I said, “who wants to be hypnotized”, I had all ears. I told them that through hypnosis I could make anyone see or believe anything I told them. They didn’t believe me.

I selected two of several volunteers to show them what’s what. The one I remember most was a girl, she must have been 19, I think her name was Ann.  We sat down at a table and the other college kids gathered around. I walked her through a basic induction that I had learned in high school from my dad’s clinical hypnosis manuals, which he kept in an open dusty box under the stairs.

Continue reading