February 2013

Over the last few years, I have been asked to read and review several books for other authors. Usually, they have been works of non-fiction regarding the origins of religious myths, biblical problems or atheism. During January, I was sent two books to review and coincidentally they were both Mormon fiction, a subject I have had very little interest in due to my own work being fact and evidence based non-fiction.

However, I agreed to read and review the books out of courtesy. ‘A Mormon Massacre’ was by a nevermo who took the Mountain Meadows massacre as the backdrop for a modern day re-institution of ‘Danites’ by the prophet in order to reintroduce blood atonement and polygamy.

Unfortunately, whilst the Mountain Meadows history was reasonably accurate, the author had not researched modern day Mormonism at all and what he portrayed as an actual organisation was wrong in almost every respect. It turned out to be a trashy novel, full of smut, unbelievable characters and implausible plots, concluding in a predictable anti-climax. My review was consequently quite harsh. An author should get the facts right when portraying a real life organisation and then add in the underlying fiction. I found it a struggle to even finish reading the book.

The other book was by an exMo who has taken several decades to come to terms with the Church being a hoax and he finally found his therapy in writing a fictional story somewhat based on his own experiences in the Church. This book, by Michael Oborn, is well worth the read if you like Mormon fiction (or any thriller). The book is a well written, exciting and gripping story which would make a good movie. This is a link to my review of ‘The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott’ on Amazon.com. My review also appears on Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

Speaking of books, may I highly recommend Professor Brian Cox’s latest offering, released 24th January – ‘Wonders of Life’. It is available worldwide from Amazon and accompanies the UK TV series of the same name which started here last Sunday.

The book matches the five part series with five chapters, and judging by the first chapter, it not only mirrors the fascinating content of each episode but adds much more detail than a one hour TV programme can accommodate. The book confirms much scientific detail that has only recently become known as fact regarding not only evolution but also the very basis of life itself – and of course it completely contradicts material still canonised by the Mormon Church. In the D&C, Smith claims our Earth has a seven thousand year period of existence (D&C 77:6,12), and he was also recorded as discovering ‘Adam’s altar’ – which incidentally contained fossils. (See TMD Vol 4:254-257, 280-283).

The evidence has been creeping up on the Mormon Church in this area for decades and today anyone who has studied evidence from the many scientific disciplines that all combine to corroborate the tree of life, knows for a fact that the Earth and life on it is billions of years old and that all species have a common ancestor. As with many other scientific theories, such as gravity, evolution has been confirmed scientific fact for quite some time but many people just don’t keep up with science and cling to absurd alternate ‘beliefs’ instead of embracing new knowledge and understanding.

The problem for the Mormon Church in not accepting the evidence – or rather simply ignoring the fact that Smith was wrong about creationism – is that the D&C and Smith’s ‘Inspired Revision’ of the Bible – not to mention the temple endowment, combine to confirm his belief in creationism and his claim that God revealed it to him as the truth. They can’t get away from the facts, so they just ignore them. Recently, a BYU Professor published notes on how he reconciles evolution with Mormonism but the problem is that it cannot be reconciled without admitting Smith just made it all up – yet again. Accepting the fact that ‘Adam and Eve’ were mythical beings also leads to the problem that as this is the case, there was no ‘fall’ and thus no need for a ‘saviour’ or a ‘plan’ for our ‘redemption’. Everything falls apart.

Following Cox’s ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ and ‘Wonders of the Universe’, this volume, ‘Wonders of Life’, completes a fascinating trilogy, simply explained and beautifully illustrated. All three TV series are now also available to pre-order as a boxed set on DVD. Everyone should watch all of them and read the accompanying books. They are worth every penny. Understanding our solar system, the origin and destiny of the universe and the story of life on Earth is the most wonderful journey we could ever undertake – and it beats the hell out of Joseph Smith’s fairy tales.

Whatever anyone chooses to believe, science (evidence) should come first, with any personal ‘beliefs’ added afterwards – not the other way around, as is still the case in Mormonism – and many other religions.

“When evidence contradicts belief, it is the belief that is wrong.”
~ Jim Whitefield.