Review: The Mormon Delusion. Volume 1.
The Mormon Delusion, Vol 1: The Truth Behind Polygamy and Secret Polyandry (TMD-1), by Jim Whitefield, is a comprehensive and thoroughly-researched look into the polygamous & polyandrous practices of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), that lasted nearly 100 years. The author’s ability to present an incredible amount of facts and research into a well-organized, and easy to follow book, is quite an accomplishment. I read the 3rd edition in eBook (PDF) format, released in 2011.
TMD-1 is focused, never straying too far from the topic at hand: Polygamy and polyandry in the LDS Church. It is a wealth of information, and is well documented. The in-depth look into this discarded and nearly-forgotten history, covers everything from Joseph Smith’s first adulterous affair, to his close circle’s secret marriages, to his contradictory scripture & revelations, and to his successors’ open disregard for both civil and self-proclaimed celestial law.
Throughout the book, Whitefield presents his finding is a way that minimizes his own biases, by sticking to the substantiated facts. He is careful to point out any discrepancies that he’s found in any of his, or others’ research documents and includes them all as to let the reader know where there might be room for error. Whitefield’s personal opinions and deductions are used sparingly, and often only to give current Mormon cultural reference, or to illuminate how this affected his own beliefs while inside the LDS Church.
The author begins by giving the reader a glossary of terms and abbreviations, as to allow for a more streamlined presentation of his research in the following chapters. Though I appreciated having this glossary up front – rather than having to skip to the back each time I came across something with which I was not familiar – I found that this was a bit of a distraction from getting to the core material. After this however, each chapter clearly defines the topic that is being discussed, and even follows the chronological order of history, whenever possible. I was raised in the LDS Church, and have been doing a lot of my own research as of late, so I was already quite familiar with the series of events, which I believe helped me to place things in their appropriate context, beyond the basics. If you are not familiar with even the Church’s own version of history, I would recommend brushing up on its basic history before diving into this book.
My only real criticism is that I found many instances where the same information was repeated many times over. This type of book can be used as a reference, and so ensuring that a fact is mentioned in all the appropriate sections makes sense, as not everyone will be reading the book from cover to cover. However, facts were occasionally presented in one paragraph, and then repeated in the subsequent paragraphs in full, rather than simply being alluded to – sometimes only a few sentences later. Though this doesn’t detract from the content of the book, it made the flow of reading a little cumbersome in those instances. I understand that this was used for effect – to give emphasis on what is considered an important point – but I found it unnecessary, since the reader is sure to make the connection without it needing to be repeated so soon.
While reading TMD-1, I had the opportunity of exchanging a few messages with the author via his personal & TMD Facebook pages. His personal engagement with me added a new level of appreciation for his work, as he was quick to respond to all of my questions. He even invites his readers to help in making updates or corrections, which he then posts on his website – thus adding to the credibility of the book. This level of involvement and diligence with his audience is simply incredible.
I very much appreciated Jim Whitefeild’s closing chapter, which gives summary to his own 43 years of devotion to the LDS Church. His personal story (added outside of the core research) felt incredibly familiar, as I expect it would for most of us who have discovered the delusion, and have made the difficult decision to accept reality and leave the Church. This chapter also made it very clear just how much time, effort and devotion Whitefield gave the LDS Church, and yet clearly shows that he did not write the book to lash out at Mormons. On the contrary, it’s his desire to comprehend how he succumbed to wishful thinking that fuels his writing and, with any luck, his work will help prevent others from falling victim to The Mormon Delusion.
-Tom Jenson (aka. ProgExMo)-
Ways to keep in touch with the author:
Posted on 2011-08-25, in Book Reviews, Mormonism and tagged 1890, Adultery, Bigamy, Book of Mormon, Book Review, Books, Brigham Young, Celestial Marriage, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, D&C, D&C101, D&C132, Doctrine, Doctrine & Covenants, John Taylor, Joseph Smith, LDS, Manifesto, Marriage, Polyandry, Polygamy, Polygyny, religion, Spiritual Wife, The Principle, Theism, Theology, Utah, Wilford Woodruff, Wives. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.