The title of this book sums up its contents nicely. If, like me, you know little about the Mormon faith, this book answers the basic questions in a very concise way.
Given the current presidential race, I thought it was about time that I knew something about Mormonism, apart from what appears in sensational news stories and cable TV shows. The author, Professor Richard Bushman, has written other, more in-depth books about the Mormon religion, but this little 100+ page guide is perfect for summarizing the history of the Mormons in America and the beliefs of its founder, Joseph Smith.
The book briefly describes how Joseph Smith’s doctrines formed the church and ultimately its followers. It discusses the most painful period of the Church’s history in the 19th century, as well as the subsequent independent factions that have splintered off during the years, from the more progressive Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) radical groups. However, the author mainly concentrates on the largest group of Mormons who follow the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). He explains how the church is organized and operates worldwide with 12 million members and growing.
I found this little book easy to read and very informative. It is part of Oxford University Press’ s Very Short Introduction series of books on history, philosophy, science religion and the humanities. I can’t wait to try another!
Check the WRL catalog for Mormonism