Personal and Personable Look Inside Mormon Culture
July 9, 2013
Lynn Wilder's Unveiling Grace is a mother's memoir of success and influence inside the Mormon church and Christ's calling of her family out of it. Wilder, a one-time professor at Brigham Young University, and her husband spent more than thirty years inside Mormonism, having and raising children, converting their relatives, and working inside of super-secretive Mormon temples. Working their way toward holiness and eventual Godhood, the Wilders were relatively comfortable with their lives and were convinced that Joseph Smith was a true prophet_until their son, thousands of miles away on a Mormon mission, called home to say that Jesus now had too great a claim on his life for him to continue believing and following the Mormon church. The story leading up to and following that pivotal moment is an eye-opening look into the everyday culture of the largest pseudo-religion in the country, and an encouraging account of how Jesus Christ saved one family from it a member at a time.
Vastly informative about Mormon life and culture, Unveiling Grace has the distinction of being a great deal more than a handbook for debunking MormonismÃ¢â¬âthose typical texts with lists of doctrinal weakness cross-listed against effective techniques for shutting their mouths before you shut your door. It is the personal and personable account of what real Mormons think, feel, and doÃ¢â¬âthe hopes that motivate them, the lies they are told, and the experiences that finally lead them to question their way of life. This is the type of work that fuels real evangelism, rather than the argumentative pugilism of mere apologetics.
Unfortunately, the book's strength (its personal and personable tone) is also a significant weakness. The book reads like a memoir, but more than that it reads like the memoir of an Evangelical wife and mother, with a very feminine perception, idiom, and tone. These elements, though not faulty in their own right, make the work less engaging to female readers of different temperaments and to male readers general, unintentionally narrowing its ideal audience. Nevertheless, the appendices comparing basic Christian beliefs to those of Mormonism, and defining commonly used theological terms as Mormons understand and use them were add significant value to the book. All in all, though, the book is a rare and important look at the inner workings of a secretive group through the eyes of people with extensive access, and a message of hope to those praying and laboring for the salvation of their Mormon neighbors.
From the book's back cover: "From a rare insider's point of view, Unveiling Grace looks at how Latter-day Saints are 'wooing our country' with their religion, lifestyle, and culture. It is also a gripping story of how and entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism, found their way out and what they can tell others about their lives as faithful Mormons.
I really enjoyed this book. When I saw this available for review, I immediately requested it. I was eager to learn more about Mormonism and this book did not disappoint. Sometimes nonfiction reads tend to be dry and difficult to finish, but Lynn Wilder has a wonderful writing style that is very easy to read. She describes everything and sets the scenes well. Her journey is a very interesting one at that. Her entire family was very dedicated to being a good Mormon family until her third child was on his Mormon mission and encountered a pastor that encouraged him to read the New Testament. Lynn takes us through her conversion to Mormonism, her "callings" in the Mormon church, employment at Brigham Young University, and her gradual conversion to Biblical Christianity. It is a well written, easy to understand book. My only criticism is her referral of the Holy Spirit as the Dancer of Grace. That is more of a personal dislike and nothing more. I highly recommend this read.
I received an advanced copy of Unveiling Grace from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.comÃÂ® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Lynn Wilder is amazing, all at the grace of God, of course. Her book "Unveiling Grace" does a fabulous job of clearly laying out what the life of most Mormans looks like, all while showing God's amazing control over her journey in this autobiographical account of Wilder's own journey out of Mormonism.
Wilder weaves key Mormon teachings, both publicly touted and kept more secret, throughout her account, pointing out the strong contradictions between Mormon beliefs and Christianity, as well as the contradictions within the Mormon faith. But Wilder also has an incredible love for the Mormon people, one that allows her to tell her story in an easy and loving way.
It's a book you'll have to read more than once or take regular notes on to really solidify the great takeaways. If you're looking for a book on Mormonism that's more of a story than a straight-forward non-fiction, this book is for you. And if you're merely interested in different religions, this is a good book. This is a good book for any believer to read.
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review
Few times do you hear a family's story as compelling as that of Lynn Wilder's family. In her book Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church, Lynn shows how the truth of the grace of Jesus, the cross, reached her (and her husband, three boys, and one daughter) even as they had been well-established in Mormonism for over 30 years.
I have studied many other religions before, and even the beliefs of the Latter-day Saints, but I am always left wondering, what does this religion look like to the average follower. Lynn shares a truly "insider" perspective having served with her husband, Michael, in a number of positions within the church and Lynn herself worked as a professor at BYU in Utah. If anyone can be an authoritative source, it is this family. Plus, Lynn and Michael did not grow up in Mormonism, but rather were converted as well-educated adults.
The book itself is broken up into three sections: Mormon Bliss, Cracks in the FaÃÂ§ade, and Starting Over with an appendix in the back that charts the differences between Mormonism and the Bible. The Wilder's 3rd son, Micah, was passionate about Mormonism until he started reading the New Testament while on his missions assignment in Orlando, Florida. As he read, he began to understand, and he encouraged the rest of his family and friends to read the New Testament, "as a child would read it." In this way, the truth of God's Word changed their lives forever.
As a final note, I have to mention how thankful I am to Lynn Wilder for being brave enough to even write this book. Some would like to portray Mormons as being the same as anyone else in mainstream Christianity, but after reading this book, there is absolutely no way you can maintain that view. She very clearly outlined the differences both in theology and practice so that the reader is left to consider a lot of things. I was encouraged to read my Bible more to truly know what I believe and not just rest on what others have told me. Everyone could use that reminder.
5 out of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan through the Booksneeze program in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Lynn K. Wilder and her husband were Mormon converts who, in their quest for spiritual truth, rejected the Christianity of their upbringing. They lived and breathed Mormonism. They believed everything that the church told them. Then their world came crashing down. Their son, whom, along with his brother and sister, had been raised in the Wilder's "forever family", took it down. Well, maybe not him, but God instead.
If you have ever wondered what Mormons believe and how they live, you will want to read this book. I learned things that I never knew from someone who "walked the walk and talked the talk". Mrs. Wilder knows what she is talking about, and she does it respectfully. Once you read the truth about the church from a former insider, you will understand a little more about how Mormons think and believe. You will, hopefully, be better able to witness to these lost people.
Given that Mitt Romney, former challenger for the presidency of the United States, is a Mormon, you might find that you know little about the faith that he professes. Yet you're curious. Get this book.
Unveiling Grace is a well-written book that I think you will find not only enjoyable to read, but enlightening as well.