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mormonizing.jpg?w=250&h=227I was recently approached by Worthy Publishing to read and review the latest book by Stephen Mansfield, The Mormonizing of America.  Admittedly, I did it with a bit of trepidation, unsure of how much judgement I would be reading as the publishing company suggested we all need to be better “educated” with regard to the “sweeping ascent of the Mormon faith in US society.”  My question really was, does the Mormon religion play that much of a role in the life of the leadership of our nation.

“If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.”  Stephen Mansfield (pg 265)

Strong words indeed.  Based on that quote I expected this book to be more about the Mormon belief system as it directly influences the Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney.  I expected the author to include plenty of jabs and “proofs” as to why Romney wouldn’t be fit for the presidency because of his faith.  I was pleasantly surprised when this did not happen.  Mansfield instead, eloquently presented some of the past history of the LDS Church along with current trends and life experiences of the LDS people.

I found the book to be a page turner with Mansfield writing a mostly impartial view of the Mormon faith.  Reading a fascinating history and simple overview of the Mormon people and their most influential founders was enlightening.  Providing Mansfield portrays an accurate picture of the Mormon faith, he definitely explains why true followers of the faith are, in general, a successful people, united by strong community and dedication to the advancement of their church.

My conclusion.  Worthy Publishing notes there are approximately 6 million Mormons in America “exerting cultural influence” right now.  The Mormonizing of America, suggests that if a person is a true follower of the LDS Church and it’s faith, it is impossible to separate the actions of the person from the faith.  Probably true.  Their “acts” are directly tied to their success, even into their eternity.

I would recommend this book as a great introduction to an often times confusing religion.

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Am Last Best Hope cover

“Momentous Shifts in the Quickstep of History,” is the perfect quote from the back cover  describing William Bennett’s latest volume in his trilogy of history books.  Volume III chronicles the 20 years of history from 1998 to 2008.  Though obviously leaning to the right in politics Bennett honestly gives a full picture of this time in our history.  Reading as living book as opposed to a dry history book, recent history comes to life.  Especially poignant and often entertaining are Bennett’s footnotes to the actual events.

Although I would highly recommend this book as wonderful resource for learning about recent history, I found it very difficult to read.  History this recent is still emotionally charged for those of us who have lived it.  Bennett’s telling of the events of 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting had me only able to read a paragraph at a time.  I had to stop reading and wipe tears as I relived those moments.  It was hard, but I do not regret reading it, as we have so much to learn from our history. This book is almost magical as it weaves together the pieces of a very complex puzzle.

This would be a great resource for homeschoolers!

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