Reading List


Bibliography and Reviews

The Keystone of Mormonism, Arza Evans, 2003

    This book is a good resource for any person questioning the Church.  It is a very personal account of the author’s honest journey to find the truth.  He treats a variety of topics mostly surrounding Joseph Smith.  The title implies that the book is centered on The Book of Mormon, but I would say it is more about the origins of the Church.  The author is compassionate, well informed, and well documented.  His logic is sound and his conclusions are fair. 

Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon: The Spalding Enigma, Wayne L. Cowdery, Howard A Davis, Arthur Vanick, 2005

    This is an ambitious and exhaustive historical treatment of the origin of the Book of Mormon.  The authors are not LDS and their bias comes through.  It is, however, written in an academic voice.  It is extensively documented and researched.  It leaves very little doubt as to the origin of the Book of Mormon.

An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, Grant A. Palmer, 2002

Mormonism Unveiled: The Life and Confession of John D. Lee and the Complete Life of Brigham Young, John D. Lee, 1891

The Mysteries of Godliness:  A History of Mormon Temple Worship, David John Buerger, 1994

The Greatest Show On Earth:  The Evidence For Evolution, Richard Dawkins, 2009

The Faith of a Scientist, Henry Eyring, 1967

    This book is as close as we get in the Church to a voice of reason.  Henry Eyring was a world class physicist and faithful member of the Church.  He does a good job of trying to reconcile the worlds of science and religion.  It is not an apologist work.  He does not address specific questions but rather tries to reassure members of the Church that science and religion can coexist.

The Ancestor’s Tale:  A Pilgimage to the Dawn of Evolution, Richard Dawkins, 2004

    This is a very interesting backward march down the evolutionary tree.  It is fairly tedious in places but a very interesting and important academic exercise.

The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, 2006

    This book will go down as one of the most important “atheistic” works.  Dawkins discusses why we believe in god and much of the destruction that has come of that belief.  I highly recommend this book.  A warning:  Dawkins is not particularly friendly to believers.

How To Believe in God--Whether You Believe In Religion or Not, Clark Strand, 2008

God Is Not Great:  How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens, 2007

    This is a very interesting discussion of how religion has caused personal and societal havoc.  Obviously, this is not an easy book for religious or believing people to read.

Holding Fast:  Dealing with Doubt in the Latter Days, Rober L. Millet, 2008

    This is an LDS sanctioned book (purchased in Deseret Book) about how to deal with doubt.  This book is a spiritual pep talk but does not attempt to answer too many questions that people may legitimately have.  In fact, at one point in the book the author states that in his opinion doubts are often an attempt of the believer to justify sin in their own life.  I find this book irrelevant and dismissive.

90 Minutes in Heaven, Don Piper, 2004

    This is an interesting story about one man’s near death experience after a devastating car crash.  Interesting and honest.

No One Sees God:  The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers, Michael Novak, 2008

Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, 2nd ed., Joseph L. Allen, Blake J. Allen, 2008

    This book is probably one of the most ambitious efforts on the part of any LDS author to try to relate The Book of Mormon to mesoamerican archeology.  It reads like a text book (it may be the basis for a BYU course on the topic) and is fairly well researched.  The authors fall in the apologist category as they are clearly looking for evidence of Book of Mormon history.  The work is noteworthy but the evidence they present is far from conclusive.

No Man Knows My History:  The Life of Joseph Smith, Fawn M. Brodie, 1995

    This is a beautifully written, well documented, honest portrayal of mormon history by an LDS historian.  Brodie lays out Mormon history unflinchingly and refuses to pull punches.  This work is a must read for honest LDS people.  Despite her LDS background, this book has served those with sincere questions better than those who wish to preserve their faith.

View of the Hebrews, Ethan Smith, 1825

    This book is considered to be one of the original source documents for The Book of Mormon.

Quest for the Gold Plates:  Thomas Stewart Ferguson’s Archaeological Search For The Book of Mormon, Stan Larson, 2004

Jesus, Interrupted:  Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible, Bart D. Ehrman, 2009

    This book is a very interesting read by a Bible scholar who, as a result of his academic study, went from a conservative evangelical christian to an agnostic.  The author explains that contradictions and inability to verify authorship or dates of the books of the New Testament make it impossible to verify it’s authenticity.  I recommend it.

Misquoting Jesus:  The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible And Why, Bart D. Ehrman, 2005

Links to check out  This is a great synopsis of critical issues for church members who are having a faith crisis.  This letter was initially intended to outline questions with a hope for some answers from church headquarters.  Very well done.