But, on the whole, this is an engaging introduction to Mormon history and belief.



A Mormon primer that believers and nonbelievers alike will profit from.

At the start, Newell lays his cards on the table: he is a devout Mormon, albeit a convert to the faith from a vegetarian, rockandroll background. He is also a pretty leisurely writer: his history of Mormonism doesn’t get to its founder, Joseph Smith, until chapter eight. The first seven chapters lay the foundation, starting with Gods creation of the world. Those who know their Bible may be tempted to skip ahead, but those who don’t will learn that the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints (that’s the official name) believes that “long, long ago you and I were born as spirit children of God, and, naturally, a Goddess”; that Adam and Eve knew (and lived in accordance with) the Gospel; and that, after his resurrection, Jesus visited North America. In short, we are offered not just Mormon history, but Mormon cosmology, as well. Then Newell takes us through more familiar territory—Joseph Smith receives his visitation in 1820, translates the Book of Mormon, and organizes his band of faithful followers. They set up shop in Missouri, and then later in Nuavoo, Illinois, where Smith is assassinated. Brigham Young leads the LatterDay Saints to Utah. If Newell’s historical narrative is not terribly original, he does give more attention to Young than most accounts—and this is important because, while all sectarian groups have charismatic founders, what distinguishes those that survive from those that fade after a generation or so is the ability of the second leader (the one who comes after the founder) to seize the reigns of command and take charge—something Young did masterfully. Newell’s account would have benefited from more coverage of contemporary Mormon life (in the style of Richard and Joan Ostling’s Mormon America). Furthermore, nonMormon readers may be put off by Newell’s occasionally sanctimonious and smug tone.

But, on the whole, this is an engaging introduction to Mormon history and belief.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-24108-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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Internationally renowned because of his earlier books, among them tape Letters, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis making religion provoking, memorable and delightful is still more latest Reflections on the Psalms. Though he protests that he writes learned about things in which he is unlearned himself, the reader is likely thank God for his wise ignorance. Here especially he throws a clear lightly or not, on many of the difficult psalms, such as those which abound with and cursing, and a self-centeredness which seems to assume' that God must be side of the psalmist. These things, which make some psalm singers pre not there, have a right and proper place, as Mr. Lewis shows us. They of Psalms more precious still. Many readers owe it to themselves to read flections if only to learn this hard but simple lesson. Urge everyone to book.

Pub Date: June 15, 1958

ISBN: 015676248X

Page Count: 166

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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