Ever since I read Stephen Mansfield’s wonderful book The Search of God and Guinness, I have been waiting for his newest book to be released. Well, it took my local library six months to finally get a copy of his new book, The Mormonizing of America, but I was the very first person to check it out!
I was very interested in the book, not only because I loved Mansfield’s writing style in God and Guinness, but also because of the topic of the book: how the Mormon religion has become a dominant force in politics, entertainment, and pop culture at large.
As someone who knows several Mormons, I was interested to know more of what they believed, especially in the aftermath of the political wars following Mitt Romney’s bid at President last year.
First off, I feel that Mansfield handled the subject very delicately, showing grace towards the people who were the subject of his book, but also with truth, unafraid to bring up the skeletons in their closet.
One of the topics that he discussed is how successful Mormons have been. This was a topic I was particularly interested in, especially after recently reading a news article on religious businesses in America, and finding that nearly half of well-known religious businesses are Mormon. Think I am exaggerating? Take a look at this list:
Glenn Beck, radio and TV host
Merlin Olsen, football player and actor, including Little House on the Prairie
Nolan Archibald, CEO of Black and Decker
Alan Ashton, co-founder of WordPerfect
Gary Crittendon, former CFO of Sears, Monsanto, American Express, and Citigroup
J. Willard Marriott, of Marriott hotels
David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue
Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell, Inc.
Brian Crane, creator of comic strip Pickles
Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series
Richard Paul Evans, author
Katherine Heigl, actress, including the Love Comes Softly series
Ricky Schroder, actor
Kaycee Stroh, actress best known for her work in Disney’s High School Musical series
Gary Allan, country singer
The Osmonds, singers
Dan Reynolds, frontman for Imagine Dragons
And that is just a few. Americans are now growing up reading, watching, listening to, and voting for Mormons. I definitely think it is time we stop and learn more about their beliefs and their history!
Overall, I think that Mansfield’s The Mormonizing of America is a great place to start, filled with true stories from the LDS past and present, he allows us to peek inside the Church, and see what really makes it tick. I would give the book a “B”, as I feel it could have discussed a bit more the current state of Mormonism in America, and how to relate in a godly way with the Mormon community.
I would also recommend Tim Challies’ excellent review on the book, which can be found here.
Have you read the book? If so, what were your thoughts?