Review of “Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church “
Lynn Wilder, Ed.D., is a former tenured faculty at Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Mormon Church. She resigned from BYU and the LDS in 2008 after a crisis of faith. She currently teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Chuck Huckaby, is the Minister of Congregational Life at First Protestant Church in NewBraunfels, TX. His latest project is at PrayTheBible.net
“Unveiling Grace: TheStory of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church” is a fascinating revelation about the inner workings of Mormonism through the eyes of a convert who ultimately lived and worked in the church’s heartland over 30 years. Any Christian who wishes to relate better to Mormons in general or LDS missionaries in the neighborhood will welcome this book. In addition to her life story, the book contains useful appendices of ministries to Mormons, and a comparison between Mormon teachings and the Bible.
Like so many, the Wilders were nominal Protestants in background who were “evangelized” by Mormon missionaries eager to put their best foot forward. They answered the Wilders’ questions about the “Last Days” without revealing the group’s more damning peculiarities and checkered history. The Wilders quickly embraced the LDS and persevered even after learning of some of these oddities. Ultimately they moved to Utah so that - by then - Dr. Wilder could teach in her specialty while helping BYU reach critical goals for female faculty in order to maintain their grasp on accreditation.
Her narrative offers deep psychological insights into Mormon culture on virtually every page. Behind the veneer of niceness can lie many profound heartaches. They are a people desperate to project wholeness and the pursuit of godhood outwardly, while inwardly being plagued with fears of inadequacy and failure. Their religious system is calculated to keep everyone working busily, giving generously, and marching in lockstep with the dictates of the living oracles who reside in Salt Lake City.
Most shocked with “Unveiling Grace”, perhaps, will be those Christians oblivious enough to assume Mormons are simply “another denomination”. Wilder is clear that Mormonism is fanatical in allegiance to Joseph Smith as establishing the true “restored” church, and to their living prophets. Despite the group’s many doctrinal changes, they ardently profess their own infallibility while belittling other historic Christian denominations. The Cross, as Christian Symbol and instrument of grace, is likewise deplored. Grace and forgiveness in Mormon teaching make for lazy Christians; grace and forgiveness are not conducive to incessantly working one’s way into celestial bliss and godhood. Jesus Christ as God incarnate instead of man become god is likewise loathed. In the name of defending divine immanence, Mormon theologians defend their view as preferable to incarnation for creating a sense of fellowship with Christ. Wilder’s own testimony in this regard is exactly the opposite, however.
While studying a standard apologetics text might leave one with the mentality that “Mormons are the enemy”, those to be overcome with overwhelming arguments and apologetic ambushes, Wilder’s book reminds us of the human heart that is at stake within Mormon culture. While some Christians may hesitate to speak to LDS missionaries because they don’t “know enough” about Mormon distinctives, Wilder reminds us that knowing the New Testament is the real key! Finding the Biblical Christ in the New Testament is what led her family finally out of Mormonism. Unfortunately, Christians not only know little about other religions, many nominal Christians know too little about their own faith and are unable to proclaim the New Testament effectively.
“Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church.” Zondervan, 2013 (Paperback, 368 pages)