Unveiling Grace Book Review
"Unveiling Grace", by Lynn Wilder, is a powerful testament to the beautiful love of God working in the midst of everyday life. From page one Lynn wraps and weaves a story that is easy to read while not being too simplistic. She tells the gripping story of how her family, which had been deeply involved in Mormonism (for 30 years), found their way out of the Mormon church and as she states, "to Jesus Christ alone". Sharing a powerful tale of the Lord's amazing work in her and her families lives I was brought to tears at the power and love of my precious Savior who works so lovingly to bring people to Him.
In addition to this book being so well-written and emotionally pulling, Lynn also takes the time to explain the intricate details of differences between Mormonism and the Evangelical Christianity. As a former tenured professor at Brnigham Young University Lynn shares these details in an academic but profound way that invites the reader to have a crash course in Mormonism and explain the differences between the two faiths once and for all. She lays out in no uncertain terms the reality that the differences between these two faiths make up all of the differences in the world and reminds believers to the importance of sharing our faith with everyone we encounter.
Some of the things that stood out to me in reading the book were the following:
(1) "Mormons do believe in a spiritual realm, but as far as making sense of the experiences or receiving answers to prayer, I was taught that those interpretations were to be made by a priesthood holder with stewardship over me, like my husband or my bishop." - Unveiling Grace, 155
(2) "One obvious contradiction between the words of the biblical God and those of the Mormon Lord had to do with the subject of trials, a topic of interest to me at the time. In James 1:2-4, I read, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." In 2 Corinthians 12:10, I read, "For Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."Consider it joy when you face trials. Delight in hardships. The message was crystal clear. Trials were not necessarily punishment. They had a purpose. But as a Mormon, I worked hard to make myself righteous so I could avoid trials. Trials were fodder for the weak and sin ridden, which may be why our Mormon neighbors seemed so callous during Micah's terrible illness." -Unveiling Grace, 196
(3) "the problem with twisting the truth is, its no longer the truth." - Unveiling Grace, 217
(4) One of the most powerful parts of the book to me was when she had the opportunity to meeting some of the people that led her son to the Lord (pages 230-231). This section brought tears to my eyes as I am reminded the power of the work of the Lord and the outpouring that one life can have. Truly as Rachel Wissmann Busenitz once said, "a life poured out for Jesus is a life with no regrets".
(5) Before reading this book I knew that there were differences between Mormonism and Christianity. But, if I am honest, the main difference that I knew was the belief in polygamy. Lynn addresses this in her book and has a fascinating section entitled, "the truth about polygamy" which clearly and concisely explains the belief and the practices that happen today in the Mormon church. One paragraph explained a clear history of polygamy in the Mormon church (which I had not been aware of prior to reading this book):
"...Joseph Smith organized the church in 1830. The Republican Party formed in 1854 with a platform against the evils of slavery and polygamy (both in Utah at the time). President Abraham Lincoln detested the practice of polygamy, and Congress made polygamy illegal in the United States and her territories with the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862. President Ulysses S. Grant later pressured the Mormons in October of 1871 when he arrested hundreds for breaking the law. Addressing polygamy, President Rutherford B. Hayes stated on December 6, 1880, "The sanctity of marriage and the family relation are the cornerstone of our American society and civilization."" - Unveiling Grace
(6) Lynn offers practical and applicable suggestions to reach out to Mormons in her section entitled, "Loving Mormons" on pages 327-328. While Lynn has done an admirable and amazing job of writing the entire book in a way that is not judgmental these pages are a lovely addition for the reader.
(7) Near the end of the book Lynn leaves the readers with a statement full of declaration that can only be found in finding pure dependence on Christ:
"Jesus is not some mystical figure one conjures up through mediation. Jesus is real. I think now I can grasp how someone like Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkahni is willing to endure persecution, prison, and the treat of death for the name of Jesus. I understand why some trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center exclaimed the name of Jesus with their dying breath, and why Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who opposed the Nazi regime, gave his life for Jesus." - Unveiling Grace, 331
(8) At the end of the book there is a list that contains Christian Ministries with information on Mormonism. In addition to this there are several very useful pages of doctrinal comparisons between Mormonism and the Bible. Finally, the book has a glossary of helpful definitions for those, like myself, that are not as familiar with the Mormon church.
Overall this is a book that I would highly recommend all Christians to read, not just those that are interested in the Mormon church. I am very curious about what my sweet Mormon friends think of this book and what she has laid out. Any thoughts y'all?
Lynn Wilder is an excellent writer and has her doctorate in education. The back of the book cover stated the following about Lynn: "In more than a decade as a professor and researcher, and twenty years prior as a teacher, she has mentored hundreds of students has produced more than fifty scholarly publications and four books. Once tenured faculty at Bringham Young University, Dr. Wilder left the Mormon Church in 2008 when she experienced a crisis of faith. She currently teaches at Flordia Gulf Coast University and lives in Fort Meyers, Florida with her husband Michael." If you would like to find out more about Lynn you can click HERE.
If you are interested in finding out more about the book you can check out the book website: www.unveilinggracebook.com (The book will be officially released on August 20th, 2013.)