Two Interesting Books

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Two Interesting Books

Post by Gerald » 25 May 2019, 07:17

I've been reading two books that are interesting to read as a pair. The first is "Faith is Not Blind" by Bruce C. Hafen. It just came out in the past year. The other is "A Skeptic Discovers Mormonism" by Timberline Riggs which was published in 1941. They can both be read as an unusually long testimony with the objective to convince readers of the validity of the LDS Church specifically and God generally.

Riggs starts out with some rather vague descriptions of his skeptic days (he doesn't really share very many interesting details.) He then segues into exploring the Church's truth claims and does a good job outlining the basic doctrines and beliefs of the LDS Church. As you can see, it's decades old (I came across a copy for sale on Ebay claiming is was first published in 1913 but I'm not sure that's accurate), but it's one of the clearest presentations of those ideas that I've read. I expected to come across some outdated ideas (some of the more controversial really aren't's not Mormon Doctrine) but didn't find anything that raised an eyebrow. Riggs' sincerity definitely comes through the pages and his approach is firm without being pedantic or dogmatic. I've no idea who Timberline Riggs was (all I can find is that he died in Nevada). The book was self published initially though eventually Deseret Book published it.

Elder Hafen's book "Faith is Not Blind" is also compelling. He makes a great case for believing in God in the face of the world's unbelief. His arguments and logic are always firmly ensconced in the LDS Church though. As a result, he trots out a few of the well-worn approaches to dealing with unbelief. (In my opinion, one of the most objectionable is the old "why didn't you know this...I've been aware of these issues for decades" strategy). So this book's agenda is firmly on the side of "keep members in the boat." Those who really want to stay in the boat will appreciate his thoughtful reasoning. Those whose view is more nuanced may not. But if you can look past such things, it's still a good read.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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Re: Two Interesting Books

Post by Minyan Man » 25 May 2019, 08:08

Thank you. I'm always looking for good books like this.

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Re: Two Interesting Books

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 May 2019, 19:00

They both sound interesting.

I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: Two Interesting Books

Post by Roy » 28 May 2019, 13:27

These remind me of the "Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Lee's book was fairly entertaining with an investigative journalism premise. Along the way he makes several logical leaps of faith that seem rational to fellow believers but would tend to throw non-believers.

It has been many years since I read the book and a few years less since I watched the movie. One example I remember is Lee investigating the plausibility of sweating blood as Jesus may be reported as doing in the bible. Lee found that under great stress/trauma some amount of blood can be excreted in the sweat and may give it a pinkish hue. Now, the scientific possibility of a person sweating blood does not seem to add much to the quest to know if the Jesus story in the gospels is accurate but this to me is representative of the investigative arguments Lee Strobel would make in his book. Lee wrote the book many years after converting, after he became a pastor, and includes much research done as a pastor in this apologetic mode. The purpose of his book is unquestionably apologetic.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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Re: Two Interesting Books

Post by DarkJedi » 28 May 2019, 17:40

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in the midst of Givens' Feeding the Flock but I'll be looking for something after that.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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