Kumahito wrote:here's my question: how can a TBM who has read RSR still have an unqualified and unreserved testimony of JS?
Yes, absolutely. There are many faith promoting things in the book that prop JS up as an amazing character who achieved great things despite the opposition he faced. Those who have that faith in them that he is a prophet will glean from the pages the evidences that he did accomplish remarkable things, in a cafeteria style, processing what is good to them. Deseret book would not sell it if it was a book that proved he was so flawed he can not be considered a prophet.
Kumahito wrote:If you've read RSR, I'm wondering how it influenced you?
With so much information out on the Internet, it was so critical for me to read something that can be taken as credible, and not anti-, and yet...shows the problems that exist with the history, even things that are unexplainable or things I can't process (ie, polygamy). The book simply says what the records show, and that was what I needed to read at the time. Not apologetic explanations, or anti-attacks...just the stuff so I can choose for myself what I think of things.
I also remembered the book having a great influence on my personal life, that while things in my life seemed out of control or imperfect, and that I truly am a flawed person, that it is OK, and the Lord can still work with me, just as He did with His weak and rough stone of a prophet. I had a personal connection to it because of where I was in my life with my fears and doubts and failures, and it helped me let go of some perfectionist tendencies I struggle with.
It is one of my favorite books. I'm glad it is distributed by Deseret books. I bought it at the book store next to the temple, and the worker said, "I've read it. It is a great book. It really makes you think about things."
Can a faithful member read it and have a testimony? Yep. Many do. And for many, it helps them think.
Meh Mormon wrote:I have read the book and so has my wife (most of it at least). We have had very different reactions to it.
This speaks volumes for me. The idea that the same text on the pages can speak differently to people to me is so vital to how I process so much in my life. It helps me search for that conjunctive faith, because so much of what we hold as truth depends greatly on our point of view.