Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Youngest Bishop In England: Beneath The Surface Of Mormonism

Robert Bridgstock's book is in part a memoir of his religious life and in part a polemic against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bridgstock's anger, and far be it from me to suggest it isn't justified, is a running thread throughout the narrative as he attempts to explain how he came to believe the LDS church was a fraud and how it came to find it completely unforgiving of any sort of independent thought.

The parts where he delves into the problems with church history and theology will be no surprise to any seasoned watchers of the LDS church but he still does a very good job of making some complicated topics easily digestible even to the uninitiated. Bridgstock manages to avoid getting too bogged down in the minutiae and his real strength is getting across his anger, upset and despair at his treatment by a church he gave many years of his life too. 

He is still a believer in some sort of God, but even there he didn't manage to lose this die-hard atheist because he is extremely clear that he might be wrong. A very refreshing change from your usual supernatural believer. 

He certainly finds polygamy far more repugnant than I do (I see it as a very grey area with much pain in some scenarios but joy in others) but overall I found him to be an extremely engaging and honest writer. He is extremely open about some very painful personal episodes in his life, especially towards the end of the book, and this makes him very easy to empathise with. 

One of the better personal narratives written about leaving the LDS church I've read, and I've read way too many. I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to understand a little more about the church and the current apostasy problems which are causing it quite a lot of difficulty right now. 

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