The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church
From a rare insider's point of view, Unveiling Grace looks at how Latter-day Saints(LDS) are 'wooing our country' with their religion, lifestyle, and culture. It is also a gripping story of how an entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism, found their way out and what they can tell others about their lives as faithful Mormons.
Lynn K. Wilder is a wife, mother, grandmother, scholar, and author with a doctorate in education. In her 11 years as a professor and researcher, and 20 years as a teacher, she has mentored thousands of students and has produced more than 50 scholarly publications. Her sphere of research is how to advance the academic and social-emotional success of "marginalized" students. Indeed, this very interest led her to question Mormonism. Once tenured faculty at BYU, Dr. Wilder left in 2008 when she experienced a crisis of faith.
A fascinating and truly gripping story, Unveiling Grace, allows a rare glimpse into the Mormon church. Lynn K. Wilder writes about her family, how they converted too, and from Mormonism, and all the other stuff in between. I personally have a heart for Mormon people, seeing how sincere they are, I always wondered what goes on inside their world and how do I introduce the TRUE gospel to them. This book equipped me with what I was looking for.
It’s a unique perspective because it allowed me to see why people become Mormon, what happens when you become a Mormon – and what it takes to maintain being Mormon. It taught me many of the interworking’s of the Mormon church and doctrines they believe and teach. I believe and know from personal experience that nothing is more effective in teaching other’s about the truth unless you know where they are coming from and can show that you understand what they teach but can show them that they are wrong – that’s exactly what happened in this book. It provides the information needed to understand the Mormon church and how Mormon’s act and think.
I love how in the back of the book, although done throughout the book, it gives a chart showing the discrepancies between what the Bible teaches and what the book of Mormon teaches. In no way does this book bash the Mormon church, but it points out, respectfully, how wrong the church is and how contrary their beliefs are from the true gospel.
With all this information mixed in with a divine story I could not put this book down. I feel ready, equipped, and compelled to go out and share this story and the good news of the true gospel to any Mormon that crosses my path.
If you have any interests in learning why the Mormon church teaches a false gospel, and what exactly that false gospel is, or if you have missionaries coming to your door, friends, family, or anyone that is Mormon in your life I HIGHLY recommend this book. This book has the power to change lives.
Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a copy for my honest review of this book, it has truly been a blessing to read and encourage everyone to read it too! (review by sviatob)
"Unveiling Grace" by Lynn K. Wilder, is a first person account of Lynn and her family's experience in the Mormon Church. Written like a novel, the book is composed of three parts-"Mormon Bliss", "Cracks In The Facade", and "Starting Over". Under each part are several chapters detailing different phases of their life as Latter Day Saints and how they were deeply into the Mormon faith. As time went on, however, they became increasingly troubled by the strange Mormon beliefs.
Troubling examples include singing about the founder of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith, rather than about Jesus Christ. As is the case in Christian Churches, members often gave testimonies of their faith but unlike most main-stream churches, the testimony of a Mormon focused on Joseph Smith and how they knew he was a prophet of God, etc. In addition, their chapels had "pews but no cross, windows, or art work".
Eventually, Lynn and her family came to discover that Mormonism and "The Book Of Mormon" were not at all like the Bible when they began to read the Bible for themselves. Now, out of the Mormon Church, Lynn tells others about their experience and has a passion to reach those still in the grip of Mormonism.
I found the book very interesting and well written. While it is written like a novel, Lynn shares many facts about the Mormon doctrine and includes portions of Mormon scripture and scripture from the Bible side by side so the readers can see the discrepancies for themselves. I highly recommend the book and the fact that it is presented in story form, would interest readers who normally wouldn't be drawn to that type of subject matter. (review by itsupikachu)
Normally, with my reviews, I start out with a quote or an anecdote from the book. This time, I'm taking a different approach. I want to start with a confession.
As I read Lynn Wilder's Unveiling Grace - The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the The Mormon Church, I wanted the story to be false. I wanted to learn that what she was revealing was untrue about the Mormon faith. Sadly, it's not.
Before I get into the topic of the story itself, let me comment on the style. Wilder shares their story more like a narrative, and, within their story, she weaves in teachings from the Latter Day Saints (LDS). The story has almost the feel of a clandestine spy novel. Her storytelling style pulls the reader along, much like a well-written dramatic tale. From a pure storytelling standpoint, I enjoyed it.
From the content, however, I was very disturbed. It was not her story that disturbed me, however, but rather the content of her story. To get a first-hand story of the LDS church, I was very much shocked and saddened at what she reveals.
Unveiling Grace is not a story written by an embittered ex-member of the LDS. Rather, this is the story of a couple steeped in the faith (he was very active in Temple activities, teaching, leading; she was a full professor at Brigham Young University) and their journey to the biblical Jesus.
Back to my first comment. I really wanted this story to be false. Why do I say that? Even if Wilder exaggerated facts - even if only 10% of her story was true (I believe her story is as she tells it) - it saddens me to know so many people have been, and are continually being, wooed to a false gospel.
Wilder adds three appendices which I found to be of great use. First, she lists a series of resources for Mormons seeking to know the truth about LDS teaching and for help in leaving the Mormon faith...and for non-Mormons to understand the truth about the LDS. Second, she adds a rather large appendix that lists what the Doctrines & Covenants (an LDS book) teach compared to the Bible; this alone is probably worth the price of the book. Third, she includes a glossary of Mormon terminology; reading the book, I referred to this often, even though she does a great job of defining terms within the text.
One small critique I have, overall, is sometimes it's a bit challenging, especially near the end of the book, to track with the timeline. At times, I was a bit confused, as she starts interweaving story lines, and it would have been helpful to have dates more explicitly called out. This is a small critique, and when this book goes for its second printing (as I hope it does), it would be nice to see that cleaned up a bit.
One final thought. As a Christian, I found myself very convicted reading Wilder's story. Too often we take our faith, and our interactions with others, far too lightly. Wilder has encouraged me to engage people respectfully, but honestly, probing what they believe and why. In some ways, I felt the same conviction I felt from David Platt's statement about a "functional universalism" in the church.
Did I agree with everything in the book? No. There were some aspects of the Christian faith that I'm not sure I agreed with Wilder. But my understanding of biblical Christianity and the view she espouses were congruent on the "big" topics, and my disagreements were more on the road of sanctification, not salvation.
Overall, I found this book to be very helpful. Key audiences would be 1) Mormons - both practicing and non-practicing, 2) Christians, especially those with an active Mormon congregation in their area, and 3) those seeking out faith in general.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” (review by Asa Veek)
**unveiling grace full presentation video is shown on the front page of this web site.