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Winner of the Best Anthology Award from John Whitmer Historical AssociationLatter day Saints have a paradoxical relationship to the past; even as they invest their own history with sacred meaning celebrating the restoration of ancient truths and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies they repudiate the eighteen centuries of Christianity that preceded the founding of their church as apostate distortions of the truth Since the early days of Mormonism Latter day Saints have used the paradigm of apostasy and restoration in their narratives about the origin of their church This has generated a powerful and enduring binary of categorization that has profoundly impacted Mormon self perception and relations with others Standing Apart explores how the idea of apostasy has functioned as a category to mark define and set apart the other in Mormon historical consciousness and in the construction of Mormon narrative identity The volume's fifteen contributors trace the development of LDS narratives of apostasy within the context of both Mormon history and American Protestant historiography They suggest ways in which these narratives might be reformulated to engage with the past as well as offering new models for interfaith relations This volume provides a novel approach for understanding and resolving some of the challenges faced by the LDS church in the twenty first century


10 thoughts on “Standing Apart

  1. says:

    Just finished reading one of the most important Mormon studies books ever publishedEver since its inception the LDS Church has defined itself as a Restoration of the ancient Church which had fallen into a state of total apostasy This apostasy narrative has become central to LDS identity but many LDS scholars uestion the accuracy of many of the claims connected to the apostasy This book is an explicit offering by scholars to Church leaders and members to reconsider the apostasy stories we tell This is the most important book on Mormonism I've seen since Richard Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling Speaking in terms of the book's composition It contains papers delivered a few years back at an academic conference held at BYU Conference paper collection books are pretty hit and miss This is the best such collection I've ever read The individual pieces work separately but they collectively cohere without treading the same ground too muchCongrats to everyone involved in this one I'll put a full review together soon


  2. says:

    I have a yesso? relationship with this book Part one felt a little pretentious and tedious like the authors were forcing an issue so they would have something to talk about However realizing I may not be the target audience it's ironic that a book composed of papers written for and delivered at an academic symposium to others who think similarly will likely only be read by others who think similarly never reaching the mass audience that it's meant to influence part one lays a good foundation of the issues I just wish with less words Part two is the yes side of the relationship full of insight and intrigue My favorite chapters were Purity and Parallels Rereading the Council of Nicaea and Its Creed and Covenantal Pluralism in Mormonism and Islam though all of the chapters in part two were both thought provoking and entertaining Towards the end of the book I felt myself nodding in agreement with the authors as I read the following thought which I think well represents the books ideal As the narrative of apostasy is a component of the LDS metanarrative of salvation it is all the important that Latter Day Saints understand it even in all its contextual complexity for with an understanding of the theological purposes and historical trajectories of apostasy comes a better knowledge of the characters in that narrative God and humanity in all ages of history including the present When such an understanding rests on a shaky theological or historical foundation Latter Day Saints are I believe prevented from comprehending their own truth claims and thus understanding the very basis of their religion p310


  3. says:

    Re read May 2016 Better the second time My brother is the author of one of the essays I wish I could find books like thisYou know when you are reading with a highlighter and pencil for underlining and writing in definitions in the margins that you are going to learn a lot I learned a lot I feel educated I have new ideasHistory as a narrative History as a text History written as an apologist History written as a disciplinary expert I looked up many words such as historiography exegesis pseudepigraphal theodicy providential tendentious soteriological praxis periodization It mattered whether I knew exactly what the word meant It must feel incredible to know so much about history that you can write articles like these


  4. says:

    This book blew my mind One of the most amazing Mormon Studies books I've read I didn't realize that the apostasy narrative we cling to is complex than originally taught What a beautiful paradigm shift Some of our simplified teachings of the apostasy have created a insular culture The book is full of general authority uotes on how we are a gospel of inclusion and how reevaluating that narrative will help us support religious pluralism as an opportunity to come together with all of humanity in all our differencessimilarities to find truth as brothers and sisters


  5. says:

    I liked this book I happen to believe the LDS church would benefit from revising its view on apostasy and expanding a bit on the development of Christian theology In this book various LDS scholars examine the Church’s narrative surrounding the Great Apostasy including the origins of that narrative the complex story regarding the idea of a falling away from truth and potential changes that could improve the narrative This book is a helpful contribution I think it’s important for readers to read some perspectives on how Christianity was developing between 34 and 1820 AD when evaluating this book Consider reading The Great Theologians by McDermott for a simple brief introduction It may seem unnecessary to say but it’s important to remember that these scholars have agendas and biases just like everyone else Sometimes those new to evaluating academia can believe scholars are objective seekers of truth They aren’t That doesn’t mean we discount everything they write Instead they should be viewed as part of the continuing conversation in pursuit of truth I also felt like some of these scholars are trying so hard to push back against the LDS narrative about the apostasy that they don’t properly acknowledge the genuine contribution of LDS doctrines to Christian theology Anyway it’s a fine book


  6. says:

    A timely and potentially impactful discussion of the Mormon concept of the Great Apostasy As historians and theologians have come to a nuanced and positive view of the so called Dark Ages and in light of a healthy strain of expansive and universalist thought in Mormonism it may be time to reframe the traditional and starkly black and white LDS narrative of Christian Apostasy and Restoration The essays in this book explore the development of this narrative and make a good case for a fresh look backward and forward As an international twenty first century church hoping for relevance and influence in this pluralistic world hanging onto an outdated Protestant view of the past seems like an unlikely way to press forward I am excited to see the ideas presented here bandied about tried on for fit ruminated over and hopefully accepted into mainstream Mormonism


  7. says:

    This one came highly recommended by Blair Hodges After a few chapters I could see why it's an excellent revisiting of concepts of apostasy and restoration which are foundational to Mormon dispensation thinkingOne concept sticks in my mind covenantal pluralism from David Peck's chapter on Mormon and Muslim thinking The idea is that God makes covenants with different peoples and holds them to similar but different standards of faith and moral code That one is intriguing and I'm thinking about how that could fit my fundamental faith in a Christian God I think they can co exist but need to work out some details


  8. says:

    Blair Hodges once said on the Maxwell Institute Podcast that this was the most important book in Mormon studies since Rough Stone Rolling I agree


  9. says:

    Wow This was a really good book Not all of the chapters were five star worthy and it got a little repetitive toward the end with many of the contributors even using the same uotes from Joseph Smith in their various chapters But this book still merits five stars for several reasonsFirst the book argues very persuasively for a non binary view of what Mormon's call the Great Apostasy And it does so using Mormon scripture and statements from Mormon leaders along with a large dose of historical sources regarding the middle ages the reformation and the enlightenment This book establishes that the dark ages were not actually dark Rather they were a time when people lived the gospel the best they knew with God revealing truths even during those allegedly dark times Second it is written as best I can tell by believing and practicing Mormons who are also scholars in their respective fields and thus the essays focused on the issues that first arose in my mind as they challenged the traditional view of the Great Apostasy Many of the authors anticipated the uestions that a believing Mormon would have upon learning that the traditional view of the apostasy is not 100% accurate Third the book taught me many important and interesting things about the middle ages and about other religions Particularly enlightening were the chapter on indulgences showing how similar that practice often was with our modern day vicarious temple work for our ancestors and the chapter on Islam which persuasively argues that all people are a covenant people with God regardless of their religious beliefs and that all people will be judged based on the particular covenant or covenants they have had the opportunity to make I strongly recommend this book to members of the church who have concerns about the Church's exclusivity and truth claims This book goes a long way toward establishing a viewpoint that embraces the concept of God's love for all of his children even those living during the dark ages and the doctrine that the only way to return to God is by accepting the ordinances of the Church


  10. says:

    This book will FOREVER change the way you see the Great Apostasy For too long Mormons have succumbed to a ridiculously simplistic narrative on this topic This book will hopefully forever change that way of thinking It should be reuired reading The Great Apostasy was truly great but not really all that apostate