Is Isaiah Bennett, author of "Inside Mormonism," truthful in his books and articles on Mormonism?


#1

A poster on another thread has said regarding author Isaiah Bennett, author of Inside Mormonism, "I've read articles written by him on this website--not his books. The articles contain much that is untruthful . . ."

He offered to provide an example of Bennett's "untruthful" statements. This thread is to discuss the accuracy of the issues raised in Bennett's books and articles.

Isaiah Bennett is a former Catholic priest who became a Mormon. He taught Mormonism in Salt Lake City for a year and a half, then came to the realization that he was wrong and that the Mormon religion is false. His book, Inside Mormonism, is a detailed look from the inside at Mormon history and claims to be the "restored church of Jesus Christ."

His articles have been published in "This Rock" magazine published by Catholic Answers.
Inside Mormonism, What Mormons Really Believe ($9.95), also published by Catholic Answers, is available here: (scroll down)

shop.catholic.com/home.php?cat=21

Bennett wrote another book, When Mormons Call, Answering Mormon Missionaries at Your Door, available at the same link ($4.95)

Just google Bennett's name to find information and articles on the Internet.

Jim Dandy


#2

Getting ready for Mass but just bought both books.
Thanks Jim Dandy, have a blessed Sunday.


#3

bump


#4

I think Bennett got the basics correct, but I felt there were things that could have been explained more clearly. I chalked it up to the fact that he was not in the LDS church for very long.

But we don't need ex-mos like Bennett and myself to point out the fallacies, inconsistencies and even the deceptions of the LDS church. Currently practicing Mormons are increasingly questioning the deceptive tactics, whitewashed history, cultish founders and ever-changing doctines that are causing so many LDS to leave the church.

Here's a really good youtube presentation on the LDS practices, teachings and history that causes Mormons to leave, by an active Mormon and former seminary teacher.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)


#5

[quote="PaulDupre, post:4, topic:250421"]
I think Bennett got the basics correct, but I felt there were things that could have been explained more clearly. I chalked it up to the fact that he was not in the LDS church for very long.

But we don't need ex-mos like Bennett and myself to point out the fallacies, inconsistencies and even the deceptions of the LDS church. Currently practicing Mormons are increasingly questioning the deceptive tactics, whitewashed history, cultish founders and ever-changing doctines that are causing so many LDS to leave the church.

Here's a really good youtube presentation on the LDS practices, teachings and history that causes Mormons to leave, by an active Mormon and former seminary teacher.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

[/quote]

I'm listening now. Video?-- no face? Hmmm.


#6

I strongly disagree with Mormonism, but I respect their right to practice. When they do practice, it yields 60% + inactive membership by the 5-6th generation confronting truth all on their own steam. There are dozens of youtube testimonials "Hi, my name is blank, and I'm an ex mormon".

I do not care for this former Catholic Priest infiltrating their faith for cheap applause in a tell all book. If that's what Catholicism is reducing itself to, expect the same inactive membership to occur over the abysmal standard of integrity. Not a Christian. Foul beyond belief.


#7

[quote="Kelley_Green, post:6, topic:250421"]
I strongly disagree with Mormonism, but I respect their right to practice. When they do practice, it yields 60% + inactive membership by the 5-6th generation confronting truth all on their own steam. There are dozens of youtube testimonials "Hi, my name is blank, and I'm an ex mormon".

I do not care for this former Catholic Priest infiltrating their faith for cheap applause in a tell all book. If that's what Catholicism is reducing itself to, expect the same inactive membership to occur over the abysmal standard of integrity. Not a Christian. Foul beyond belief.

[/quote]

Where did you get the idea that Isaiah Bennett "infiltrated their faith for cheap applause"? He sincerely converted to Mormonism, as I did, and years later realized he had made a terrible mistake, as I did. After he left the Mormon Church, he was later asked to write about his experience, which he did.


#8

People have a right to practice their religion, but when it involves fraud or manipulation or preventing people from leaving it, or accessing others' records to get members, you have a public issue on hand.


#9

I'm naturally skeptical of these kind of "behind the walls" accounts written by former disciples. Seems like they always have an axe to grind that at least skews their judgment and at worst pushes them to lie.

I don't begrudge Isaiah Bennett following whatever path he feels called to follow. But a guy who took a vow to the Catholic priesthood - a supposedly permanent, lifelong vow - then broke it, then married a woman, then joined another faith, then left that faith to go back to where he was originally is, perhaps, not the best spokesman for much of anything.

And to me, the fact that he was asked to write something doesn't diminish his moral responsibility for actually writing the book. IMO, the best thing for Isaiah Bennett to do would have been to politely decline the offer and spend what time he would have used to write the book in contemplative prayer to make sure he doesn't break anymore lifelong vows in the future.

I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, and I haven't read the book. I just think that we Catholics know what it's like to have former "insiders" write less-than-credible "scathing" accounts of life inside the Church. If we (rightly) roll our eyes at those people, don't we kind of have to roll our eyes at Isaiah Bennett, too?


#10

[quote="PaulDupre, post:4, topic:250421"]
I think Bennett got the basics correct, but I felt there were things that could have been explained more clearly. I chalked it up to the fact that he was not in the LDS church for very long.

But we don't need ex-mos like Bennett and myself to point out the fallacies, inconsistencies and even the deceptions of the LDS church. Currently practicing Mormons are increasingly questioning the deceptive tactics, whitewashed history, cultish founders and ever-changing doctines that are causing so many LDS to leave the church.

Here's a really good youtube presentation on the LDS practices, teachings and history that causes Mormons to leave, by an active Mormon and former seminary teacher.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

[/quote]

I recently heard that John Dehlin finally decided to leave the Mormon Church.

forum.newordermormon.org/viewtopic.php?p=285005&highlight=#285005


#11

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:9, topic:250421"]
I'm naturally skeptical of these kind of "behind the walls" accounts written by former disciples. Seems like they always have an axe to grind that at least skews their judgment and at worst pushes them to lie.

I don't begrudge Isaiah Bennett following whatever path he feels called to follow. But a guy who took a vow to the Catholic priesthood - a supposedly permanent, lifelong vow - then broke it, then married a woman, then joined another faith, then left that faith to go back to where he was originally is, perhaps, not the best spokesman for much of anything.

And to me, the fact that he was asked to write something doesn't diminish his moral responsibility for actually writing the book. IMO, the best thing for Isaiah Bennett to do would have been to politely decline the offer and spend what time he would have used to write the book in contemplative prayer to make sure he doesn't break anymore lifelong vows in the future.

I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, and I haven't read the book. I just think that we Catholics know what it's like to have former "insiders" write less-than-credible "scathing" accounts of life inside the Church. If we (rightly) roll our eyes at those people, don't we kind of have to roll our eyes at Isaiah Bennett, too?

[/quote]

I pretty much agree with you but have to say that we have quite a few former Mormons on this forum that I trust are giving accurate information. The reason I trust them is that they usually back up their statements with evidence and I have never heard them say anything that I have not heard from Mormon posters at one time or another. In other words, the fact that one may have left a certain faith tradition does not automatically place them in the position of simply grinding axes. As for Isaiah Bennett, I would have to take an extra grain of salt for the reasons you stated.


#12

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:9, topic:250421"]
I'm naturally skeptical of these kind of "behind the walls" accounts written by former disciples. Seems like they always have an axe to grind that at least skews their judgment and at worst pushes them to lie.

[/quote]

I've read his book and it is not an axe-grinding kind of attack. It is quite sincere and gives all due deference to the strengths of mormonism. It is not the equivalent of McCarthy's or Hyslop's books attacking Catholicism on false grounds. The book clearly lays forth the actual LDS teachings, as Bennett learned them, explains what he found so moving and compelling about the LDS church, and then explains why, ultimately, he simply could not accept the claims to authority that the LDS Church made.

I don't think he's trying to be a spokesman for anyone. That wasn't the take-away I got from this book. It read more like a cautionary tale. He certainly is a good example of what can happen when someone follows a feeling, without giving due regard to reason.

I do not think there is anything immoral about his decision to write a book about his experiences, and his thoughts regarding the attractiveness of mormonism, contrasted with its fallacies. How is doing so immoral - assuming that he is being honest about his experiences and his reasoning.

I do not see why he would be limited to doing either one or the other? I'm sure he continues to regret his decision to leave the priesthood. My recollection is that he said something like this when he was interviewed on Catholic Answers a few years ago.

I think you need to read the book. It is neither "less than credible" nor is it "scathing." You may change your opinion about him and his book if you actually take the time to read it. I think that by reading the actual works, one can discern who is a "crackpot" and who is making a reasoned and charitable critique.

Peace,
Robert


#13

[quote="Robert_in_SD, post:12, topic:250421"]

I don't think he's trying to be a spokesman for anyone.

[/quote]

He's not trying to be a spokesman for someone, but he's obviously lending his voice (no, not his real voice... unless there's a book on tape version, I guess) in support of the argument that Mormons engage in deceptive practices when it comes to conversions. This is a POV I agree with, btw. I just don't think that a Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-Catholic is the best person to support that proposition - especially a Catholic who willfully turned away from supposedly permanent vows.

[quote="Robert_in_SD, post:12, topic:250421"]

That wasn't the take-away I got from this book. It read more like a cautionary tale. He certainly is a good example of what can happen when someone follows a feeling, without giving due regard to reason.

[/quote]

If it's a cautionary tale about straying from the path, why is the book called, "Inside Mormonism?" Why not title it... I don't know, "Straying From The Path" and make it a detailed account of why he chose to turn his back on the Church? The main cautionary tale that needs to be told is that he turned his back on the Church. Where he went after he broke his vows is irrelevant. It would have been just as bad if he'd left the priesthood to be a Presbyterian. Or a Muslim. Or a Hindu.

So clearly, it's not primarily a "cautionary tale" about following the wrong path. It's an "inside story" that details secret stuff most people don't know about. Hence the title Inside Mormonism.

[quote="Robert_in_SD, post:12, topic:250421"]

I do not think there is anything immoral about his decision to write a book about his experiences, and his thoughts regarding the attractiveness of mormonism, contrasted with its fallacies. How is doing so immoral - assuming that he is being honest about his experiences and his reasoning.

[/quote]

I was responding to Paul DP's comment that Bennett was asked by someone else to write his account. While that may be true, I just don't find it to be particularly relevant. Bennett's assertions are his own, whether he wrote the book at someone else's behest or not.

[quote="Robert_in_SD, post:12, topic:250421"]

I do not see why he would be limited to doing either one or the other? I'm sure he continues to regret his decision to leave the priesthood. My recollection is that he said something like this when he was interviewed on Catholic Answers a few years ago.

[/quote]

Because our time on Earth is not infinite. So, really, he sorta does have to choose one or the other. Every minute he spent writing and promoting the book is a minute he cannot spend reflecting on the poor decisions that led to him breaking his vow in the first place.

[quote="Robert_in_SD, post:12, topic:250421"]

I think you need to read the book. It is neither "less than credible" nor is it "scathing." You may change your opinion about him and his book if you actually take the time to read it. I think that by reading the actual works, one can discern who is a "crackpot" and who is making a reasoned and charitable critique.

[/quote]

I don't really need to read the book because I'm already convinced that much of LDS theology is nonsense. It's not going to do anything for me, so I'd probably be better served doing other stuff (there's that whole "our time in Earth is not infinite thing again).


#14

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:13, topic:250421"]
I just don't think that a Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-Catholic is the best person to support that proposition

[/quote]

Why?

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:13, topic:250421"]
So clearly, it's not primarily a "cautionary tale" ........I don't really need to read the book

[/quote]

You only need to read the book if you want to have any credibility to tell us what it is about. You have not read it, so clearing you don't know what kind of tale it is.


#15

[quote="Stephen168, post:14, topic:250421"]
Why?

[/quote]

Because Catholic priests who deliberately break their vows are not the world's best spokesmen for insider accounts of the religion they turned away from after they turned away from their original faith with they turned away from and then turned away...

Wait. Sorry. I got confused after so many conversions. I'll just wait 'til Bennett's next conversion and catch up with him when he's Zoroastrian.

[quote="Stephen168, post:14, topic:250421"]

You only need to read the book if you want to have any credibility to tell us what it is about. You have not read it, so clearing you don't know what kind of tale it is.

[/quote]

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the book is about being inside the LDS church. But I'm only saying that because it's titled Inside Mormonism. Did I guess right? Or is Bennett's book actually about Renaissance art? Or the origins of Italian comic opera?


#16

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:15, topic:250421"]
Because Catholic priests who deliberately break their vows are not the world's best spokesmen for insider accounts of the religion they turned away from after they turned away from their original faith with they turned away from and then turned away...

Wait. Sorry. I got confused after so many conversions. I'll just wait 'til Bennett's next conversion and catch up with him when he's Zoroastrian.

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the book is about being inside the LDS church. But I'm only saying that because it's titled Inside Mormonism. Did I guess right? Or is Bennett's book actually about Renaissance art? Or the origins of Italian comic opera?

[/quote]

I would have to agree that a Catholic Priest who breaks his vows, becomes Mormon goes through the temple, then becomes Catholic again, begs a number of questions as to their stability. Certainly the LDS community will point to this as an argument against what he is saying. However, I think that this will only work to deter people from reading his books and articles. If you do read them however, his arguments are balanced and accurate and supported by evidence.

The same argument can be used for anyone who leaves the Mormon church: "why listen to them, they were baptized, made covenants in the temple, promised to honor their priesthood, and look at them now. How can you trust a covenant breaker?" These are all arguments thrown at myself.

There is a pattern in all this that I think - in my opinion - is key. That is the LDS church's efforts to tailor the message to the "faithful". LDS Sunday School is a perfect example. Acts 1-5 was taught in LDS Sunday School a few weeks back. The lesson revolved around almost exclusively the witness being given of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The greats acts of the Holy Spirit was skirted over. The Bible is used primarily to support LDS teachings.

So I think it is great when people like Bennet say: "Stop. Let's look at this for one moment and think about it." Of course this is something that LDS leadership encourage their members not to do on pain of apostasy. One LDS man said to me once: "You see, I told you. You started studying outside the prescribed texts and look at you now... a Catholic. That is exactly what the prophet said would happen: you would leave the church." There is just something awfully wrong about that kind of argument, though of course it is fully true.

I would heartily recommend Bennets books. I've read them, but my conversion came in just studying the Bible and attending Mass.

God Bless,

Hal.


#17

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:15, topic:250421"]
Because Catholic priests who deliberately break their vows are not the world's best spokesmen for insider accounts of the religion they turned away from after they turned away from their original faith with they turned away from and then turned away...

Wait. Sorry. I got confused after so many conversions. I'll just wait 'til Bennett's next conversion and catch up with him when he's Zoroastrian.

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the book is about being inside the LDS church. But I'm only saying that because it's titled Inside Mormonism. Did I guess right?

[/quote]

I have not read the book. I wanted to read a discussion about the merits or lack of by the people who have read it. Your dislike of the book is irrational (Ad Hominem).
I don’t like the actions of the author either, but it is irrelevant to what he has to say in his books. You can not answer the OP’s question until you read the book.


#18

I share a lot of the ambivalence that has been expressed here, but from the "Mormon side of the coin." When Mr. Bennett was a Latter-day Saint, he travelled fairly extensively in Mormon circles giving lectures (Mormons call them "firesides" - don't ask me why) about his leaving Catholicism to become a Mormon. His presentation was even recorded and sold for a time by Deseret Book, which is the largest publisher and distributor of LDS media.

Be that as it may, I didn't even like it when we were on the "good guy" side of Mr. Bennett's presentations. In my experience, these kinds of things can never avoid either an explicit or implicit criticism and denigration of the faith one has "left." Some of us Mormons complain to the point of whining about what our critics say regarding our faith. So by what reasoning should we feel comfortable when the roles are reversed and the demeaning is pointed toward another faith's truth claims?

I thought a reasonable review of Mr. Bennett's books from an LDS perspective was done by Barry Bickmore. I like Bickmore because in his review he also points out some stupid things that we do to the Catholics (some of our proof-texting is ridiculous and I cringe at some of our people's total lack of understanding of things like "apostacy," "great and abominable church," and "dark ages" - but I can rant on that elsewhere).

Anyway, for what it's worth, Bickmore's review is here:

maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=13&num=2&id=396


#19

[quote="Lefty0908, post:18, topic:250421"]
In my experience, these kinds of things can never avoid either an explicit or implicit criticism and denigration of the faith one has "left." Some of us Mormons complain to the point of whining about what our critics say regarding our faith. So by what reasoning should we feel comfortable when the roles are reversed and the demeaning is pointed toward another faith's truth claims?

[/quote]

That's exactly my feeling.


#20

[quote="Crdl2Grv, post:13, topic:250421"]

Because our time on Earth is not infinite. So, really, he sorta does have to choose one or the other. Every minute he spent writing and promoting the book is a minute he cannot spend reflecting on the poor decisions that led to him breaking his vow in the first place.

I don't really need to read the book because I'm already convinced that much of LDS theology is nonsense. It's not going to do anything for me, so I'd probably be better served doing other stuff (there's that whole "our time in Earth is not infinite thing again).

[/quote]

You may not need to read it but apparently there are many Catholics who have had missionaries knock on their door and subsequently joined the LDS church, maybe if they had read of his experience they would have remained in the Catholic church.

And while frankly I don't see how every minute he spent writing the book could be anything other than a reflection on the poor decisions he made, I think what is more important is every minute spent by Catholics who read the book reflecting on his poor decisions and hopefully avoiding them.

The most wonderful thing about written language is one can learn from others mistakes, but only if those who have made mistakes are willing to admit and share them. I can't imagine it's easy to publish, for anyone to read, a personal retelling of ones own mistakes.:shrug:


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