What is your Opinion of The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C.Scott

What is your Opinion of The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C.Scott?

The reason I ask is because I was given this book. Knowing very little about Mormonism I can’t help but to ask “Is Mr.Scott’s account of Mormons beliefs accurate?”

Thank you and God bless

I haven’t read the book, so I cannot comment. If you can gives us some idea of what it says, I can tell you whether it is accurate or not.

I haven’t read it, but I’d be skeptical of anything with that provocative of a title. Francis Beckwith, in his book Return to Rome, lamented having an essay on Mormonism published with a provocative and caustic title (I don’t remember what it was now). He thought of the title, years later, as uncharitable and unhelpful, and the publisher of that essay also likes to say hateful anti-Catholic things, as well.

Mormon Mirage is written by a former Mormon, and she’s written a whole lot of books, blog posts, etc., on the subject. She definitely has an axe to grind. Those two factors – the title, and the author’s axe – would make me very skeptical. I think of it this way: if a man (or woman) spends all his time talking about how terrible his ex-girlfriend was, there’s probably something sub-rational going on there: a lot of hurt, a big sense of betrayal, etc. I’m immediately skeptical of how true his perceptions are about what she was really like: after all, he was involved with her for a long time. Maybe it’s overly simplistic, but I think that leaving a religion can lead to those same feelings of hurt and betrayal, and make people say inaccurate or silly things. Certainly, ex-Catholics are some of the worst at getting the facts about Catholicism right: “no, no, they really *do *worship Mary!” etc.

On her website, latayne.com/, she also has a dramatized Mormon murder mystery she’s promoting that sounds like what Dan Brown would write if he hated the LDS Church as much as he hates the Catholic Church.

Now, all of that said, the book’s got very good reviews on Amazon (from the 11 people, apparently all ex-Mormons, who reviewed it).

Evening Belloc Fan! It is a pleasure to meet you. :slight_smile:

All around a good post. Your advice and sentiments are good in any context, not just when dealing with Mormonism. Thank you. :thumbsup:

Kind Regards,

Greetings to all of you. This is my first time to post on this forum. I travel a lot so I can’t plan to be regularly on here but I did want to address the mention of my name and books on this forum.

First of all, after publishing 15 books, I’ve stopped being surprised that so many opinions of my books are advanced by those who have not read them.

I noticed that a couple of Mormons gave their opinions. Mormons say that you don’t go to a Chevy dealer or owner to find out about Fords so you should ask them about their religion. That is an important part of investigation – but that’s why you have Consumer Reports, too, right?

I was a faithful, very happy Mormon for ten years. Had a temple recommend, went to BYU on scholarship, wrote for the university’s publications. If you read any of the Amazon reviews of my non-fiction The Mormon MIrage, or my literary suspense Latter-day Cipher (which, by the way, only about 1/3 of those reviews were written by ex-Mormons), you’ll find a lot of words recurring, like “kind,” “gentle,” “sympathetic,” “generous,” etc.

I also noted that I was characterized as writing all the time about Mormonism. Sorry, only 4 of my 15 books deal with Mormonism. I’ve also written hundreds, maybe thousands of magazine articles, and only four or so deal with Mormonism.

“An axe to grind”? Would you call St. Paul’s look back at his own past and his constant battle with Judaisers an axe to grind? What about Jesus calling His own people out of the grip of the Pharisees?

Do you want to know about Mormonism from someone who lived it faithfully and loved it dearly? With hundreds of footnotes and documentations you can check out for yourself? Then check the Mormon Mirage out of the library (I’m not asking you to buy a book, you see.) Make sure you have the edition published in 2009, because the Mormon Church has changed so many of its doctrines and practices that no book published about it that’s over 10 years old can be accurate.) Read it and then respond if you think I am bitter, angry, or have an axe to grind.

Consider me the “consumer reports” advocate on Mormonism for you, if you’d like. If you have questions about it, I will do my best to give you documentation – not opinions – about it.

Yours and His,
Latayne C Scott

Thank you for your post. It is not very often that an author of a critical book on Mormonism volunteers on a public forum such as this to answer questions and criticisms of his/her book. I wish that I had read your book so I could ask some questions. But it is unlikely that I will be able to in the near future. But there is another way! Since you know what is in the book better than anybody else, you can start off by enumerating in summary form the main points of criticism of the LDS Church that you have raised in your book, and Church members can then respond to them. If the points are too numerous, you can start by highlighting a couple of the most important ones, and we will take it from there.

I’ve skimmed the book at a local Christian bookstore. Everything I read seemed accurate.

Here’s a link to some reviews at amazon.com:


Thank you all for your replies.

The main things I’m curious about are

  1. The belief in three gods, instead of one God?

  2. The belief that God evolved from a man and that humans will evolve in to gods and goddesses. Who will be equal to God.

3.The belief that the Bible has been corrupted.

Just started reading chapter 7 so will probably be adding to this list soon.

Hi Latayne
your book is really interesting, and shocking. I hope your not offended by this thread, I know very little about Mormonism so thought it would be a idea to ask some questions.

I’ve found some things that I would like to ask you about if you don’t mind. On page 169 the section about Mormons believing that God has many wives (who to them are goddesses)

Did the Mormons ever worship the “goddesses”?

Do they worship a goddesses now?

Another thing that puzzles me is that in this section you wrote “When I was a Mormon, I was told that we did not know her name or much about her because the leaders of the church did not want to make her an object of worship such as the Catholic Church had made of Mary” From page 169 of The Mormon Mirage

Please tell me that don’t think we actually worship Mary? Catholics do not view Mary as a goddesses, and we don’t worship her. She’s a human being just as you and I are.

I went there, I saw them…and here are the reviewers:

Janis Hutchinson
The Mormon Missionaries
Out of the Cults and Into the Church

M. Thaman…

He (or she) has evidently not written any books either pro or con Mormonism. That’s different; the emphasis there seems to be on blueprint reading and physics. I get the impression, from his scathing review of a physics text book and it’s accompanying ‘activities manual,’ that he is possibly a community college physics teacher. I have no information about his religious preferences or beliefs.

Susan Smith, whose other 11 reviews include several other anti-Mormon books with which she finds no fault; in fact, her reviews seem to take the arguments presented in the books and continue them from her own thoughts: she is not an objective reviewer.


Oh, c’mon, guys. NOBODY gives the author of ‘The Godmakers’ any credibility, not Mormons, not Catholics–no Christian scholar that I am aware of has anything but contempt for the man; “The Godmakers” is a joke.

Oh, by the way, all but one of his reviews are of anti-Mormon books, and he loves all of them. The one book that isn’t anti-Mormon is “Offenders for a Word” which is a book written by a Mormon, Daniel Peterson, that is a direct response to “The Godmakers.”

C’mon, guys; can you give any credence to a review by a man who would actually review a book responding to something HE wrote? If he were a college professor, or a newspaper reviewer, his reputation would be utterly destroyed. Not that Ed Decker has one to destroy, mind you…

Ross J. Anderson:
Author of
"Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Quick Christian Guide to the Mormon Holy Book."


That’s four reviews out of five by adamant anti-Mormons…and anybody who would actually allow, much less ASK FOR, Ed Decker’s opinion of a book has a real problem.

On the other hand, everybody is rather impressed at how ‘gentle’ this woman is. (shrug)

Of course, Ed Decker would think that a ninja assassin would be ‘gentle’ if his Mormon victim didn’t thrash around too much as he went down, so how much faith do I put in that?

So no, I haven’t read this book. However, the title is perjorative, the reviews make me nervous…and a positive review by Ed Decker is a complete set up.

I would read it with a salt shaker in my hand, were I you. If I ever get a copy to review, something tells me that my impressions of it will not change much from my expectations.

Your best source of information about what the church believes is www.lds.org. As someone wrote very recently on another thread, asking an ex-member of any religion is a little like asking the ex-boyfriend what the girl is like. You aren’t going to get objective or accurate information.

Actually, Latayne, you noticed that a couple of Mormons refused to give their opinions because they haven’t read your book.

Latayne, I was just there. Four out of five of those reviews were written by very active anti-Mormons…and you blew it with me when you allowed Ed Decker to review your book. C’mon, LaTayne…that’s a little like asking Nathan Bedford Forest to review a book on the history of race relations.

You mean those blogs, posts and articles don’t exist?

“Consumer Reports,” Latayne, is written by an objective group of people who have tested all the different variety of cars, and who have taken surveys of owners of over 1.4 million cars in order to arrive at their reports. They do not take personal experience and expand that into vehicular recommendations.

In other words, if there was such a thing as a “Consumer Reports” for religion, Latayne, you would not be allowed to write the report on Mormonism. If you want a 'Consumer Reports" on religion, try www.religioustolerance.com

If you want to know what the Mormons really believe…(and please stop with the "I’ve had to revise my book because MORMON beliefs have changed so much…not when in reality you had to revise your book because it was so full of errors) go to www.lds.org.

I hope to read your book, or at least portions of it. It will be interesting to see what Ed Decker defines as 'gentle."

  1. Yes, the Mormons believe in many gods.

  2. The belief is that a righteous mormon male who lives a good life, does all his temple work, etc. can become a god. Brigham Young taught that God was once a man just like us and we can become as God is.

  3. Joseph Smith taught that the Bible is authentic “as correctly translated” He then changed the King James Bible (the only version that the LDS church uses) into what is now called the King James Bible, Joseph Smith translation.

You will not see this in LDS services however. Shortly after the death of Smith some followers started the Reformed LDS (RLDS) church that is now known as the Community of Christ.RLDS is to LDS as Shi’ah is to Sunni. The original split was on who takes over. The RLDS believed that only family of Joseph Smith could be the prophet. They later won the rights to the Joseph Smith translation in an Intellectual Property suit. I should add that the RLDS lost all semblance of authenticity when they determined that the man most perfect to be their prophet was already the LDS prophet.

Also, Smith taught a doctrine called the Great Apostasy wherein once St. John died the true church left the world and didn’t return until Smith was shown the golden plates by the Angel Moroni. Thus the LDS belief that only they are the true Church

As to your question about a “Mother Goddess” the answer is no. Women are little more than Chattel to mormons. While they are “allowed” to go to college, their true calling is to be a wife and mother. If a wife dies, the husband may remarry in the temple and thus have multiple wives in heaven (after all, God has many wives with whom he has sex on a planet near Kolob.) but if the man dies, the woman may not remarry in the church. She is bound to her dead husband. Thus mormons still practice a spiritual polygyny (multiple wives) not polygamy (multiple married partners)

One further note, my observations and information come from living in Utah and by being in a close working relationship with the LDS church

Many of my observations may not be true of the practices of “missionary field” mormons ie those living outside of Utah and the close border areas around it.

Very true, but would you also forgo asking the ex-boyfriend anything at all?

I believe in such cases of trying to understand a religion, it’s important to get various perspectives, including critical ones by former members.

In my journey to Catholicism I read a number of critical accounts of Catholicism by former Catholics. Difference is I’d then pursue Catholic sources to see if any refutation of such critical claims existed and were plausible.

Mormons will do anything they can to not let you find out what they really believe. It embarrasses them to some extent. They figure you have to have the Holy Ghost to understand what they believe, and you can’t have that until you get baptized. If you find out before you’ve been committed you might think it is kind of weird. You’d have to hie to Kolob before you really get it.

If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?
Me thinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place.”

The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.

They started to use the hymn tune “Kingsfold” in the 1980s hymbook. That was just a change in practice, not doctrine.

Thank you for this information.

Hello Angel_Hazard. I’m a former Mormon with little to no animosity toward the LDS church. I’ll do my best to answer these questions you have, but do keep in mind that I have not read the book of which you’re speaking and it is always good to take account for explanations given by current Latter-day Saints.

There are differing explanations to the nature of God in Mormonism (much like the differing theological schools within Catholicism, just less rigid). I’m assuming these points of your are paraphrased so my explanation might not resonate well with respect to the details given in the book.

The ‘Godhead’ in Mormonism is more of an office rather than a specific person. Certainly Heavenly Father is considered God by virtue of his being the father of our spirits. Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are also considered “God” due to their position in the plan of salvation (and more importantly to Jesus, his responsibility in creating the earth).

It’s important to remember that the LDS believe in eternal progression, which us mortals too may partake in. This somewhat blurs the line of distinction in what God is and what God isn’t in Mormonism. Jesus Christ also is “God” in the sense that he has been exalted (successfully completed his mortal probation, what the LDS call our “second estate” and sits at the right hand of God the father in the celestial kingdom).

The “oneness” of God that typically is expressed in a trinitarian dogma in orthodox Christianity takes on a form of “oneness in purpose and desire” in Mormonism. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are not “one in substance” as we believe in Catholicism.

  1. The belief that God evolved from a man and that humans will evolve in to gods and goddesses. Who will be equal to God.

To understand this, you must understand that there’s a bit of esoteric teaching which stands as “mysterious” in Mormonism. The above is an example of one of such esoteric teachings. Due to the esoteric nature of the teaching, it isn’t so well defined in LDS theology prompting a number of various interpretations among the LDS faithful.

There’s a couplet in LDS culture that reads: “As man is, God once was; as God is man may become” which I believe was penned by the hand of Lorenzo Snow. Different Mormons interpret this in different ways and to my knowledge, there is no officially recognized LDS church approved interpretation of it.

An example of one interpretation is my grandfather’s: He believes that the aforementioned couplet refers to God the Father, and so he believes in a continuous line of deified mortals who owe their “godhood” to another God. My father on the other hand believes the aforementioned refers to God the Son (Jesus Christ). With this paradigm, Heavenly Father is eternally God, but all his children (including Jesus Christ) may partake in divinity by progressing to it via exaltation.

In any case, my experience has showed me that belief in a very literal theosis is a hallmark of most (if not all) Mormons.

3.The belief that the Bible has been corrupted.

Yes. The LDS believe that over the centuries, the Bible we have today has been (whether intentionally or not) mistranslated. Joseph Smith Jr. made his own “translation” of the Bible, parts of which the LDS use today. The RLDS (also known as the Community of Christ) use this version in its entirety and own the copyright to it.

I’ve found some things that I would like to ask you about if you don’t mind. On page 169 the section about Mormons believing that God has many wives (who to them are goddesses)

The LDS believe in a “Heavenly Mother” at the very least. Since eternal marriage is an integral part of exaltation in LDS theology, it is naturally presumed that Heavenly Father (and Jesus Christ) have wives. Since plural marriage is also theologically sound in the LDS faith, it is unknown whether Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have more than one wife. Some speculate that they do, others speculate that they don’t. More others remain “agnostic” to it.

From what I understand, the belief that God and Jesus are polygamists was more prevalent within Mormondom when temporal polygamy was still sanctioned by the church (so we indeed tend to see a generational disparity in this belief too). My grandfather, as an example again, believes Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are plural-married. My father on the other hand does not. When I was a practicing LDS, I didn’t give the number of wives much thought at all.

Did the Mormons ever worship the “goddesses”?

No. Worship (even excessive mention of Heavenly Mother) is considered inappropriate as Heavenly Father is said to desire that her name not be taken in vain as his is, and that she not be blasphemed like he is in this world.

Do they worship a goddesses now?


Another thing that puzzles me is that in this section you wrote “When I was a Mormon, I was told that we did not know her name or much about her because the leaders of the church did not want to make her an object of worship such as the Catholic Church had made of Mary” From page 169 of The Mormon Mirage

[quote] Please tell me that don’t think we actually worship Mary? Catholics do not view Mary as a goddesses, and we don’t worship her. She’s a human being just as you and I are.

This is more of a cultural artifact of history than one of doctrine. It’s no secret that many Mormons espoused anti-Catholic sentiment up until the mid-20th century (Heck, most of America was anti-Catholic!). Contemporary Mormons in the United States seem to emulate the tolerance we see of our greater 21st century American culture and even many understand Catholic theology better than their ancestors.

Again, I’ve experienced a generational divide here. My grandfather (even to this day) is pretty vapid with his remarks about Catholicism. If you were to hear him speak, you’d think he wrote for Jack Chick. My father on the other hand rolls his eyes and essentially tells my grandfather to put a sock in it when he goes on his tirades. I on the other hand embraced Catholic theology and even converted :smiley:

Thank you for answering my questions :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

If you had to go to another source to check the information anyway, why bother with the ‘ex’ in the first place?

It seems like a waste of time.

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