30 July 2012
Review: Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? An Election-Year Guide to Mitt Romney's Religion
Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? An Election-Year Guide to Mitt Romney's Religion by Ryan T. Cragun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are two things that are annoying about the Presidential coverage regarding Mitt Romney and Mormonism: 1) The way the media treats Mormonism and 2) the lack of good information coming from the media regarding Mormonism. I don't pretend to be an expert on the religion at all - I've read plenty about it, I consider myself informed, but I couldn't tell you much of anything in detail. Could I Vote for a Mormon for President is a solid entry-level reader into the Mormon religion, both in terms of history of the religion, a primer on the beliefs and traditions of the Mormon religion, and a great starting point for the political implications.
The book works well in part because the authors are so good. They're both academics, both former Mormons, and both capable of having an even-handed look at Romney and their former religion while being skeptical of both. The major media should really look at this as an example of how to be opposed to something they're covering, because this works very well. The book is divided into bite-sized chunks relevant to different topics, ranging from historical information to clearing the air on more confusing topics (such as the temple garments). It's short, sweet, structured well, and refers to more detailed texts at the end of each segment for those who want to know more.
I have very few complaints overall: I wish it was a little longer, and as someone who was already somewhat informed, more detail would have been preferable. With that said, it's a book a lot of people who are in the dark probably should read. I trust, given the publisher and the pedigree of the authors, that the facts are in place fairly well, which helps, but other than that, this is a really solid book that deserves a place in the discussion over the next 100 days, if not the next four years.
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