Grant H. Palmer had expected to be punished by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for writing the 2002 book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. But the delayed timing caught him off guard. Last December, Keith Adams, the leader at Grant's church in Sandy, Utah, disfellowshiped him. The sanction means Palmer may no longer speak publicly or take sacraments during the suspension of unspecified length.
"They felt [the book] had done some damage to people's faith by causing them to doubt Mormon foundational claims," Palmer said. He is retired after 34 years as a college-level lds educator.
An Insider's View argues that LDS founder Joseph Smith didn't miraculously translate the Book of Mormon from golden plates. It also examines "Smith's largely rewritten, materialistic, idealized, and controversial accounts of the church's founding."
Palmer joins an increasing number of Mormons and ex-Mormons publicly questioning the validity of the origins of the church, including Simon Southerton (CT, October 2004, p. 20) and Thomas W. Murphy (CT, March 2003, p. 24).
LDS spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment.
Palmer, a fourth-generation Mormon, still wants to be a part of the church. But he isn't ready to toe the line. "I don't know how I can repent if the book is true."
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Insider's View of Mormon Origins is available from Amazon.com and other book retailers.
James B. Allen at Brigham Young University has a lengthy review of Insider's View.
Other Christianity Today coverage of the LDS includes:
Evangelist in Brigham Young's Court | Ravi Zacharias preaches to Mormons about the uniqueness of Christ. (Dec. 07, 2004)
Winning Them Softly | Evangelicals try to reach Mormons with respectand hard science.
Mormon Scholar Under Fire | Anthropologist says Latter-day Saints' teaching wrong about Native Americans. (Feb. 19, 2003)
Mormon Film a Lesson in Telling Faith-Based Stories | Little Secrets avoids theological lectures but delivers an engaging story. (Nov. 21, 2002)
Mormon Makeover | An effective evangelical witness hinges on understanding the new face of Latter-day Saints. (March 6, 2000)
Mere Mormonism | Journalist Richard Ostling explores LDS culture, theology, and fans of 'crypto-Mormon' C.S. Lewis. (Feb. 9, 2000)
The Mormon-Evangelical Divide | Beliefs that set Mormons apart, and evangelicals' response. (February 7, 2000)
A Peacemaker in Provo | How one Pentecostal pastor taught his Congregation to love Mormons. (February 7, 2000)
Southern Baptists Take Up the Mormon Challenge | Michael B. Bennett has heard the accusations many times: Mormons are not Christians. But to Bennett, who converted at age 18, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has provided answers he did not find as a Southern Baptist. (June 15, 1998)
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