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Book review: 'Hebrew Roots of Mormonism' is an intellectual book

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

"HEBREW ROOTS OF MORMONISM," by David Thomas, Cedar Fort, $18.99, 286 pages (nf)

“Hebrew Roots of Mormonism” by David Thomas is an intellectual book that dives into early Christianity. Thomas explores the Christian movement and the challenges its people faced.

The author starts with claiming that Christianity is of ancient origin. Thomas then explores the Old Testament and the religion during the time of Adam, Abraham, Moses and Noah. He eventually concludes that there are three distinct sects within the Christian movement— the Hebrew Christians, the Pauline Christians and the Gnostics.

Thomas advocates for a deep understanding of these groups in order to understand the fate of Christianity. Towards the end of the book, Thomas ties in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and relates its doctrines to early Christianity. He uses this technique to state that Mormons truly are Christians and have been for a long time.

“Hebrew Roots of Mormonism” is a deeply thought provoking book. Coupled with LDS Church doctrine and early historical facts, Thomas creates a compelling argument that explores the question: why do Christian sects view the Mormons as not being Christian?

It's a book to take time to read, and perhaps have a dictionary on hand. Those with no background in this area may find themselves feeling like they are reading a history textbook.

Thomas should be praised for his innovative ideas. Despite his remarkable research on the topic, however, readers may find themselves wishing Thomas could write in a more simplistic way. Pitching his ideas to the "common man" would have made his book more appealing to a wider audience.

One of the perks of “Hebrew Roots of Mormonism” is the fact that it reads like a timeline. Thomas begins with the origins of Christianity, moves to the church in early Jerusalem, and finally ends with the restoration in Joseph Smith’s time.

There are no wild ideas in this book. Thomas’ treatments of LDS Church doctrine should satisfy those of the Mormon faith.

All in all, “Hebrew Roots of Mormonism” has the potential as a missionary tool and is also a new lens through to view the Mormon faith.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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