"LIGHT AND TRUTH: A Latter-day Guide to World Religions," by Roger R. Keller, Deseret Book and BYU Religious Studies Center, $28.99, 335 pages (nf)
When it comes to debating a deep-held belief like religion, things can get complicated. However, having a religious discussion built on common beliefs is a recipe for success. "Light and Truth: A Latter-day Saint Guide to World Religions" by Roger R. Keller is a new book that looks at world religions from a Mormon perspective but with a focus on seeing the similarities. What common beliefs do members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have with other world religions? The answers may be surprising.
Keller is an emeritus professor of LDS Church history and doctrine from Brigham Young University and is an adult convert of the church. Before his conversion, he served as both Presbyterian and Methodist ministers. His insights, particularly in the Christianity section, are extremely helpful.
For example, he explains to the reader that many of his Catholic and Protestant friends do not believe in continuing revelation but he asks them if they pray personally and receive answers. They do, so in a sense they believe in continuing revelation or at least better understand the concept. From there, a discussion can occur based on a common belief that continuing revelation still occurs.
The first chapter builds a compelling case why it is important for Mormons to learn more about other religions. Further chapters follow a set outline as the author examines different world religions. Categories include an introduction, origins, scripture, worldview, philosophies, similarities, worship aspects, roles for women and a conclusion.
Personally, an interesting religion is Islam. Keller treats the religion with respect and thoroughness. Did you know that Muslims pay tithes similar to Mormons? They pray multiple times during the day, and they believe that God reveals his will through living prophets. Muslims also believe Jesus is a great prophet that will return to the earth some day. They do not partake of alcohol or participate in gambling. As a member of the LDS Church, that feels familiar.
Study of a given religion could take years to complete, considering all of the details and nuances, but this book is your guide to understanding world religions from an LDS perspective in a quick and easy manner. The author does an excellent job of pointing out specific similarities between the LDS faith and other religions. It would make a fantastic book for a missionary.
Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.