I must confess something about my review here . . . I have not yet finished the book. But, I did read a good chunk it. Then I skimmed several other parts, and skipped to the last chapter and read it, and then came back to my bookmark.
This book is not a slow read, but you do need to read it slowly, if you understand what I am saying.
Before I get to my comments on this book, let me give you my credentials (as if that really makes a difference for what I have to say). I have taught Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School for almost every ward I have ever lived in. I taught Early Morning Seminary one year. And, I have an uncommon religious background which, I think, has allowed me to understand other Christians a bit better.
As a young boy, I attended the Salem Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. I distinctly remember the Sunday when I confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, and according to the Pastor at the time, was thereby saved. I think it was when I was 9 years old. I appreciate that upbringing. I always knew Jesus was real. But then, right before my 10th birthday, I joined (of my own free will) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been a “Mormon” ever since.
I have always been very, very interested in scripture. I love the Bible. I believe I have read every book of the Bible at least once, and many of them, multiple times. I have spent hundreds of hours in the Old Testament, and I have read the New Testament several times. I don’t declare myself a professor of ancient scripture, but then again, I am no slouch. And I LOVE ISAIAH.
So . . . what does that have to do with this book?
Well, I was intrigued at the approach which Mr. Conis took in writing the book. He is LDS. And yet nowhere in the book is it spelled out that he is LDS.
That might bother some people. Some folks will get upset, and claim that he is trying to hide his LDS church membership from the world in a deceitful way. Others will claim he is trying to trick unsuspecting Christians into believing things about the Bible which the Mormons teach, against their will. And I think there will be some readers who sincerely like the book, up until the point that they find out he is Mormon. Then they will turn against it because they think he has lied.
What do I say to all that? Hogwash.
Here is how I see it:
There is a HUGE amount of prejudice against Mormons when it comes to the Bible. I have come across folks who think we have a different bible (even though we use the King James Version). And others who say we always take verses out of context. And yet others who think that Mormons can’t possibly understand the Bible because our minds have been clouded with other scripture . . .
For those reasons, when I have been discussing religion with other people, I don’t always tell people that I am LDS right away. I tend to let a person get to know me a little bit first. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I have no desire to shove my religion down someone’s throat. But when they have questions, I readily answer them.
I think this is the approach that Mr. Conis has taken: Let’s talk about the Bible. Let’s talk about the great words that we find there, and not let our prejudices about each other’s religious persuasion get in the way of that conversation.
Sounds good to me. Those who dismiss the book out of hand, without giving the text a fair chance just because Mr. Conis is LDS, would not have really read and enjoyed the book anyway.
Now, what did I think of the book?
Well written. A bit long in parts, and perhaps a little repetitive as we keep going back to some themes about rain/revelation and many others. But even with the repetition, I think the parallels which the author draws between the books and verses he cites are very, very well done. So far, I have greatly enjoyed the book. I look forward to finishing it. And as for the doctrine found therein: So far, I have not yet found a single thing to disagree with. There have been some ideas presented which will cause me to do additional research on my own, but overall, I think the interpretations shown (and most of them have been masterfully correlated with other biblical sources), are right on the money. Using selections from the Bible to support other parts of the Bible should not offend anyone who believes the Old Testament is the word of God.
I highly recommend this one. Go get yourself a copy here: http://www.thelatterrain.net And for a 20% discount on your purchase during the virtual book tour for The Latter Rain, you can use the following discount code: Tour