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Dec 14

Top Books to Read During an Exmormon Faith Crisis in 2024

One powerful tool for navigating a Mormon faith crisis is reading books that offer new perspectives on Mormonism. Here are some of the top books to read as you navigate a faith crisis in the Mormon Church.

Using Books to Heal and Understand

Going through a faith crisis is a difficult and often isolating experience, especially for individuals who have grown up in the Mormon Church. Whether you are questioning your beliefs, experiencing doubts about the Church's teachings, or have already made the decision to leave, it can be helpful to seek out resources and perspectives that can help you make sense of your experience.

Whether you're looking for memoirs, critical biographies, or practical advice, there's a book out there that can help you find your way forward. The following books are all aimed towards recovery. While not all are specifically written by Mormons or about Mormonism, each book helped me understand the experience, mindset, and process of leaving the Mormon church.

Educated by Tara Westover

"Educated" by Tara Westover is a memoir that chronicles her upbringing in a strict and abusive Mormon family in rural Idaho, and her journey towards higher education. Despite growing up without formal schooling and with a distrust of the government and medical establishment, Westover eventually earns a PhD from Cambridge University. Along the way, she grapples with questions of family loyalty, identity, and the power of education to transform lives.

No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn Brodie

"No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith" by Fawn Brodie is a critical biography of the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith. The book challenges the official narrative of Smith's life and teachings, and presents a more complex and nuanced portrait of the man and his legacy.

This book may prompt a critical examination of the Church's founding and early history, and raise important questions about the credibility of its claims and teachings.

The End of Faith by Sam Harris

"The End of Faith" by Sam Harris is a book that challenges the idea that religion is a necessary or beneficial aspect of human life. Harris argues that religion has been a source of conflict and suffering throughout human history, and that a rational and scientific approach to ethics and morality is a better alternative.

For those going through a Mormon faith crisis, this book offers a critical perspective on the role of religion in their lives and encourage a reexamination of long-held beliefs and values.

Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer

"Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith" by Jon Krakauer is a book that exposes the dark side of Mormonism and its history of violence. The book challenges the image of the Mormon Church as a peaceful and benevolent organization, and sheds light on some of the darker aspects of its past.

For those going through a Mormon faith crisis, this book may prompt a critical examination of the Church's teachings and practices, and a deeper understanding of its complex and often troubling history.

If you haven't seen the Netflix series for this, add it to your list.

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

"God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" by Christopher Hitchens is a polemic against organized religion and its role in perpetuating ignorance, violence, and oppression. The book argues that religion has been a source of conflict and suffering throughout human history, and that it is a false and dangerous ideology.

This book may offer a provocative and challenging perspective on the nature of faith and the role of religion in society, and may inspire a critical reevaluation of their own beliefs and values.

In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith

"In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith" is a book by Todd Compton that discusses the history of Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy and the experiences of his plural wives. The book provides a detailed and well-researched account of the controversial and complex topic of polygamy in the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The book can be particularly valuable for individuals going through a faith crisis related to Mormonism, as it presents a more complete and nuanced understanding of the early history of the church and its leaders. It may also help readers come to terms with the contradictions and challenges posed by the practice of polygamy, and offer a more empathetic and compassionate view of those who were involved in it.

1984 by George Orwell

"1984" by George Orwell is a dystopian novel that portrays a totalitarian society where individuality and independent thought are suppressed and controlled by the ruling party. The novel explores themes of power, manipulation, and the dangers of unchecked authority.

If you're going through a Mormon faith crisis, this book may offer a cautionary tale about the dangers of unquestioning loyalty to a powerful institution, and the importance of critical thinking and independent thought in resisting oppressive systems of control.