Review of Beyond Mormonism: An Elder's Story

Jim Spencer had turned from the emptiness of the world to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he found meaning and purpose. He became the pillar of a good Mormon family, a missionary who taught Gospel Doctrine classes and a respected elder in the Melchizadek Priesthood.

Then Spencer began facing a series of troubling questions. . .

" Despite the lovely image of a typical Mormon family, why were divorce and suicide and child abuse so rampant, and why did no one really get close to one another?

" What were the reasons behind three different Mormon organizations, each claiming to be the One True church, and each declaring the others to be apostate?

" Why was his church-affiliated college so isolationist, so unable to converse honestly with students about relationships and problems?

" Why did he continue to feel so troubled by the secret ceremony at the temple that was to be the height of his spiritual experience as a Mormon?

" Worst of all, if he had entered the inner circle of God's True Church, why did he begin to feel again a nagging sense of emptiness?

To leave the Church would mean social rejection by the community in which Spencer was not only a member, but a leader. "My daughter's father is a Mormon Elder," his wife told him. "If you leave the Church, you leave your family."
So when Spencer began finding some surprising answers beyond Mormonism, he had to ask himself: "Was he willing to pay that high a price--and for what return?