The Latter-day Saints in the Modern-Day World

The Latter-day Saints in the Modern-Day World
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The Latter–day Saints in the Modern–Day World
Author William J. Whalen
New York: The John Day Company, Inc., 1964

The Latter-day Saints in the Modern-Day World

Reviewer David H. Yarn Jr.

Mr. Whalen gives the following titles to the chapters of his book: "Mormonism Today"; "Joseph Smith, Jr."; "The Book of Mormon"; "Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo"; "Brigham Young and His Successors"; "Mormon Theology"; "Are Mormons Protestants?"; "Polygamy"; "Church Organization and the Priesthood"; "Wealth of the Mormon Church"; "Temple Rites"; "Mormonism and Freemasonry"; "Family Life and Welfare Programs"; "The Word of Wisdom"; "Mission System"; "Mormonism and the Negro"; "Brigham Young University"; "Other Latter-day Saints"; and "Mormonism Faces the Future."

In his preface Mr. Whalen says: "Although this is probably not the kind of book which a Mormon missionary would loan to a prospective convert, I have tried to be objective and to sift out the fabrications and myths which characterize many anti-Mormon tracts. I did not write this book as an attack on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints although I have explored subjects which Church authorities would rather leave unmentioned."

Although in many places he seems to achieve his goal very well, in others, regrettably, he falls far short of his stated ideal. Nevertheless, he seems to have attained a rather remarkable grasp of many contemporary aspects of the Church and its operation. Even here, however, he makes many errors of interpretation and errors of fact.

For example, on page 143 he says: "The Church also allows anyone to hold this office [bishop] who can prove he is a lineal descendant of Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews, even though he has not undergone Mormon ordination." This statement is incorrect. No one has authority to act in the name God merely by lineal descent. He must be ordained by one who is God's legal administrator. The unique aspect of a lineal descendant's being called to be bishop is that he may serve without counselors whereas others called to that office must have counselors.

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