Date of Award

5-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Philip L. Barlow

Abstract

The Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University has in its collection an infamous book that is talked about by both Mormons and non-Mormons alike: the first edition of Bruce R. McCon.1de'sMormonDoctrine.l Shocking and controversial when it first appeared in print for its characterization of the Catholic Church, among other controversial assessments, I had heard about it myself growing up as a member of the L.D.S. Church in various tales of Mormon folklore. McConkie's penchant for brusque, un-apologetic apologetics and bold declarations of the truth of the Mormon faith was legendary. One day, as I perused the book in the Library, I noticed several notes scribbled in pencil throughout the book. The first such scribbling reads "[Mormon Doctrine] IS F_KED Anti­ christian Bulls_t.,,2 He continues his assessment of McConkie's work by writing: This book is total bulls_t made up by emotional fools! If you mormons had enough guts to examine your religion with facts and objectivity - not emotion, you would fmd that it was totally created bl men. It is a marriage of Christianity and freemasonry, wed by utter irrationality. What follows on a dozen subsequent pages is a critical and hostile interpretation of Mormon theology and culture as the unknown Roman Catholic reacts to the content of Bruce McConkie's assessment of his faith.4 On the other hand, McConkie writes that Roman Catholic beliefs are "senseless, unintelligent, and incomprehensible." He states, with a thinly veiled attack on those who believe in such things, "Enlightened persons can judge for themselves...,,6 In response to this, our unknown writer scribbles, "The catholic church does not attack others ­ does not defend its validity through aggression, Mormonism does, so does the devil!"

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