The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic

The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic I m not sure what just happened here I read this book, The Lost Book of Mormon, because I read Avi Steinberg s previous book, Running the Books, and liked it That was about Steinberg s experiences as a prison librarian, a job he fell into after college The Lost Book of Mormon, is not a book I would otherwise have considered reading, as I m not really interested in the subject, which is The Book of Mormon.Steinberg, who spent part of his youth in an Orthodox Jewish seminary, does not appear to I m not sure what just happened here I read this book, The Lost Book of Mormon, because I read Avi Steinberg s previous book, Running the Books, and liked it That was about Steinberg s experiences as a prison librarian, a job he fell into after college The Lost Book of Mormon, is not a book I would otherwise have considered reading, as I m not really interested in the subject, which is The Book of Mormon.Steinberg, who spent part of his youth in an Orthodox Jewish seminary, does not appear to be considering converting to Mormonism He is just fascinated by the storytelling of the book written by Joseph Smith in the mid 19th century Smith, as Steinberg tells it, was quite the con man and hustler, trying a variety of money making schemes throughout his life And he was a heck of a yarn spinner as well, spending years writing the Book of Mormon and traveling to Jerusalem, Guatemala, and Missouri on the way.Steinberg travels in Smith s footsteps in order toI don t know It s entertaining, hearing about the Australian and American extended families he accompanies on a bus tour of the Mayan towns that Smith tells of in his book There are amusing episodes in Jerusalem and in Missouri as Steinberg participates in historic re enactments But the whole thing is heavy with Steinberg s underlying gloom He mentions in passing that his new marriage seems doomed Is this whole escapade a midlife crisis Even if it is, you could still enjoy the story for its entertainment and informational value, but every so often it takes a weird turn that left me uneasy The final example of that weirdness is when Steinberg meets a teenage aspiring writer at a book signing of Steinberg s previous book Steinberg befriends the young man and they hang out together for a few days, smoking dope, going to a rave, getting naked It has nothing to do with Steinberg s The Book of Mormon quest, and seems an odd way to end the book Really odd Steinberg has a way with words and can tell a good story but I can t imagine who I would recommend this book to An oddball of a book not so much about the Book of Mormon as about the imaginative faculties required to create the Book of Mormon, in whatever sense you want to understand the verb create Plus a lot of exploration of just how strange the book s story is I had somehow missed the part before this where the good guys flee Jerusalem and end up in Guatemala, allegedly right around the time all these Mesoamerican tribes we study are getting their civilizations started Steinberg is unabashedly s An oddball of a book not so much about the Book of Mormon as about the imaginative faculties required to create the Book of Mormon, in whatever sense you want to understand the verb create Plus a lot of exploration of just how strange the book s story is I had somehow missed the part before this where the good guys flee Jerusalem and end up in Guatemala, allegedly right around the time all these Mesoamerican tribes we study are getting their civilizations started Steinberg is unabashedly self indulgent here as a writer there s wayabout him, his failed romantic life, his ex Orthodox life, his impressions of others on the Mormon memorial trail , but he s also wonderfully funny and turns quite a bitthan a few good sentences And the section where he masquerades as someone else during the recreation pageant, though it seems a little worked up so it can be in the book, is hilarious and yet poignant What a fun crazy journey But i m still sticking this book in my Religious Crap Section Sorry Avi.What a great idea for a book Retrace the accounts written about in the Book Of Mormon From Jerusalem in 580 B.C To Meso America Gautamala Then way up to Rochester New York Then wait a few thousands years For Joseph Smith to dig up some FOOLS gold in the 1820 s Then wander with the Mormon s towards Salt Lake City Not exactly a noble questof a fools errand, and that s where A What a fun crazy journey But i m still sticking this book in my Religious Crap Section Sorry Avi.What a great idea for a book Retrace the accounts written about in the Book Of Mormon From Jerusalem in 580 B.C To Meso America Gautamala Then way up to Rochester New York Then wait a few thousands years For Joseph Smith to dig up some FOOLS gold in the 1820 s Then wander with the Mormon s towards Salt Lake City Not exactly a noble questof a fools errand, and that s where Avi Steinberg comes in I was hoping he would vacation in the Salt Lake Temple but no invitations were given by the current prophet Although millions have done this journey for the Bible already Their stories needed Avi s humor and fellow journeyers I was just listening today to a ministry that promises a joyous romp through Jerusalem and Rome to follow in the steps of the New Testament I hate walking and travelling so that s a big NO for now The best thing in this whole book is the Mormon Map in the front Naked mermaids, A penguin standing on the Hill Cumorah in Meso America , A much needed labelling stating Here Be Dragons , and Darth Vader s Tie Fighter Chasing Luke Skywalker s X Wing That is really the heart of this book and why I enjoyed it anybody seriously know how to spell TIE FIGHTER properly Is that correct Is it bad that I care Avi manages to get every necessary jab at the ludicrousy of Mormonism From endless polygamy to war horses and con artists I was worried maybe he would befriend a Mormon or 2,000 and twist the truth to make them look like Ummmh people who get their religion from heavy gold tablets with very poorly abused Egyptian hieroglyphics that rot in long lost hills for centuries and cause people to wear magic underwear and get their religion translated from a Magicians Hat I couldn t make up a better story if I tried And that is really the brilliance of Avi s book That Joseph Smith wrote a very imaginative heroic American literary Harry Potter like tale but then he swore it was fully endorsed by the Jesus of the Bible that bit is just blasphemous Reminds me of Dan Brown s The Da Vinci Code, A novel that later got promoted as truth every NON scholar for a generation gobbled it up as divine Apparently they ve all moved on to Fifty Shades of Mommy Porn so Christianity is once again safe Relatively speaking of course.A wise funny old saying Questionably wise anyway Never let the truth get in the way of a good story To get all the serious theological issues out of the way Is the Book of Mormon a con job by J Smith Or a Demon inspired blasphemous distraction of truth That gets my Vegas bet Or just a poorly written American Tale, like an early steam punk hack at the Bible Avi might have 2 on this one Personally, I ve read the Bible many times love it, talking donkeys and floating Zoo s , and i ve attempted to finish trudging through the sewer of literature that is the Book of Mormonno, IT HASN T COME TO PASS YET Apparently the Mormon s have been desperately attempting to turn the B.o.M into a motion picture success It worked for Harry Potter and a bunch of Vampire Werewolf love triangles I would be much obliged if somebody could sum up the B.o.M in a feisty 3 hour movie maybe for those endless credits at the end they could just post ALL of the And it came to pass moments, for the dedicated few to sit through I loved Avi s very dynamic descriptions of the Mormons he came across in his journey s, especially his mates in the Mormon production in New York Greg who may have been the Greatest King Noah in the history of Mormon Theater And Uncle Hugh in Meso America who may have taken up eternal residence in the original Hill Cumorah I must say This is the best way to truly learn about any religion A belief system with no comedy is bound to end upNazi than Nazareth If God can t laugh once and awhile He would be a very depressing deity who I wouldn t want to spend an eternity with.Thankfully this book has not caused Avi or I to become Mormons I still appreciate the Biblethan ever And I recommend Avi now do an Islamic Journey about the mythical historical bits of the Quran and Muhammad but it s a known fact Muslims don t appreciate humor around their religion, and you would be put to death for that map bit in the front of your book Thankfully us Fundamental Bible loving Christians generally have a great sense of humor we have flaming flying chariots but no naked mermaids that we know of I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a honest review An VERY honest review this book shall get I m not Mormon, but I m Christian and do believe in God When I first read this book, I was slightly curious to see what it was all about My first impression upon receiving it in the mail, I thought it was ABOUT and SUPPORTING the Mormon culture Whether that was the author s intention or not, I felt like all the author did was mock, make fun of, and insult Mormons and even I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for a honest review An VERY honest review this book shall get I m not Mormon, but I m Christian and do believe in God When I first read this book, I was slightly curious to see what it was all about My first impression upon receiving it in the mail, I thought it was ABOUT and SUPPORTING the Mormon culture Whether that was the author s intention or not, I felt like all the author did was mock, make fun of, and insult Mormons and even subtly hinted the same behavior towards Christianity.The book was wrong Very wrong Historically and factually speaking, making it irritating and annoying to read since the author was writing way off the radar A lot of it felt like an endless, pointless rant of boredom and stupidity I don t even know how I managed to get through reading it all, but I at least wanted to finish it so that I could honestly give it one star Needless the say, this book failed to impress miserably The only happy part that came from this book was the relief to finally throw it away when I was done.I don t recommend reading it I thought this book would be a great way to understand WHY Mormons believe what they do, because I m genuinely curious, though I don t believe myself at all There is some factual stuff in here, though I truly don t know how accurate it is It s pretty much just making fun of Mormons, though AND Christians It makes me uncomfortable to read about someone making a joke out of my Savior, Jesus It s a great deal of the author rambling about various things connected to The Book of Mormon sometimes I thought this book would be a great way to understand WHY Mormons believe what they do, because I m genuinely curious, though I don t believe myself at all There is some factual stuff in here, though I truly don t know how accurate it is It s pretty much just making fun of Mormons, though AND Christians It makes me uncomfortable to read about someone making a joke out of my Savior, Jesus It s a great deal of the author rambling about various things connected to The Book of Mormon sometimes VERY mildly connected I tried to keep an open mind I really did I m setting this one aside, though Content I stopped about a third of the way through There were 2 F bombs used within quotes I won t be reading anything by James Frey, by the way There wasmild profanity, too This is the FRESHEST book on the magical, mystical, mysterious origin and publication of The Book of Mormon since Fawn Brodie s 1945 psycho biography, No Man Knows My History A Life of Joseph Smith Just as Brodie focused attention not on the content of the book but on its historical era and on the personality of its author Steinberg recognizes Joseph Smith as a fellow aspiring author with a boundless imagination.Born in Jerusalem and raised in Cleveland, Steinberg says The Book of Mormon s This is the FRESHEST book on the magical, mystical, mysterious origin and publication of The Book of Mormon since Fawn Brodie s 1945 psycho biography, No Man Knows My History A Life of Joseph Smith Just as Brodie focused attention not on the content of the book but on its historical era and on the personality of its author Steinberg recognizes Joseph Smith as a fellow aspiring author with a boundless imagination.Born in Jerusalem and raised in Cleveland, Steinberg says The Book of Mormon should be respected as part of the American Canon of Great Books.Supposedly discovered by Joseph Smith and engraved on golden plates, Steinberg says The Book of Mormon can be read as a story of American assimilation It sounded like the backstory to every Jewish American novel of the twentieth century Whether you re a Believer, a Backslider, or Couldn t Care Less, this book succeeds in showing what it s really like to live among Mormons As a fellow aspiring Author and resident for 30 freaking Years of the State of Deseret aka Utah, I salute Steinberg s accomplishment Without resorting to caricature, he has created an instant classic of Mormonism in practice.Forinfo, here s a link to my work in progress, Sidetracked My 30 Year Ordeal Behind the Zion Curtain First this book is barely classifiable It is a travelogue, exploration of the BOM as a sequel, a memoir, a psychological exploration of writing in general, a religious book, an outline of the BOM, and anthropological study So if any of that appeals to you, read the book If not, put it down Avi Steinberg is not a Mormon, as such you may expect him to make fun of Mormons and generally discredit the whole shebang Which he does..NOT I felt that he genuinely suspended his disbelief and ap First this book is barely classifiable It is a travelogue, exploration of the BOM as a sequel, a memoir, a psychological exploration of writing in general, a religious book, an outline of the BOM, and anthropological study So if any of that appeals to you, read the book If not, put it down Avi Steinberg is not a Mormon, as such you may expect him to make fun of Mormons and generally discredit the whole shebang Which he does..NOT I felt that he genuinely suspended his disbelief and approached the subject as an author and as a missionary albeit with a very different idea of a mission than a Mormon His portraits of the Mormon s he encounters paint them as generous, understanding and generally likable This has been my general experience with people of the Mormon faith as well However, if you are a devout believer this, or any other book that is not produced from the position of a believer, will probably leave you cold So leave it then Personally, I liked it The book for me was enjoyable, but I like all of the categories listed above The memior category is a bit difficult for me as at times most memoriests, Avi included, sometimes get a bit off the track and into their thier own psyches I enjoyed the parts of the book that dealt with the actual content of the BOM and Avi s retracing of the historical fictional places and anthropology behind the BOM I have never read the BOM, however, after this book I have a fairly good sense of the story, characters and the locations I ve picked up the BOM a few times, only to put it down as a poorly written version of the Bible Hebrew and New Testaments both So thanks to Avi I feel like I finally know what is in the darn thing The Lost Book of Mormon was an intensely thoughtful, introspective, well written travelogue meditation on Joseph Smith s book as one or all of the sequel to the Bible, the Great American Novel TM , an American gothic, and or the most audacious first novel written by an American author.I am not a Mormon and only have limited information on the real Book and the history of Joseph Smith, but I was fascinated by the premise of Smith as first time author and the self deprecating comparisons betwe The Lost Book of Mormon was an intensely thoughtful, introspective, well written travelogue meditation on Joseph Smith s book as one or all of the sequel to the Bible, the Great American Novel TM , an American gothic, and or the most audacious first novel written by an American author.I am not a Mormon and only have limited information on the real Book and the history of Joseph Smith, but I was fascinated by the premise of Smith as first time author and the self deprecating comparisons between Steinberg and his subject Like The Book of Mormon or Kevin Smith s Dogma for the Catholic crowd , Steinberg s book is witty, humorous and irreverent, but I felt that his book was a deeper literary analysis of and evenrespectful of the religion itself than the foregoing media representatives While the history, the religious comparisons and he literary criticism was interesting, what ultimately kept me riveted was both how deeply heartfelt and personal Steinberg made this book as well as his incredibly entertaining phrasing, perspective and overall voice.This is not normally a genre that I read, but when I read something this thought provoking and well written, I will read anything However, I recognize that the genre or the subject matter may not make this book for everyone If you are looking for a comparison, I think the musical is an inapt one Rather, I d compare this book and Steinberg himself to Chuck Klosterman, if Klosterman was previously ultra religious, was now secular and chose to write about modern religion and literature A witty and probing travelogue through the landscapes associated with the Book of Mormon, one the most enduring and influential works of American literatureIs the Book of Mormon the Great American Novel Decades before Ishmael s ship embarked on its search for Moby Dick, before Huck Finn set out on his adventures along the Mississippi, a farm hand and child seer named Joseph Smith unearthed a long buried book from a haunted hill in western New York State, a discovery that radically transformed his life and that marked the ambitious start of the American literary project Using his prophetic gift, Joseph translated the mysterious book which told of an epic hidden history of ancient America, a story about a family that fled biblical Jerusalem and took a boat to the New World and published it under the title The Book of Mormon The book caused an immediate sensation, sparking anger and violence, boycotts and jealousy, curiosity and wonder, and launched Joseph on a wild, decades long adventure across the American West Today, the Book of Mormon, one of the most widely circulating works of American literature, continues to cause controversy which is why most of us know very little about the story it tells Avi Steinberg wants to change that A fascinated nonbeliever, Steinberg spent a year and a half on a personal quest, traveling the path laid out by Joseph s epic From Jerusalem, where the Book of Mormon opens with a bloody murder, to the ruined Maya cities of Central America the setting for most of the Book of Mormon s ancient story where Steinberg gallivanted with a boisterous bus tour of believers exploring Maya archaeological sites for evidence From there, to upstate New York, where he participated in the true Book of Mormon musical, the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, an elaborate dramatization of the saga staged directly on the hill where Joseph unearthed the book and finally to the center of the American continent, Jackson County, Missouri, the spot Joseph identified as none other than the site of the Garden of Eden Threaded through this quirky travelogue is an argument for taking the Book of Mormon seriously as a work of American imagination, as a story about us And also an answer to the question Why are we so afraid of the Book of Mormon Literate and funny, personal and provocative, the genre bending Lost Book of Mormon boldly explores our deeply human impulse to write bibles and discovers the abiding power of story Anyone who is using my name to give one star ratings to books I love you are breaking the law, as well as acting completely against the spirit of Goodreads You should be ashamed of yourself I have notified Goodreads as well as an old college friend who happens to be a particularly aggressive criminal prosecutor Good luck This book is hilarious and moving In my opinion, it will be beloved by anyone who is a Melville fan or cares about the Great American Novel I am a professional writer.

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