Terryl Givens's new bookMormonism (Or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints): What Everyone Needs to Know is a resource guide that seeks to explain the LDS Church's history, beliefs, and practices, and in so doing clarifies items of confusion and controversy. The book is organized into topic-driven chapters (such as “History,” “Polygamy,” “Organization,” and “Conflicts and Challenges”), which unfold in a question-and-answer format. The questions Givens tackles range from predictable (“Why did the Latter-day Saints practice polygamy?” “What is the church's relationship to Christianity?”) to unexpected (“What do Latter-day Saint scriptures teach about peace and war?” “Does Mormonism have its own literary tradition?”) to being in apparent conversation with The Book of Mormon: The Musical (“What is Kolob?” “Do Latter-day Saints believe the Garden of Eden is in Missouri?”). The responses are typically 1–2 pages in length.

Givens is an obvious expert on this subject: he is...

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