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Publisher's Summary

The next time that squeaky clean pair of LDS elders comes knocking on your door, they're in for a surprise! Find out the secrets the Mormon Church would rather you didn't know (and for which they paid plenty of money to keep hushed up unsuccessfully!)

In this first book of The Complete Heretic's Guide to World Religion series, historian and award-winning atheist author Dave Fitzgerald takes us behind the Salt Lake curtain for a glimpse at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and answers your questions: Where did this multi-billion dollar tax-exempt corporation come from? Did Joseph Smith really sleep with all those women? Are the Mormons going to take over the whole world, and if so, is there any way to stop them?

But that's not all! Learn about the bizarre, oxymoronic world of Mormon archeology and discover their strange beliefs - not just all the crazy stuff you already know, but all the truly twisted things you never even suspected - including the astounding shocking skeletons rattling around in the closet of the Mormon church hierarchy.

Don't miss out on this fun, informative and painstakingly researched historical romp by the highly praised and award-winning author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed at All. So when the missionaries show up on your doorstep, you'll have plenty to discuss with them.... Later days, Saints!

The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion. Because religion isn't just wrong. It's hilarious.

©2013 David Fitzgerald (P)2013 Dogma Debate, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amusing treatment, but narration problems

The subject matter of the book is good; I didn't learn anything new, but the presentation was very amusingly written. For those not familiar with Mormonism from the outside, it's a good overview, if perhaps a little cheeky.

However, the narrator's constant and consistent mispronunciations often threw me out of the narrative. If you are going to do a book about Mormonism, at least learn to pronounce some of the place names, personal names, and words correctly. Just a few examples:

Mormon specific:
- Palmyra (pal-MY-rah, not pal-MEE-rah -- I live about 30 minutes away from it)
- Deseret (DEZ-er-et, not DESS-er-et - like "desert")

Names:
- Ervil LeBaron, not Evril LeBaron (to be charitable, he may have been reading a typo)
- Jon Krakauer (KRA-kow-er, not "cracker")

Normal words:
- Sheepishly, not sheeplishly
- Prodigal (PRAH-dih-gul) son, not prodigial (prah-DIHJ-ee-al) son

There are many, many other examples, but this shows a certain lack of direction and editing, as well as some ignorance by the narrator.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Hilarious and disturbing history.

The author has an ax to grind, and he sharpens his ax beautifully. It's funny and well documented, full of illuminating history from the goofy and occasionally violent days of the Mormons.

A less than stellar reading, though. Although the narrator is a likable radio host, he offers many cringe-worthy mispronunciations that detract from the flow. ("Ec cetera" is particularly jarring, as it occurs in the text frequently. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, then buy the book.) I had to decode "cholera" when it was pronounced ko-LER-uh. I lost half a paragraph figuring that out.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The weak link is the narrator.

Fitzgerald did an incredible amount of research for this. He puts it together well, he's as respectful and measured as he can be here. It is a great cultural history and examination. The only weak link is Smalley's narration. On his podcast he's effective and articulate. Reading a prepared work, he is at times stilted and clumsy. He outright pronounces a few words just plain wrong, and he continues to do so throughout the work. It can be a bit distracting.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

The lunatic movement that gave rise to Scientology

What made the experience of listening to The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

well documented facts

What did you like best about this story?

that it is true, and that it reveals so much about the ethical and character failings of our forefathers. Also, that it is an obvious template for L Ron Hubbard's lunatic Scientology narrative of Xenu and his other crazy stories, that constitute Scientology's so-called theology, and also the CoS business model of 'tithing', by cash or slavery.

Which character – as performed by David Smalley – was your favorite?

Joseph Smith, Jr.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is disturbing that a lecherous, thieving liar like Joseph Smith, Jr., was able to attract any following at all. As to whether this is a Christian religion - read his own words that there is no one God - Mormonism is a polytheistic religion! A total rejection of the Abrahamic tradition.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent narrative! (I'm Mormon...)

This narrative was absolutely riveting to me as a Mormon! After the Church published the gospel topics essays revealing previously suppressed information, I realized I had to consult outside sources for the entire truth. Its time we know the true history of the one true church of God on earth.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great for those leaving the church or who really want to know about the REAL church

As a person who has recently left the church, although unofficially this book has shed additional light on who the real Joseph Smith was as well as those around him. Especially his family. It made me angry. It made me embarrassed and I shed quite a few tears. A must read for anyone questioning the church. The only thing that sort of drove me crazy was the narrators lack of getting the names of key people and places both in the BOM and in real life pronounced correctly. Example: Provo, Mosiah, Abinadi, Palmyra, just to name a few. Silly, but it did drive me crazy. 9.5 out of 10.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A witty skewering of Mormon history & culture

Growing up in southwest Wyoming, about 3 hours from Salt Lake City, I knew lots of Mormon kids. As a sheltered Catholic girl, I viewed their religion with suspicion. They believed in Jesus, but not the RIGHT Jesus, and had kooky beliefs (at least compared to more familiar, mainstream Christian culture.)

As a secular adult fascinated by religious movements and the psychology of belief, I dabbled in Mormon history and in problems with the scriptures fabricated - I mean, translated - by Joseph Smith. From David Fitzgerald's entertaining book, I learned much more about the Mormons and had a great time doing it.

Fitzgerald begins with Joseph Smith's checkered (and decidedly unholy) past and traces Mormon migrations up until Brigham Young led them to Utah. He delves into the controversial aspects of Mormon beliefs - the early practice of polygamy (and how Church leaders covered it up), pre-mortal existence, convoluted beliefs about the afterlife, secret temple rituals and sealings.

Fitzgerald poked plenty of fun at the Mormon church, but on a deeper level, his book highlighted the dangers of a maligned group of outsiders becoming paranoid and insular. His account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre was riveting and horrifying.

The funniest parts of the book described Mark Hofmann robbing the church of thousands of dollars with his historical forgeries, and how con-man Joseph Smith was bested by cons specifically set up to trap him. (He proudly asserted to a visiting English clergyman his ancient Greek psalter was actually a Greek-Egyptian dictionary.)

To my fellow apostates: Treat kindly any Mormon missionaries who come to your door. The church puts those poor kids through hell.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very shocking and eye opening

As a recently apostate mormon this has been quite an eye opener. I definitely recommend! I rate 5 stars for sure!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Cant wait for the next of the author's books

Any additional comments?

Mr. Fitzgerald needs to read his own books! I always prefer to have the author read their own work, and when you have a speaker as good as David Fitzgerald it's a letdown not to hear it from his own voice.

Anyone not already familiar with Mr. Fitzgerald needs to look him up and hear him speak!

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic!

This guy knows his stuff. Im at the end of a long line of Mormons and to hear the whole story is just invigorating. Between this book and the naked Mormonism podcast, those poor kids on bikes are toast.



3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 07-18-13

Excellent

Would you listen to The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion, Book One: The Mormons again? Why?

So much detail one listen is not enough!

What did you like best about this story?

Everything from start to finish!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The detailed account of modern day mormonism.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs C Garstang
  • 07-16-15

A missed opportunity

What disappointed you about The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion, Book One: The Mormons?

I was very interested to find out more about the belief system behind the Mormon religion. This book dragged it out to a point that I couldn't make it to the end of the book. The drab narration didn't help!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • 04-13-15

A must read for any Mormon, or ex-Mormon

What about David Smalley’s performance did you like?

This would have been 5-stars across the board except for Mr Smalley's mispronunciation of names and places, for example he pronounces Heber as "hehber" when it's actual pronunciation is "heeber". Many such examples throughout the reading. Any good news reader should do research into his subject ... I can't imagine BBC getting something like this wrong!

Any additional comments?

I was born into a jack-Mormon family but was encouraged to do Sunday School, Boy Scouts, Aaronic priesthood along with my friends. I fell out with the church in my early teens when my bishop couldn't explain why different religions could all claim that God was on their side but not the other. I then wandered between religions for many years, eventually to become an Atheist. Listening to this book has opened my eyes in so many ways and made me really quite angry about all the lies I was told as a youngster making me SOOO glad I have put religion behind me. I think all formal religions, regardless of the label attached (e.g. Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, whatever), are divisive and dangerous. Humanism is the only way forward.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • FBCOL
  • 03-22-15

Morons oops Mormons

How can so many million educated people be taken completely in by this obviously bogus cult. "God" help America and the rest of us.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-18

Fascinating - never knew that!

Who knew that the Mormons were that far up on the crazy scale that they would give the Scientologists a good go? The brutal history of Joseph Smith and the Church of Latter Day Saints makes the Crusades look like a Sunday school picnic. Well researched and full of fascinating facts.