Book Review: A Case for the Book of Mormon / Callister
When I began to read Tad R. Callister’s book, I honestly could not place what Callister’s intended audience was. As it is a “case” or argument for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, I presumed that it might be for members of other Christian faiths who disbelieve the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. But I soon came to the conclusion that this book is for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also a book for men.
Callister does a thorough job of referencing LDS leaders and teachers, as well as the Maxwell Institute, Hugh Nibley, FAIR Mormon, and various LDS antiquarians. His work is well organized and I have no doubt that he prayed in constructing the book. It is a solid work for believing church members who wish to develop their position on the most often targeted criticisms of the authenticity of the book of Mormon.
The language used by Callister is patriarchal, which is to say, absent of female concerns, critiques or characterisations. While Sidney Rigdon’s testimony is subtitled, Emma Smith’s testimony and witness are only used as support—making her witness feel secondary, rather than primary. You might argue that Callister included Mary Whitmer and Lucy Smith, but he did so only in his references and notes (p152), not as primary witnesses. His reasoning for this is clear, in a table where he has “Confusion in Some of the Christian Wold” in one column, and Truth Clarified or Restored by the Book of Mormon” in an opposing column, under the heading “The Melchizedek Priesthood” he states that only men can hold the priesthood, which to me was disappointing in that it could have been an easy way to include the work of women in the temple.
At the end of the day, this is a good book, and I enjoyed it, but not as much as I had hoped or anticipated. It would be a good gift for the Mormon men in your life, but not a good choice for Mormon women as I did struggle to retain full attention with its patriarchal stylings and tone.