Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review- The Mormon Theocracy by Randall Morris

Review by Angella Graff

The Mormon Theocracy is a published document containing two articles by Randall Morris.  I received the review request of this particular document through a facebook page.  Mr. Morris stated that someone had reviewed his document, criticizing it for length and content however, the person had not read the document.

I immediately took interest in the piece, not just because the unfairness of a one-star review by a person who had never read the document, but also because anything non-fiction regarding history and theology is intriguing to me.  I took into consideration the claims made by the first reviewer, stating that due to length the article could not possibly present enough research or information to make it worth purchasing or reading.

I had my hesitations regarding the article.  As a whole, anyone who knows me knows my history with the LDS church, and my disappointment regarding Prop 8 in California, and I was a little unsure if Morris was going to be able to present the information from a biased standpoint with just documented information present.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by my entire experience when reading this work.  The article, in my opinion, was the perfect length.  It had several sources, all cited, quoted and documented.  It presented just the amount of information necessary to present and back up the ideas presented in the document.  With the cited sources and several links, the reader can then choose to explore the topic further, or stop with the information Morris had given.

The article was also presented in a very non-biased way, keeping it true to article form, and any indication of the author's personal beliefs were absent from the piece.  It's exactly what I hoped to have read, and it happily proved the former reviewer wrong in the claims that the article wasn't well researched or long enough to present enough information.

I spoke with Morris later, to discuss the article, and we both found ourselves in agreement over the idea that research articles need to be novel-length.  Informative articles don't need to be the length of a published thesis.

To give a little information on the articles, the first is a basic history of the Mormon Theocracy in the Utah government, where it began, the shift when the US government started to take over, and the remnants of theocracy seen today in the state.  The article contains quotes from actual documents by church leaders and others, and gives the perfect amount of information for a reader to get some idea of the history and the role the church plays in the Utah government.

The second article compares philosophical ideas of Gregory Palmas from other philosophers, including philosophers from the ancient Greeks.  The article, while short, again presents just the right amount of information for the reader, and provides many, many sources for further information should the reader choose to continue their research on the topic.

As a historian and theologian, I feel quite comfortable giving these articles five out of five stars.  I found them to be well written, and I have to say it's a shame these weren't written while I was still in college, because they would have served many purposes in many of my theology classes.

You can find the articles here at Randall Morris' amazon page, along with several other works.  I look forward to reading more articles written by Mr Morris, and wish him all the best in his future writing endeavors.

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