I ordered this book because it popped up while I was ordering Joanna Brooks’ book. I’m so glad I did. I devoured it, feeling much the same elation as I did when I found Times and Seasons. These twenty authors (compiled by Robert A. Rees, published by Signature Books) speak my language.

As I read, I was struck by recurring themes that I want to share with you (this review might be continued):

First, of the twenty, ten are college or university professors, three are physicians, two are lawyers, one is an engineer, two are writers, one is a CFO of a company and one is Charlotte England, wife of Eugene.

Two of those are non-members: Lavinia Fielding Anderson was excommunicated in 1993 because of an article she wrote in Dialogue, although she regularly attends church; and William Russell is a member of the Community of Christ (his inclusion actually creates a discord in the book, I think).

These are the reasons many gave for staying in the church (disclaimer: I could have miscounted because I forgot I’d already checked a category)

1. Never seriously considered leaving the church (“why wouldn’t I stay?”) ~ 7 of the 20

2. Aware of problems and issues (such as racism) (No rose colored glasses) ~ 14 of the 20 (the other 6 didn’t focus on the issues at all)

3. Had familial ties–a generational thing ~ 13 of the 20

4. The gospel makes sense ~ 5 of the 20

5. Love the sense of community and belonging ~ 13 of the 20

6. Had a testimony of the gospel’s overall truthfulness and/or had sacred experiences ~ 15 of the 20

7. Made a commitment/covenant ~ 2 of the 20

8. Church needs maveriks ~ 3 of the 20

I didn’t include William Russell in these numbers because any reasons he gave were for an entirely different church (so I guess it’s “out of 19″).

Karen Rosenbaum gave none of these reasons for staying; she’s still not sure she will.

The book is full of nuggets and conclusions that would validate most of us and I want to share them, but I will do that later. For now, I’ll share this quote from Armand Mauss, one of the contributers: “I have come to understand that living indefinitely with ambiguity is a sign of intellectual maturity, not weakness.”