Of Faith and Reason



     “Michael R. Ash has once again authored a masterpiece that is a welcomed follow up to his fantastic volume Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidence Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith is not only a delight to read but an accessible and approachable work that offers something for all readers regardless of their understanding of LDS apologetics or scholarship. From those who are just being introduced to the subject to the seasoned LDS apologist on the front lines of online message boards and chat rooms, this book is a must read for any Latter-day Saint interested in learning about the latest scholarly material supporting the claims of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
     “...Perhaps the most amiable thing about Mike’s book is how simple, to the point, and matter-of-factly Mike presents his information. This makes his book an easy and enjoyable read. Coupled with ample documentation and an appendix outlining various ancient literary corpuses, Mike also stays true to scholarly catholicity. In short, Of Faith and Reason is a must read! A fine book that offers powerful and not so easily dismissible evidence for the Prophet Joseph Smith,” (Steve Smoot, An American Testament Blog, posted 28 December 2008). A video review can be found on YouTube.


     “I think Mike has done a great service by taking items from a variety of sources and compiling them in one book, just hitting the high points. Although I have encountered nothing so far with which I was not already familiar, there is a certain power in just covering hit after hit after hit after hit. When all together in one place, this book becomes a solid defense brief for Joseph Smith's prophetic calling. Nice work, Mike!” (“Consiglieri,” posted 16 February 2009 on the Mormon Apologetic and Discussion Board).


     “There are plenty of LDS apologetic articles available via FAIR and FARMS, for those who are interested in in-depth study. This somewhat slim but, info-packed volume provides clear and concise evidences for the prophetic work of Joseph Smith, but in a more general form. It gives an expansive overview of the current apologetic reasoning, without the exhaustive detail that isn‘t everyone's ‘cup of tea.’ There are footnotes for further study, should you wish to learn more about a certain subject. Overall, I‘m very impressed with this work, and it is a great resource for those seeking a general overview,” (GreySeal, posted 29 May 2009 at Amazon).


     “While retuning from Utah, I had the opportunity to read (while flying) Michael Ash’s new book entitled Of Faith and Reason (80 evidences supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith). I learned a few new things but for the most part was reminded of things which I had forgotten. ...I enjoyed the book very much,” (“Pa Pa,” posted 13 July 2009 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


     “I have the book and have read it and enjoyed it. ...Part of the value of Mike’s book is that it does deal with more consistent and supportable evidences....,” (Brant A. Gardner, author of Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, posted 14 July 2009 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


     “I believe Latter-day Saints can benefit by becoming more familiar with much of what Ash includes. ....Hopefully, Of Faith and Reason encourages readers to become more interested in the overall conversation. And Ash includes much evidence that critics of the Book of Mormon still haven't accounted for, or that many members are even aware of yet. Ash has a knack for turning difficult academic subjects into accessible and engaging topics for the average reader. His book traverses a lot of already-covered ground, but this is ground the average Latter-day Saint is unlikely to have traveled yet. For that reason Ash’s book is a worthwhile publication and he hopes to bring many of these evidences out of obscurity and darkness to help readers better appreciate the valuable revelations of Joseph Smith,” (Life on Gold Plates blog, posted 25 September 2009).


     “...I start seeing this book laying around the house so finally one day I picked it up and started reading out of complete boredom. That was a good move. The book is called Of Faith and Reason; 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith by Michael R. Ash and while we know our testimony of the gospel is to be determined with prayer and not based on just ‘facts,’ this was super interesting to read and really did strengthen my testimony,” (Give More-Worry Less blog, posted 2 October 2009).


     “Ash presents the evidence succinctly, and his writing is highly engaging. He is especially talented at summarizing complex ideas in a clear and intelligent manner. ....This is one of the places where Ash's skill as a writer and an abridger of Latter-day Saint scholarship shines. ....Ash's book ...is a commendable attempt to distill some of the evidences currently available supporting the restoration and the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith. Ash should be lauded for bringing together these faith-affirming evidences into a single, handy volume that can be enjoyed both by those just learning about the work of Latter-day Saint scholars and by seasoned veterans of LDS apologetics and scholarship. I highly recommend Ash's book for those who are seeking wisdom by study and also by faith,” (Stephen O. Smoot, “The Faith and Reason of Michael R. Ash,” The FARMS Review 21:2 [2009], pp. 225-237).


     “Warmly recommended,” (Louis Midgley, “Editor's Introduction: The Wedding of Athens and Jerusalem: An Evangelical Perplexity and a Latter-day Saint Answer,” The FARMS Review 21:2 [2009], p. xliii).


     “[Shaken Faith Syndrome] is an excellent book that covers some of the issues that one might encounter that might shake one’s faith. If you are interested in those issues, or helping someone through those issues, it is a very good book. If you are more interested in apologetics (defending the faith) and would like to have a wider base, then Ash’s equally good Faith and Reason would be the better for you. Both are good, it depends upon what you want from the book,” (Brant Gardner, posted 12 September 2009 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


     “Dittos to the recommendations [of the books Shaken Faith Syndrome and Of Faith and Reason]. I hope the book gets wide circulation, and think that it can be quite helpful to many people,” (Dr. Daniel Peterson [author of Muhammad: Prophet of God, the editor of the FARMS Review by BYU’s Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship, and the owner/operator of MormonScholarsTestify.com website] posted 12 September 2009 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).