Item # 1 For 2004:

Can One Learn of

Ultimate Truth from Reading Others' Words on the Subject?


On the face of it, the idea may seem absurd.  Capital-T Truth is not available for purchase at the local booksellers.

However.  If one person has some specific insights, and another has other insights, and they write about their insights, there certainly is value in reading their works.  Is there not?

Maybe.  What I got from all the contradictory afterlife insights in reading the literature on that topic was the distinct notion that the afterlife, as seen in near-death and other visions, conforms itself to whatever people expect it to be.  There is no physical, factual evidence behind those testimonies, in other words.  

Does that mean there is nothing?  No, it does not prove any such thing.  It could simply mean that what there is is really and truly ineffable, as often claimed, and describing aspects of it in words and concepts familiar to us is a gross waste of time and effort.  But given the huge demand for a notion of life after life, no matter what the content, as long as it has the right title and cover-endorsements it sells very well, as witnessed by my bookshelves.

Perhaps the same will be true for the big-T version of Truth, under which umbrella I park such things as consciousness, sentience, existence, reality, God, the Universe, etc.

So, now you have two choices:


1.    If you would rather not read what I learned from all these books and just want to read my bottom line, click here: Go to "Bottom-Line Page", or . . .

2.    If you would like to see what I read, and read about what I think I learned from what I read, keep scrolling down:  Click on the author-title lines to read my reviews and impressions  (note that I am populating this list in two parts, first a more general part, and next a part to do with books addressing these same issues but bringing in or commenting on views from my former religious pursuasion).



Author (Publisher, Date)



 Sources reflecting a variety of points of view: religious and irreligious.


Why Religion Matters, The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief

Huston Smith (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001)


Skeptics and True Believers, the Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion

Chet Raymo (MJF Books, New York, 1998)


Encyclopedia of Religion on Dionysius the Areopagyte

Mircea Eliade, Ed. in Chief (MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1987)



Hermann Hesse, (MJF Books, New York, 1951)


The Encyclopedia of Religion on the Afterlife

 Mircea Eliade, Ed. in Chief (MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1987)


Cleansing the Doors of Perception; The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals

Huston Smith, (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 2000)


The Hidden Face of God; How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth

Gerald L. Schroeder, (The Free Press, New York, 2001)


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker, ( Viking, New York, 2002)


Intelligent Design, The Bridge Between Science & Theology

William A. Dembski, (InterVarsity press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1999)


Manís Search for Meaning, An Introduction to Logotherapy

Victor E. Frankl, (Touchstone, New York, 1984 [3d Ed.])


A Mythic Life, Learning to Live Our Greater Story

Jean Houston, (HarperSan Francisco, 1996)


One River, Many Wells; Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox, (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 2000)


Beyond Belief, The Secret Gospel of Thomas

Elaine Pagels, (Random House, New York, 2003)


The Case for Faith, A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity

Lee Strobel, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000)


The Disappearance of God, A Divine Mystery

Richard Elliott Friedman, (Little. Brown and Company, Boston, 1995)


The Lost Gospel, The Book of Q & Christian Origins

Burton L. Mack, (HarperSanFrancisco, 1993)


The Question of God, C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life

Dr. Armand M. Nicholl, Jr. (Free Press, New York, 2002)


Mystery of Mysteries, Is Evolution a Social Construction?

Michael Ruse, (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999)


Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

with a PS on one of his references: Animal minds: Beyond cognition to consciousness

Simon Conway, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2003)

PS on book by D.A. Griffin (University of Chicago, 1992)


God and the Evolving Universe, The Next Step in Personal Evolution

James Redfield, Michael Murphy and Sylvia Timbers, (Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 2002)



Sources addressing aspects of the God nature in Mormonism from a scholarly, a pro-, or a con- point of view.


Discourses of B.H. Roberts (and other sources)

B.H. Roberts, (Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City. 1948).  


The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship

David John Buerger, (Smith Research Associates, San Francisco, 1994)


An Insiderís View of Mormon Origins

Grant H. Palmer, (Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002)


Behind the Mask of Mormonism, From Its Early Schemes to Its Modern Deceptions With a Postscript Based on:

 The Life Beyond

John Ankenberg and John Weldon, (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1992);

Postscript book:Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1986)


One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church

with reference to Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,

and to Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons


Richard Abanes, (Four Walls Eight Windows, New York, 2002)

D. Michael Quinn, (Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1987)

Jan Shipps,  (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 2000)


Science, Religion, and Mormon Cosmology

Rescue for the dead, The Posthumous Salvation of Non-Christians in Early Christianity With a Postscript Based on:    The Life Beyond

The Light Within, What the Prophet Joseph Smith Taught Us about Personal Revelation

Erich Robert Paul,  (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1992)

Jeffrey A. Trumbower, (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Postscript book:Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie (Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1986) 

W. Jeffrey Marsh, (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2000)

 Each of the reviews explains why the reviewed book was chosen and what seemed to be in it that was germane to the topic(s) at hand.  Of course sometimes I did get carried away and simply forget what the focus was.

Go to "Bottom-Line Page"

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