Comments and Reviews of Shaken Faith Syndrome



“Well, I did read a pre-publication version of Mike’s book, and I think it is an excellent resource, well worth having. I’ve read other approaches to the same topic that I found disappointingly tepid ...or suffering from what I call ‘spiritual masochism,’ superficiality, and reeking of negativity and disillusion (the specific names I will refrain from mentioning today). Mike shows that he knows the issues, that he knows that what makes the issue an issue in the first place is not the data itself, but the framework in which it is placed. He knows the relationship between seed, soil, opposition, and nurturing. He writes clearly, empathetically and with a background of informed faith. He’s offering genuine insight towards healing. Not just making suggestions for salvaging some debris from a shipwreck. ...Mike has always been worth reading. He really does have insightful things to say on the topic” (Kevin Christensen, author of multiple articles for FARMS (The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) [part of BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship]; posted 10 June 2008 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


Tyler Livingston, who helped proofread the pre-publication manuscript says, “That book has to be one of my favorites, if not my favorite LDS book. I LOVE it and can’t wait to read it again” (posted 12 June 2008 on a private email list).


“I just had my first chance to take a close look at Mike’s book. It’s outstanding. It is a substantial book (at least 100,000 words, I would guess) that is well written and well documented. It covers all the big issues that come up repeatedly and points readers to all kinds of other resources. imho, there is just no substitute for something like this. Online resources are valuable, no doubt, but there is nothing like having a book that you can carry around with you, make notes in the margin, etc. Every person who writes to FAIR worried about their faith--or the faith of a loved one--should be told about this book. This book should stay in print permanently, with new editions as needed. Thanks to Mike for working so hard on the research and writing and thanks to FAIR for publishing it” (Larry E. Morris, author of And Now You Know: The Rest of the Story from Lives of Well-Known Latter-Day Saints, Words to Live By: Life Strategies of Latter-Day Prophets, co-author of Oliver Cowdery: Scribe, Elder, Witness, and author of multiple articles for FARMS (The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) [part of BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship]; posted 24 June 2008 on a private email list).


     “Mike Ash has put together a fine volume with his Shaken Faith Syndrome. His writing skills are superb, which makes this tome an enjoyable and entertaining read, and he is able to present the relevant information in a way that is easy to understand and comprehend, which makes this book a great place for those beginning their exploration into Mormon apologetics or dealing with criticisms of the Church.
     “In this book, Mike demonstrates that he is familiar with the issues and proves his mastery of both the primary sources and the secondary literature related to whatever it is he is talking about. And while Mike has something to offer for all of the areas he explores (such as Book of Mormon archeology, polygamy, the Kinderhook plates, etc.) I found his discussions on the Book of Abraham and Freemasonry & the Temple to be exceedingly insightful and highly enjoyable.
     “All in all, Shaken Faith Syndrome is a wonderful book that should be on the bookshelves of all Latter-day Saints who wish to get involved in apologetics or help those with a struggling testimony” (Steve Smoot from; posted 28 June 2008).


“This book (Shaken Faith Syndrome) helped me deal with confronting attacks from antagonistic outsiders. It also strengthened my own testimony greatly.” (David Brockenshire; 30 June 2008)


“Hi Mike,
     “I just finished the first part of your book and read a few issues in the second part. Kudos and congratulations are in order! This will no doubt turn out to be one of the most important books for LDS members with questions. If I ever lead a seminar like the [Richard] Bushman one that just ended [BYU Apologetics Seminar], as far as I’m concerned, your book will be the textbook.
     “Thanks for all the efforts you put into making this book readable and understandable. You can be sure that I will not hesitate to recommend your book to those I come in contact with who need to understand the principles and workings of LDS apologetics, critical machinations, and, of course, answers to difficult questions.
     “In my view this is a watershed publication” (Dr. Brian M. Hauglid [Ph.D., University of Utah], associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. He is series co-editor for Studies in the Book of Abraham, a member of the editorial board of the Eastern Christian Texts series, and co-compiler and co-editor [with John Tvedtnes and John Gee] of Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham [Provo, UT: FARMS, 2001]; posted 3 August 2008 at on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


“Hi Mike,
     “I finished reading the book. I am not a Mormon, but I felt the book did a good job persuading someone not to leave any church just because they may find something distasteful about its past. There are usually bad apples in all religious faiths.
     “I believe that doctrine is the only important thing that should cause one to either remain in a church or leave it” (Tony, posted 4 August 2008 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).


“Mike, I really want to thank you for your book, Shaken Faith Syndrome. I asked for it for my birthday and my wife bought it for me and I have read it and plan to read it again....   I identified with some of the feelings described in the first part of the book....  as I read the second part of your book, it shot down one by one every single anti-mormon argument that may have ever troubled me. It was like watching a crack marksman at a carnival knocking down target after target. Thank you!” (16 September 2008; name withheld per request)


“There is much that could be said about this wonderful book... All in all, it is a fine volume that offers a good introduction to Mormon apologetics and is an excellent resource in helping strengthen one’s (as well as one’s family and friends) testimony in the face of criticisms and doubt,” Steve Smoot at American Testament Blog (posted 18 August 2008).


     “I was one of those people who, though I served a mission and was married in the temple, was able to lose my testimony thanks to many of the anti-Mormon claims that you address in your book ‘Shaken Faith Syndrome,’ which I read and enjoyed. These feelings of doubt stayed with me for nearly a year, but recently I had a ‘re-awakening’ of sorts that has brought me back to the testimony I gained as a convert when I was 18. Having seen your book being talked about within the anti circles and on faithful websites, I decided, after the ‘re-awakening,’ to take a look at the book and see why some people blasted it, and also to maybe understand why I had lost my faith to begin with.
     “Your book had a way of helping me understand the process of how I lost my faith in a way I never realized was possible. The chapter where you talk about which arguments you give more weight to, and you base your beliefs in the one that sounds best, hit me so hard that I didn’t realize that is what I had done with my doubts. Just because something made sense to me at the time didn’t make it true or accurate, but I accepted it as such. What I loved so much about your book was the way you were able to show me why I accepted anti claims. But you were dead on. You couldn’t have been more right.... I thought you were able to counter the specific claims that you brought up in part 2, in a much better way than I had heard or read previously. I sincerely commend your work, and am very grateful that you were able to take this issue head on when SFS is such an issue for many Saints. Again thank you,” (James, emailed 14 July 2008).


     “As a current elder’s quorum president, I’ve been reading Shaken Faith Syndrome, and find it tremendously useful and insightful. I wish every new member and reactivated member received a copy of this book, and would read it within six months of their baptism or reactivation” (Scott P., emailed 3 November 2008).


     5 Stars “Awesome way of dealing with the issues most people in the church dont want to discuss in the open or are not informed enough about. Powerful answers to church critics and wobbly testimonies,” (Keziah, posted 11 November 2008 at Deseret Book reviews.


     5 Stars “Wonderful book. Every LDS home should have it in their home library. Easy to understand and gives answers to questions we all probably have on our journey through life. Very helpful to understand the gospel more fully and answers questions -or doubts we may carry in our hearts,” ; (posted 14 November 2008 at Deseret Book reviews.


     “Shaken Faith Syndrome is a fascinating read. was my thought that every bishop in the Church should have a copy of this book to aid them in dealing with challenges to the faith,” (Bill Beardall, 17 November 2008, The Gospel Doctrine Class Blog).


     “Finally, a book that gives a solid foundation for rational thought regarding faith and then as a bonus Mike Ash answers common critical questions regarding various issues about LDS (Mormon) doctrine and history. Well done Mike. Every Bishop and Stake President should own and read a copy. Very enthusiastically recommended!” (Stanley D. Barker, 17 February 2009, Amazon review).


     “I order a lot of religious books searching for answers to questions that I have about the church. I like to read others ideas which help me form my own. None of the books I’ve bought have really contained what I was looking for until I bought Shaken Faith Syndrome by Michael R. Ash. I actually bought it for a family member and thought I’d read it first to see if it contained anything good. This book has completely changed me and how I view the church. I have peace about a lot of things I didn’t before and now I’ve been able to move past that and really start finding answers on my own that I’ve never been able to see before. ...I hesitate to summarize the book [because]... I don’t think I could do it justice, but I’ve been recommending it to others I know who have questions. I’m in no way affiliated with the writer or anything, I'm just really excited about how it’s helped me and what I’ve been able to see and discover since reading it!!” (“Brenda,” posted 17 April 2009 at the Exponent).


     “[Shaken Faith Syndrome] …has proven to be tremendously helpful to me… …the book provides great responses to specific anti-Mormon claims. …Mike’s book is well written, thought-provoking and for me, a little bit eye-opening… Shaken Faith Syndrome helped me to understand better the real problem that doubt is for some people. I also came to realize more fully that I need to be better prepared with reasonable explanations for those issues that cause the most trouble for some of our members…” (Tim Malone, Latter-day Commentary Blog, posted 22 April 2009).


     “I think Shaken Faith Syndrome is a fantastic book to give to someone whose faith in the Gospel has been rocked by some new information. It not only gives the reader a host of plausible alternative explanations for troubling criticisms of the Church, but it also equips the reader with intellectual tools for reevaluating faulty assumptions that are already carried by most members of the Church,” (Dan Ellsworth, Mormon Mentality, posted 28 May 2009).


     “I have read an interesting book by Michael R. Ash, titled The Shaken Faith Syndrome. I really recommend reading this book entirely....,” (Giuseppe Martinengo, GMormon Blog, posted 14 July 2009).


     “[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 website] posted 12 September 2009 on the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board).