Friday, May 25, 2012

The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott By Michael Oborn

The complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott By Michael Oborn is a novelization of the behind the scenes formation of the Mormon church- also known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints. The author claims to expose a conspiracy in which the elders of the Mormon church underworld kept important damaging documents containing revelations by Joseph Smith, hidden from the public and hidden from sincere Mormons themselves. The hero of the story, an journalist named Michael Alcott, a disgruntled ex- Mormon, spends years investigating the Mormon coverups of secret documents and the hidden personal life of Joseph Smith.  His mission is to expose the Mormon church for what is it and write a book. The hero must complete and publish the book, before he his stopped by the corrupt opposition in the Mormon leadership.  This unique work of fiction is a hybrid between a detective crime novel and a religious expose. Oborn has created a new, and unique outreach medium- in the form of a detective novel, to expose an important issue to the public.

The Mormon church has a wholesome image in the eyes of many in today's society and therefore the truth should be exposed.  Please bear with me a bit as I believe a brief background into the Mormon belief system is important- as taught by the Book of Mormon and other works.  Though the novel provides authentic glimpses into the Mormon culture of the 1800s, the novel itself does not offer extensive background into the actual Mormon teachings or beliefs.  Therefore the reader is not supplied with  Mormon doctrines- which are powerful enough to speak for themselves. In the brief synopsis of beliefs I provide references to the particular Mormon book.  Any reader familiar with the bible and especially the New Testament, will be quite aware of the contradictions between the bible teachings and the doctrines of the Mormons.  First and foremost, the cult-like Mormon church was birthed as a result of a private revelation of a man named Joseph Smith, a self proclaimed prophet who had a series of visions expanding upon and even contradicting the bible.  The Mormon church has unscriptural teachings, thereby in essence worshipping a different Christ as taught in the bible. The Mormon church teaches that men can become gods D&C 132:19.  A man is encouraged to have as many wives as possible, to maximize the number of children in order to eventually earn his own world as a god. D&C 132:63.  Though the Mormon church officially abandoned polygamy in light of social pressures, many sincere Mormons truly lament the loss of this practice. Moses 5:11 claims that Adam and Eve were glad to disobey God in the garden because it allowed them to have children. Furthermore, the Mormon church believes in the possibility of aliens and alien worlds claiming that inhabited "worlds without number" were and are created in order to accomidate each man that earns the ability to become a god and have his own populated world. Moses 1:33 As far as our planet Earth is concerned, our God is located on a planet near the star "Kokob" Abraham 3:13 Long ago there was a council of the gods before the world began.  D&C 121:32 Also the door to more revelations is left open by the claim that some information is still withheld and not released Moses 1:42.   The Mormon church claims Jesus was the result of a sexual relationship between Mary and God, the Father.  The Mormons believe that Jesus became a god and there are multiple gods.  The goal is that Joseph Smith will become known through all the ends of the earth D&C 122:11  The bible as we know it, is seen as an inferior, flawed book with errors and incomplete.  Therefore it cannot be completely trusted.  Therefore Mormon "prophets"  have no issue when their revelations or "holy" books discredit or conflict with the bible.

 I agree that Oborn's novel explores  and  even exposes important concerns with the Mormon church that remain hidden from the public eye and perhaps sincere Mormons themselves. The book has an important message and mission- no doubt: to expose the oppression of women, and the corruption and bribery prevalent in the Mormon church: both in the past and present.   Yet this is accomplished in an informal format- which may serve to detract from the author's intended purpose. Yes, it is true that the novel brings to light the cultural concerns about the oppression and exploitation of women, and the moral and financial dishonesty of the Mormon underworld. It attempts to bring to light the conspiracies to bury damaging information about its founder and bribery.  In tabloid-like fashion, the back cover claims in its large headline "Was Joseph Smith the Hugh Hefner of the early 1800s? The similarities were staggering..."  A more scholarly, and less sensational approach may have provided more credibility to Oborn's work in the scholarly and educated world.  I feel at times, he compromised literary formality in order to provide an entertaining fictional piece as indicated by the back cover which promises that the reader will find the novel "shocking, explosive....and pure, unadulterated fun".   The credibility of this story is greatly obscured with the inclusion of extraneous and explicit details and scenes.   These scenes were most likely inserted for shock value and "entertainment" purposes.  The depiction of x-rated scenes and dialog  make this work entirely unsuitable for general readership and undermine its purpose. I felt that my conscious was tainted, simply by reading this book.  In general, this book may be an entertaining choice for those who like conspiracy theories and detective novels- and don't mind explicit writing. The Mormon theme provides a rich setting to hold the readers attention as well as entertain.  I believe that  it was more of Oborn's purpose to entertain rather than to produce a theological critique of Mormon belief.  In today's society, where many expect light entertainment, with little intellectual effort, this book is an appropriate and effective medium to communicate the author's message to the masses.  As a blogger, I receieved this book from the author, for the purpose of writing this review.  The opinions expressed are my own. 

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