On today’s episodes of Mormon Stories, we interview Dr. Chris Thomas as we discuss his book “A Pentecostal Reads The Book of Mormon.” We begin by discovering Dr. Thomas’ religious background and perspective, then delve into how and why Dr. Thomas decided to apply his perspective to the Mormon faith.

Part 1 – Dr. Thomas provides his religious background:

Part 2 – Dr. Thomas shares how his life intersected with Mormonism:

Part 3 – Dr. Thomas shares his experience as an “outsider” in the Mormon Studies community:

Part 1

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Part 2

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Part 3

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12 Comments

  1. Jana Halverstadt February 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    What a sweet interview, fascinating to get a glimpse at Dr. Thomas’s perspectives, thought process, feelings, experiences. Sweet man. Thanks for sharing, Dr. Thomas. I so appreciate inter-faith dialogue. John, thanks for asking great questions.

  2. Jana Halverstadt February 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    P.S. John, have you read the book, “A Good Heart,” by the HH Dalai Lama? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that view of Jesus. I still feel connection to the Jesus I learned about and worshiped when I was LDS, and I find this Buddhist view of Christ useful to consider for people who are open to Buddhist teachings and have questions/concerns/feelings similar to what you expressed to Dr. Thomas near the end of the last segment of this interview.

  3. Amy February 13, 2020 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    A very thoughtful conversation with a lot of respect. Thank you to both of you. Excellent questions in Part 3. I no longer believe in the Mormon God I was taught about (much too small) nor in the need for a sacrificial atonement. But I sense there is something divine and pure that manifests physically, that we are all a part of. I believe Love is the undercurrent, the Source, God. I can no longer embrace anything but an infinite mercy for all. My inner authority is my heart and I can’t accept anything less than Love always wins in the end, however that plays out, without being naive to the tragedies and terrors of this experience. The writings of Richard Rohr, and many Christian mystics, have resonated deeply with me as I know they have with many nuanced/ex-Mormons. He talks of living in a Christ-soaked world that is inclusive and full of mercy. I love, John, how you say you get up everyday with the intent to do no harm and to do all the good you can. I wish more people were concerned with that than with preoccupation of correct ritual, doctrine or group.

  4. Vickie Duncan February 14, 2020 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Loving this…especially episode #3. Kind of a testament to me that so many religions have such loving, humble human beings that are just as receptive to God as any priesthood. Thank you for introducing a “same Jesus”.

  5. Ryan Wimmer February 15, 2020 at 6:06 am - Reply

    I want to read this book. My dad was raised in Utah and baptized LDS but never attended and was irreligious until he joined the Army in 1960. There he was “born again” and was a Pentecostal. Some years later he read the Book of Mormon and was impressed by it and returned to his Mormon routes. But his way of speaking and thinking remained very Pentecostal. His testimony bearing and sacrament meeting talks never really sounded Mormon. He watched Billy Graham more faithfully than General Conference. He de-emphasized aspects of Mormonism such as the Word of Wisdom (not that he broke it) and never thought confessing sins to a Bishop was necessary. After learning more on my mission about non-LDS Christianity I labeled him a “Born Again Mormon”. Years later I felted ripped off when Shawn McCraney used that title for his book, lol.

    Great interview!

  6. zeks February 15, 2020 at 7:28 am - Reply

    “I’m here to testify in the name of Jesus Christ that mormons are not one bit crazier than we are.”

  7. Mormon X February 18, 2020 at 9:15 am - Reply

    I cringe when I hear or read the word “Pentecostal.” They were the nemesis to us Mormon missionaries in Great Britain. I never felt such an annoyance and almost hatred towards any religion as I did the Pentecostals and/or born-agains (which included the Baptists). They were rude, arrogant, insulting and loved to trash Mormon beliefs and doctrines. The members from other faiths: Church of England, Islam, Hindu, Catholic, Buddhist, and even Jehovah Witness, were all cordial, polite, and give us minimal problems. Actually, I feel the only other group that gave us more crap for being Mormon where drunken British football hooligans! Born-agains would freak me out when they spoke in tongues during their prayer or in one situation, to cast us off their doorstep. Okay, admittedly, if we would have just left after the Pentecostal preacher’s first request, there would have been no tongues spoken. But my companion wanted to defy him and prove he had no authority to cast us off in the name of Jesus! Anyway, I digress. I braced myself before the interview with Dr. Thomas. I was planning on hating everything he had to say. I have to admit that I was amazed that he turned out to be this humble and Christ-like member of a church that I had despised since the late 1980’s. Dr. Thomas is nothing like the Pentecostal members I had met in England and Wales is truly a man of his faith.

  8. Mary Moon February 18, 2020 at 11:03 am - Reply

    It never ceases to astonish me how someone who is as obviously intelligent and humorous and open as Dr. Thomas is, absolutely believes in what I can only call a magical god. To retreat to the same defenses when his faith doesn’t explain the unexplainable- that his god’s ways are mysterious ways and therefore beyond the ability of men (and women, I assume) to understand. When John questioned him about the fact that prayerful healings never include reattaching a limb or reconnecting a severed spinal cord, there was a great deal of rationalization which didn’t really answer the question. And to John’s point about a god who would create man to sin and then require him to believe in a sacrificial lamb in order to transcend that sin he again went back to the it’s-a-mystery-to-me explanation. This seems to me to be such a clever religious device. The religions create a problem and then offer you the only way out of it. With yes, of course, a few exceptions. Even as a child this made no sense to me. First of all- why did God have only ONE begotten son? He’s God, right? Couldn’t He have millions? If you can’t buy in to that one, the rest of it can never make sense. At least to me. I do absolutely believe that Dr. Thomas is very spirit-filled and because he was raised in his particular religion, he attributes that spirit to the god of his religion. If he had been born into a Buddhist family, I think he would be a monk. If in a Catholic family, possibly a priest. If his parents were of one of the indigenous faiths of the Amazon, say, he may well have become a shaman. Nature AND nurture, if you will, determine so much.

  9. Rob Haskins March 2, 2020 at 11:54 am - Reply

    In episode 2, Dr. Thomas talks about speaking in tongues and wonders where JS may have got the idea, beyond the reference in Corinthians.

    Perhaps it was due to the Methodist. We know his family and for a time Joseph himself were members of the Methodist movement. In the Palmyra timeframe of JS, Methodism had two factions, one that looked very much like the Pentecostalism of the early 1900s and one that was more reserved and conservative.

  10. David March 3, 2020 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I’m afraid that Dr. Thomas doesn’t come across very Pentecostal to me. He’s more Mormon than Pentecostal.

  11. Matthew Turner March 7, 2020 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    The 1830 Book of Mormon had punctuation, paragraphs and chapter divisions, but no verse divisions. The chapter divisions were different from the ones used by LDS and Bickertonite today. Community of Christ and Temple Lot both use the original chapter divisions. It was the original and printer’s manuscripts that had no punctuation. Just clarifying. Thanks for an awesome interview. I have purchased the interviewee’s book and look forward to reading it.

  12. Matthew Kimball April 13, 2022 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    ‘Inerrant’ means there are no errors; ‘infallible’ means there can be no errors.” ok, i’m confused. Evangelical should be the umbrella for every sect in christiandome, evangelical means if you believe in christ as your savior your saved. all the accessory beliefs is what distinguish the sects. In regards to faith crisis and why is there so much bad in the world if there is a God. Answer: Because God gives us voilition to choose. He’s not going to eliminate Good or Bad. He let’s people be people.

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