A website called Christian Manifesto posted an inteview with Dr. Andrew Jackson, author of the new book Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice. After noting that he found LDS missionaries and bishops to be a poor source of reliable information about Mormon beliefs, he gave this promising response:
I ended up leaning on Steven Robinson, Robert Millet, a few of the new Mormon scholars who have been interacting with evangelicals as of late, and the writings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for source material. I found that there are really two streams of Mormonism, which I explain a little in my book.
I'm curious what the two Mormon streams were — I'm guessing he's not talking about Iron Rodders and Liahonas. In any case, it's nice that the outreach effort of Robinson, Millet, and other LDS scholars is bearing fruit.
There are, of course, some Christian authors writing on Mormonism whose agenda doesn't actually require accurate information about Mormonism, but for someone like this author who seems to want accurate information about the Church and its beliefs, it is nice there are LDS scholars who will at least make sure they get our side of the story right. This might be termed a New Christian Apologetics, one that actually talks to LDS scholars and informed members before voicing disagreements, sort of a late-blooming analogue to our own New Mormon History. And I might add that this new approach to writing about Mormons has its own set of controversies within Evangelical circles.
FAIR also gets some comments in the write-up:
When I first started to write about this subject I contacted an organization called F.A.I.R., a Mormon apologetic organization, and got about 20 or so people from that network to dialogue with me about the topic. That helped to keep things balanced. So, I think a Mormon reading my book will find it to be very fair and very well-documented.
I don't know how fair and balanced the book actually is, but I like the fact this author seems to be aimed at promoting understanding rather than simply publishing the standard set of criticisms with a new cover. And then there's the irony of Andrew Jackson writing about Joseph Smith. I didn't check if Martin Van Buren wrote the preface.