Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 LDS Books That Will Feed Your Mind and Soul


I am a reader, constantly on the lookout for a new book that promises to enrich my life or strengthen my faith. The Lord Himself commanded us to “teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). When I trace the origins of my personal testimony, of course no books have had more influence on my faith than the scriptures. I feel closer to the Lord when I study the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price than when I study any other books. Each book of scripture is deserving of a lifetime of devoted study.

Beyond the scriptures themselves, the list of other books that have profoundly strengthened my testimony is a long list indeed. Below, I highlight ten LDS books that have blessed my life and fed my mind and my soul. In some cases, I was fortunate to find these books early in life; others I discovered more recently. In each case, they have become part of the fabric of my testimony and have brought me to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the truths contained in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.



For Practical Application of the Atonement


Aside from scripture, The Peacegiver had a more profound influence on my understanding of how to apply the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ in my life than any book I have ever read. My grasp of Christ’s offering to us changed forever when I read this book. I will always be thankful that a friend shared The Peacegiver with me at a time when I really needed it. The book is not a lecture or a treatise; it is written in narrative form, which makes it very easy and enjoyable to read. It should be required reading for all Christians!


For Understanding, Comparing, and Contrasting Evangelical and LDS Beliefs


I was introduced to How Wide the Divide? when I was in college studying at BYU, and it is the only book on this list that I read in one sitting. I was so captivated by the book that I read all night until I finished it. With a respectful tone on both sides, Craig Blomberg and Stephen Robinson discuss similarities and differences in the beliefs of Evangelical Christians and Mormons in four major areas of doctrine. How Wide the Divide? has helped me immensely with understanding the point of view of my Evangelical friends and neighbors in Texas and with explaining Latter-day Saint beliefs to them in a way that fosters mutual understanding.


For Getting Out of a Member-Missionary Rut


My aunt and uncle were serving a mission in the Boston area when The Power of Everyday Missionaries was first released in early 2013. They sent me a copy before I had even heard about it, and as soon as I started it, I immediately recognized that this book would create an enduring change in my approach to member missionary work. Trust me: this is not just another book about missionary work. It caused a complete paradigm shift for me, and the practical advice and stories it contains will change the way you view missionary work, too. Read this book to catch the vision of how you can do your part to help hasten the Lord’s work.


For Studying the Life of the Prophet Joseph Smith


Richard Bushman is one of my heroes. I read his early biography of Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, when I was still in high school…then waited fifteen years for him to finish his long-rumored magnum opus, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Bushman is a faithful member of the Church and a former faculty member at Columbia University with a PhD in American history from Harvard University. This book paints a realistic yet faith-promoting picture of the complex history of Joseph Smith and the beginnings of the church he founded. When I was first reading Rough Stone Rolling, I once took it with me on an airplane. While disembarking, a man who sat across the aisle from me stopped me and asked, “I have to know what book you were reading. I have never seen someone read a book so intensely, flipping back and forth to read every endnote in detail.” It is my favorite biography of all time.


For the Definitive Scholarly Look at the Book of Mormon’s Ancient Origins


John Sorenson is another one of my favorite LDS scholars. In high school, I read his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, which was the precursor for Mormon’s Codex. Sorenson received his PhD from UCLA and served as the head of the anthropology department at BYU. In Mormon’s Codex, the culmination of 60 years of his research, Sorenson details 400 unique evidences of Mesoamerican culture and civilization in the Book of Mormon that could not have been known to its unlearned 19th century translator.


For a Doctrinal Understanding of the Atonement


The Infinite Atonement is a powerful, inspiring book that explores the central act of all human history. This book deepened my appreciation for the supreme sacrifice offered by the Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of all God’s children.


For Getting More Out of the Sacrament and the Temple


The second of my favorite books by James Ferrell, The Holy Secret gave me a new appreciation for the importance of filling our lives with holiness. He provides amazing insights on simple things to do to get more out of the holiness offered by the sacrament and the temple.


For Learning to Believe Christ’s Promises


Believing Christ is a classic book about the Savior Jesus Christ and his grace. Written by Stephen Robinson and published in 1992, it soon became a best-selling book at Deseret Book. Robinson received his PhD in Biblical studies from Duke University, and was a long-time religion professor at BYU before retiring in 2012. I was blessed to take a New Testament class from Dr. Robinson at BYU, and his class was incredible. Although I am not a huge fan of the parable of the bicycle, Believing Christ is still a favorite book of mine.


For Understanding the Nature of God and Our Relationship with Him


Terryl Givens is another favorite LDS author of mine. In The God Who Weeps, he and his wife, Fiona Givens, explore the unique insights of LDS doctrine about the nature of God, our relationship with Him, and the meaning of life.


For Understanding the Path to True Happiness


In Falling to Heaven, James Ferrell discusses several paradoxes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and lays out the surprising path to happiness the Lord Himself taught. The lessons about forgiveness, repentance, grace, and happiness in this book were some of the most profound I’ve ever read. This is a book I find myself going back to frequently to relearn the lessons offered within its pages.

3 comments:

  1. This is a good, fun list. Some of my recommendations:

    Jesus The Christ by Talmage helped clarify a few things when I read it as a new convert. You hit the nail on the head with Everyday Missionaries. It is a life-changing way to look at member missionary work. Leap of Faith by Bob Bennett is a good read that bolsters the case for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The Continuous Conversion by Brad Wilcox is entertaining. And, of course, the classic on repentance The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball is a must-read.

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  2. I read The Peacegiver, it changed my life. Thank you for this, I will read these. I've been trying to collect and read "the good books", this is a nice addition.

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  3. May I suggest an amazing book to add to this list (I like all of these by the way! Especially everyday missionary)
    Satans war on free agency by Greg write. If you really want to understand agency and it's role In the plan of salvation - and how to raise children to use their agency well- this book was a life and perspective changer!

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