Thursday, March 17, 2016

4 Non-LDS Books Sure to Inspire Your Faith


Truth is all around us and comes in many various forms. I enjoy finding truths in the diverse books I read – whether it be books about parenting, fiction, historical, biographies, or self-help. One of life’s great joys is to open a book and learn from its pages, to be inspired, to feel, and to grow. A favorite daily endeavor of mine is to listen to audio-books as I ride the subway every day. Time after time, I’ve found myself feeling uplifted, inspired, more compassionate, and with a commitment to myself to be a better person – which is amazing to me given the hectic surroundings around me. Here are four of my favorite books that have been an inspiration to me.


Abraham Lincoln – A Man of Faith and Courage
by Joe Wheeler


Our family loves learning about history and even our six-year-old has naturally taken an interest in the life of Abraham Lincoln. But something most history books fail to acknowledge is the faith of Abraham Lincoln and how his trust in God shaped his life and his role as the 16th president of the United States. This book provides an emotional understanding of the culture throughout Lincoln’s life, how the Civil War taught him many spiritual lessons, and how God’s hand was in the details of Lincoln’s life. This book is filled with inspirational quotes from Lincoln, but one of my favorites that seems to sum up his life is this: “If there is anything that links the human with the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.”



Les Miserables
by Victor Hugo

There are clear spiritual and moral themes you will notice throughout the book…if you can get through all 1463 pages! This book leaves you feeling emotional extremes as you really get to know the characters and share in their experiences. The excerpt below is the Bishop's servants warning him about going to a certain place that was known to be dangerous. The Bishop's response is great as it echoes what the Savior has told us about discipleship:

“But the brigands, Monseigneur?"

"Hold," said the Bishop, "I must think of that. You are right. I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the good God."

"But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of wolves!"

"Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who knows the ways of Providence?”....

“Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You are risking your life!"

"Monsieur le maire," said the Bishop, "is that really all? I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls.”





Mere Christianity
by C.S. Lewis


It’s hard to believe that C.S. Lewis was once an atheist, given that we know how much his faith has influenced his work. His books are filled with symbolism of God and Christ and he is often quoted among the Christian community. Mere Christianity was adapted from a series of BBC radio talks that Lewis made while at Oxford. His writing style speaks to me and invites me to understand truths with a new perspective. Of all his books, this is the one I find myself referencing time and time again. It’s quotes like this one that testify of Lewis’ deep understanding of divinity: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which...you would be strongly tempted to worship...All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities...that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization, these are mortal...But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, exploit, immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”



Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand


Hillenbrand perfectly sums up the message in this powerful novel, “When he thought of his history, what resonated with him now was not all that he had suffered but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him.” This book gives a true account of the life of Louis Zamperini, a record-breaking Olympic track star turned World War II prisoner of war. This book gets intense as it describes some of his horrific experiences, and I found myself in tears on the subway multiple times. But the remarkable thing is that he comes to know God during the worst moments of his life and develops virtuous traits such as trust, charity, and forgiveness. This book served as a reminder of how to return to the light when life gets dark.



Jefra Rees is the wife of a loving husband and the mother of a young son with sensory processing challenges. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and also has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings, but her greatest work is that which is done in her own home.

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