General Conference is a wonderful time to reflect on our lives and where we stand in our own progress towards perfection. It’s also a time to become more rejuvenated and motivated to improve our souls. All of these books are good for all ages. The last two are picture books.
Power To Become: Spiritual Patterns for Pressing Forward With a Steadfastness in Christ, by David A. Bednar, is yet another of his masterfully written books that delves into scriptures, our progression in life and in encouraging us to continually become more like our Savior. This book follows perfectly his other two magnificent books: Increase in Learning and Act in Doctrine. This book has a distinctive interactive element where the reader has pages to respond to elements presented in each of the five chapters. For instance, in Chapter Two, “Power to Become and the Spiritual Gift of Personal Peace“, Elder Bednar lays out three principles to help you obtain peace within your own soul. At the conclusion of the chapter, you find three “Consider” pages with one distinctive question relating to the preceding pages. Following those pages are two more pages that contain two more questions inquiring what your questions could be as well as scriptures that relate to what you just learned. All five pages have the questions at the top of pages leaving the rest of the page for your responses. Every chapter interweaves wonderful quotes from other apostles and beautifully and perfectly quotes hymns that seem to flow off the page. This brilliantly laid-out book felt like Elder Bednar was right there with me helping and encouraging me along the way!
Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes, by Sheri Dew, should clear up any doubts as to what the role of women is in the Church. And Sister Dew responds perfectly to the stirrings of anti-Mormon rhetoric concerning Priesthood holders always being men. She writes with such clarity and conviction that by the end of the book there is no doubt about the important roles of sisters in the Church! She states in the introduction how bothered she has been over the past several years concerning women and the Priesthood. Her spiritual conviction comes through and she writes with thorough documentation. Some of her chapter headings are: “Women Have a Divine Errand”, “Women Are Vital to the Success of the Lord’s Church” and “God Reserved the High Privilege of Motherhood for Women”.
Living in the Eleventh Hour: Preparing for the Glorious Return of the Savior, by Robert L. Millet, is an encouraging and quick read to help prepare us for the return of Christ in the last days. I especially liked that this easy commentary of this subject wasn’t discouraging and negative as I initially thought it would be. Looking at the many problems our country and the world is facing right now – in terms of major conflicts, as well as the downward spiral of morality, I thought this book would dwell on the horrific state we are all facing. But, instead, it was a glorified look at what we can do to help us prepare to keep our lamps full with oil. We all know what we should be doing (scripture reading, family home evenings, family prayers, etc.), but this book succinctly helps keep us on track and be continually working towards the reign of our Savior. Some of the chapters include: “Treasuring up the Word”, “Confident When He Comes” and “Knowing the Signs of the Times”.
The Three Gifts, by Daris Howard, is a story based on an actual event. When three young teenagers are convicted for mugging young children for their Halloween candy, the judge doesn’t sentence them to jail. He sentences them to 100 hours of babysitting at a Women’s Crisis Center. What takes place in the hearts of these young men changes their selfish outlook to selflessness. There is much emotion found throughout including humor, happiness, sadness and joy.
The Sacrament, by John Bytheway, and gorgeously illustrated by Nathan Pinnock, is a favorite poem of the author as he used it in talks to demonstrate the importance of the Sacrament. Now it’s been written out and beautifully illustrated. This is a perfect reflection of how many different ward members, of different ages, may have forgotten the purpose and sacred nature of this ordinance. It also displays how various distractions prevent us from reflecting on the Savior and thinking of our lives in order to renew covenants during the Sacrament. This is a picture book that needs to be on every family’s bookshelf!
One Little Match, by Thomas S. Monson, and illustrated with double–sided pictures by Dan Burr, retells the story that our prophet told at last General Conference about an experience when he was a young boy. By making one small decision, a big mistake can become the result. We all make mistakes, both large and small. But we can learn from them, and in some cases, repent from them and become better because of them. The pictures in the book show the expressions and attitudes of these youngsters perfectly and the colors are bright and real.