Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: Letters to a Young Mormon

In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren

When I first got this book and started thumbing through it, I kind of got a CS Lewis feel to it. With the old school cover, the letter writing set up, and seeing the deep thoughts spread throughout, I was excited to start and see what I would find.

CS Lewis should be proud of that comparison, because this is an absolutely incredible book. Every chapter covers a different topic that many people have questions about, and the author uses examples and stories that really get you thinking about how you can do and be better. I teach gospel doctrine, and I couldn't stop marking and note taking, reading and rereading, thinking about how I could use the truths I was learning for future lessons. I have already started spreading the word to my YSA friends to get their hands on this book. 

My favorite section was the one on scripture reading. Sometimes for me, scripture reading gets so mundane and I have to find ways to keep learning and keep wanting to read. I love what Miller had to say about it.
"But that [translation], open ended all along, is unfinished. Now, the task is ours. When you read the scriptures, don't just lay your eyes like stone on the pages. Roll up your sleeves and translate them again. Every morning and every night, we are commanded to sit down at our kitchen tables, spread out our books and notes and papers and pens, and with a prayer in hand, finish what Joseph started. You and I must translate these book again. Word by word, line by line, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, God wants the whole thing translated once more, and this time he wants it translated into your native tongue, inflected by your native concerns, and written in your native flesh." 
I read this and my mind was absolutely blown! We all know the scriptures are written specifically for us, but I had never thought about the lifelong work translating it to mean something to me will be. It made me want to grab the nearest Book of Mormon and start translating immediately. 

This book is full of gems, and I am glad I stumbled upon Adam Miller and the knowledge he is willing to share. Sign me up for all his books, because I am definitely sold.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

This book is composed as a series of letters. The letters are meant for a young Mormon who is familiar with Mormon life but green in his or her faith. The author, philosophy professor Adam S. Miller, imagined himself writing these letters to his own children. In doing so, he struggled to say his own piece about what it means to be—as a Mormon—free, ambitious, repentant, faithful, informed, prayerful, selfless, hungry, chaste, and sealed.

The letters do little to benchmark a Mormon orthodoxy. That work belongs to those called to it. Here, Miller’s work is personal. He means only to address the real beauty and real costs of trying to live a Mormon life and hopes to show something of what it means to live in a way that refuses to abandon either life or Mormonism.

This second edition of Letters to a Young Mormon includes all the content of the original, well-loved book, with added chapters on the Sabbath and stewardship, as well as a new preface by the author, which provides additional framing and context for his writing.

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