Book reviews: His and hers.

When Matt and I were engaged, we had our first fight over scripture study. Yep. It turns out that we were both passionate about the scriptures and the gospel, but with different interests and different study methods. He liked to study things like signs of the times and how to get your calling and election made sure. I was more into understanding grace and the role of charity. Neither was too intrigued by the other’s enthusiasm. We’ve had to figure it out over the years.

Deseret Book sometimes offers to send me books in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I love reading things that enhance my personal gospel study, so I welcome the opportunity. I only accept books that I have an interest in reading and owning, and occasionally I come across one that I think Matt would like, too. The review today is for two books: one for him, and one for me.

millet  In_Tune_cover_detail

Matt’s Review: Living in the Eleventh Hour by Robert Millet

There are a wide range of emotions one feels when thinking about the last days and the return of the Savior. Among them are feelings ranging from excitement and apprehension to outright fear. As a father charged with the protection and maintenance of my family, I want to know what are the most important things that I can be doing now, today, to ensure that my family is prepared for what lies ahead. There are many who focus on temporal preparedness and amassing large stores of emergency supplies and provisions. This seems wise, for we have been warned and live in tenuous times. However, as I listen to modern prophets and apostles monthly and semi-annually, one recurring theme that rings clear to me: it is most important to be spiritually prepared to meet the Savior. One can build the envy of doomsday preppers the world over and all would be for nothing if one cannot find the faith and self-discipline to serve one’s neighbors, live in harmony with the Gospel, and keep covenants made, thus qualifying for eternal life.

Brother Millet eloquently describes common feelings we may have, and situations we may find ourselves in as we ponder our standing before God and our current level of spiritual and temporal preparedness. Brother Millet’s knowledge and experience with the scriptures shows in his frequent and relevant citations to both Biblical and restoration scriptures. I found many new and relevant sources of further inspiration from our modern prophets and apostles, as well as a collection of scriptural references that will provide hours of thoughtful study on this important topic.  Far from an academic treatise on the topic, Living in the Eleventh Hour is compact, to the point and powerful.

My Review: In Tune by Gerald N. Lund

I love to teach and I’ve been doing it in many capacities for many years. I feel  like I’m slowly starting to get a handle on how the Spirit can “take over” the teaching experience and I can be more of an instrument than an instructor. Elder Lund’s book is well-organized and is an extensive collection of quotes and ideas related to the power of the Holy Ghost: its functions, its role, and its results. I like his definition of what teaching by the Spirit means:

Teaching by the Spirit takes place when the Holy Ghost is fulling His role and His functions with either the teacher or the learner or both.

I especially loved the chapter called “An Increase in Skills and Abilities” because of the way he explains that the Spirit does not just help us teach a lesson, but it makes us better teachers. This Elder Maxwell quote intrigued me:

“Of course there are individuals who are keeping their covenants who lack teaching charisma. Of course there are those whose lives are in order who are not exciting teachers. However, the Spirit blesses the efforts of all who live worthily. It endorses what they say or do. There is a witnessing authenticity which proceeds from the commandment keeper, which speaks for itself. Therefore, I prefer doctrinal accuracy and spiritual certitude (even with a little dullness) to charisma with unanchored cleverness.”

I also really liked how he clarified some of the misconceptions about fruits of the spirit and loved the chapters “Nourished by the Good Word of God,” and “Putting Ourselves in Tune–Drawing Closer to the Spirit.” I think I’ll use this book often as a good reminder about important teaching principles and how to tap in to the power of the Holy Ghost more in my personal life, parenting, and teaching.

Winner and a question

Quick post.

Congratulations to Holly, who was the winner of the pre-screening tickets to see Ephraim’s Rescue. Yay, Holly!

And I have a question. Actually two. I’m working on a class for youth about recognizing the Spirit.

1. I’m compiling a list of the many ways that the Spirit speaks to us. For me it’s most often through a feeling of reassurance/certainty about something I’m learning and also promptings (which I like to refer to as an idea with teeth that kind of presses on your mind). Can you help me round out the list by adding some of the ways that you have received revelation in your life? I want to show that there are many, many ways that our Heavenly Father communicates with us, and it’s not the same for all people or even for the same person all the time.

2. How have you taught your children or youth to recognize the Spirit? I need a variety of ideas/thoughts/resources since there is such a variety in the ways God speaks to us through the Holy Ghost.

GCBC Week 20: “Learning with Our Hearts” by Elder Walter F. González and “One Step Closer to the Savior” by Russell T. Osguthorpe

Whoa. Week 20 already? This week we will look at two talks because they go nicely together and because we need to pick up speed a little to cover everything before the next conference sneaks up on us again. These two talks are a nice fit because they address how learning and teaching both play a role in conversion.

Learning with Our Hearts By Elder Walter F. González

Walter-Gonzalez

One Step Closer to the Savior By Russell T. Osguthorpe

russell-osguthorpe

What are some of your thoughts after studying these talks? What kind of learning has affected your own conversion? In what ways have the teaching of others helped your testimony to grow? And how does this affect your own teaching, whether in a classroom setting or with your own children? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

GCBC Week 19: ” First Observe, Then Serve” by Linda K. Burton

This week’s talk was a memorable message by sister Linda K. Burton, our recently called general Relief Society president. It goes along so nicely with some of the lessons we have been studying lately in the Doctrine and Covenants about following and acting upon personal revelation.

First Observe, Then Serve By Linda K. Burton

linda-burton

I have felt myself being a little stressed out and maybe snippy lately. Today it dawned on me that maybe I have allowed my life to get too busy and therefore have not left room for things like spontaneous or purposeful service to others. President Hinckley often taught that work/service were a way to get over your own problems, and President Monson has been such a great example of acting upon charitable thoughts and feelings.

What are some of your thoughts after studying this talk? How does it affect your goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

GCBC Week 22: “Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit” by Brother Matthew O. Richardson

I got to substitute teach the 5-year-olds in Primary today.  It was great.  I love to teach. I love to bear testimony.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I’m grateful for the Holy Ghost that makes the message more powerful than the teacher or the delivery.

The Spirit has been an important part of teaching experiences I’ve had with my children, too.  Last week, during all the carpool hours, I had great opportunities to discuss some important principles with my kids.  I could feel the Holy Ghost helping me and helping them.  It gave me the confidence to testify about things I know are true.

Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit by Brother Matthew O. Richardson, 2nd counselor General Sunday School Presidency

“While we are all teachers, we must fully realize that it is the Holy Ghost who is the real teacher and witness of all truth. Those who do not fully understand this either try to take over for the Holy Ghost and do everything themselves, politely invite the Spirit to be with them but only in a supporting role, or believe they are turning all their teaching over to the Spirit when, in truth, they are actually just “winging it.” All parents, leaders, and teachers have the responsibility to teach “by the Spirit.”2 They should not teach “in front of the Spirit” or “behind the Spirit” but “by the Spirit” so the Spirit can teach the truth unrestrained.”

What points stood out to you as you studied this talk?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

FOUR talks left.  Can you believe it??

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion here each week.

GCBC Week 6: “Counsel to Youth” by President Boyd K. Packer

I was surprised that I hadn’t heard anything about this week’s talk yet until I checked this morning and realized that I never actually pushed the publish button yesterday. Sorry about that. I guess I had just saved the draft.

So we all know, of course, that counsel to “youth” is chock-full of counsel to the not-so-young, too, right?  I mean, what’s good for the gosling is good for the goose.  So I loved listening to this with two sets of ears:  one as an adult that can benefit from this counsel in my own life, and another as a parent who will play a hands-on role in raising the next generation.  Both sets of ears learned some really important lessons.  I’m excited to study it more in depth throughout this week.

Counsel to Youth  by President Boyd K. Packer

“I say again that youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.”

Your general conference book club participation so far has been phenomenal, so thank you.  I love reading and sharing your comments.  What lessons did your ears learn from this talk this time around?  Please share your insights in the comment thread below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

I found this in my inbox this morning.  More counsel to youth from Pres. Packer just last night.  Check it out if you have the time.

GCBC Week 5: “Doing the Right Thing…” by Elder José L. Alonso



What I remember the most from this talk was the story about losing their son in Mexico City.  I’ve lost my son Clark before at Disney World, the Minnesota Zoo, and Mall of America, so I could understand their panic, and their desperate reliance on prayer.  This is a great talk to go back and read again. What most stood out to me was the concept of acting quickly to do what we know we should do.  I also was struck by the importance of reaching out to others in rescue.

Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time, without Delay by Elder José L. Alonso

“I know that our Heavenly Father is loving, understanding, and patient. His Son, Jesus Christ, likewise loves us. They render help to us through Their prophets. I have learned that there is great safety in following the prophets. “The rescue” is still going on. President Monson said: ‘The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion.’”

What stood out to you in this talk?  Please share your insights in the comments.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.