"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
March 27, 2013
New Books by Eyring, Holland Offer Encouragement and Comfort
by Laurie Williams Sowby

New from Henry B. Eyring – his first book in many years – is Choose Higher Ground. His mother was fond of telling him, “If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.” True to form, he has used that analogy to lift others.

President Eyring’s talks over the past decade or so have been compiled in this book to provide guidance in making the upward effort. Using examples from the scriptures as well as personal experiences over a lifetime, President Eyring employs a gentle teaching tone in his words as he offers sound advice for all stages of life. The chapters fall under five major divisions: A Strong Foundation, Personal Growth through Helping Others, Strength in Adversity, Power to Live a Consecrated Life, and Help for the Last Days.

“As the challenges around us increase,” he writes, “we must commit to do more to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Casual prayer won’t be enough. Reading a few verses of scripture won’t be enough. Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks of us won’t be enough. . . Only a steady, increasing effort will allow the Lord to take us to higher ground.”

Even though you may recall many of the talks once you see them here, it’s nice to have them in a single collection (with a helpful index as well). Choose Higher Ground beckons with a familiar voice filled with stories, insights, and solid, loving counsel. (Deseret Book 2013, 250 pages in hardcover, $23.99.)

For Times of Trouble is a different kind of book from a General Authority, and different from many things we’ve seen by Jeffrey R. Holland. Subtitled Spiritual Solace from the Psalms, it contains Elder Holland’s “personal musings and private meditations on a very eclectic selection of psalms.” He notes that Jesus himself quoted from Psalms more than any other part of the Old Testament and calls the psalms “a biblical bridge reaching to all people.”

Rarely does Elder Holland offer an entire psalm or even an entire verse, and sometimes it’s a line or two from various psalms clustered into a single thought, followed by his own thoughts. Rather than scholarly commentary, it is intended to provide strength and spiritual solace. Elder Holland articulates those thoughts in his typical literary style.

Three sections are divided into personal reflection on various psalms, Messianic Psalms, and the Twenty-third Psalm. Color plates of evocative art are interspersed. Careful notes crediting sources and referencing additional scriptures follow the text, along with both a scripture and a subject index. Included with the book is a DVD of Elder Holland speaking on the topic.

Christians of any faith should find this lovely book meditative and comforting. (Deseret Book 2012, 242 pages in hard cover, $26.99)


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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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