"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
September 10, 2014
Simply Beautiful Books
by Laurie Williams Sowby

Don’t let the large size and pictures fool you: Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible is an empowering read for young women as well as a beautifully illustrated book.

Co-authors McArthur Krishna and Bethany Spalding celebrate a dozen women from the Bible, named and unnamed. Simply and clearly presented stories which highlight the courageous choices these women made in difficult circumstances are accompanied by Kathleen Peterson’s richly colored and detailed illustrations.

Scriptural references appear at the end of each two-page account, which is followed by thought-provoking questions, such as “When have you chosen to solve a problem peacefully?” and “What choices have you made to show that God can trust you?”

Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible is an appealing book worthy of repeated reading, thought, and discussion. It’s a keeper. (Deseret Book, 50 pages in hard cover, $17.99.)

Another beautiful book is the coffee-table-size His Holy House, featuring a lovely collection of photos by Robert A. Boyd. His images of 60 temples across the United States and in Canada reveal an artist’s eye, as the photos of temple exteriors capture more than edifices, landscapes, or stunning backdrops.

Details of windows, stonework, doors, windows, and even hardware give a glimpse into the detailed planning and craftsmanship that goes into each temple.

The varying seasons lend interest. Personal favorites: my neighboring Mount Timpanogos Temple and its grounds laden with snow; bright flowers flanking the plaza in front of the Nauvoo Temple, which is set against a spectacularly sunset-lit sky; the San Diego Temple covered by sheets of rain; and various temples at Christmastime.

Readers will appreciate seeing designs that have defined certain eras and the “variations on a theme.” Sprinkled throughout the appealing layout are scriptures referencing temples and temple work. His Holy House, 140 durable pages in hard cover, is published by Deseret Book at $49.99.

John Bytheway addresses young people approaching missionary age, responding to a vital question in How Do I Know if I Know? (Deseret Book 2014, 138 pages in handy-size soft cover, $9.99). In his inimitable style, Bytheway likens the process of gaining enlightenment to a light with a dimmer switch.

The metaphor works as he explores in short chapters four “wires” that together create testimony: feeling, experience, evidences, and logic — F.E.E.L. In addition to clear explanations, sound doctrine, and real-life examples, he offers QR codes and links to videos and talks by Church leaders that shed “more light” on the subject.


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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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