LDS publishers are paying their usual spring tribute to mothers and women, with various new
volumes offering insights into their contributions. Maybe you got one of the new books for
Mother's Day. If not, took for them on sale at a discount after. Here's a sampling of something
you may have given or received:
Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith, compiled by Gary W. Toyn, Covenant Communications
2012, 311 pages, $29.99 in hard cover.
Mothers of Faith, compiled by Gary W. Toyn, is a hefty volume with thick, slick pages on which
Latter-day Saints from many walks of life outline the contributions their mothers have made to
theirs. It's fun to open a page here or there, see a lot of photos (some of which seemingly are not
associated with the essay), and read the "backstory" of people you may know.But you'll need a
table to lay it on.
Although many among the nearly 50 are predictable choices -- mothers of luminaries such as
church leaders, Congressmen, sports figures, artists, and business moguls -- many who are
featured are lesser-known, "ordinary" women who've made a difference in their family and
Sometimes it's the posterity writing about their grandmother, as in the case of Geraldine H.
Bangerter, whose granddaughter Gerilyn Beck Merrill has written the text. (Unfortunate timing
with Julie B. Beck's photo on the book's cover, just as she was released from the General Relief
Society presidency!) Delightful glimpses into Marjorie Pay Hinckley's life were authored by her
son Richard. Several similar tributes, anywhere from two to eight pages, show the influence of
mothers across generations. In a nod to modern technology and communication, several bloggers
There's a wealth of material here -- really, enough for two books -- as there was in last year's
companion volume Life Lessons from Fathers of Faith, also by Toyn. An index would make it
easier to locate a particular story later on in this encyclopedia-weight volume. In sometimes
awkward editorial choice and layout, the writers get almost as much space on the page as their
mothers do, but that may be useful to some readers.
(Sensitive noses beware: The heavy ink smell remains in the book weeks after opening the
Christ's Gift to Women, by Heather B. Moore and Angela Eschler, Covenant Communications
2012, 39 pages, $17.99 in hard cover.
Christ's Gift to Women, a thin but thoughtful and beautifully illustrated volume by Heather B.
Moore and Angela Eschler, is more of an in-depth exploration of five particular gifts: mercy,
experience, wholeness, nurturing, and seeing.
The cover features a lovely depiction of Mary by Howard Lyon, and inside is page after page of
wonderful artwork, much of it by LDS artists and all of it credited on the last page. Although it
looks like an art book, the art is enhanced by the text.
Moore and Escher's insights and exhortations make for uplifting, introspective reading, with text
ranging from fairly succinct explanation to extensive elaboration. The organization of the book
into five "gifts" allows the reader to compare different artists' depictions of the same biblical
event, adding more depth to the experience.
The text by these two previously published authors is cleanly edited and includes end notes for
reference to sources quoted. Although the layout looks a bit clumsy with oversized type face that
leaves little margin, this is overall a wonderful publication. A paragraph from the introduction
gives a hint of what you're in for:
"We must learn how to lay our burdens on Christ in exchange for the gifts He offers --
daily peace, love, mercy, encouragement, and hope, to name a few. Despite our latter-day
heritage, without this application of the good news, we are as disadvantaged as our
Samaritan sister at the ancient well. If we feel powerless before our own weaknesses,
fears, and uncertainties of the future, we must come to comprehend Christ's declaration
of identity and purpose more fully -- for our divinity is tied to His."
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
embraces all, having had her five children and their spouses all graduate from universities of
various colors. The oldest of 18 grandchildren (so far) begins the cycle again this fall.
She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 as
proselyting missionaries in Chile at the same time their youngest son was serving in Germany.
The last two times, they've served in Washington, D.C. (South and North missions) as young
adult Institute teachers. In D.C., they found it much easier to teach in English and enjoyed
having heat in the winter.
During her years of missionary service, Laurie 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). Home is American Fork,
Utah. She serves on the board of the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra and loves good music,
good books, and good chocolate.
Laurie currently hops between her ward Relief Society and the Primary, serving as pianist wherever she is needed.