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December 30, 2015
Latter-day Books
Poetry, Personal Stories, and "Accomplishing the Impossible"
by Laurie Williams Sowby

I have long loved the poetry of Carol Lynn Pearson—ever since I received Beginnings as a college graduation gift more than four decades ago. Over the years, I’ve repeatedly returned to my bookshelves to search between the dog-eared dust jackets for a specific poem that suited a particular situation – birth, death, loss, love, relationships, parenthood.

Recently, I wanted to share a long-ago remembered one with several women who head foreign consulates in New York. “Let us sing them to peace,” said the final line of a poem calling on women to help change the world. But I wasn’t home, where those books are. I at last found the poem I’d been searching for in an anthology of Pearson’s poems, Beginnings and Beyond, published in 2011 by Cedar Fort (215 pages in soft cover, $14.99). The author herself gave me permission to share “To Women Everywhere,” which I did in Christmas cards and email messages this year.

Very helpful is an index of titles and another of first lines to help locate 140 favorite poems from Beginnings, The Search, The Growing Season, A Widening View, Women I Have Known and Been, and Picture Window. How delightful to have them collected in one volume!

The impending departure of BYU Coach Bronco Mendenhall may make a book by one of his former players, Brock Lance Richardson, even more desirable. That’s Latter-day Warriors: Stepping into Your Spiritual Strength (Cedar Fort 2015, 175 pages in soft cover, $13.99). But what should really sell it for youth—young men especially--is Richardson’s interviews with 10 individual players who are committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings, for it isn’t so much about football as it is about life--choices, goals, overcoming, coping, growing, changing, and becoming better people.

Latter-day Saint women share experiences and lessons learned in an attractive little book, In His Hands: Insights for Women (Deseret Book 2015, 153 pages in hard cover, $14.99). Lovely landscape photography accompanies short essays under the headings of trust, discipleship, service, peace, prayer, and love. The 22 writers include former LDS women’s leaders, members of general boards, and authors previously published by Deseret Book, all with something to say. It’s an inspirational, nicely designed little book that just about any LDS woman could appreciate.

Elder Russell M. Nelson imparts some of his wisdom and experience in Accomplishing the Impossible (Deseret Book 2015, 169 page in hard cover, $21.99). Divided into two sections, the book offers “What God Does/What We Can Do” in Elder Nelson’s conversational, friend-to-friend tone.

Starting with the biblical examples of Gideon’s forces being outnumbered 500 to one, the Lord dividing the Red Sea so the children of Israel could cross on dry ground, a modern-day example of a handful of people commanded to preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and his own task of opening the nations of Eastern Europe to the gospel, Elder Nelson reminds us of the Lord’s pattern of choosing the weak to accomplish great things. I particularly enjoyed the accounts of the particular ways in which doors were opened as he served in that challenging assignment.

God’s help, he says, comes through angels, feelings of peace and love, physical and spiritual gifts, prayer, and covenants. For our part, we can use what God does to receive revelation, overcome temptation, act in faith, share the gospel, strengthen our families, make righteous choices, and make the Sabbath a delight.

The conclusion urges “The World Needs Our Contribution,” especially in defending and preserving religious liberty and traditional marriage. End notes provide scriptural references as well as brief additional explanations for Elder Nelson’s musings in this wise, readable, and encouraging book.

One more winner is a small, thick book with scriptures and quotes for each day of the year, by President Thomas S. Monson. A Future as Bright as Your Faith is a compact volume packed with counsel and inspiration--perfect for daily devotional (Deseret Book 2015, 396 pages in hard cover, $15.99).

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