Friday, September 30, 2016

Review of "The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith"

I had wanted to read The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens for some time, especially since I was so impressed with Terryl's earlier book By the Hand of Mormon (which I reviewed here). Also, considering that Terryl co-authored the book with his wife (who is a convert from Roman Catholicism), I was especially intrigued. However, since the book itself is less than 150 pages, I was a little surprised that they could tackle such a broad issue like doubt in so few pages.

As it turns out, my surprise was warranted because the book has little to do with the subject of doubt and skepticism as much as it has to do with asking the right kind of question and believing for its own sake at times. The book does start out strong, showing that some of peoples doubts come from asking the wrong kind of question or making false assumptions. For instance, the Givens use the example of B.H. Roberts, one of Mormonism's premier philosophers and theologians, and how he was once asked how the tribes of North America, who the Book of Mormon taught were descendants or a remnant of the Nephites/Lamanites, could have so diverse languages and they shared a common ancestry of just 2,000 years. Roberts, who was usually quick to answer critics, was never able to answer this question during his lifetime.

However, the premise of the question was flawed; the Book of Mormon does not teach that all inhabitants of North America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus were descendants of the family of Lehi. Rather that is something that certain members chose to believe, and they read their belief into the text. So, there was really no conflict after all.

One of the best chapters in the book is titled "Mormons and Monopolies: Holy Persons You Know Not Of", where the Givens tackle the issue of religious pluralism, which is the subject of whether one religion is true, or whether all are true in some way. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be the Church that has priesthood keys, there is truth in other religions, and their sacrifice and worship is acceptable to God as well. Also, a key element of this chapter that might be overlooked is that often times members of the Church tell an incorrect narrative of the Restoration. The common message is that the Church established by Jesus of Nazareth in the first century was lost and taken from the earth not long after that, but that is not the case. Rather, it retreated and was held from view for a time, but it was still there.

Also in this chapter, the theme of judging religions at their best is repeated, one that was first enunciated by Krister Stendahl, former Bishop of Stockholm in the Lutheran Church. Often we judge a religious tradition at its worst (such is the case with the so called "New Atheists") rather than at its best. A duty of anyone making judgement on the value of a tradition must judge it at its best.

Most of the book in some is not written to those who doubt whether or not God exists or have troubles with certain matters of Church history (blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, etc). In fact, the book is not really about doubt as much as it is about paradigms, or ways of looking at things. However, the last chapter does address those with serious doubts.

On this subject of doubt, the Givens offer the example of Pascal's wager (although they don't mention Pascal by name), that it is better to believe for beliefs sake and possibly be wrong because in the end what you gained will be better than what you lost. I disagree. You should believe what you have evidence or warrant to believe, not because something makes you happy or not happy. If you find life miserable because there is no God, do what Alex Rosenberg suggests in his book The Atheist's Guide to Reality: take Prozac. If a person cannot bring themselves to believe, and the Doctrine and Covenants state that to some it is given to believe and to some it is not, then a loving God who weeps at our pain will accept the honest persons unbelief and skepticism more readily than a person who believed only to get gain.

However, the Givens do make a great point in the epilogue:
"Not once, but twice the Lord prefaced His commandment that we strengthen each other with this explanation: "As all have not faith." He thus acknowledged that even among His modern disciples, there would be-and must be-room for those who live in doubt."
In the modern Church where many Mormons do not know much about their history and theology and then squirm when they hear it the first time, the reaction cannot be to judge and dismiss them or to say that they do not have a testimony; the reaction should be to help them, weep with them, and shoulder their burden. After all, that is what Jesus of Nazareth would do if he were present with them. Can his disciples do any less?

Whether or not one is impressed with the arguments (or lack thereof) presented in this book, the Givens are splendid writers, and a joy to read for their own sake. If you have a friend who is doubting, or if you doubt yourself, this book is for you. Even if you don't doubt, there is something in this book for you as well. 4 out of 5 stars.

Ways to make the best of General Conference

On October 1, 2016 through October 2, 2016 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will gather, whether in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah or their own living rooms, to watch the 186th semi-annual General Conference. When doing so, they will have the opportunity to sustain their leaders and receive counsel from them.

Because conference is a regular occurrence, it has the possibility to become boring, redundant, or not as inspiring as it should be. While not every speaker at Conference will be as inspiring as Winston Churchill, members should if nothing else leave the last session with their spirits raised and their vision a little brighter. Allow me to share 3 brief thoughts about how to do this, though there are many others.

1. Prepare

The late President Boyd K. Packer (who was my favorite conference speaker for years) many years ago when he was a member of the now discontinued Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve said this of General Conference:
"What we say in Conference will not matter as much as the preparation that you make for our message.
When things become regular, we sometimes look beyond the mark and think that we don't have a duty in the matter. General Conference, like scripture study, temple worship, and prayer, is an opportunity to receive revelation. But, revelation cannot come if we are not prepared to receive it. In order to prepare, it would be wise to have a prayerful attitude, as well as questions that need answering, and listening to the speakers as though they were an oracle, because they are.

2. Understanding

General Conference is not simply a time that we can consume information, it also a time of commitment and re-commitment. This is one of 4 times during the year (ward conferences being the other) that we will be able to sustain President Thomas S. Monson, the other general authorities, and general officers of the Church. If you have been doing this your whole life you may shrug and say "Yeah, so what?" Keep in mind that sustaining means to hold or lift another up; it is not primarily about you. These men and women, whether you always agree with their decisions, work countless hours to see the Lord's work succeed and your raised hands make all the difference in the world to them.

A word of caution for those who choose not to sustain. That is your privilege, but if you are in the Conference Center, simply raise your hand when asked if you do not support a motion; there is no reason to classless and tacky.

3. Remember

Elder Jeffery R. Holland in a recent message reminded us that not every message in General Conference will be directly applicable to us. I will go a little further. It may be the case that most of General Conference may not be for you, but keep in mind that what these men and women say may be useful to you later. As Elder David A. Bednar often says, "Scriptures do not change, but we do." My friend the late Joseph F. McConkie said in his book Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions that while not every word that is uttered in Conference can be counted as scripture, much of it can. Reverence these talks as sacred, even if they don't matter much to you... yet.

Also, keep in mind that while a majority of talks may not matter to you, they probably do for someone else. The Church has over 15 million members and have that many if not more problems; Conference combined is only around 12 hours. Not everyone will have their issue addressed, but that does not mean that we cannot learn from what these people are saying, regardless of whether or not it applies to us in that moment.

Hopefully these suggestions have been of some help to someone, and I hope that everyone enjoys the upcoming Conference. Can't wait to hear what the speakers will say, as well as see all the Conference memes on Facebook.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mason and Dehlin: Can it work?

On September 19, 2016 Salt Lake Tribune columnist Peggy Fletcher Stack alerted the public (or at least the public who did not already know), that John Dehlin and Patrick Q. Mason would be co-authoring a blog on Patheos dedicated to talking about problems in Mormonism. Dehlin is an ex-Mormon and founder of the Mormon Stories Podcast. Mason is a historian and chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University, best known for his book Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt (which I reviewed here).

Patrick Mason (left) John Dehlin (right)
After seeing the article, I shared it on Facebook with the caption "Mason buying into Dehlin's publicity stunts. Smh." This lead to over a hundred comments and arguments within the thread, and as often happens the arguments went in a far different direction than I what I had originally intended; such are the joys of social media.

My problem with the Mason/Dehlin project is twofold. First, these sort of conversations have been done before and are not usually fruitful. Take for example the book Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue where neuroscientist and atheist activist Sam Harris has a dialogue with former Islamist Maajid Nawaz. Harris and Nawaz try to have a productive dialogue, but it is doomed from the start because Harris wants to see Islam come to an end (as well as all other religions) while Nawaz says that Islam is for the most part not dangerous and is open to reform.

The DehlinMason project mirrors the Harris/Nawaz one in many respects. Dehlin believes that the LDS Church and religion do more harm than good, taunts believers who disagree with him, and his podcast would now more properly be called "Ex-Mormon Stories" because it now focuses on people who are transitioning out of Mormonism rather than on LDS scholars and intellectuals like it has in the past. In a recent interview, Dehlin also compared excommunication hearings to torture in the 15th century, which I find odd since Dehlin came out of his hearing untouched and in perfect health, and he had the option of not attending if he didn't want to. Simply put, Dehlin would delight and rejoice in seeing the LDS Church fail and be replaced with a secular humanism.

Mason's position is summed up well in the introduction to his book Planted:
"When it comes to Mormonism, I'm "all in,"to incongruously use the poker term, and have been my entire life. I like being in. I go to church every Sunday, and  (mostly) enjoy it. I know it is good for me. I know that I find redemption and satisfaction in the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through its prophets and members."
Close quote. So Mason, like Nawaz is a believer, but sees that there are problems within the LDS Church that need addressing, and he does a good job of laying the framework for addressing them in his book. But again, keep in mind that reform and destruction are not compatible. It is one thing to say that a house has a broken window, floors that need to be mopped, and light-bulbs that need to be replaced; it is another to say that the foundation has rotted, the walls are moldy, the roof is collapsing, and that it would be simpler to tear the house down and build something new that bears little resemblance to the former house. Mason sees the former as modern Mormonism, Dehlin sees the latter. These paradigms are so different that is extremely doubtful there will be much agreement and progress on issues that need to be addressed.

Secondly, it is not clear that Mason and Dehlin are qualified to have some of the discussions that they are having. In their second post titled How We Know What We Know, Dehlin and Mason discuss religious epistemology. Epistemology is one of the five main branches of philosophy, and deals with how a person can have knowledge, or what counts as knowledge versus belief. While their dialogue is interesting, keep in mind that neither Dehlin or Mason are philosophers, and therefore are not equipped to address this area. If Dehlin wanted to talk about epistemology and various issues in theology, he should have talked to Brian Birch or Blake Ostler, who are trained philosophers with extensive training in epistemology. The conversation concludes with a mention of the Book of Abraham, which leads me to believe that subject will be discussed by the duo in the near future. But since neither is a linguist or an egyptologist, the same problems that plagued their discussion of epistemology will come through again. If Dehlin wants to talk about various issues in blog form, he should address them with experts in the field. But even that would be doomed to failure, since Dehlin brings up red herrings and non sequiturs ad nauseam in his past podcasts with intellectuals (such as his four part interview with philosopher Adam S. Miller).

The title of this post is "Can it work?" In short, no it cannot, at least in the sense that it will resolve issues that plague Mormon and non-Mormon. Especially not with two people who are on the polar opposite side of the spectrum on just about everything related to Mormonism. While they will have some fun conversations that will be worth reading, don't expect any real problem-solving to come of this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review of "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design"

As a devout evolutionist and Darwinian, I have often struggled with friends who are enthusiasts about so called Intelligent Design Theory. Often I remind them that the theory is not science because it does not follow the scientific method and is more of a philosophical than a scientific argument. Second, it is abundantly evident that the so-called Intelligent Designers are basically just a bunch of Christians who want to get a form of creationism into the scientific curriculum. I have had the discussion enough that I thought I would eventually write a book about it. Luckily, I do not have too.

Historian of Science Michael Shermer in his book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design masterfully and amusingly takes the Intelligent Design theorists to task and shows how, in large measure, the Intelligent Designers do not have a case and how religious people can both believe in God and also accept scientific evidence.

The book begins with Shermer and a colleague exploring the Galapagos Isles; the same Isle's that Charles Darwin explored before authoring On the Origin of Species. He notes that the Isle's are difficult to get around, and are very threatening to certain kinds of life, and that over time he saw how animals that were on the Isle's during Darwin's journey there had changed and adapted to be better suited to survive. As he puts it "There can be no doubt: evolution happened."

Shermer then goes on the defensive, showing that evolution is a historical science; you don't see it while it is occurring as much as you do after it has occurred. He also points out that not only biology gives us evidence of evolution, but paleontology, geology, anthropology, and so forth. So, we can have a strong conviction of evolution and it is because various sciences and studies converge to the exact same conclusion. If evolution did not happen, it would be very odd for people of many disciplines to all converge to the same general framework.

Next, Shermer gives the various reasons people don't believe in the theory, and shows they are ill founded or have been countered. In large measure, part of the problem is about words, which as an analytic philosopher I would say most problems come from. When people hear the word theory, generally they take that to mean that this is someones idea that their acceptance or non-acceptance of will be of little difference. In science, a theory is based on empirical evidence, and is used to interpret the evidence. So, evolution is a theory based on evidence, and is able to explain life and complexity more than satisfactorily. For this reason, it is universally accepted in the scientific community, but people outside of it do not understand the meaning of the term, so they feel that Darwin's theories are of no more importance than those of Mary Baker Eddy. Newsflash: Darwin was right and Eddy was... well I don't want to go there but you get my point.

After explaining Darwin's theory, Shermer gives the arguments from the Intelligent Design side. He points out that most of them are just asking a question rather than making an argument. For instance, Intelligent Design theorist Stephen C. Meyer points out that the Cambrian Explosion is incompatible with Darwinism because these animals just appeared rather than descending from prior known forms of life, and states that even Darwin himself was perplexed by this. Shermer then points out that the current fossil record shows that the Cambrian Explosion was not really an explosion and that it is explainable by natural selection and random mutation. I must say, for a Cambridge philosophy graduate, Meyer makes me ashamed to be a philosopher. Yikes!

Shermer concludes by talking about the conflict between science and religion (which is not a conflict at all as far as I am concerned), and invokes the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould's idea of non-overlapping magisteria; which is that science and religion are about two different things, the former is about the empirical world, and the other is about morals, values, and so on.

Here I must disagree with Shermer and Gould. First, there is an overlap in some religions with science because some religions believe in miracles which are by definition "A violation of the laws of nature" as Scottish philosopher David Hume stated. Also, I am not sure that religion has its own magisteria to claim if it is solely about ethics; there are many moral philosophers, psychologists, and theorists who engage in these questions everyday, and some do it better than those who are religious. It would be better to say that religion is not interested in the same questions as science, and that there really is no conflict unless we make it into one.

I will close with this quote from Shermer's book, which sums up the whole debate and problem very beautifully:
"Darwin matters because evolution matters. Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age, an epic saga about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going."
Because science matters and because many in America are uniformed about these matters, I strongly recommend that you pick up Shermer's book and educate yourself. If we are going to have a conversation that is constructive, we must be informed.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Answering My Critics : A Response to Dennis Walker and Robert Boylan

On September 6th, 2016, I celebrated 7 years of membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These seven years have not been easy for me, there has been anguish, frustration, pain, desperation, and thoughts of suicide at times. However, as the prophet Nephi said thousands of years ago "I know in whom I have trusted": the Lord Jesus Christ. He has allowed me to suffer pain and agony so that I can feel his healing power and loving kindness. While I have had difficulty as a member of the Church (and may have more in the future), I am thankful for the sustaining influence of the Lord in my life and would not trade my testimony of him and of his restored gospel for anything.

That being said, two weeks ago I published a post titled Are Mormon Christian? Not really..... and received different levels of response. Just this morning my mission president Richard Neitzel Holzapfel (who is a New Testament scholar at Brigham Young University) sent me an e-mail and said that while he considered my arguments good, he also said that it might be best to classify Mormons as "pre-creedal Christians." In addition to President Holzapfel, my friends Dennis Walker and theologian and apologist Robert Boylan responded to my post on their respective blogs, which can be read here and here. I will spend most of this blog responding to them, but before I do I would like to say that both of these gentlemen are my friends, are good people, and I will address the arguments they made rather than them as individuals.

Before I respond to them, a point deserves to be made in reference to President Holzapfel's point. Central to the truth claims of Mormonism is that soon after the death of Jesus of Nazareth the doctrines and church he established were lost, and remained lost until the time of Joseph Smith, Jr. So, by definition Mormons do not regard the creeds of Christendom (Nicene, Apostles, Athanasian, etc) as being reflective of true New Testament Christianity. However, this still makes my point rather than refutes it. If you say that you are not pre-creedal Christians, you are still admitting that you do not in fact worship the same God because these creeds define God and Christ as Christians define them today. If you do not worship the same God, you are not of the same faith, even if you use the same vocabulary. You are merely involved in what Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein called a "language game", and we need to move past that game in order to have a true interfaith dialogue. Christians and Mormons both believe in God, but there meaning of that word is fundamentally different enough that both Mormons and Christians cannot claim to be on the same side.

On to the points made by Dennis Walker. His fundamental argument against me was a straw-man; attacking what I didn't say instead of what I did say. His blog focused on the fact the Latter-day Saints accept Jesus as their Savior and live according to his teachings. I agree with this, and that was not the argument of my blog, which was never addressed by Dennis in his blog. My thesis was as follows:
"There is no greater question than knowing who God is." That is particularly true of the Mormon-Christian dialogue because neither Mormons or Christians are questioning (at least not as a whole) whether or not God exists; that question is already presupposed to be that he does in fact exist. The real question is what are the attributes and nature of this being. All other questions, such as the nature of the Church, priesthood, scriptural interpretation, ethics, etc, flow out of who and what God is.
So, my argument was not about whether or not Mormons believe in Jesus Christ; they have his name in the official name of their Church, it would be very strange for them to not believe in him. The argument was whether the nature and attributes of the being that we call God is shared with other Christians, and it is not. You cannot reconcile the idea of a materialistic, naturalistic God with the idea of the Platonic/Aristotelian God that is worshiped by Christians. That was the point of the discussion, and had nothing to do with how Mormons and Christians view Jesus of Nazareth, although that too is very different.

Dennis also engaged in ad hominem attack when he said:
"Tarik Lacour’s assumption that we must say we are the only Christian church and his call for us to separate ourselves and essential renounce our Christianity, or his other solution  contrast that with the claim that we are the only Christian Church, is absurd and heretical. His call is ironically accompanied by a statement that implies that the Church and its Saints are not honest.

Such actions with either appease the masses and discredit the entire work of the Lord, quite the opposite of Tarik’s assumption that it would accelerate and assist in the legitimacy of the work. He states that “In order to be honest, you must clearly state what you believe, and honesty is the best avenue to have fruitful interfaith dialogue. In order for this to happen, Mormons will need to be honest and say that they are a separate religion from Christians, be straightforward about their materialistic and polytheistic beliefs, and honest that they alone are the vehicle of salvation and exaltation, even if other faiths do much good. We cannot move forward unless we are strictly honest.”

Such a statement would make it clear that he feels there is no legitimacy to the work of the Lord in current time."

Close quote. First, as to whether or not we are the only Christian Church. If anyone can define what a Christian is and what Church is correct, it would be Jesus himself. In section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants, he states that the LDS Church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased." That is very absolutist language, but I believe it to be true, and I affirmed that in the closing points in my blog. So, Dennis should take his problem to Jesus or Joseph Smith, Jr., but not to me for pointing that out.

As far as having a conversation with other Christians, keep in mind that since we do not always recognize that we are playing a language game, many Christians think that Mormons believe pretty much what they believe, and many Mormons think that they are not very different from Christians. So, what I am suggesting is that when we use a word that is shared between us (such as God) we clearly define at the beginning what we mean by the term. As a convert I know this first hand; it wasn't until I read Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie that I discovered that Mormons and Christians have radically different conceptions of the divine. To avoid confusion, lets be clear and honest about what we believe so that no one can misunderstand what we are talking about, that is all I am suggesting.

On the last point, that I do not feel that the Lord's work is legitimate is as astonishing as it is false. I have joined the Church in spite of familial resistance, served a mission, accepted callings, paid tithing, and am an employee of the Church. If I am a dissenter, the evidence begs to differ. Also, Dennis mentioned in his blog that my approach was academic; of course that is the case. I am an academic philosopher, what other approach would I take? This done not mean in the slightest that I believe that discipleship is mere academic assent, it is a lifestyle approach and a commitment. I have shown my commitment to the Church many times, and I plan to continue to do so.

On to Robert Boylan and his concerns. First, I go by the name Tarik; David is my fathers name. Second, I am a philosopher who happens to have a blog and LDS theology and doctrine is not what my blog is dedicated to, so I am not an "LDS blogger". Third, to call a believing member of the Church as being in line with the likes of Sandra Tanner is both insulting and false; I have a strong commitment and testimony of the Restored Gospel and to attack a fellow servant in the vineyard is disgusting and contemptible.

Something else that disturbed me was his linking me with Thomas Aquinas, which caught me by surprise. First, I am not a Thomist, I am a Humean. Second, I mentioned Aquinas only once in my post and said that Mormon's conception of God was far different than his. While I do revere Aquinas and he has had an influence on me, his ideas are not central to the philosophy I defend.

Boylan's argument, like Dennis', results in being a straw-man because he is making the point the LDS version of Christianity is more in line with the New Testament than other Christians. That was not the point of my blog, so whether it is correct or not is irrelevant, although I agree with much of what Boylan said, in particular his reference of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. As pointed out earlier, the point of my blog was to discuss the conflicting natures of God in Mormonism and Christianity; not Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, the Ante-Nicene Fathers, or even which version of Christianity is right.

I would like to close by saying that I am thankful to these gentlemen for taking the time to read my blog, and further time to respond to it. But perhaps it would be best to understand what I was saying before issuing a response. I rest my case.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review of "From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher"

As a black member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints myself, I am always interested in other black members sharing their stories about how they came to have faith in the Prophet Joseph Smith and in the restoration of the Gospel. Frankly, and this is having lived in Utah for almost 4 years now, many of my non-black LDS friends seem to think that since the 1978 revelation that all is well and that being a black member is no different than being a white member. News flash: It is very different and brings another set of challenges to an already difficult task to pick up your cross and follow the Savior.

Enter Wain Myers and his book From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher. I had seen this book several times, but had never bought it even though I knew I should. Two weeks ago while in Deseret Book I saw it again and purchased it, thinking I would read it in a few weeks. However, I had a prompting to read it sooner and I am glad that I did. While Bro. Myers is older and more mature than me, his story in many ways captures the essence of what it means to be a black member of the Church.

From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher is basically a short biography of Wain Myers life, chronicling from his youth in Dayton, Ohio (which is ironically where my former pastor is from, small world) where he was called by God to be a preacher, to his time in the military, to his life as a what I often term as "hustler preaching, to meeting his wife as a bus driver, to taking the missionary discussions, and so forth. Throughout the book, Bro. Myers does not present himself as an academic; rather he presents himself as a normal man who people can relate to, and it comes through on every page. Even a stiff like me found himself smiling and almost driven to tears by passages in the book.

The most powerful chapter in the book is titled "The White Guys with the Name Tags", where as you might have guessed is where Myers talks about meeting the missionaries for the first time. He shares an experience where his not-then wife tells hims that prior to 1978 men of African descent were barred from holding the LDS priesthood. His reaction was not unlike many who hear that news for the first time. To quote him:
"I felt like someone had thrust a fist into my chest and ripped out my heart. It took all I had to keep from breaking down in tears right then and there. How could God have led me to his true Church only to find out it was a racist Church?How could anyone- a church much less- justify withholding such a power from a man because of the color of his skin?"
Close quote. I, and other members of the Church have asked that question countless times. But maybe what is more important than learning something is what you did after you learned it. Myers was able to put the item on the shelf and join the Church and enjoy the blessings it brings, even if he thought the practice was not a Christlike one. I particular enjoyed later when he said that he hasn't come to terms with it because he doesn't believe it was a God-given mandate; I agree with that sentiment.

While you may think, as I mistakenly did, that this is where Myers story ends, you will pleasantly surprised that you are wrong. Myers talks about his early years in the Church as a struggle, not so much just as a black member, but just adjusting to LDS culture. He talks about burning out, but being told by a member of his bishopric that the reason was because he was not sharing the gospel; he had just been taking it to himself and keeping it. Once he started sharing it, things improved dramatically. Perhaps it was no surprise the Savior's great commission was to tell others what you had come to know for yourself.

The rest of the book shares episodes from Myers life, but it is truly a beautiful story in the end where Myers son decides to serve a mission after he had thought he would play football instead. A lesson from this is that we should allow young people to decide for themselves whether they will serve and stay out of the decision process; especially parents and relatives. If the Lord wants a person in the field, he will find a way to make his will come to pass.

Bro. Myers book is one for all members of the LDS Church, black, white, Asian, Arab, or anything else. There is something in this book for everyone. The book itself is shorter than 150 pages, so it is not a long read and can be finished in a few days. I encourage all to read it and to think about how they can better strengthen themselves and others as Bro. Myers did. 5 out of 5 stars.