On giving away books.

February 22, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 10:08 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

A recent post at FPR regarding the best books has gotten me thinking about a few questions.

A. If you had the opportunity to give only one book to someone, in an effort to share your beliefs with them, and with the probability being that you would never see them again, what book would it be and why?* Is the Book of Mormon really the best book for that job?

B. If you had the opportunity to give only one book to someone who was just baptized as an adult convert, and you were hoping to give them something to read that would help them stay active and grow spiritually, but again, you’d probably never see them again, what book would it be and why?

C. If you had an opportunity to give a book to someone who has grown up in the Church, and is about to go away to college, and you are hoping to give them something that will help them stay true to the faith away from their parents’ nest but also help them to grow spiritually, what book would you give them and why? And if this is different from B, why?

D. If you had an opportunity to give only one book to someone who had gone innactive, and you were hoping it would motivate their return, what book would you give them, and why?

E. If you had an opportunity to give a book to your bishop, what book would you give him and why?

F. If you had an opportuntiy to give a book to President Hinckley, what book would you give him and why?

I’ll post my own answers later, but look forward to your thoughts.

*-Personally, before I’d ever even seen a Book of Mormon, I had read “The Mormon Faith: A new Look at Christianity” by Robert L. Millet. My Wife’s Family joined the Church when her grandfather was given a box full of books including “Jesus the Christ” and “The Seer”.

14 Comments »

  1. A. It would depend on the person, their background and my relationship to them.

    B. The Story of the Latter-day Saints

    C. Same as B.

    D. Depends on why they went inactive.

    E. My Bishop asked me for a good book on the Book of Mormon, I recommended By the Hand of Mormon. I think he may have also gotten the Kimball bio on my recommendation as well.

    F. If he hadn’t read them already, probably An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 22, 2007 @ 11:47 am

  2. My Wife’s Family joined the Church when her grandfather was given a box full of books including “Jesus the Christ” and “The Seer”.

    Niiice. Converted by The Seer. That’s a new one.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 22, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  3. E. I once loaned my bishop The Peter Principle. He wanted to see if it applied to him. (It didn’t–yet).

    Comment by Last Lemming — February 22, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  4. J. I was actually hoping I had phrased the question to rule out answers like “It depends”. :) I am interested by your pick of “The Story of the Latter-day saints” since I have thought of you as otherwise not a proponent of the writings of JFS2. Why History? Why this history book over, say, the Insitute Manual on Church History or the Arrington book?

    Geoff, yep the Seer. And he still has it and likes it a lot. A few years ago I asked him a question (I can’t recall the details of it now) and his answer was simply, “read this book” He’s reading Ostler now though, since my wife gave it to him.

    LL, that’s quite funny, and apt, since the first books I think of for my bishop are all business books.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 22, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  5. I think you may be confusing The Story of the Latter-day Saints with Essentials in Church History. I chose history, because it is how you eventually understand our faith. This volume is a great entree into the arena for the fresh Latter-day Saint. Arrington’s Mormon Experience could be easily substituted for it.

    The problem, Matt, is that it is still too broad. People go inactive for all sorts of reasons and consequently meight be best served by all sorts of readings. I honestly can’t think of a one size fits all.

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 22, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

  6. Oops, you are correct, I did have the two mixed up. Would you say the Institute Church History Manual could also be substituted? (Access and Budgetary reasons being on my mind here.)BTW, I like to think of there being a point where the faith transcends history, but that is for another thread in the distant future.

    I was more thinking of question A than question D. D was more of an afterthought, and you are absolutely correct, there is certainly no one size fits most fix there.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 22, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  7. What’s really fascinating to realize is that The Seer was written as a tract.

    Comment by Jacob J — February 22, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  8. My Own Answers:

    A. I am breaking my own rules, and am undecided on the book. My contenders are Mere Christianity, the Mormon Faith, and Our search for Happiness as being absolutely introductory.

    B. True to the Faith and Gospel Principles are the easy answers, beyond that, I guess I could maybe go with a Church History book but I really have a soft soft for “One Minute answers” if I thought they were the type to dig it.

    C. Mere Christianity

    D. Like I said to J. this question wasn’t well thought out.

    E. either “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” or “Leadership and Self-Deception.” because I think our ward needs help developing as a team.

    F. Maybe a Super Fancy copy of the Chronicles of Narnia.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 22, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  9. I would not give them a CES manual.

    Comment by J. Stapley — February 22, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  10. A. Book of Mormon would probably be what I gave to them.

    B. Gospel Principles or True to the Faith—I use them for all my lessons, talks and questions.

    C. Mere Christianity–awesome book

    D. Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson—pretty motivation book and also deals with some faith problems sometimes seen within the Church.

    E. Rough Stone Rolling—but only because I think sometimes he needs to wake up a little.

    F. Anything I have, he probably has already read. Maybe I would just ask him to autograph one of his own books for me. (joking)

    Comment by Nicole — February 22, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

  11. A. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran

    B. Book of Mormon

    C. Karamazov Brothers

    D. Mere Christianity

    E. Stanley Hauerwas Reader and Politics of Jesus- Yoder

    F. Same as E

    Comment by Josh Madson — February 22, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  12. “Leadership and Self-Deception”

    Amen there. Although I think James Ferrell’s “The Peacegiver” would be better for members, considering the fact that it’s the same book except written for the members of the church rather than businessmen.

    “The Peacegiver” would probably also be my answer to B,C and D. And possibly A and F too.

    If a second book, Kierkegaard’s “Works of Love” across the board.

    Comment by Eric Russell — February 22, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  13. I started reading Works of Love last summer but haven’t made it out of the first chapter yet. It is now somewhere in my pile of two dozen books started but not finished…

    Comment by Geoff J — February 22, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  14. A – The Book of Mormon. Not just content but what the book represents is important.

    B – I am going to go with the safe Gospel Priciples. Simple basics.

    C – Tough one. Maybe Jesus the Christ. Stretching our appreciation and understanding of Christ is such a key.

    D – Depends on the circumstances. For my two sisters who went inactive in their teenage years I might go back to the basics. Gospel Principles or maybe an oldy but goodie Marvelous Work and a Wonder.

    E – Maybe Counseling with our Councils (I hate spelling the versions of this word!). Many bishops do not delegate and use the organization leaders as they should.

    F – ‘Worlds without Number’ Hehe. He won’t have a copy of THAT!

    Comment by Eric Nielson — February 23, 2007 @ 10:00 am

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