My 10 Most-Read Books From Deseret Book

December 11, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 1:34 pm   Category: Book Reviews

Since my Sista’ in Zion is dissing on Sheri’s little company over at T&S, I thought I’d give them some love. It is Christmas after all, and even Ms. Dew needs love at Christmas. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 books I have read the most that are published by Deseret Book.

1.  The Peacegiver by James Ferrell- It’s simple prose may be derivative of the Patrick Lencioni style of business self-help books, but the doctrine relating the atonement here to the concept of “self-deception” is very well-done and I believe has within it the power to change our theological landscape for good.

2.  The Redeemer by Various- With writings from Madsen, Covey, Millet and Holzapfel, this book takes many of Deseret books best Authors and asks them all to do their best to really talk deeply about Jesus, yet in a devotional way. It’s no Blake Ostler, but I go back to the Covey and Madsen (Ann and Truman) chapters again and again

3.  Jesus the Christ by James Talmage- This book, while a little dated, is foundational to understanding the roots of the LDS perspective on Jesus. Many have tried to write a replacement, but no one yet has.

4. 6 Events by Stephen R. Covey- I think Stephen R. Covey is perhaps one of the most underrated theologians in the Church. In this book he takes the best of all his theological ideas and hammers them into a magnum opus.

5. Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament by various- I used to pick this up almost everyday. Read Kevin’s review here.

6. Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament by various- I now pick this up almost every day. Read Kevin’s review here.

7. The Presidents of the Church by Truman G. Madsen- Okay, I am cheating a bit on this one, since it is audio and not actually a book (Well, it is a book, but I’ve never read it). I just love Truman Madsen, and this is my favorite of his. When I first joined the Church, I bought this set of tapes the first time I went to the Temple. I listened to them over and over again for two years. It is because of these tapes I first gained a testimony of each President of the Church, and began to know and care about who they are.

8. The Mormon Faith: A New Look at Christianity by Robert Millet- This is the first LDS book I ever read, before I even had received a Book of Mormon. While to most saints, it may just be a written version of “The 6 Discussions”, to me it was a gateway to new life, and I still open it up and enjoy Millet’s simple, clear, exegesis.

9. Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball by Ed Kimball- Definitely in the top 4 LDS biographies I’ve ever read.

10. The Savior and the Serpent by Alonzo Gaskill- Professor Gaskill’s take on the metaphorical meanings tied to the creation story, while imperfect, comes to my mind every time I go to the Temple, sending me home to take another peak and to think about it a bit more deeply.

So what are your most read Deseret Book?

*- Please note, the JSPP is not published by Deseret Book, but Church Historian’s Press. (Or whatever)


  1. Deseret Book has done some really important things. Even somewhat recently:

    Women of Covenant – Tremendous history of Relief Society. For those that have ears, let them hear.

    The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. – Great single volume history of the Church.

    Sisters and Little Saints – The only decent history of Primary.

    Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants

    Back in the day they also did some nice primary source work:

    The Far West Record

    – The first two volumes of the first incarnation of the Joseph Smith Papers.

    The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith

    Dear Son: The Letters of Brigham Young to his Sons

    Comment by J. Stapley — December 11, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  2. J.- have you been looking at my Amazon wish list? Good picks, I just haven’t read them yet. Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants has been on my list ever since you posted a review of it.

    Comment by Matt W. — December 11, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  3. I was…a little disappointed with Harper’s Making Sense. It’s a very good resource for someone unfamiliar with Church history, but I was hoping for something more detailed. (I might compare it to a text for freshman/sophomore level.) Also, a good portion of the text is devoted to something like a chapter summary, which is nice if you really struggle with the D&C’s language but otherwise not too useful.

    Matt, from what I’ve seen you know a helluva lot more than I do, so I’m not sure what you’d gain from this book.

    To be clear, I think it is a great book for the right audience, so I don’t mean to give it a negative review.

    Comment by BrianJ — December 11, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  4. I haven’t read anything from Deseret Book for years.

    Comment by Blake — December 11, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  5. #4 I haven’t read anything from Deseret Book for years.

    Hmmmm. Well, my ward is full of perfectly sweet people who haven’t read anything in years that didn’t come from Deseret Book.
    I think there’s room for both of you.

    Comment by C Jones — December 11, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  6. Blake, the Peacegiver is worth it. It supports a compassion theory of atonement.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — December 11, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

  7. Kent, it is worth noting the whole book is free online.

    Comment by Matt W. — December 11, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  8. I purchased Blake Ostler’s Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God at Deseret Book a few years back and enjoyed it very much.

    Comment by Mark D. — December 12, 2009 @ 12:04 am

  9. I love a good book, like those listed above, that open my and mind and heart to God. But the best I’ve found to this end, among books, are the scriptures.

    However, books fail compared to prayer. The best that books have to offer a starving soul is a snack, as compared to the feast that communing with God in mighty prayer provides.

    Comment by Jared — December 12, 2009 @ 7:32 am

  10. I’ve just combed my shelves, thinking that I could make a moderately humorous comment listing the Deseret Books books from the ’60s and ’70s that I collected by the hundreds way back when — I knew there wouldn’t be a lot from more recent days because although I occasionally go into DB hoping against hope to find something of interest that isn’t printed on the poorest quality paper and bound in the shoddiest of paper covers, I haven’t bought anything there except Institute manuals for as long as I can remember.

    It was something of a shock to discover that all those church books that had made it through the severe weeding process of my last move were published by Bookcraft, not by Deseret Book.

    The only DB titles I can find on my shelves (I may have missed one or two, but not many):

    Joseph Smith’s America, by Slaughter and Orton
    40 Ways to Look at Brigham Young, by Orton
    Mary Fielding Smith, by Corbett (a 1974 title)
    Our Latter-day Hymns, by Davidson (both 1988 and 2009 editions)
    How We Got the Bible, by Read (from 1985)
    The Children of the Promise series by Hughes (I think the only LDS fiction series I have ever really, truly enjoyed)

    And that’s it. I couldn’t put together a list of ten (unless you count the Hughes volumes separately) because I don’t own that many among the thousands here. That honestly surprised me.

    I do want to pick up Matt’s 6, though.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — December 12, 2009 @ 10:38 am

  11. I’m sorry I thought you meant “purchased at Deseret Book”. I don’t think I have any new books published by Deseret Book in the last decade or so.

    Comment by Mark D. — December 12, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

  12. “Revelations of the Restoration,” Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig Ostler – Great commentary on the D&C that I refer to constantly.

    “The Infinite Atonement,” Tad Callister – Very easy read on the Atonment and provides interesting insights.

    That’s all I can think of right now.

    Comment by Jeremy — December 13, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  13. Understanding Isaiah by Parry, Parry, and Peterson is quite worthwhile and I refer to it fairly often in my study of Isaiah.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — December 13, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  14. Anything and everything by W. Cleon Skousen…he’s my hero.

    Comment by Riley — December 15, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  15. good post matt.

    Comment by BHodges — March 9, 2011 @ 2:24 pm