This book is by Julie Beck, one of my all-time favorite women leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Beck has a way of just telling it like it is. Like when she said that nurturing equals homemaking, and that includes “cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home.” In the same talk she stated that “Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.” That’s all from her famous “Mothers Who Know” talk. I love that! One of my sister’s close friends from high school is Sister Beck’s niece, and then this friend’s sister is my other sister’s friend from high school as well as the sister-in-law of the just mentioned sister. How is that for confusing? 🙂 My sisters and I had lunch with these two nieces about six years ago on a breezy, lazy summer day. I remember them saying that their Aunt Julie has a boldness that they admire as well.
So you can expect that kind of forthrightness in this book. It starts a bit slowly as she flashes back to her childhood when her father, Elder William Grant Bangerter, was called to be a mission president in Brazil. As she tells those stories they all run together and the book gets a little repetitive, I admit. I loved, however, hearing how she saw the kingdom of God grow in that nation, from a tiny seed to a great mustard tree of faith. I have a brother and nephew who each served a mission in Brazil so I’ve been touched that way by the growth of the kingdom there. Brazil has so many missions! I’ve heard that one out of every six missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ serves in Brazil, although I don’t know if that’s true, but if anyone ever asks you go guess where a missionary might be going before he or she opens a call envelope, guess Brazil. 🙂
OK, back to the book recap. Most if not all the book is a compilation of talks she gave at various venues, outside of General Conference. It was interesting to see that she had a rough start in school as a child with illness and learning disabilities but made up for it later, by getting her bachelor’s degree as a mother. She is so articulate, who would have thought that she had learning issues and lacked self-confidence as a student at one point?
I loved her emphasis on how keeping covenants are so important, that they bless us so much, that we are safe and protected and have joy because of them.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
(Please forgive me for not having page numbers for all of the quotes. This is not a scholarly article, :-). )
“Priesthood is an eternal power that gives us access to all the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement. The priesthood connects God’s covenant people to Him and to each other.” (36-37)
“The Holy Ghost: guides us to truth, fortifies our faith and testimony, helps us find answers to our questions, enlightens our minds, fills our souls with joy.” (37)
“The Lord has restored His covenant to the earth. The blessings of this covenant have no qualifications other than worthiness and desire to obtain them. …All who sincerely study its doctrines receive the blessing of knowing Him, loving Him, and becoming more like Him. …All who desire to be partakers of the blessings of the priesthood can enjoy them.” (40)
“We sometimes desire to live a dream life now, forgetting that earth life is about having an experience that prepares us for the promised dream of eternal life.” (64)
“We all need our Heavenly Father and our Savior in every part of our lives. Without Them, our puny efforts will never be enough. Because of the Savior’s atoning power and through the covenants we honor with Him and our Father, we can depend on strength that is greater than our own during our mortal experience. We don’t know all that will occur in our future, but we do know that we are not powerless and that we do not have to travel this experience alone.” (75)
“It is good for us to ask …questions and draw nearer to God for our answers, to seek a renewal of hope and confirm our faith.” (77)
“To compensate for our weakness and to ensure that death would not be permanent, we were promised a Savior. Jesus Christ was chosen to mark the path and lead the way back to our heavenly home. He would conquer death and lead us into life eternal. The scriptures today record the life and ministry of Jesus, and we have the testimony of many witnesses of His resurrection and life. We have ‘hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of [our] faith in him according to the promise.'” (78)
“To protect ourselves from adversarial influences and qualify for the companionship of the Spirit, we also cannot neglect spending time in the scriptures. When the scriptures become our friend, when they became our thesaurus and our dictionary, when they become our companion and our teacher, then the Lord can use them and open them for our benefit. We will find verses we didn’t know existed, and we’ll be blessed by words we are seeking.” (sorry, I don’t have the page for that one and I had had to return the book back to my inter-library loan system before I captured all the quotes I liked with exact page numbers.)
That all sounds so lofty, doesn’t it? Like maybe she is spending hours in them every day right? But she goes on to say that at one point she had several classes she was attending with different scripture reading assignments hanging over her head. She felt discouraged that she couldn’t keep up. So she finally decided she wouldn’t even try to keep up or set a certain number of minutes or read at a certain time. She simply decided to read her scriptures every day without keeping to a schedule, and that made life easier and enlightening. So I love that combination of the ideal and the practical.
She also tells the story of how she and her team in the Relief Society General Presidency produced the book, Daughters in My Kingdom, with Susan W. Tanner as the writer. It was great to read that story.
I also love that she bears testimony of the Savior, the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. About her testimony, she says, “This is more than a guess for me. It is a priceless collection of ‘evidence’ I have worked hard to assemble. It is in my soul. It is a knowledge achieved through study and faith. It is now like a tree I have nourished that has grown to fill my life.”
My favorite story in the book is about her mother, Gail Hamblin Bangerter. She said that her mom was a Primary teacher who decided to minister to a little boy in her Primary class who had parents who didn’t come to Church. The little boys’ Primary classmates started making fun of him because he smelled of cigarette smoke. She sternly reprimanded the boys for being so unkind and asked them to stop making fun of Billy. She brought Billy to church and Primary every week (this was in the days when Primary was on a weekday– I am old enough to remember that). Then the ward got split and the boy became a deacon but he kept coming to Sister Bangerter’s ward. The bishop wanted Billy to come to his proper ward so he told Sister Bangerter to stop bringing Billy to her ward. Sister Bangerter replied something to the effect of, “Bishop, when you love Billy as much as I do, he will come to your ward.” I love that!
Here is another one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“When prayer becomes a craving in our lives, when we breathe prayer, when we dream prayer, when we sigh prayer and cry prayer and love praying, then we begin to know some things about Heavenly Father and His Son and what They know about us and how much they love and trust us and how patient They are with us while we learn. Through that kind of prayer, we repent and feel the Lord’s love around us. …When the scriptures become our friend, when they become our thesaurus and our dictionary, when they become our companion and our teacher, then the Lord can use them and open them for our benefit. We will find verses we didn’t know existed, and we’ll be blessed by words we are seeking.” (153)
I give this book five out of five stars! This is not a light summer read. It is perfect for reading at night when sleep doesn’t come and you are full of anxiety. Enjoy!