Welcome Guest Search | Active Topics | Members | Log In | Register

Huntsman, "God So Loved the World" (reviewed by Beth W. Roach) Options · View
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 7:11:57 AM

Rank: Moderator

Joined: 10/21/2007
Posts: 1,243
Points: 2,086
Location: Chula Vista, CA

Title: God So Loved the World
Author: Eric D. Huntsman
Publisher: Deseret Book Publishing
Genre: Jesus Christ - Passion, Jesus Christ - Atonement, Easter
Year Published: 2011
Number of Pages: 148
Binding: hardbound
ISBN13: 978-1-60641-975-5
Price: $24.99

Reviewed by Beth W. Roach for the Association for Mormon Letters

When I got my copy of “God So Loved the World,” I looked at the front and back covers, flipped through the book to look at the pictures, skimmed the index, then read the first chapter and a few random call out boxes in various chapters and then I finished with the introduction. I'll admit, it was not a conventional way to start to read a book, but it was how I thought many people would actually approach a book such as this. It is a beautiful book. I can well imagine people picking it up at first simply to look at it. The cover features the title in bold print and underneath a picture of a crown of (very long, strong, sharp, painful looking) thorns. If a person had any background in Christianity, they would instantly understand this book was about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But like the temple, no matter how beautiful the exterior is, the true value and beauty of this book is truly found inside.

I have been looking for a book like this over the last few years. The purpose of the book is to share the Atonement and the events of the week immediately preceding it in a way that helps a willing reader come closer to Jesus Christ and develop a deeper appreciation of his sacrifice. The format reminds me of books that are written in layers: this volume can be used as a handy and useful reference book, a family devotional guide, a study help for preparing talks, lessons, firesides, Sacrament meeting programs or similar presentations; it can also be used by serious students of the scriptures. I tried the first page of the first chapter out as a Family Home Evening lesson. I wrote the scripture references on sticky notes and hid them around as a treasure hunt (I numbered them so we made sure to find them all.) After we found them and the teenagers read the scriptures relating to one of the events, our beginning reader used the corresponding artwork to help him retell the event. As we moved through the various events of the first day, the lesson prompted several questions that I assumed had been understood, like, why is Easter always on Sunday and Christmas isn't always on the same day of the week? "Let's just keep reading the book and see if we find out," I said. We covered Palm Sunday, getting an overview of the day, but there was much more material available in the chapter that is tailored more to the interests of adults and will benefit our personal scripture study time. Since our family is young enough to still be learning the basics of what Easter is all about, next week - chapter two.

Each day of Holy Week is its own chapter, beginning with a scriptural reference, a work of art illustrating an event of the day and a summary of the day's events including scriptural references in a sidebar. Just the first page of each chapter has enough to be a good start on a family or personal devotional for each day of the week leading up to Easter. There is beautiful artwork, a graphic, text box or personal photo on most pages. Brown borders around the text boxes indicate accounts from both the Bible and the Restoration scriptures to explain and clarify topics. Red bordered text boxes focus on specific music related to the events of the corresponding day. I found the inclusion of suggested LDS hymns and classical pieces, such as Handel's Messiah, especially helpful. The author is a current member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and has studied and performed an extensive array of classical music and LDS hymns related to the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. But I was inspired the most by the personal testimony sections, with the blue borders. They tied the who, what, where, when, and how details to the why of the whole experience, which is, of course, the most important part. This is the culmination of many years of researching, studying, reflecting, singing and teaching about our Savior and his mission.

The artwork for the book was carefully and thoughtfully selected. There are classical pieces and many works of LDS artists. I wondered why the author commented about the Pietà and how moving it was, but then did not include an illustration of it, when it is readily available on the Internet or from other reference sources. But then I realized that it would be counter-productive to give out every bit of information without leaving invitations here and there for readers to seek further personal study and thus start to embark on their own journey to deepen their faith. I do appreciate that many of the scriptural items of interest have illustrations, like the two photos of the fig trees. There is one of a leafy fig tree with no fruit and another photo showing a fig tree with actual fruit in the chapters that discuss Christ's cursing of the fig tree. Another photo shows a modern view of what Christ would have seen as he was on the Mount of Olives and lamented over Jerusalem. There was another photo of the Valley of Kidron, and an explanation why that was called the valley of the shadow of death. The photos helped bring a sense of place to the writing.

The author wrote this book to provide a framework for others who want to rediscover or establish traditions reflecting the significance of Easter with their families. There is certainly a place for seasonal fun, but if most of what surrounds your holiday is like the green plastic grass found in Easter baskets - cold, lifeless and tacky -- you will want to pick up this volume and start reconnecting to the things that matter most. This is a book that our family will use year after year at the Easter season to strengthen understanding and testimonies that Jesus 1) is the literal Son of God and 2) had the ability to work a marvelous sacrifice for each one of us, which he did so each one of us can overcome sin, and 3) rose again, giving us the hope of conquering physical death as well. I would begin using the book this Easter, but I think it would be a mistake to put the book away and store it with holiday decorations for a year. I am reminded of an interview of President Gordon B. Hinckley who was asked why LDS members celebrate December 25 as Christ's birthday, even though many felt the date was in error and President Hinckley posed his own question in reply, "Is there any bad time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior?", so I would ask my own question, "Is there any bad time to study the Atonement and deepen our understanding of the final days of our Savior's life? This is so much more than a simple seasonal book full of stories, songs and pictures; it can be used all year long whenever we want a way to revisit the power and majesty of the Savior fulfilling his mission and ponder our place in it as well.
Users browsing this topic

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS

Powered by Yet Another Forum.net version (NET v2.0) - 3/28/2008
Copyright © 2003-2008 Yet Another Forum.net. All rights reserved.
This page was generated in 0.127 seconds.

Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordans Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet christian louboutin outlet Canada Goose Outlet Moncler Outlet Moncler Outlet Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordans Canada Goose Outlet Cheap Uggs Uggs Outlet Canada Goose Outlet discount louis vuitton Cheap Jerseys Louis Vuitton Outlet