Wednesday, May 16, 2012

To The Rescue : The Biography of Thomas S. Monson - Book Review

Utah Dad and I recently finished reading To The Rescue : The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi Swinton. We've spent the last few months reading a chapter together at least once a week. It is always entertaining to read the stories of the charismatic and fun-loving President Monson (president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Many of the stories were ones we had heard before in his talks and I was frequently reminded of his personal speaking style. He has always been the quintessential story teller.

We were most enthralled with the stories of his childhood and also the chapters that go into depth about the growth of the church in East Germany throughout the decades before the fall of the wall. President Monson's role in that growth is inspiring. It is clear to see that he is an instrument in the hands of God.

Many of the stories of President Monson's call to follow inspiration and touch the individual person moved me to tears. He is truly an inspired man and my testimony of him as a prophet of God grew as we read more about his amazing life.

Utah Dad and I have joked over the years that President Monson is the "angel of death". If he suddenly shows up to visit you, watch out, your time is limited. So many of his stories involve following the spirit to the bedside of a dying friend or stranger and then of speaking at funerals. But what a touching, tender mercy of the Lord to send his servant to comfort many of those in their final hours. Really, President Monson is so close to the spirit that he knows just where he is most needed.

Heidi Swinton is a good story teller in her own right and has written a very approachable, readable book. This book is not a scholarly explanation. There are questions left unanswered (such as why his father was not active in the church) and it does not go deep into the emotions and feelings of President Monson. What it does do is include many of President Monson's stories in one volume and give a lovely over view of his history. It is also encouraging and motivating. President Monson exemplifies a Christ-like life. He cares about people. He is in tune with the spirit and follows it so that he can touch people just when they need it most.

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