December 1972

“Books,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 86


Win If You Will
By Paul H. Dunn
Bookcraft, 257 pp., $4.50

In time of ferment and change, when the anti-hero is so popular among youth, it is heartening to note that the formula for true success in life has not been altered one whit.

Win If You Will contains thirteen first-person accounts of the lives of Latter-day Saint men who have achieved success in their chosen fields. The names themselves pique a boy’s interest: Gene Fullmer, champion boxer; Homer Warner, medical computer innovator; Don Lind, astronaut; Jay Silvester, world-record discus thrower; Billy Casper, professional golfer; Bernard Fisher, Congressional Medal of Honor holder; Harmon Killebrew, professional baseball home-run king; George Romney, member of U.S. Cabinet; Bruno Gerzeli, international soccer star; James Jensen, scientist-explorer; Vernon Law, professional baseball pitcher; Homer Durham, educator; Willard Marriott, hotel and restaurant owner.

The book is full of stimulating stories of these men overcoming numerous hardships, but more important, examples of overcoming self.

The appealing element in each narration is the modesty of the narrator and his conviction that anyone can be successful if he will select a worthy goal and, through righteous living, strike out tenaciously after that goal.

Jay Silvester, for example, gives some insight into his ability to become a world-record discuss thrower: “Most of us have had the experience of failure, and perhaps especially athletes, but fortunately I seem to have got it through my head early that the only time you really fail is when you stop trying.

“Actually it was never easy for me to throw. I have always felt that anybody who was my size and build could throw equally well … if they were willing to pay the price, to dedicate themselves to that goal.

“To achieve this kind of dedication, you really have to discipline yourself. … What I mean by self-discipline is giving up certain things you would like to do right now in order to devote more time and effort to bringing closer that ultimate goal.”

J. Willard Marriott, a famous restaurant and hotel chain owner, reminisces about his early training: “I am grateful … to my father for giving me an opportunity to develop my individuality and my sense of responsibility. … He would send me out to the sheep camp on an assignment but would tell me little about what I was to do or where I was to find the sheep. Even when I was a little boy, such problems were for me to solve, for my father never did my thinking for me.”

President Dunn, who has garnered many successes himself, reaffirms that whether one excels as an astronaut, a doctor, a soldier, an educator, or a golfer, the formula for success is the same. There is no magic and little luck involved in such accomplishment, but there is a great deal of courage, perseverance, and prayer exercised. If these are used in the right proportions, anyone can become a winner—at least in conquering himself and in finding joy in life.

A Time to Choose
By Neal A. Maxwell
Deseret Book, 93 pp., $3.95

In discussing the facades of our twentieth-century world against which young people have rebelled and which have led many to the brink of tottering faith in any religion, Dr. Neal A. Maxwell may well have written a book directed more at parents than at their children.

“What youth wants to see is the buoyant commitment that should flow from discipleship,” the author says, and because they do not see it, “many of the facades in our society will eventually be torn down … in a kind of ritual of hopelessness in which so many of the young … will participate.”

Dr. Maxwell, who is Church commissioner of education, claims that nonconformity, which he terms “the religion of the new youth subculture,” “venerates freedom but does not emulate the purposeful life-style which is a precondition to the maintenance of freedom.”

Today’s youths need special help to appreciate the value of the Mormon life-style and to live within its total framework, he says.

“Some of the subcultures … focus on the principle of love without the principles of chastity, discipline, and justice. … Vigor is maintained only by constantly exercising all the Gospel teachings. …

“It is precisely because the Church is organized love and administered affection, as well as ordinances and authority, that we are able to succeed where others fail. For us,” the author maintains, “one of the great services the Church renders is the subtle and direct pressure to perform as Christians.”

Young people hungering for deeper relationships with other people and for community involvement will find in A Time to Choose a clarion call to face up to the challenge of true discipleship and seek involvement where it will bring the greatest rewards in the programs of the Church. For, says, Dr. Maxwell, “the gospel places heavy stress on the individual and his ultimate challenge to govern himself according to righteous principles.”

To the Glory of God
Deseret Book Company, 234 pp., $4.95

To the Glory of God is a collection of stimulating essays by twelve Latter-day Saint scholars: Hugh W. Nibley, C. Terry Warner, Reed H. Bradford, Neal A. Maxwell, David H. Yarn, Jr., Truman G. Madsen, Chauncey C. Riddle, Robert K. Thomas, Leonard J. Arrington, Martin B. Hickman, Richard L. Anderson, and Monte S. Nyman. Philosopher, historian, sociologist, educator, scientist—several academic disciplines are represented in this book, where the great issues of life and the never-changing truths of the gospel are examined with keen insight.

The book was written and compiled as a memorial to author-educator Dr. B. West Belnap.

Paralleling the concern of present-day ecologists, Hugh Nibley explores the prophetic views of Brigham Young as an environmentalist. Cautioning the Saints after only a decade in the mountain-rimmed valley, President Young said: “You are here commencing anew. … The soil, the air, the water are all pure and healthy. Do not suffer them to become polluted with wickedness. Strive to preserve the elements being contaminated by the filthy, wicked conduct and sayings of those who pervert the intelligence God has bestowed upon the human family.”

A few months later, an admonition by President Young would suit our own time even better: “‘The civilized nations know how to make machinery, put up telegraph wires, … they have been cheating themselves for the golden god—the Mammon of this world.’ They think it wonderful to ‘dwell amid the whirl of mental and physical energies, constantly taxed to their utmost tension in the selfish, unsatisfying and frenzied quest of worldly emolument, fame, power, and maddening draughts from the syren cup of pleasure.’”

C. Terry Warner probes the meaning of life and the necessary commitment for true happiness:

“At each of life’s forkings a decision is made, and good fruit survives and grows only insofar as the buds of lesser fruit are deliberately clipped away. Happiness, the taste of good fruit, is therefore not the natural privilege of the uncultivated personality. It is, at least in part, an achievement.”

In his essay “Man Illumined,” Truman Madsen extols the blessings of life-giving light: “There is no light, except the Father and the Son.” The nourishing that leads to the flowering of the soul—the crucial need of the soul—is his and through him ours. ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ Without him we could not ‘abound,’ which is to say, live, draw breath, survive.”

The sustaining and guiding theme for all of the essays, as the title implies, is a growing appreciation of God’s goodness to us all, as we come to understand his divine purposes more completely.

Family Faith and Fun
By Monroe and Shirley Paxman
Bookcraft, 174 pp., $3.50

Family Faith and Fun is chock-full of ideas for family activities, a ready source to help you find something interesting for individuals and family groups to do on all occasions. It bears a spiritual message as well as includes ideas and activities important to personal growth and family unity. There are sections on games to play; suggestions for reading and storytelling; sections on literature, music, art, and drama; vocabulary games; a program for youth fitness; and scores of ideas for all age levels.

The spirit of adventure is promoted in a section on imaginary trips to other countries. Good humor is promoted by joke night, when each member of the family contributes a humorous story at dinner. And there are references to stories in the Book of Mormon and the Bible that can be used to illustrate attributes of character desirable for all members of the family.

Among the many games outlined is the “conversation ball.” Lengths of yarn varying from three inches to three yards are wound into a ball about the size of a baseball. One person in the family group begins by telling a story while unwinding the yarn; he continues until he comes to the end of his piece of yarn, then hands the ball to the next person. Short lengths will allow some players to say only a few words; others will have to talk for several minutes, adding to the family fun.