Books for Latter-day Saints: 1980 Update
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“Books for Latter-day Saints: 1980 Update,” Ensign, Oct. 1980, 63

Books for Latter-day Saints:

1980 Update

This update of books contains much to interest Latter-day Saint parents, young people, and children. Included are books on doctrine and scripture, reference works, history and biography, scholarship, gospel concepts, and more general topics.

This material is provided for information only, and is not to imply an endorsement of the books listed. Virtually all of the books mentioned in this report were published in 1979.

Doctrine and Scriptures

Elder Mark E. Petersen has written Those Gold Plates and The Forerunners (Bookcraft). The Forerunners treats the forerunner to the Lord’s first coming, John the Baptist, and to His second coming, Joseph Smith. In Those Gold Plates he examines the use of metal plates among ancient cultures, the method of translation Joseph Smith used, and the legends that come from ancient Americans and Polynesians. Elder Petersen also authored Our Assurance of Everlasting Life, a booklet.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie published the first of four books on the mortal life of Jesus Christ, The Mortal Messiah, Book 1 (Deseret Book). This book follows the earlier The Promised Messiah, and details the life of Christ from his birth through his early Judean ministry.

In Paul and the Expansion of the Church (Deseret Book), Edwin Brown Firmage reviews Paul’s mission to the gentiles and examines what that mission teaches us about the church’s missionary efforts today.

Understanding Death is a collection of LDS thought, doctrines, and philosophy on death and dying, compiled by Brent A. Barlow (Deseret Book). Sections of the book include, among others, “The Meaning of Death,” “Confronting Our Own Death,” “The Death of a Loved One,” “Children and Death,” and others.

Scriptural Commentary on the Word of Wisdom, by Stan Malstrom, shows how scriptures from other sources relate to the Word of Wisdom and how science has begun to support its teachings (Hawkes Publishing).

Gospel Concepts

Talks by President Spencer W. Kimball and fourteen other General Authorities have been collected in Woman (Deseret Book), a book designed to clarify the role and calling for women. “It is fitting that a book on the subject of women be published at this time,” President Kimball writes in the introduction.

Be Your Best Self is the title of a collection of talks by Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve (Deseret Book). The work is divided into three sections: “Ask in Faith,” “Be Thou an Example,” and “Called to the Work.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell has authored All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Deseret Book). The book discusses the place of tests and trials in our mortal experience, and affirms the necessity of service, prayer, and following the Brethren.

Elder Sterling W. Sill discusses the Articles of Faith and other basics in This We Believe (Bookcraft). He also emphasizes that we must learn how to turn belief into action.

Coming from Elder Paul H. Dunn and Maurine Ward is Dimensions of Life (Bookcraft), a book designed to assist the reader in discovering new ways to broaden himself.

A booklet by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, The Light of Hope (Deseret Book), contains several connected anecdotes that demonstrate the power of love in our lives.

For Parents and Marrieds

In Marriage—Much More Than a Dream (Deseret Book), Rex A. Skidmore counsels couples on how to overcome or avoid problems stemming from miscommunication, differing expectation, money matters, and so on.

Families Are Forever … If I Can Just Get Through Today is a delightful approach to an important topic by Janice Madsen Weinheimer (Deseret Book). The author, a mother of nine (including two sets of twins and one set of triplets), tells from personal experience how to successfully raise a large family—and live to tell about it!

Suggestions for directing the moral growth of children four to eight years old are given in Responsibility and Morality: Helping Children Become Responsible and Morally Mature, by Larry C. Jensen and Karen M. Hughston (BYU Press). One section consists of illustrated children’s stories to help children and adults talk about such important moral values as honesty, kindness, and self-control.

Larry C. Jensen collaborates with M. Gawain Wells on Feelings: Helping Children Understand Emotions (BYU Press). Feelings offers guidelines on how to direct and encourage healthy emotional development; it too contains a section of illustrated children’s stories to promote child-adult interaction on the topic.

The LDS Baby Book (Bookcraft) takes a distinctively Mormon approach to recording the important events in a growing child’s life.

For Women

President Spencer W. Kimball’s talks at the 1978 and 1979 women’s conferences are reprinted in My Beloved Sisters (Deseret Book). Interspersed throughout the talks, entitled “A Woman’s Most Important Choices” and “Be Thou an Example,” are many photographs of President Kimball and his wife, Camilla.

The proceedings of the 1980 women’s conference at Brigham Young University have been published in two volumes as Blueprints for Living, also the conference title (BYU Press). Speakers for the conference included Sisters Barbara B. Smith, Elaine Cannon, and Naomi M. Shumway, and emeritus professor of ancient scriptures Hugh Nibley.

Daryl V. Hoole has written of the blessings that come from Relief Society and from the visiting teaching program in Our Own Society (Bookcraft). Oscar W. McConkie discusses the eternal view of womanhood in She Shall Be Called Woman (Bookcraft), while Woman’s Divine Destiny by Mildred Chandler Austin focuses on the role and eternal possibilities of women (Deseret Book).

A helpful organizer for the LDS woman is the LDS Homemaking Journal, which includes daily planning sheets, formats for shopping lists, health record forms, an address listing, and other helpful sections (Bookcraft).

All Kinds of Mothers, a booklet by Ardeth Greene Kapp (Deseret Book), and Call It Mother, a gift book by Carol Lynn Pearson (Bookcraft), are both tributes to motherhood.

For Young People

The Best in You(th), by Ken Miller, is designed to help youth set goals (Horizon). Also goal oriented is The Super Baruba Success Book by eighteen-year-old Brad Wilcox (Bookcraft). Wilcox suggests how “under-achievers, over-expecters, and other ordinary people” can be successful teenagers.

Glen C. Griffin, M.D., and Mary Ella Griffin, R.N., give information to teens on how our bodies function and why chastity is so important in Not About Birds (Deseret Book).

In Wonderful Me (Bookcraft), Verna Swan Johnson tells youth that they can come to view themselves as important, become the kind of person others want to be around—and still remain true to gospel teachings.

For Children

About You—and Other Important People, by Glen C. and Mary Ella Griffin (Deseret Book), answers children’s questions about growing up and about how their bodies work. The book is written to be read to or by a child.

Three coloring books are Latter-day Alphabet, by Ann Clark Green (Bookcraft), which features a gospel-related poem for each letter of the alphabet, and Let’s Learn about Jesus and Stories Jesus Told, by Bessie Dean (Horizon).

All About Me, created by Candace Smith, provides a format children can use in writing their personal histories (Bookcraft).

From Liahona Publishing, distributed by Bookcraft, come six children’s books accompanied by cassette tapes: Lehi and the Liahona—How the Holy Ghost Can Guide Each of Us, The Birth of Jesus—Why He Is Special to Heavenly Father and Us, Joseph Smith and the Priesthood—Why Heavenly Father Gives Us His Power and Authority, Wilford Woodruff at Benbow Farm—What It’s Like to Be a Missionary, Ruth, the Moabite Maiden—Why Following God Is the Best Thing We Can Do, and The Creed Haymond Story—How He Learned that the Word of Wisdom Is True.

How-To’s for Members

Alma Heaton provides fifty-eight object lessons for teaching different aspects of the gospel in Tools for Teaching (Bookcraft).

In Life Planning (Bookcraft), Elder Paul H. Dunn and Richard M. Eyre suggest how we can make the most out of our lives by planning our time and by keeping eternal purposes in mind.

Reference Works

In a history-making publishing venture, the archives of the micro-filmed manuscript collection of the Genealogical Society are being made accessible to scholars, librarians, students, and other researchers throughout the world. Finding Aids to the Microfilmed Manuscript Collection of the Genealogical Society of Utah (University of Utah Press) will give access to the largest collection of filmed manuscripts in the world. Several parts of the Finding Aids are now available: Preliminary Survey of the Mexican Collection, by Susan M. Cottler et al.; Supplement to the Mexican Collection; Preliminary Survey of the German Collection, by Ronald Smelser et al.; Descriptive Inventory of the English Collection, by Arlene Eakle et al.; Descriptive Inventor of the New York Collection, by Ray Gunn et al.; and Preliminary Survey of the French Collection, by Russell Jensen et al. Preliminary surveys list holdings of parish and civil registers, and Descriptive inventories classify and record manuscripts.

Out of print at one time but now available again is An Exhaustive Concordance to the Triple Combination, by R. Gary Shapiro (Hawkes). The concordance lists every single word in the Triple Combination, giving the context of each.

History and Biography

Essays on aspects of travel on the Mormon Trail, early Mormon interest in the Colorado River, settlement patterns, and related topics are collected in Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West (BYU Press). The book, number nine in the Charles Redd Monograph Series, was edited by Richard H. Jackson.

Discovering Mormon Trails (Deseret Book), by Stanley B. Kimball, provides tours, identified with modern landmarks, of the several routes the Saints took in their journeys from New York to Salt Lake and then to California. A historical essay accompanies each map; the same maps appeared in the Ensign, 1978–1980.

Abraham: Friend of God (Deseret Book), by Elder Mark E. Petersen, discusses Abraham’s obedience in his premortal life, his trials in mortality, and the fulfillment of promises made to him and his posterity.

The life of a more recent prophet is examined in Heber J. Grant: Man of Steel, Prophet of God, by Francis M. Gibbons (Deseret Book). This book gives us insight into the childhood and maturing years of Heber J. Grant, then takes us through his sixty-three years as Apostle and as President.

We get a look at another General Authority in The Nine Lives of Sterling W. Sill, an autobiography (Horizon). Here Elder Sill shares the philosophy of success which has guided him throughout his life.

Forever After (Deseret Book), by Shirley Sealy, is the biography of Devro and Gayle Sealy, her son and daughter-in-law. It details the difficult birth of their baby boy, the death of both mother and son, and the searching for understanding by the family.

Joseph Freeman writes his autobiography in In the Lord’s Due Time (Bookcraft). Brother Freeman is described on the title page as the “First Black Man to receive the priesthood following the 1978 revelation.”


A reissue in Deseret Book’s Classics in Mormon Literature series is Why the King James Version, by J. Reuben Clark, Jr. This book cites many biblical scholars on why the King James version is so effective and why it continues to be one of the best-selling translations of the Bible.

By the Hands of Wise Men (BYU Press), edited by Ray C. Hillam, is based on the understanding that the United States Constitution is a divinely inspired document. The contributors to the book, including political scientists, economists, and professors of law, examine the economic, legal, and spiritual aspects of the Constitution.


Carol Lynn Pearson continues her series of Notebooks with The Faithful Mormon Father’s Notebook (Bookcraft). The book represents a father’s handwritten notes to himself. A sample: “Tell Tammi that boyfriends, like food storage, should be rotated.”

Mission Mania (Horizon), by Val C. Bagley, presents “A Cartoonist’s View of ‘The Best Two Years of Life.’” Many of the depictions are from the author/artist’s own experiences as a missionary.


A member of the Tabernacle Choir since 1958, Gerald A. Petersen in More Than Music: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (BYU Press) takes us from the first organization of the choir in 1849, through the longest continuous live radio broadcast in history, to the present. The account includes both humorous and spiritual experiences of the choir.

A complete guide to banquets and buffets for groups of all sizes is given in Meals for Many by Edward E. Sanders (Horizon). The author, a professional food services instructor from BYU, provides a step-by-step approach including planning calendars, checklists, menus, recipes, cooking schedules, cost aids, decorating instructions, and other suggestions.

My Personal History Work Book (Hawkes), by Jeanne W. Pittman, provides a format for those who would like to write their personal histories but aren’t certain where to start—or how to continue.

Ellen Genta gives us Diamonds in Your Garden (Hawkes), a collection of positive thoughts by the author and from literature. Echoes from My Prairie (Bookcraft), by Ardeth Greene Kapp, contains the author’s memories of her past. Stories of service as a Church building missionary—and of the assistance God gives his servants—are found in They Built with Faith, by H. Dyke Walton (Horizon).

More information on these books can be obtained from their publishers: Bookcraft, 1848 West 2300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84119; Brigham Young University Press, UPB, BYU, Provo, Utah 84602; Deseret Book Company, 40 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110; Hawkes Publishing, 3775 South 500 West (Box 15711), Salt Lake City, Utah 84115; Horizon Publishers, 50 South 500 West, Bountiful, Utah 84010; and University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.

Illustrated by Phyllis Luch