“Saints, The Standard of Truth, Volume 1”

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The airline agent looked at me across the desk and said, “You missed your flight.”

“What!” I said, “It leaves at 7:30!

“No, It left at 6:00 am. You missed it.” Seeing my crestfallen face she said, “Don’t worry, a few people miss it at this time every week. I don’t know why this  flight gets missed every Sunday morning,  but people just get it wrong in their heads.”

I was dumbfounded. I stared at her and finally was able to walk away and accept that I wasn’t flying out early to Salt Lake City. I felt my beautifully planned morning fade away. I was going to get back in town in time for Stake Conference, get  a good nap and then my son and his family were flying in for a week from Arizona. Darn.

Because I have read, The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday, (I have posted on this wonderful  book earlier)– “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Thank you, Marcus Aurelius! I realized I could still have my dream morning. I found an out-of-the-way place in the airport, turned on piano hymns on my phone and plugged in my ear buds. I looked on my Gospel Library app for something to read. When I realized I could start reading “Saints, The Standard of Truth: Volume 1“, the new book on the history of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I was thrilled.

I read all morning, got on my flight at noon, and got to Salt Lake by 1:30. It was a dream morning to  become  so completely engrossed in a fascinating story that I and millions of other Latter Day Saints resonate with.

The writing is simple enough for middle schoolers to read on their own and it would be an incredible read-aloud for your children—a chapter a week at family home evening.

Here are some of my insights so far—(I am on chapter 28 and there are 46 altogether):

  • I always thought that Joseph Smith was with the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints most of the time, except when he was jailed and persecuted for his religious beliefs.  I realized through my reading of Saints, that he stayed in Kirtland, Ohio and these early members sacrificed and got the Kirtland Temple built, but there was a big group, at the same time, who went to settle Zion in Independence, Missouri and didn’t have Joseph’s leadership and prophetic presence with them. He was stressed out trying to help the Missouri Saints who were becoming a threat to the people already living there, because it was such a large group. That was insightful.
  • Communication was so difficult. Weeks and months went by when people had to rely purely on their faith, because they were waiting to hear from Joseph Smith and other leaders.
  • Reading about  the family  that Joseph Smith grew up in made me want to be more industrious and faithful. Their losses and trials only made them stronger.
  • I loved how the writers of Saints brought in many experiences of people I have never heard of to round out the narrative. People that wrote letters and journals were able to add their viewpoint and experience in a wonderful, profound way, because they were there, as eyewitnesses.
  • Joseph Smith was tutored by the angel Moroni and had revelation given to him from God, but he was starting a new religion in his 20’s. Saints illustrates how hard forming a new religion was, the forces that were working against Joseph Smith his whole life, and how inexperienced he was. I have never read  or heard about the fights Joseph got into with other people, one with his younger brother that deeply affected Joseph and his parents. This was reassuring to me because this fracturing is happening in our families now and it was helpful for me to read how Joseph handled it.

Finally, I got home, had a wonderful Sunday dinner with my family, including the new arrivals from Arizona, and went to the temple the next day. I looked around the temple with new eyes.  I saw how smoothly the temple was running, all the temple workers synchronized with everyone working together and patrons attending and all being edified because of those early Saints. I was able to ponder on my morning in the airport where I read over and over, of people leaving their homes, families,  and farms they had so worked hard to build out of nothing, and the faith they had, to follow a young man who had been visited by the Father and Son.

This is such a good read for children 8 and up. You can also listen to it on the Gospel Library app, while you are driving around in your car. Start reading it and you will see things in your life with new eyes.

Please let me know what you think and if your children are enjoying the story!

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