Is there anything better in life than curling up with a good book? The ideal situation is that it’s raining (just over here channeling my inner Phyllis Vance from the Office) and you’re drinking hot chocolate, obviously. But rain or no rain, a good book is one of the greatest joys in life.
Jesus Christ Himself commanded us to learn from “the best books” — but there are so many great ones out there that it can be difficult to know where to start! Luckily, I’ve got your back. I’ve compiled this list of fabulous Latter-day-Saint-related titles that you need in your life, like, yesterday. So go find yourself a cozy nook and settle in, because you’re never going to want to put these amazing reads down.
Insights From a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson by Sheri Dew
Description: “Insights from a Prophet’s Life offers a candid view of President Russell M. Nelson, the seventeenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from childhood to the current day. More than a biography, this landmark volume invites readers to experience President Nelson’s life through dozens of brief vignettes and hundreds of photographs. Each episode highlights an important lesson; taken together, they weave a captivating story of a man prepared in a unique way to lead the Church in our day.”
Life’s Lessons Learned by Dallin H. Oaks
Description: “‘I have learned things that have shaped my life and teachings, including some things of the heart not previously shared,’ writes Elder Dallin H. Oaks in the introduction to this unique book. ‘This is an autobiography of learning and application rather than a compendium of doctrine.’
Masterfully blending personal experiences with the doctrines of the gospel, Elder Oaks invites us to join him on a journey through some of the turning points in his life and the lessons he has learned through a lifetime of devotion to the Savior.
The short but potent chapters offer perceptive observations into such diverse topics as the purpose of adversity, the importance of respecting those with whom we disagree personally or politically, the merits and limitations of law, the blessings of tithing, the seeming conflict between science and religion, the Lord’s use of imperfect people to further His work, and the power of the Atonement to recover those who have fallen behind.”
The Message by Lance Richardson
Description: “On Christmas Day 1998, Lance Richardson was involved in an accident which later left him in a comatose state for several weeks. While his body was being kept alive by medical support equipment, his spirit passed into the world beyond. In The Message, Lance describes his experience in the world of spirits and delivers to us a message giving a greater understanding of the importance of families and the future of America. He was also taught concerning a most important principle of their society of peace, which, if followed by the people of this great nation, would rescue us from self-destruction.”
Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring by Henry J. Eyring
Description: “Twice in the final years of his life, Elder Neal A. Maxwell told a grandson of Henry Eyring’s, ‘You need to write your grandfather’s story.’
This is that story of Henry Eyring, perhaps the Church’s most acclaimed scientist. It is a book about science and Mormonism, written to be easily understood by newcomers to both subjects. It demonstrates why one of the Church’s highest-profile intellectuals was also one of its humblest believers. In fact, this story of Henry Eyring shows how intellect and belief go hand-in-hand and how simple, faithful people can change the world.”
Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent LDS Women by Mary Jane Woodger and Susan Easton Black
Description: “With this book we celebrate noble women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with one hundred inspiring biographies of LDS women who have accomplished the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on history. These are stories about life, love, and a remarkable determination to do one’s best — messages that reveal to the reader that neither happiness nor greatness is found in compromising self, but instead is found in reaching to a higher source. By reaching up, these women have reached out to make a valuable difference.”
Delving Into Doctrine
The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox
Description: “He makes all the difference.
‘I’ll never do it again,’ we say — and then we do it. In a world full of challenges, temptations, and even addictions, it is easy to lose hope for ourselves and those we love. During times of discouragement, we must remember that the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just to cleanse and console, but also to transform — and that takes time. Christ is not waiting at the finish line once we have done ‘all we can do.’ He is with us every step of the way, and His Atonement will be available as long as the perfecting process takes — continually.”
The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister
Description: “With The Infinite Atonement, Brother Tad R. Callister offers us what may be the most comprehensive, yet understandable, treatment of the Atonement in our day. He thoughtfully probes the infinite scope of this “great and last sacrifice,” describing its power and breadth and explaining how it redeems us all.
Using the scriptures and the words of the prophets, Brother Callister explores the Savior’s divinity and the depth of his love for mankind. He explains the blessings that flow from the Atonement, providing insight into the resurrection, repentance, and the gifts of peace, motivation, freedom, grace, and exaltation. He explains the relationship of justice and mercy and the importance of ordinances. Through discussing the effects of the fall of Adam and our individual sins, he reminds us in a powerful way of the incalculable debt of gratitude we owe Christ for his unparalleled offering.”
The Peacegiver by James L. Ferrell
Description:”How is Christ the answer to a strained relationship with child, parent or sibling? What if I am being mistreated — what does the atonement say about that? How can I discover the desire to repent when I don’t feel the need to repent? These are the challenging questions of daily life, the questions to which the gospel must provide an answer if it is to have living, cleansing, redeeming power.
The Peacegiver is a book about the answers to these questions. In both content and form it is unlike other books about the atonement, for it unfolds as compelling story in which the characters learn about the Atonement as they struggle over the problems in their lives — problems we each share. The book therefore allows us not only to “learn about” the Atonement but also to have an experience with it.
‘My peace I give unto you,’ the Savior declared. The Peacegiver explores in a deeply personal way what we must do to receive the peace he stands willing to give.”
Understanding the Parables of Jesus Christ by Jay A. Parry and Donald W. Parry
Description: “Parables formed a significant part of Jesus’ teaching ministry during his mortal life. And on the surface, parables appear to be simple stories, drawn from the flow of ordinary life in ancient Palestine, but if we are to understand more fully the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is essential that we understand the principles the Savior taught in his parables.
Authors Jay A. Parry and Donald W. Parry have selected thirty of Jesus’ parables for close examination. Drawing upon latter-day scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, as well as insights from other biblical scholars, the authors provide helpful commentaries about the content and layers of meaning to be drawn from these well-loved stories. With each parable they also include and insightful discussion on how we can apply the parable’s teaching to ourselves.”
Understanding Temple Symbols Through Scripture, History, and Art by Jack M. Lyon
Description: “Would you like to gain more from your temple attendance? More knowledge and power? More help for your daily life? Understanding Temple Symbols helps us think about the temple in new and different ways—discovering unexplored avenues of learning, opening doors we hadn’t noticed before, and deepening our understanding of the symbolism used in the Lord’s House.
Our temple experience is rooted in symbols, and to understand those symbols is to receive more fully the endowment of knowledge the Lord desires to give us . . . Whether you have just begun attending the temple or are well seasoned in temple worship, Understanding Temple Symbols offers intriguing new insights about the House of the Lord, making connections between the temple and the scriptures for all who seek further light and knowledge.”
Children of the Promise, Vol. 1: Rumors of War by Dean Hughes
Description: “‘Every era has its own refiner’s fire, and World War II put general Church membership and Utah to a test,’ Dean Hughes explains. In Children of the Promise, his first historical fiction series for adults, Dean shows through the eyes of the Thomas family how LDS families were tested to the limit.
‘Most people agree it was a fascinating time in world and American history. In fact, there is a charm and nostalgia about that dramatic period,’ says the author. Dean weaves in those aspects among the conflict in the series. The first volume, Rumors of War opens in 1938 with Elder Alex Thomas and his companion serving in Germany. It soon becomes obvious that he will never complete his mission. War is coming, and that will affect not only Elder Thomas but also his family back home in Salt Lake City.”
A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe by Nanette O’Neal
Description: “Best friends share everything, right? Unless it’s a secret that could cost them their lives. Robyn and Kit are born with forbidden magic-sense, the power to see and hear beyond Earthly sight and sound. It’s a curse that haunts them, but the girls are strangely drawn to it—could there be more to this power than they’ve been told? When they spill their secret, it opens a doorway back to Forever—a beautiful realm where magic-sense began. They learn the truth: they have been given a noble gift. It connects them to the Skyborn royalty of this new world. They’ve been summoned back by the forces for good to preserve the kingdom and revive the power where it once flourished—on Earth. It can thrive again if Robyn and Kit are brave enough to follow. However, the doorway awakens more than magical fairy-tales. A dark force is unleashed—one that has battled the Skyborn since time began. It wants the girls dead and the Earth destroyed. Beyond the doorway is where the adventure begins—trickery, kidnapping, a prison break, rescue teams, sword fights, magical gold-dust, holographic medallions, and singing orbs—but only for those who have the courage to believe.”
Editor’s Note: You can read about how Nanette’s book is allegorical to the plan of salvation on her blog.
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Description: “Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.
From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.”
The Kingdom and the Crown, Vol. 1: Fishers of Men by Gerald N. Lund
Description: “In an ancient land in a time foretold by prophets, a babe was born beneath a shining star. Thirty years later, Jesus of Nazareth began teaching a message of hope, peace, and love. He claimed to be the Son of God, and his words—and his life would change the world.
Though David ben Joseph is quick to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the rest of his family is more cautious. His wife, Deborah, and his son, Simeon, leaders in the rebellious Zealot movement, look for a Messiah that will crush the Romans with power and the sword, not one preaching a message of love and forgiveness.
Meanwhile, reports of Jesus have reached into the very heart of Jerusalem, and both the powerful Sadducee Mordechai ben Uzziel and the Pharisee Azariah agree that something must be done to stop this man from Nazareth before he gets out of hand.
Fishers of Men is a sweeping epic filled with memorable characters who bring to life an extraordinary time in the history of the world. It is a story about the importance of family, the power of faith, the miracle of forgiveness, and the strength needed to follow your heart.”
Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites by Chris Heimerdinger
Description: “Jim Hawkins has a bad attitude. What’s more, he enjoys having a bad attitude about everything — especially about church.
Garth Plimpton is a fanatic. He’s spent so much time studying the scriptures and thick books on archeology that he can’t carry on a normal conversation with other kids. That’s why they consider him a nerd.
Through an unusual chain of events, these two opposites become fast friends . . . Garth and Jim . . . accidentally stumble upon a mysterious passageway hurling them into another world — an ancient American world.
Join Jim, Garth, and Jim’s pesky little sister, Jennifer, as they journey in a land where the names Helaman, Teancum, and Captain Moroni are more than just words on a page. A world where danger and suspense are a way of life. . .”
By General Authorities/Auxiliaries
21 Principles: Divine Trust to Help You Live Life By the Spirit by Richard G. Scott
Description: “‘As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles,’ counsels Elder Richard G. Scott. ‘Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.’
In this exciting book, Elder Scott offers 21 principles distilled from his life experiences. These ‘concentrated truths’ will help you understand more fully how to be guided by the Spirit. Elder Scott’s brief explanations open the way for your own discovery and exploration.
‘I bear witness that Jesus Christ knows you personally,’ Elder Scott writes. ‘He will provide answers to every difficult problem in your life as you trust Him and do all you can to understand and apply His doctrine and strive to live by the Spirit.’ 21 Principles will be a valuable tool in that quest.”
For Times of Trouble: Spiritual Solace from the Psalms by Jeffrey R. Holland
Description: “Our Father in Heaven wants us to be happy. And yet, we all have times of trouble. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland writes, ‘One of the unfailing facts of mortal life is the recurring presence of trouble . . . When these difficult days (and nights!) come—and they will—it will help us to remember that ‘it must needs be,’ that in the grand councils of heaven before the world was, we agreed to such a time of challenge and refinement. We were taught then that facing, resolving, and enduring troublesome times was the price we would pay for progress. And we were committed to progress eternally.’
A large percentage of the psalms that appear in the Bible were written for such times of trouble. From petitions for relief to acknowledgments of God’s power, these psalms provide comfort, perspective, and spiritual solace when we are going through our own trials.
In this tender book, Elder Holland explores dozens of scriptural passages from the psalms, offering personal ideas and insights and sharing his testimony that ‘no matter what the trouble and trial of the day may be, we start and finish with the eternal truth that God is for us.’ Elder Holland’s reflections on the psalms provide a powerful witness of that comforting truth.”
Lighten Up! Finding Real Joy in Life by Chieko N. Okazaki
Description: Chieko Okazaki invites you to take literally the words of Christ, ‘My burden is light.’
As we take his yoke upon us, we learn to suspend judgment, to stop condemning ourselves, to free our lives from guilt, prejudice, and unrealistic expectations.
Lighten Up! captures the vivid experiences of Sister Okazaki’s conversion, shared with enthusiasm, zest, and a growing trust in the Lord.
Seek This Jesus by Neill Marriott
Description: “As a Methodist growing up in the Deep South, young Neill Foote felt the desire to commit her life to Jesus Christ. During a sing-along at YWCA camp, she felt a wave of divine love envelop her. She writes: ‘I cried all the way back to the cabin, stumbling along in the dark, holding on to this most precious of realizations: God loved me. He knew twelve-year-old me. He was real. That certain knowledge bound my heart and soul to Him.’
The desire to continue feeling that love kept growing. ‘Much of my early life was influenced by my seeking for the true and living God,’ she writes. ‘I wanted to know the Savior better, to understand His will, to become a true disciple of Christ in my daily life.’ But how?
Not until David Marriott brought the missionaries to her apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, did she understand the joy that accompanies covenants made and ordinances performed by true priesthood authority. After months of studying, she finally committed herself to the Lord in a more complete way, as a newly baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In Seek This Jesus, Sister Neill Marriott shares highlights of her personal story as she testifies of Jesus Christ and offers a unique and intimate invitation for readers to seek Him. With topics including searching for the Savior, bringing the influence of the Lord into our families, and feeling God’s grace in difficult times, Sister Marriott encourages readers with her warm, personable style and Southern charm.”
Yesterday, Today, and Forever: Timeless Gospel Messages by M. Russell Ballard
Description: “The scriptures proclaim that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Mormon 9:9). In his latest book, Elder M. Russell Ballard attests to the truth of that statement by combining his words with teachings from his grandfathers, Hyrum Mack Smith and Melvin J. Ballard. What makes this combination unique is that all three of these men have served as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“In preparing this work,” writes Elder Ballard, “I have seen anew that the course of the Lord truly is ‘one eternal round’ (Alma 37:12) and that the doctrine of the gospel is timely and timeless. It is forever relevant to disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
These never-before-published talks from Elder Ballard, paired with doctrinal statements from his grandfathers, will be a valuable resource for readers and a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.”
These are just a few of MANY fabulous Latter-day Saint books. What are some of your favorites? Be sure to tell us in the comments so we can add them to our reading lists!