Welcome to Praiseworthy Media, Meridian’s weekly column highlighting books, movies, music, web sites, theater, and television that uplift and inspire. My recommendations this week are two excellent LDS books.
Aside from The Book of Mormon, Anthony Sweat’s Mormons- An Open Book is the first book that I would share with someone interested in our faith. With candor, intelligence, and meticulously thorough research the author sets out to give accurate answers to frequently asked questions about our doctrine, our history, and our culture. Sweat’s writing style somehow manages to convey great reverence while engaging the reader in an informal, neighborly, and appropriately humorous manner. The book makes clever and entertaining use of photographs and visual aids, highlights the “take-home” messages, and provides “Mormyth” sections comparing frequent assumptions and rumors about the Church with facts and truth. Sweat presents our teachings and beliefs and allows them to speak for themselves; he leaves an open invitation to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it, but otherwise doesn’t push. With our relgion so much in the national spotlight, Mormons- An Open Book represents an unprecedented effort to give people accurate information and let them decide for themselves. It is available in bookstores, both LDS and mainstream, across the nation and is a must-read for anyone seeking to be well-informed, members and non-members alike.
Another terrific read now available is former bishop and FBI agent Mike McPheters’ follow up to his popular autobiography Agent Bishop. This time McPheters takes several decades of his own field experience and uses it to craft a crackerjack thriller. Lit Fuse reads like a mix between a good Tom Clancy novel and TV’s 24 in its prime, without the foul language (and with Gospel overtones). The novel skillfully weaves all-too-relevant plots by al-Qaeda, Mexican drug cartels, and white supremacists into one gripping narrative, as FBI agents race to prevent suicide bombers from bringing America to its knees. Though the dialogue is occasionally more expository than natural and a romance feels a tad contrived, McPheter’s insights into the inner workings of the FBI and the structure of terrorist organizations feel totally authentic. He thoughtfully explores the peace-loving similarities between Mormonism and mainstream Islam, effectively contrasting these with the twisted doctrine of radical Muslims. Though McPheters doesn’t shy away from portraying darkness, corruption, and violence, it never feels gratuitous, serving the ultimate purpose of inviting readers to have faith in the Prince of Peace. Lit Fuse is available at LDS bookstores and for purchase online.
Please check back next Friday for more praiseworthy media recommendations!
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