I was not looking for it and was sort of startled to suddenly find it on my cell phone. I opened my phone to start my personal gospel study, and I found the new book of history for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Saints – The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. I downloaded the book and immediately started studying it. The “book” is the first volume of a four-volume set.
I am amazed at how interesting this book of history is. I found many well-loved stories come to life as I read, and I learned some new bits of history that helped me to connect a lot of dots. My personal experiences with the book prepared me for an article by Betty Ann Thomas titled “4 Reasons Every Latter-day Saints Should Read the Church’s Newly Released History.” Thomas describes the book as follows: “Unlike past histories, this book brings the stories of past members to life with vivid storytelling that doesn’t shy away from controversial church topics, such as polygamy, Joseph Smith’s plural wives, seer stones, etc.” Then she gives the following four reasons why we should read the book.
It Places History in Context and Can Deepen Testimonies. Saints 1815-1846: The Standard of Truth is the most well-documented and easy-to-read history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yet to be published. Citing 600 sources, the Church History Department has laid out well-known and little-known facts about the Restoration….
It Humanizes Our History with Vivid, Accurate Detail. Since the book is written in a narrative style, it is quick and interesting reading. But even with this writing style, “it does not go beyond information found in historical sources….”
It Provides Information About Controversial Topics. With nearly 100 pages of notes of the sources cited, the reader can quickly see where the information included in the text is found. While reading, if a new piece of the story is discovered, one can find the citation and, in many cases, follow a digital link to read the original source….
It’s So Much More Than a Single History. The podcasts which can be found on iTunes or the Mormon Channel are another rich source of more detail for the book. Historians, writers, editors, and others talk candidly about the preparation of the book and its implications to modern church members….
I find all four reasons to be accurate as I study the first volume of the set. I am excited to study all four volumes and recommend the book to all of you. You can obtain the first volume in the Gospel Library app or through saints.lds.org, Deseret Book, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. The book is available in 14 different languages in the app.
I am particularly grateful to know the purpose for which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided this history. In the final paragraph in “A Message from the First Presidency” in the book: “We pray that this volume will enlarge your understanding of the past, strengthen your faith, and help you make and keep the covenants that lead to exaltation and eternal life.” The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provided this book to help all of us to understand the history of the Church and to move closer to Jesus Christ.