Book #1: Heaven is Here
Similar to The Book Thief, this one was also a slow starter for me! It’s written in very scholarly language, and sometimes that just makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s probably the journalist in me. But once I got a chapter or two in, I was amazed at the different aspects of the atonement and the nature of God I was beginning to see! It was a game changer/life changer for me. The sacrament is more meaningful, and I have a deeper appreciation for the Savior. And because it was so great, two things I extra loved from this book:
1. God’s purpose is not to just give us mere existence in the eternities, but an abundant life fully like his own. His design is not to extend our life indefinitely, but to enhance it permanently.
I love that this book reminds us how we wanted to come to earth in the premortal life, and even though it seems like we digressed sometimes by being away from God, we were taking a step up in our spiritual progression by coming here, but only if we are faithful . Having a body susceptible to the pains of mortality is a necessary step in our pathway to an abundant, eternal life.
2. The authors quote a poet named Derek Wolcott, who says, “The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and will smile at the others’ welcome and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself.”
I read this and literally froze because I feel like I had a small glimpse of this a couple of months ago! I was at the Mesa temple when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. I was dressed in white, and I looked into the girl’s eyes who was staring back at me and saw a familiarity in myself I had never experienced before. It was a very real confirmation to me that I existed before I came to earth. I think we’re a lot older than we look, you know?
Book #2: Heaven is Here
Wow, wow, wow! How had I not read this before? I had heard it was good, but now I’m that crazy girl who basically forces people to read it because I loved it so much! The book is Stephanie Nielson’s autobiography and details her life before, during and after a terrible plane crash that burned most of her body. I read this to and from work in the back of the van that takes me there (the nuclear plant is an hour and a half away!), which is saying something, because normally I get way car sick! I must have really loved it. But seriously, I probably cried at least eight times in the van, hoping all my bearded van-mates weren’t looking. Just do me a favor and read it so I can stop talking about it, okay? Also, a fun fact I remembered as I read this book… I think I was in a benefit concert for the Nielson’s when I was a senior in high school, but I didn’t know who they were at the time. Or maybe I just made that up to try to seem really cool. You decide. Well, I hope those book reviews really did it for ya. And if they didn’t, maybe next time!