Wednesday, November 04, 2015

To the Rescue

I have always looked up to Church leaders as good examples, and the prophets in particular.  Since President Kimball died when I was only 5 years old, I only vaguely remember him.  I remember President Benson better, in large part because of his lifelong commitment to Scouting, and he was the prophet while I was heavily involved in Scouts.  I remember President Hunter mostly because the Bountiful Temple was dedicated while he was the prophet, and I participated in that temple’s open house and dedication.  President Hinckley is probably the first prophet I remember because of the things he taught.  He is also the first one that I looked to as a role model.  He was a very positive person and chose to see the bright side of life, no matter the situation.  Before President Monson was even the president of the Church, I saw him as a role model.  His many stories, most of them based on his personal experiences, showed that he had developed many of the character traits that truly good people possess.  Over and over again, I found myself listening and thinking that I should, somehow, implement what he was talking about in my own life.

Book cover image.To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi S. Swinton (ISBN: 978-1-60641-898-7) chronicles the amazing life of service that President Monson has led from an early age through the present day.  The timeline for the biography is straight forward, starting with his early childhood and ending with his time as the leader of the Church.  He learned from parents and family around him in what was, at the time, a typical childhood.  It follows him through high school, a mission, early marriage, employment, and a variety of Church callings.  Along the way, there are many familiar stories, but there are sometimes some additional details that weren’t always part of the many sermons President Monson has given.  There were also some additional stories.  It was interesting to read about President Monson’s family a little bit and about his professional experienes.  There was a lot of time spent on President Monson’s service as an apostle in what was then East Germany.  The Church history aspect was interesting, as it was with some of the other episodes from his life, but they often seemed more like pioneer stories because of the great faith shown and the hardships endured.  What was consistent no matter what part of his life was being discussed was the dedication he showed to serving others, whether that be in his family or those around him.  President Monson was never too busy to help someone out, talk to them, visit them, give them a blessing, or share time and possessions with them.  It becomes abundantly clear as the life of this man is chronicled that he understands very well that Heavenly Father is serious when He says that the worth of souls is great in His sight.  President Monson has cultivated that genuine love and concern that is a trait of our divine Father and made it a part of his own personality. 

I never really doubted I would find the book interesting, but I think that I underestimated the power behind the stories.  There is sense of warmth and comfort in the stories from home, whether they be from his childhood or when he was a father.  The stories of service, love, and compassion are often familiar, but never dull.  In fact, they’re just the opposite.  They are inspiring and teach true principles.  I don’t necesssarily remember the details of who, when, or how, but a desire to be more in tune with the Spirit and more ready to help others is clearly left in your mind and heart after reading even a few pages.  Really, you can’t ask much more out of a book.  Thomas S. Monson has led and continues to lead an extraordinary life of service.  It is one worthy of emulation and one about which reading is well worth one’s time.

Creative Commons License
This work, including all text, photographs, and other original work, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License and is copyrighted © MMXIV John Pruess.

No comments: