Letters to a Young Mormon: A Review

Jan 08, 14 Letters to a Young Mormon: A Review

Title: Letters to a Young Mormon

Author: Adam S. Miller

Page Count: 78 pages

Publisher: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Living Faith Series

ISBN: 9780842528566

You may purchase a copy of this book here

Honestly, there is no proper way to review this book. I have tried out several angles and every single one has been relegated to the proverbial wastebasket.  I can only attempt to convey, however clumsily, what I personally got from the book.  An old friend of mine once described prophecy as (rather than seeing the future) “piercing the veil and remembering what we knew in our pre-mortal existence.”  That is what reading this book is like.

The format of the book was an incredibly intriguing one. It is a series of twelve letters written to “S.” and signed from “A.” Each letter addresses a different topic that a young Mormon might need clarification in (or even us old ones). The topics are Agency, Work, Sin, Faith, Scripture, Prayer, History, Science, Hunger, Sex, Temples, and Eternal Life.

Though separated by topic, there are some recurring themes throughout the book. One of the major ones was the concept that our own feelings of what our life story is intended to be need to be discarded. We need to align ourselves with God’s will, and give all that we have and receive all that He will give us with an open palm.

Normally, the admonition to lose ourselves in such a way has the potential to be very off-putting, but not here. Almost every topic is taken on with the acknowledgement of the very real human feelings and shortcomings we all possess. We are invited to observe these reactions (as if we are a third person) rather than act on them impulsively.

I initially took very copious notes of different quotes that really spoke to me until I realized I was practically re-writing the book. I have never read a book before this that so fully conveys the lived experience of the doctrines of Mormonism. I am no crier and from the very beginning it is all I wanted to do. I am a believer in the concept that we all _know_ the truth when we hear it. That it speaks to our souls. For me, this book did that. I was amazed that Miller knew what I personally needed to hear without ever having consulted me first.

This book checks off my entire list; it is short, it is to the point, it fosters an environment where the Spirit can thrive, and it left me better than when I found it. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we are all our own “S.” needing this guidance and these answers. I give it 4.98/5 stars.

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EOR

EOR is a convert and a divorcee. She is the 2013 Wheaties award winning author in the category: "Funniest Thread", and has a B.S. in Business Management and Economics. In addition to being a permablogger at Rational Faiths, she also is a permablogger at Expert Textperts. She lives in NY, has 2 cats, and enjoys brevity, deli sandwiches, and laughing.

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4 Comments

  1. Remy Burnham /

    Sounds intriguing, I’ve listened to a podcast with Adam Miller and he was very thoughtful and insightful, this is another must read.

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  2. I am excited by this idea, not because it’s original but because it was the direction I was pointed during my years in YW. I don’t know if it was a local decision to focus on finding out what God wanted you to do/be or church wide. I was a teen. The church was only as big as the next Stake or Regional Dance. Either way though, I loved the idea. Because I assumed it was God’s will I heartily set my life that direction, only to find out that the message changed. We suddenly became one big fish bowl with our life direction selected for us by people who had never met us. I can’t wait to read the book and spread the message. I figure if all my local leaders can carry Clayton Christensen’s missionary/leadership book under their arms, I can carry this – Chieko Okazaki and I am good.

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  3. I have been waiting and waiting for this to be published ever since i listened to an interview where Miller shared an excerpt…finally got to order it (sad it isn’t on kindle). Thanks for sharing!
    Keep up the good work rational faiths!

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  4. EOR

    There really was no way to stress how much I consider this book to be a “must-read” within my review. I am no fawner, so I say it with all sincerity that this book changed everything. Particularly if one is struggling against the weight of culture vs. doctrine this short book is a Godsend.

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