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
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.