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Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Crucible of Doubt {Deseret Book Review}

Faith is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So what happens when a person has doubts?

Questioning is not the problem, according to authors Terryl and Fiona Givens. “After all,” they write, “the Restoration unfolded because a young man asked questions.” The difficulty arises when questions are based on flawed assumptions or incorrect perceptions, which can “point us in the wrong direction, misdirect our attention, or constrain the answers we are capable of hearing.” 

This insightful book offers a careful, intelligent look at doubt—at some of its common sources, the challenges it presents, and the opportunities it may open up in a person’s quest for faith. Whether you struggle with your own doubts or mostly want to understand loved ones who question, you will appreciate this candid discussion. You’ll come away feeling more certain than ever of the Lord’s love for all of His children.
In The Crucible of Doubt authors Terryl and Fiona Givens address the idea that having questions, or having gospel principles that you are "stuck" on (and maybe don't agree with), isn't the issue.  Having questions is ok!  I love the idea that questions and questioning is a good thing.  If it weren't for the prophet Joseph Smith asking questions that day in the sacred grove we would never be where we are today.  The authors address the fact that it is not a matter of questions.  It is a matter of making a decision about the gospel based on misperceptions and bad information.  You don't want that!  Ask questions!  Get answers!  It's important to do this so that you will have made a decision based on sound information.

Now.  I'm sorry but reviewing this book was a tough one for me!  I really wanted to love it.  Maybe it is my noisy children that are playing in the background when I try to read?  Maybe I just have to much busy-ness in my mind right now?  Maybe it is my lack of literary knowledge, but I had a hard time getting what I really needed out of this book.  The authors are very good with words but some of the sentences left me scratching my head and reading and rereading.  Some sentences are so long and have way too many big words.  Take this sample sentence for example:
In the midst of his perplexity, of his obstinate questions, uncertainties, misgivings, and shadowy recollections that almost, but don't quite, pierce the veil, that he finds the promise, the agitations, the catalyst that spurs him from complacency to insight, from generic pleasures to revelatory illumination, from being a thing acted upon to being an actor in the shaping of his own spiritual identity.
Huh?  Now, it's not that I can't actually figure out what the authors are saying, because I totally can.  Really!  What I am saying is that...I can't read a book like this without concentrating really, really hard.  I'm so sorry to admit that I didn't even finish it.  I kept glazing over, losing my place, and putting it down.  Perhaps, one day, when I am not so distracted by little ones, I will pull this out and try again.  I know it has a great message and I wish that I could've enjoyed it just a little bit more without feeling like it was way over my head.  :(



The Crucible of Doubt is available through Deseret Book as a Bookshelf eBook, audio and hardback.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  Thank you DeseretBook!

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