I am so glad I picked this book up. This is the first time I have studied the signs of the times, and haven't felt insanely afraid. David J. Ridges doI am so glad I picked this book up. This is the first time I have studied the signs of the times, and haven't felt insanely afraid. David J. Ridges does a great job bringing it all back to the reasons we are given these signs in the first place: "So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors." (JST - Matthew 1:39) He also puts a lot of emphasis on Matthew 24:6 (and a other scriptural passages), which says, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Emphasis added.) In this, he urges us not to be fearful, and also reminds us that we should not put our lives on hold because of the closeness of the Second Coming--something that is important to remember, especially when reading about the many signs that are happening in our day.
In reading this, I found there were a lot of signs I did not know about, even after studying them in various Seminary and Institute classes. Ridges discusses 96 signs of the times, and says that these are not all of them. It was very helpful that he categorized each sign based on whether it has been fulfilled, is currently being fulfilled, has yet to be fulfilled, or whether it is one we cannot be sure of at this time. He uses scripture and/or words from Church leaders to back up each of these categorizations. I also appreciate that he set the record straight for some signs that have a lot of rumor and misinterpretation among the Saints. He does it in a very respectful, yet straightforward way. At the end of it all, he also talks about what we know of the Second Coming.
This book has a lot to take in. It took me a few weeks to read, not because it is long, but because there is so much information to process and think over. It ended up being the only thing I wanted to read during that time, and even now I am starting over and reading it again, because I loved it so much. Reading this ended up being a huge strengthener of my testimony. I feel better prepared, and less afraid. I highly recommend it!...more
Such a fantastic book! It is written more for those who have not yet been through the temple, but I think those who have, but want to learn more aboutSuch a fantastic book! It is written more for those who have not yet been through the temple, but I think those who have, but want to learn more about symbolism, would also enjoy reading it. I love the respectful insight the author gives into the symbolism of the temple. He does it by studying the temple practices found in the Old Testament. He also touches on other things that have to do with preparing to enter the temple or keeping oneself worthy to continue to go to the temple.
I absolutely loved the chapter on the Plan of Salvation symbolism that is found in temple worship (explained using the Old Testament as examples). There is a part where he talks about eternal families, and talked a bit about how we often don't realize how far that promise really extends; it gave me such a feeling of hope and excitement, that it literally made me cry!
The only thing I didn't enjoy about the book was the author's tendency to expound upon even the simplest of words or phrases, thinking the reader would somehow not understand what they meant. Throughout the book he mostly uses scripture verses to teach, and to show the reader how to understand symbolism. He interjects explanations in those verses--which in most of the verses are quite helpful--but there were quite a few times when he would explain even simple words or phrases that didn't need explaining. For example, this is an excerpt from the book, which is in turn an excerpt from Isaiah. The brackets show the author's interjection:
"Also [then] I heard the voice of the Lord, saying...."
Aside from that tendency, the rest of it was wonderful to read. I'm reading another of his books right now, about the signs of the times, which is also a fantastic read. Though this one is quite a bit shorter, it packs a nice spiritual punch. I'm glad I picked it up! ...more
I really wanted to love this book...REALLY wanted to. It has all the elements of my favorite contemporaries: a character with a mysterious past, charaI really wanted to love this book...REALLY wanted to. It has all the elements of my favorite contemporaries: a character with a mysterious past, characters who are aching, all parties have questionable intentions, and it all comes together in a seemingly odd, yet interesting, way. But in the end, it was more of a middle-of-the-road, book.
I think the one thing that gave me the most negative impression was the daughter, Jill. I didn't much care for her attitude or judgments. I didn't like the way she used those around her to her advantage, even when she knew it would hurt them. Part of this is that she a.) is a spunky teen with an attitude, b.) is dealing with the loss of her father. I get that. I just didn't care for a lot of the things she said and did, and I was honestly bothered by how the people around her kept forgiving her and coming back, only to be used again.
What I did like about the book--really liked--were the chapters from Mandy's point of view. I liked her deep thoughts, and her odd view of the world. It was as if I was discovering this new environment along with her, and I loved getting to see how the smallest things could make such a difference to her. I liked watching her relationship with Jill's mom grow. And I admit that I did find the contrast between Mandy's discovery and wonderment, and Jill's chapters that were full of angst and drama, added a little something to the story, even if I didn't agree with everything Jill did.
Aside from all that, the book explores relationships in a deep way. It delves into family ties, and redefines the definition. It also bravely approaches the subject of teenage love and friendship, in a way that is almost taboo for YA. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so even though I don't believe this is a huge spoiler (although you may), consider this your *Spoiler Warning.* (view spoiler)[I really appreciate that the point is made, that love between two people doesn't always mean that those people should be together. (hide spoiler)]
In the end, I enjoyed the mystery and drama, but I wanted something more from the book. The ending was just a little too neatly tied up for me, but it did make me feel the warm fuzzies, so I can't complain too much. I really liked Sara Zarr's writing style though, so I'll definitely be reading more of her books.
If you like reading about off characters (Mandy is awesome), or characters with a chip on their shoulder, you'll enjoy this one.
Read this if: ...you enjoy family dramas, and you like to explore the deeper meaning of relationships.
Content Warning (view spoiler)[*This section may contain some spoilers about content!* Sex (not descriptive), some swearing, and sexual abuse that takes place before the story begins (although the subject is handled very well, and is not descriptive). (hide spoiler)]
This review was originally posted on my blog: The Reading Fever.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more