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The Mansion

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,919 ratings  ·  618 reviews
There was an air of calm and reserved opulence about the Weightman mansion that spoke not of money squandered, but of wealth prudently applied. Standing on a comer of the Avenue no longer fashionable for residence, it looked upon the swelling tide of business with an expression of complacency and half-disdain.

Van Dyke's Christmas story about a mansion that speaks "not of
Paperback, 61 pages
Published 2003 by Fredonia Books (first published 1887)
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Kylie Because he gave to his church to increase himself on the Earth, while pretending like he was doing it for altruistic purposes. Being a good business m…moreBecause he gave to his church to increase himself on the Earth, while pretending like he was doing it for altruistic purposes. Being a good business man is worth nothing to God, and to eternity. It'll fade away. And while giving to church and charities are good, giving to them publicly, loudly, and to increase one's Self renders your reward in heaven null. That's the whole point of the book. (less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  2,919 ratings  ·  618 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gutenberg
Some people donate to charities to make themselves feel good, powerful, or important. They do not really care about giving to others, they just want their own reputation to grow.John Weightman was one of those people. Wealthy, successful, and very much aware of all the endowments he had made over the years, all the buildings that carried his name.

But his son Harold wants to give from his heart, with no other reason than to help other people. Will this desire trigger anything at all in the heart
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The prophet of my church reads this book every Christmas (along with A Christmas Carol and the various nativity accounts from the scriptures), so I thought I'd give The Mansion a try. What an inspiring read! And it's very quick too. It's about true service-- helping others without worrying about a reward.

It reminded me of a phone conversation I had a while ago with my mom. I was telling her how I just spent a whole morning driving around a friend to various welfare appointments (with my newborn
Short and sweet, but it delivers an excellent punch. I suppose I could most likely compare it to "Christmas Carol" for Christians. If we all lived by the doing-good-and-not-counting-the-cost, it sure would be a nicer world! Not to mention, even, the thought of a heavenly treasure. Definitely recommended —and one that will make you think. ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
Thomas Monson, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, spoke at the churches Christmas Devotional a few days ago. He told us the stories he reads every year before Christmas. The Mansion is one of those books he reads each year.

The story is about John Weightman, who gives a lot to the community, but it always is to his own credit. When he goes to heaven, he watches as the other people are given beautiful mansions, and he can hardle wait to see how grand his mansion wil
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts . . .

"At a recent Christmas Devotional, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, listed three works that he reads each year around Christmas-time: The Gospel According to Luke, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke. The first two were, of course, very familiar to me, but I had never heard of The Mansion. I became curious and the source of the recommendation was more than enough to get me
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm a little torn, reviewing a 100-year-old novelette. On the one hand, the book is written in broad strokes, with poor characterization, and only seems to exist to teach a lesson with the subtlety of Aesop. On the other, the book was written specifically to explain this idea, and the "reveal" is actually quite powerful.

So I can't really review the book, as it only exists to push the idea. And that's where I'm torn.

The moral, that charity is only really charity if you do not profit from it, is a
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
1/1/19 - still love this book. This is my 7th year starting out with it. It still inspires me. 1/1/18- Each year I find something new to think about in this book.
1/1/17- I like to start the new year with this short read. It helps remind me of what really counts.
12/31/15 still a 5 star book. I find something new every year.
12/31/14 My tradition- read this book every year. It's still as good as it was in 2012.
(2013 review ahead)(This is a great book to read on the eve of the new year. I'd give it
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Man, I like a good, contemplative Christmas story. When Pres. Monson recommended this during the Christmas devotional, I plugged my ears so that he didn't give away the ending, which is the only time I've done that while the prophet speaks. I'm glad I did. SPOILER ALERT: I love a good redemption story. ...more
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
This was a short story, very appropriate for Christmas time. It was a light and quick read with a beautiful, uplifting message. This can be downloaded for free through Project Gutenberg. I would recommend anyone read it.
Kyla Harris
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
This little book is a perfect read for chhirsmas! (like the chirstmas carol) It takes about an hour to read out loud and the writing is amazing♡ I enjoyed it lots.
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very fun little read. I read it to my husband one night as he was preparing for a talk at church about Christ and Christmas. I just love the walk the main character takes with fellow travelers on their way to their way to their own mansions.

Personally, I learned to look deeper into my heart for the reasons I do things. Do I try to do kind acts because of the recognition I receive now...or do I do them out of the love of Christ? This cute little story makes me want to try harder to show Christ
4 stars & 4/10 hearts. This is a very thought-provoking story. I'm not sure if I totally agree with it, theologically speaking, but the message is very good. The writing style is really well done, and the humour is sly and dry. It's a short story--but worth reading, more than once.

A Favourite Quote: "Tell me, then," he cried, brokenly, "since my life has been so little worth, how came I here at all?"
"Through the mercy of the King,"
"And how have I earned it?" he murmured.
"It is never earned; i
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story, very inspiring for the Christmas season.
Juergen John Roscher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Megan by: President Monson
Shelves: bookgroup
We picked this book for our book group read for December because 1) It is really short and we didn't want to read anything too long in such a busy month and 2) President Monson said that he read this story every Christmas. He said it was a favorite Christmas story.
The story is about a man who is a very rich and very adept businessman that measures his actions to either be seen or to provide some kind of benefit or investment return. He has a "near death experience" towards the end of the story w
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this right after hearing President Monson's Christmas Devotional, December 2011. (Thank you, Kindle--so easy to download and read a book as soon as you think of it.)

Very sweet story. A rich man has always given to the church and to charities, but only as a means of advancing his own reputation on earth. He dreams that he goes to heaven and, dante-like, is met by a guide who shows him the mansions built for others. He is surprised to see that those who were poor on earth often have very fi
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Karen by: President Thomas S. Monson
Shelves: read-aloud
2012 This is a modern, much shorter version of The Christmas Carol! It is very direct, and we loved it as a read aloud. We read it online for free - it was all checked out at the library and we wanted to read it before Christmas - so we missed the illustrations. I look forward to finding an illustrated copy. Loved it! Highly recommend it!

Update: 2015 Read it again out loud. We didn't get it done by Christmas, so I pulled it out on a short road trip and we finished it all at once. I really recomm
Dec 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend gave me this book last year after we heard about it while watching the Christmas Devotional. President Monson talked about three books that he reads every year at Christmastime and this was one of them. It is more of a short story (only 45 pages) but tells about a wealthy man who is very concerned that any money he donates to a cause be very clearly linked to him. Though very generous, he wanted to make sure he generosity was known. One night just before Christmas he fell asleep while w ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Our book club read this book after the Prophet of our church talked about it around Christmas time in a church wide broadcast.
It is slightly reminiscent of A Christmas Carol, but different enough to stand on its own.
For me, it is a good reminder to do good things for the right reason. It isn't really an act of service if we are hoping for recognition, praise, or reward after we do it.
A good story to pull out at Christmas time to help remember the true meaning we celebrate the birth of our savio
Jeff Stockett
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feel-good
This is a simple story, about a man who seems to be good, the type of man you would most likely look up to and try to emulate, if you were to meet him.

As the story goes on we discover that, though he has done good things in his life, his motivations were not entirely pure. He sought to be well liked of other men, he sought for power and position. I like that the book never says that wealth or position are wrong in themselves, but when that is what we seek, that is the reward we gain. And as the
Nathaniel Hardman
The prose was quite good, but the story was very, very straightforward. The author just took Matthew 6:1-3 (don't sound a trumpet before you when you do alms, otherwise you have no reward of your Father in heaven) and interpreted it literally: a guy gave lots to charity, but always publicly, and when he got to heaven, he didn't have a mansion. I kept thinking of The Great Divorce, and I wanted this book to be more like that - I wanted it to be more insightful and thought-provoking. It also seeme ...more
Daniel Oman
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story with its poignant message on heavenly versus earthly blessings and treasures. Reminded me that we can often be found doing what are considered to be good things, but part of this life is our progression, so aspiring for better and best is the ideal.

This book got me thinking outside the box a bit and brought about a period of introspection during the Christmas holiday. I always like a quick read that leaves me inspired, wanting to strive to do what matters most. "The Mansion"
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a truly beautiful story. I think that I, like President Monson, will read it each December in the years to come. I loved the answer to John Weightman's question: "What is it that truly counts here?" (regarding our mansion in heaven)
Came the reply: “Only that which is truly given. … Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gi
I absolutely loved this short story. The lessons it teaches about true Christianity are vibrant and clear. It is slightly reminiscent of "A Christmas Carol", but it differs also in powerful ways. The main character believes he is a good Christian, and feels that he has done much good in the world. He has done much good, but all of it has been calculated to be of benefit to him in this life. He learns through a beautiful Christmas Eve experience that you can receive your rewards on earth, or in h ...more
Mindi Bennett
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
President Monson mentioned that he reads this book, along with "The Christmas Carol" and Luke 2, every year at Christmas time. I'd never heard of this book, but found in for free online here:
It is a very short story, just 18 online pages. It gave new meaning to the concept of "storing up treasures in heaven", and it left me with a lot to think about.
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Karen by: Thomas S Monson
I have been waiting a few years to read this edition. This one is worth owning. It includes the abridged, illustrated version AND the unabridged version in one beautiful hardcover picture book. The illustrations are amazing. My children loved the story, and I enjoyed reading the unabridged version. This is definitely a story we will continue to read every year.
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book has kept me thinking and reviewing my life choices. Last night I reviewed my day looking for times I had been helpful where I didn't benefit. This books helped me see that unselfishness is a must in this life. Classic must to reread regularly. ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I've never read this. It's the perfect way to start out the Christmas season when selfless generosity is so close to our thoughts. My favorite line of the story: "Verily, you have had your reward for them. Would you be paid twice?" ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
When President Monson mentioned reading The Mansion during the Christmas devotional I decided to look it up. I requested it from a nearby library. I was surprised it was such a tiny little book. However, it was filled with very uplifting story. I am glad I was able to read this book.
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Public Domain Rea...: The Mansion - Nov 2018 Discussion 2 5 Nov 19, 2018 10:50AM  

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Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American Presbyterian clergyman, educator, and author. He graduated from Princeton in 1873, and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1874. He was pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City (1883-99), professor of English literature at Princeton (1899-1923), and U.S. minister to the Netherlands (1913-16).

Among his popular inspirational writings is th

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“Only that which is truly given," answered the bell-like voice. "Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.” 1 likes
“But how have I failed so wretchedly," he asked, "in all the purpose of my life? What could I have done better? What is it that counts here?” 0 likes
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