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The Holy Secret

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,394 ratings  ·  553 reviews
Many today carry a secret: We do not love what we have been commanded to love. We do not love what is holy. Although we might reverence things that are deemed holy- the temple, for example, and the scriptures, and the Sabbath- we do not love them. Not really. Not with our whole souls.

The Holy Secret is the story of a man who learns how to love what matters. As he does, he
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 2008 by Deseret Book (first published January 1st 2008)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,394 ratings  ·  553 reviews

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Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There is a growing genre of professional and personal development books that seeks to teach fundamental principles of life and living through the medium of a fictional story. Early versions of this type of book were largely forgettable, and even now many that I see in my professional work are not worth the paper they're printed on. However, two that I’ve read recently, both from The Arbinger Institute, were outstanding. James Ferrell, the author of The Holy Secret is from that same Institute, an ...more
Heather C.
Aug 21, 2009 rated it liked it
I wish there were half stars on Goodreads...this would be 2 1/2. Should I feel guilty for giving a book about church stuff a lowish score? Don't get me wrong, there were life-changing concepts in this story for me. And that is why I read it, so I am thankful for that. But, just like in the author's previous book, The Peacegiver, the story that contains the principles is lame and so contrived. Honestly, I would rather that James Ferrell just write out his thoughts in essay (church talk!) form. I ...more
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is by the same author of "The Peacegiver." The book is another classic which deserves to be read and reread time and time again. Beautiful! Anyone seeking to live a life of holiness will love this book.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Latter-day Saints
This book is written for Latter-day Saints. It is a fictional story told about a man who is sitting in church one day listening to a talk given by an older man. He is touched by the talk so much that he decides that he needs visit the older man and talk to him about it. The relationship between the young man and the older man develop so much during their visit that they decide to visit again and again. Their visits consist of conversations around scripture study, church attendance, and temple at ...more
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
First the disclaimer - I'm not normally a fan of LDS Fiction. I think there is enough good non-fiction we don't need to manufacture stories to influence spiritual experiences. That being said I enjoyed this story a lot. He had good information to deliver and wrapped it in a nice story. It was enlightening to read and I've been thinking a lot about it for the past couple weeks. I'd recommend it to any LDS person who feels a little stalled out spiritually.
Sofi Carpenter
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds-religion
I loved this book almost as much as The Peacegiver. I am impressed by the author's ability to teach gospel principles in such an engaging way.
Kelcey Murdoch
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"If I don't love what is holy in this life", Brother Kishler had said, "then I will not like holiness in the next. My attitude about what is holy here and now tells me where I am heading in the then and there."

I really enjoyed this book. It is a fictional story, but with many wonderful insights about the gospel. The book is divided into three sections, each teaching lessons about how we can love what is holy, specifically, the scriptures, the Sabbath day, and the temple. I loved the ideas given
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
The key 'take-away' of this book for me was that the key to spiritual learning - and really any kind of learning - is to ask 'why' more often. It has helped me to re-invigorate my desire to glean more from the scriptures, the sabbath, and the temple.

The storytelling approach that Ferrell using is helpful in getting that point across though the characters felt a little hard to relate to sometimes.
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is actually the second time I have read this book. I have thought of it so much that I had to pick it up and read again. The books talks about how to come to love all that is holy. I have learned so much about the scriptures, the sabbath day, sacrament prayers, and more that I took very copious notes to have in the future. One of these days I will just have to buy this book. It is such a short, quick read too.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but not as much as The Peacegiver. I thought it would have more of a story, but it was more like 2 guys discussing the scriptures -- which is not a bad thing, but not much of a story either. There are some definite gems in there, though, that I found quite illuminating and useful.
While one of the premises of the book is that we should delve into the scriptures and try to get more understanding, I felt like this book clubbed you over the head with the author's ideas instead of allowing you to get your own impressions.

He goes way too far off on language specific words. His explanation of "goodly parents" in 1 Nephi is possible, but I think there are other ways to easily see that Lehi was wealthy (the precious things given to Laman) which don't require twisting words. If yo
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was fairly good. It starts out with ideas and steps to learn to love the scriptures and how to really study and ponder them. Then it goes into insights he has gained from the scriptures. The first part was good. It reminded me of Preach My Gospel by the way it spoke of how to study. I'm not sure if I would recommend this as a book to read because 1. I think Preach My Gospel does a better job at going over study tactics and teaching you to love the scriptures if you really study it. And ...more
Jun 05, 2008 rated it liked it
I am not sure what I think of this book. I read and loved the Peacegiver, and so I expected to love this book too. The story is written in the same way with 2 main characters having a spiritual discussion- one is clearly the teacher with the other as the student. I can see how this setup is necessary for what the author was trying to do with the material he wanted to get across. I will say that with this book and The Peacegiver, they both made me really think and talk about them with others to s ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: db-approved
This book has a lot of doctrine, quoting scriptures directly from the Bible and Book of Mormon, and is like going to a series of great CES lectures that are presented through a dialogue of two characters. Topics such as the Sabbath day, temple covenants, the Sacrament prayers, the priesthood, and more are correlated easily in a flow of discussion. I found some of the chapters harder to get into that others and might benefit from rereading the book to further understanding. I found some great ins ...more
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another great life changing, reach inside yourself experience will result from reading this book. I love the Arbinger Institute! Their work has awakened a need within myself to be more Christlike and truly understand what charity means.

I saw somewhere that you can read this book online, probably Deseret Book. I think a new chapter comes out each week. Check out this link for Chapter 1.

Go to this link to read "The Peacegiver", also by James Ferrell, online
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lds
Defintiely not what I expected when I picked it up. I figured it was a non-fiction book, but it is fiction with interesting doctrinal insights. I didn't feel it helped me to enjoy holiness more, but it did give me some new ways to search my scriptures.

It was worth listening to, but it isn't something I would buy (I got it at the library) as a lot of the things he talked about just weren't new for me and I don't think I would like the format when trying to refer back to it. There were also a cou
Aug 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
I tried to get through this book. I really did. I think James Ferrell has great and amazing insights into the scriptures. So WHY, WHY, WHY wrap them in a cheesy, unbelievable, ridiculous fictional format? The dialogue is horrible, stilted and choppy (basically NO ONE talks like that. Ever). The situations are absolutely unbelievable. Did I already say unbelievable? Well, they really, really are unbelievable!

Wish Ferrell would just write a non fiction reference book about the scriptures and leav
May 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really loved the first book but this one just didn't capture me. Maybe I don't get it. I did try, but I felt talked down to the whole book and that annoyed me. The concepts are good but I couldn't help feeling some things were the author's point of view and not necessarily the gospel truth. I guess I may be one that needs to learn certain things on my own. I think I'll read the peacegiver again to buoy me up again. This just didn't do it.
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I listened to the audiobook and read it. I think I liked listening to it better. The dialog back and forth seemed to drag the story down a bit when I read it. I didn't notice it when I listened to it. Very good ideas and suggestions in helping us find deeper meaning to our worship.
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. After finishing this, I'm ready to go back through it again- I know there's a lot that I missed the first time. I love Arbinger philosophy, which James L. Ferrell's books are full of, and coupled with the deep content presented in a digestible format, The Holy Secret was powerful. I learned so, so much and didn't want the book to end.
Jun 03, 2008 rated it liked it
He had great insights on scripture study, the sacrament, and temple worship, but I didn't enjoy the story as much as I did in the peacegiver. His dialogue was really lacking, I kind of wished that he would have shared his insights in a nonfiction work rather than using a fictional story to appeal to the masses. It's worth reading though.
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Ferrell shares personal spiritual insights in a 200 page conversation between an older mentor and his troubled student. If you are newer to the scriptures, you will find more benefit in the book, but if you have loved and studied the scriptures for longer, you have probably discovered on your own much of what Ferrell shares.
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that teaches gospel principles through fiction. I enjoyed this one even more than The Peacegiver, his other book. I especially loved what I learned about the Sacrament. I'm planning to read this book again when I have more time to think about it.
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Written by the same author of the peacegiver; this book helps us understand how to search the scriptures better, how to enjoy and get more from the temple, how to more fully love holy things and be more holy.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me a new perspective on three very important area of my spiritual life, Scriptures, the Sabbath and the temple. Well written with a great story line. I'm into my second reading.
May 17, 2008 added it
Currently reading. Very good!
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Richard by: Maria Franco
This book is absolutely amazing. It definately takes the holy things in life to a completely different perspective.
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites, religious
This book has changed me. Actually, it has encouraged me to have the desire to change. I didn't even realize that I needed to read it. I was wrong.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Incredibly deep reading. One to ponder and possibly re-read in the future.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book, lds
I liked this one a bit better than PEACE GIVER. It may be because I was expecting his style of book this time though. Again this book had some great information that I would love to write down in my scriptures so I can remember it better! I love the way he really studies the scriptures. Even asking why use THAT word. Or WHY start with THAT phrase. I would love to sit in one of Ferrell’s classes!
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How's this book? 3 40 Oct 08, 2011 03:22PM  
  • Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy
  • Hearing the Voice of the Lord: Principles and Patterns of Personal Revelation (Divine Guidance, #1)
  • God Wants A Powerful People
  • House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple
  • Mary, Martha, And Me:  Seeking the One Thing That Is Needful
  • Broken Things to Mend
  • Eve and the Choice Made in Eden
  • Not My Will, but Thine
  • Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News
  • Rock-Solid Relationships: Strengthening Personal Relationships with Wisdom from the Scriptures
  • 21 Days Closer to Christ
  • Righteous Warriors: Lessons from the War Chapters in the Book of Mormon
  • Because He First Loved Us
  • Confessions of an Unbalanced Woman
  • A Heart Like His: Making Space for God's Love in Your Life
  • The Continuous Conversion: God Isn't Just Proving Us, He's Improving Us
  • Six Events: The Restoration Model for Solving Life's Problems
  • The Broken Heart: Applying the Atonement to Life's Experiences
“As Michael pondered how shallow he had been, he was struck by another thought. It wasn't simply that he hadn't gone deep enough. It was rather that he had grown accustomed to wading in pools that had no depth to begin with. A turn toward holiness would be a turn toward a different life altogether - to a life where different things mattered than had mattered in the past. Did he desire such a life? He knew that of all the questions, this was the most important.” 16 likes
“I believe that the scriptures, the Sabbath, and the temple [are] mediums of holiness extended into this unholy world.” 9 likes
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