My Favorite LDS Books to Read
What in the world is LDS?
I should assume that if you found this Hub, you would
probably know what the abbreviation for LDS is but just in case you don’t, I
will explain. The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints, also known as The Mormons, is more commonly referred to
as the LDS Church.
Thus the LDS in the title attached to Books, is in reference to books
that are usually written by LDS authors.
Although the list of books I will share is typically of interest to
members of the LDS Church, they most
certainly could apply to anyone who has a Christian belief system. In other words, don’t run for the hills now
that you know what LDS really stands for, read on, you might be pleasantly surprised!
Four Volumes of Scripture in One Book
The Standard Works of the LDS Church
The members of the LDS Church study from four different volumes of scripture, known as the “Standard Works”. These volumes are the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Naturally I must begin my list with these books at the top of my favorites. Most Christians are probably familiar with the Holy Bible, but in brief it is a book of scripture that contains the Old and New Testament. It is a record of the covenant that God made with His children, instructing them how to live in harmony with His commands and how to return back into His presence. I believe that the Holy Bible is one book that will take a lifetime of study to comprehend.
The Book of Mormon is another record of the covenant that God made with His children. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. I believe the following video does a great job of explaining simply what the Book of Mormon is.
The Book Of Mormon Made Simple
The other two volumes of Scripture are the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Both contain modern revelations given by God that have been received by living prophets and recorded for our benefit and study.
Although I am an avid reader and lover of books, I always make sure I start or end my day reading from one of these beautiful instruction manuals for Christian living.
Now on to some of my other favorite LDS books that I highly recommend, mind you these are in no specific order of preference, simply a list of great books to read.
Two great LDS books by James E. Talmage
"Talmage has a unique way of delving into the personality of the son of God...Jesus Christ. Throughout the pages he not only describes the personality but delves into the mission of Christ and why he was what he was. The reader will come away with a better understanding of the trinity being three distinct personages: an understanding of the purpose of life; and most important becoming a witness of Jesus himself. Its worth the time and investment to get a personal copy for the family library."
"The substance of this book originated from a series of addresses delivered before the Theology classes of the Church University and at other schools." Covers a multitude of Gospel topics.
Jesus The Christ
The LDS book Jesus The Christ, which was written by James E. Talmage in 1915, is a definitive work on the life and times of Jesus Christ. From the preface of the book itself, Talmage explains, “It will be readily seen that the author has departed from the course usually followed by writers on the Life of Jesus Christ, which course, as a rule, begins with the birth of Mary’s Babe and ends with the ascension of the slain and risen Lord from Olivet. The treatment embodied in these pages, in addition to the narrative of the Lord’s life in the flesh comprises the antemortal existence and activities of the world’s Redeemer, the revelations and personal manifestations of the glorified and exalted Son of God during the apostolic period of old and in modern times, the assured nearness of the Lord’s second advent, and predicted events beyond- all so far as the Holy Scriptures make plain.”
This is a classical piece of LDS literature and is a must read. The writing is similar to the writing of the classical literature greats and so needs to be read with that in mind. In other words, it may require a bit more work to read this one, but it will be well worth it.
"This book helps us understand some of the greater purposes of the Lord's sacred days and holidays, thus helping us find greater joys in all those sacred and restive days we observe throughout the year."
The Lord’s Holy Days
Another great LDS book is called The Lord’s Holy Days Powerful Witnesses of Truth, by Lenet Hadley Read. “The book shows how the Lord used holy days and sacred times from the beginning to teach powerful truths. Beginning with the timing of seasons, He has taught principles of harvesting, of death, and of rebirth.” Lenet Hadley Read explores all the major Holy Days or feasts that the Lord outlined in the Old Testament and adds commentary about their significance in our lives today. It was easy to read and packed full of insights. If you want to get a glimpse at her writing style, you can preview it by reading this article published in the Ensign Magazine (an LDS publication) called Symbols of the Harvest: Old Testament Holy Days and the Lord’s Ministry.
Richard Lyman Bushman
"At last a Joseph Smith to which Mormons and non-Mormons alike can relate. Meticulously researched, beautifully written, and gripping in its narrative derail, this is Richard Bushman at his vintage best. There is no question that this biography is the best book ever written about Mormonism's founding father, and America's greatest homegrown prophet." Harry Stout
Richard L. Bushman's book, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, presents an in-depth look at the Smith family, the start of the Mormon religion, and some of its early doctrines and foundations.
Rough Stone Rolling
I believe the most definitive work written on the LDS Prophet Joseph Smith is a book called Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman. Bushman not only explores the traditional stories that have been told about Joseph Smith but also tackles the obscure facts too. As a member of the LDS Church, Bushman does not hold back any “secrets” but continues to testify of the reality of Joseph Smith’s prophet role to the world. This work is recognized not only by the LDS community, but by those in the scholarly field as well. If you desire to understand the life of Joseph Smith better this LDS book is one of the best ways to do that. Bushman also wrote, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism which I highly recommend too.
Massacre at Mountain Meadows
The combined writing effort of Ronald W. Walker, Richard E.
Turley Jr., and Glen M. Leonard produced a fabulous LDS book called Massacre at
Mountain Meadows. I have a personal
interest in this story because of an ancestor that was involved in the incident,
so I have read everything I could get my hands on about the Mountain Meadow
Massacre for years. Since I first heard about
this group of authors gathering information for the writing of the book, about
five years ago, I have waited patiently for its publication. I have not been disappointed, and the wait
was worth it. This is the most
conclusive book, with documented facts given, about the incident at Mountain
Meadows I have ever read. I must mention
Juanita Brooks and her book The Mountain Meadows Massacre too, for she was the
first to be bold enough to write on the subject. Her book is also worth reading if you would
like to continue your own research into the topic.
Mountain Meadows Massacre
"On September 11, 1857, more than 120 men, women and children traveling from Arkansas to California were butchered by Mormon militiamen and Paiute Indians at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. This study of the tragedy, by three LDS historians, utilizes previously unavailable archival documents to answer the question, How could basically good people commit such a terrible atrocity?"
"Juanita Brooks, a life-long southern Utahn, used her considerable native talent, her drive for the truth, and many years of effort to compile this first exhaustive, honest examination of the Mountain Meadows massacre. It is especially impressive given the fact that Ms. Brooks wasn't by vocation a historian or scholar. Her narrative is lucid and complete. Her analysis has proven, in the context of additional investigation, to be principally correct."
Donna B. Nielsen
"This book documents important information about Jewish marriage and other practices in antiquity. Nielsen makes many illuminating connections, especially helpful for those who want to understand better the prophetic writings of the Old Testament and Jesus' teachings and mission. It is intelligently and insightfully written, but also accessible and enjoyable to read."
Donna B. Nielsen is the author of another “must read” LDS book called, Beloved Bridegroom. Nielsen explores the rich heritage of the Jewish marriage customs and likens them to the metaphor of Jesus Christ as the bridegroom. To understand the teachings of Christ more fully, having a knowledge of these customs and practices is invaluable. This LDS book will open up the scriptures to your understanding in a way you have never seen before. The author Donna B. Nielsen also shares many insights with her readers through her Blog called Connections.
Denver C. Snuffer, Jr.
"No book has had as great an impact on my thinking as this book. The topic is one I have studied in detail and Denver Snuffer's book is doctrinally dead on track. The implications of this book are huge. The book liberally uses and expands the scriptures. Every chapter has new and meaningful gospel insights. It is a must read for all who wish to "come unto Christ"."
"This work represents again, Denver's abiding love and respect for the Lord. Through scriptural quotations and prophet's words he reminds us to remember the counsel and warnings of ancient day prophets who foretold the Latter Days in which we now live. Take advantage of Denver's years of study of the scriptures, knowledge, and cross references to better understand the wisdom and revelations of the Book of Mormon Prophet Nephi and the Bible Prophet Isaiah."
"'Eighteen Verses' concludes what began in "The Second Comforter" and continued in "Nephi's Isaiah". You would be hard pressed to find, anywhere, 3 books like these that clearly and accurately declare Christ's gospel and explain what is meant by the "fullness of the Gospel." Every page of these books invites the Holy Ghost to be with you and as you read Christ can fill your mind with light, knowledge and perspective."
The Second Comforter and more...
One of my favorite LDS authors is Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. Suffer who is a convert to the LDS Church for over 32 years, uses his experiences with his conversion story in his first LDS book, The Second Comforter to illustrate principles of receiving further light and knowledge. “The Second Comforter describes the process, as set out in the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is an Odyssey through the greatest principles, ordinances and meanings of the Latter-day Saint faith in a comprehensive narrative. It will change the way you think of yourself, and of your life.”
His LDS books are not only easy to read and understand, but are based on sound gospel principles.
One raving reviewer states, “Denver is an inspired teacher, gathering centuries of scripture references and prophesies that verify Christ will come to man during his mortal life in the flesh, and that He has done and does so today as in ancient times. This book will give you fresh resolve to live more righteously as God wants you to, to be entitled to ALL of His blessings He offers to all men. I feel this is written as a guide for me/us to keep afresh what we know, and to reach deeper in seeking further knowledge of God's will for me/us personally. I am certain as you read you will have a great desire to follow our Savior with increased obedience to His ways, be more humble, live more Holy, and with the hope to qualify at some time during your mortal life for an audience with Jesus Christ. It is one to read, re-read, reference to often, and study, then teach what you learn here.... Thank you Denver for sharing what you have learned with me. This reading has been a spiritual feast for me.” Sherrie Craig
I have read all of Snuffer's LDS books and have never been disappointed with the feast of insights he has to share.
Look for LDS books on E-Bay
Some of my most favorite LDS books are antiquarian LDS books that are no longer in print. If you want to find some great LDS books like that I have found E-Bay to be a wonderful place to pick them up very reasonably. Many people, not fully understanding the wealth of information that is contained in the old LDS books, sell them for a song.
I thought I might mention another resource for great LDS book reviews called Back Yard Professor Shirtale Reviews. This is a series of LDS book reviews by BYU professor Kerry Shirts.
This video is of Kerry Shirts introducing his rating system and his series of Shirtale videos.