Book Review: 'Prophetic Teachings on Death, Angels and Heavenly Manifestations'

Published: Tuesday, June 21 2011 7:30 a.m. MDT

"PROPHETIC TEACHINGS ON DEATH, ANGELS and HEAVENLY MESSENGERS," by Bruce E. Dana, Cedar Fort, $12.99, 145 pages (nf)

In "Prophetic Teachings on Death, Angels and Heavenly Messengers," Bruce E. Dana has compiled a resource that attempts to answer many profound questions of Latter-day Saints and others.

Dana, an author of several books dealing with gospel subjects, provides a ready reference for those “simple” questions about our lives after mortality, but this book will probably not compel most readers to stay up late because they can’t put it down. 

The first third of the book serves as a basic foundation for the discussion, reviewing information on the Plan of Salvation. Chapters titled "Our First Estate," "Our Second Estate," "Spirits Look Like Mortals" and "Defining Death" lay a groundwork for those who are not familiar with the Plan of Happiness. While informative, this information may be redundant and elementary for readers interested in the more detailed subject of the book.

The real meat of the message begins with Chapter 5, "The Separation of Spirit and Body," and continues through the last chapter, "Heavenly Manifestations."

The discussions in each chapter are primarily based on quotes from modern-day prophets and apostles, but there are a few things that seem speculative. For instance, the discussion on the "silver cord" that connects the body to the soul has little supporting information to give it real credence. The author does offer a disclaimer of sorts for the whole topic, but for a reference book of this nature, leaving speculative material out is much better than hoping it will be taken in the right context.

Later discussions on the separation of spirits into paradise/spirit prison and grades and classes of spirits were interesting and seemed to follow the teachings of LDS Church leaders with accuracy. Dana does a particularly good job defining often misunderstood terms like "prison," "hell" and "paradise." Overall the tone and tenor of the book follows accepted LDS Church doctrines and should allow the reader to find thought-provoking references from modern prophets.

"Prophetic Teachings on Death, Angels and Heavenly Messengers" will be a handy resource volume for those interested in the words of Prophets and Apostles as they teach of death and other subjects.

Mike Whitmer is a teacher of youths and a proud grandfather, living in the Salt Lake Valley.

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