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'The Things Which My Father Saw' offers excellent insights into the Book of Mormon

By Scott Livingston

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Dec. 30 2011 7:00 p.m. MST

"THE THINGS WHICH MY FATHER SAW: Approaches to Lehi's Dream and Nephi's Vision," edited by Daniel L. Belnap, Gaye Strathearn and Stanley A. Johnson, Deseret Book/BYU Religious Studies Center, $31.99, 368 pages (nf)

The new publication “The Things Which My Father Saw: Approaches to Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision” is a significant addition to the growing scholarly resources about the Book of Mormon. The book is a compilation of 20 essays given at the 2011 Sperry Symposium at BYU.

As indicated in the book’s preface, the theme of presentations came about as a response to a talk given at BYU in January 2007 by President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, titled “Lehi’s Dream and You.” In this address, President Packer taught listeners that “Lehi’s dream or vision of the rod of iron has in it everything a Latter-day Saint needs to understand the test of life.”

The editors of “The Things Which My Father Saw” have selected a wide variety of talks for inclusion in the book. Several stand out as important advances in LDS scholarship. The titles include “Lehi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision as Apocalyptic Literature,” “Not Partaking of the Fruit: Its Generational Consequences and Its Remedy,” and “Nephi’s Dream and Nephi’s Vision as Used by Church Leaders.”

The keynote address at the symposium was a talk by Russell Osguthorpe, currently serving as general Sunday School president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, titled “The Power of Inspired Invitations.”

By focusing on a single theme and inviting LDS scholars to elaborate on that theme, the authors of “The Things Which My Father Saw” have blessed readers with researched and thoughtful work on this vital Book of Mormon story. It’s a must-read book for anyone striving to “liken” Lehi’s and Nephi’s vision to their mortal experience.

Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1stories.com. He also tumbles on occasion at http://sleye1stories.tumblr.com/

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