Book review: 'Mary the Mother of Jesus' explores her life

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS," by Camille Fronk Olson, Deseret Book, $17.99, 117 pages (nf)

Only about 10 days of the life of Mary, the mother of the Savior, are mentioned in the scriptures. In the newly released "Mary, the Mother of Jesus," Camille Fronk Olson uses these scriptures, including those in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, along with a few other texts to supply the culture and customs in context of the era to give understanding to Mary's life and mission.

Olson, a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, explores the life of Mary, from the meaning of her name and her visit to Elisabeth to what is known about her other children and her reactions to the direction her life took.

"Mary, The Mother of Jesus" is divided into 15 chapters that explore her life and mission chronologically — from the prophecies about her and the birth of Jesus, the Annunciation, her lineage, her engagement to Joseph, Baby Jesus' birth and fleeing to Egypt. Chapters are also devoted to mothering Jesus, her role during the Savior's ministry and death and after his Resurrection.

Olson also points out what is known about Mary and other customs for young women and mothers at the time, including marriage customs and the rules of the Law of Moses regarding childbirth, as well as what isn't known specifically about her.

While scholarly in nature, it's written in Olson's way that's easy to understand and gives depth to the situations Mary was in.

Olson points out themes throughout Mary's life, including how she kept many things in her heart and pondered them rather than proclaiming them.

"She kept all these things in her heart, rather than spread them abroad, allowing herself gradually to gain a greater witness and understanding of her Son's unique mission," Olson writes.

Interspersed through the book are nearly three dozen illustrations — both of Mary and her son, Jesus, along with others in their lives.

"Mary, The Mother of Jesus" gives a deeper perspective and respect to a woman and mother who shared in one of the pivotal events in Biblical history and would be very useful — and enjoyable — to those wanting to know about her life.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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