Book review: Author explores developing heroic traits for Mormon youths

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"THE OFFICIAL HERO'S GUIDE FOR LATTER-DAY SAINT YOUTH," by Damon Throop, Cedar Fort, $10.99, 128 pages (nf)

What does it take to be a hero? Is it super strength, speed, good looks or magic powers? Author Damon Throop shares his knowledge and experience working with Mormon youths over the years in "The Official Hero's Guide for Latter-day Saint Youth," a new book that teachers that a true hero lies in each of us.

Instead of discussing popular heroes from movies, books, television and the Internet, the book presents a chapter by chapter discussion on how youths can develop their own heroic traits. The first chapter presents a lesson on what heroic courage is and how to develop it. Several examples from the scriptures, history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and personal stories are given by the author to emphasis this thought: "Ultimately the secret to courage is little more than having a firm testimony in our Father in Heaven and in Jesus Christ."

At the end of each chapter is a silly quiz with a few questions. The questions and answers reflect the author's wry sense of humor. For example, question three from the first chapter on courage asks, "When in doubt, the courageous course should always be to?" The answers make little sense. Choices were, "a. Never walk around anything you can step under; b. Don't swear in Norwegian; c. Fan the spark; d. order the buffalo."

The best part of this book is the fantastic personal stories from the author's life. A powerful lesson in prayer and finding a pair of paychecks blown throughout the neighborhood was very inspirational. Many of the stories are quite powerful and cause moments of personal reflection and gratitude for the tender mercies of the Lord. The appendix was also a great resource. It is filled with many thoughts, stories, poems and quotes from the author's personal favorites.

The book is a quick read both inspirational and entertaining. Throop is a veteran LDS youth leader, although not formally trained as a CES professional. Reading the book feels like sitting down with your favorite uncle or aunt and listening to his life lessons and spiritual guidance.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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