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Book review: '50 Truths' shares answers to gospel questions

By Cecily Markland

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 9 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

"50 TRUTHS THE DEVIL DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW," by Joseph Fielding McConkie, Ben Haven Books, $15.99, 178 pages (nf)

An author and teacher is typically judged by the body of his work. Yet, there seems to be something particularly meaningful about the last message an individual shares with the world.

“50 Truths the Devil Doesn’t Want You to Know” is the last of more than 30 books authored or co-authored by Joseph Fielding McConkie, who died last October, just months after the book was released.

In “50 Truths,” McConkie explores 50 topics in 50 chapters, which begin with a question and end with a one- or two-sentence statement of the “truth” that chapter conveys in a thought-provoking, no-nonsense way.

In the book’s introduction, he writes, “The 50 truths that constitute this work are a combination of subtle things; the significance of which often goes unnoticed.”

Many of the topics McConkie has chosen review the Mormon view of God and man’s relationship to a supreme being, including, for example, chapter 1, which asks, “Can God still speak?”; chapter 10, “Does God have favorites?”; and chapter 21, “Does God have a body?”

Other chapters address the organization and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as chapter 12, “What happened to the 12 Apostles?”

McConkie, an emeritus professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, also answers doctrinal questions about the Atonement, the plan of happiness and life after death.

“In choosing the subjects upon which I have written, I have in large measure simply picked those things I am most used to hearing the church criticized for,” McConkie writes in the introduction. “These truths were simply the first things that came to mind. Fifty other truths would have served as well.”

McConkie’s writing presents straightforward and instructive responses to each of the questions he presents. He offers clear arguments with scriptural references and quotes from various prophets to lay out the logic and reasoning behind the conclusions he shares.

Useful for increasing awareness and education among those who are not members of the LDS Church, “50 Truths” is also a helpful handbook for LDS members seeking to increase their understanding and faith.

Cecily Markland is a freelance writer, book editor, publicist and author of "Hope: One Mile Ahead" and the children’s book "If I Made a Bug." She owns Inglestone Publishing and produces cecilymarkland.com, a calendar of LDS events in Arizona.

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