Author Gary W. Toyn admits he struggled initially to write his latest book, "Divine Intervention: Inspiring True Stories from LDS Survivors."
Witnessing an extraordinary life-changing event can be a deeply personal and spiritual experience that is too sacred to share with a general audience. However, when shared appropriately, miraculous stories can be a teaching tool and strengthen faith.
It wasn't until Toyn heard Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve encourage members in general conference to be speak more boldly of miracles that he embraced the project.
"Fortunately, those who have agreed to participate in this project did so after much prayer and thoughtful consideration," Toyn wrote in the book's preface.
"Divine Intervention" contains 17 short, quick-paced stories that describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints who were nearly killed, but incredibly survived due to the unmistakable hand of God. The majority of the stories were reported in the news while others were not.
Once Toyn found a story, one of the biggest challenges was convincing the person to agree to have it published.
"When someone refused to participate, I understood completely," Toyn said in an email. "I remain impressed and grateful that the people in this book would even allow me to probe for specific details regarding the most traumatic moment of their lives. For some, recalling both the emotional and physical pain was not pleasant, but they understood the powerful lessons their story could teach, and they were eager to share their story and testimony."
Toyn hopes each story in the book can be uplifting and inspirational.
"I hope when people read these incredible stories, they are less like a curious gawker at a spectacular car accident and are more focused on seeking out the powerful spiritual lessons these stories can teach," Toyn said. "While many of the events are thrilling and amazing, each story can draw us nearer to God and help us find better ways to cope with our own struggles."
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