Book Review: To the Rescue

Monday, January 16, 2012

To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson 
Author: Heidi S. Swinton

I started this during Christmas break and just finished it! If you know me, that is a long time for me to get through a book! All I know is to be honest, so I'll tell you straight up that I thought much of it was boring!  In my defense, this was my first biography. I suppose I'm just not used to the factual style that lacks a storyline.

Now before any of you start thinking I find President Monson boring, let's move on to what I did like in the book. Nate and I read aloud much of this together. This biography is good for picking up at the beginning of any chapter and not feeling like you are missing anything. Learning about his childhood in the Great Depression was really interesting. I particularly enjoyed learning more about his time as a mission president in Canada (chapter 13). There are many faith-promoting stories surrounding missionary work in this chapter. One example is when President Monson was inspired to send a certain missionary to a particular area, not knowing that he was the only missionary in that mission who spoke Italian. An Italian-immigrant family was waiting for the elder in his new area to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My very favorite portion included the time President Monson, serving in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles,  was assigned to Europe. (Pages 275-278 and Chapter 19). Much of Chapter 19 focuses on the the growth of the Church in East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. It's nothing short of miraculous. President Monson emphasized the importance of always "going through the front door" when working in East Germany. Because of this, over many years, he was able to gain the trust of East German officials who approved the building of church meeting houses and even a temple! (Also, here is an interesting article about this temple.) Construction of this size was unheard at this time in East Germany. As I read I was just more and more amazed at the hand of the Lord in helping these members receive temple blessings. Something I should also add is how amazed I was at the faith of the LDS members in this area while behind the Iron Curtain. Anyone claiming a religion was "suspicious" to the government. Because of their faith, anyone involved in religious activity was watched, not allowed advancement in the workplace and denied higher education. Church meetings were watched by government officials. Can you imagine how hard that would be? Despite their struggles, these members continued in faith and never gave up the hope of having their own temple. I'm so grateful for their wonderful pioneering faith and example!

In general, what I really learned from this book is that I need to be more aware of "the one." President Monson has spent his life caring, lifting and loving individuals. I want to follow his example and be more service-oriented. "As we look heavenward, we inevitable learn of our responsibility to reach outward." (quote via) I know that President Monson is a prophet, seer and revelator. I am grateful for his example!

Another interesting article about President Monson.
Another post about President Monson.

P.S. Thanks Aunt Janet for getting this book for us! :)

P.P.S. If you are in the area and want to borrow it, let me know!


  1. Haha, I thought the same thing when I read it. I actually never finished but I made it over halfway and just felt kind of bored. Maybe it's just that it's a biography...

    1. Bryce, yeah I guess that's just how biographies are!


Lacey Parr All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger