Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BOOK REVIEW - Cleansing of America

I am one of those people who will cover my eyes during the scary parts of a movie. I eschew situations that fill me with a sense of creepiness or dread. I have a few friends who are willing to pay big bucks for experiences deliberately calculated to scare the snot out of them. (think bungee jumping and other high adrenaline adventures.) Not me. No high flying zip line trips through jungles or forests. No precarious climbs up the side of rock faces. I like to keep my feet firmly upon Terra firma with a solid surety that I am absolutely safe.

So imagine my discomfort as I read through the pages of a book all about the prophecies of the last days on this earth that details with laser sharp precision the sort of travails that will be known immediately prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Piece by piece this book gave evidence of how much death, destruction and trauma is going to happen, hitting the righteous and wicked alike. Holy tomatoes, it was not an easy read.

However, as I thought about what I would say in a review of the book “Cleaning of America” the word that kept coming to me over and over as I reflected on what my take away was from this book was COMFORT. Odd, huh?

Here’s the thing…while Dr. W. Cleon Skousen pulls absolutely no punches in detailing what will occur in the last days in sometimes dreadful clarity, he also gave very clear council about how to prepare for and thrive during those turbulent times.

I don’t know about you, but when I read the book of Revelations I get confused more than intimidated. All that figurative language just sort of rattles around in my brain. I've also read various works by different people from different faiths explaining their take on "Prophecies of the Last Days". Most of it leaves me feeling confused as much as spooked. What I liked best about the book Cleansing of America is that even though it deals with some very big and complex topics, the language is absolutely approachable and easy to understand.

Hey, I'm no literary lightweight and having been blessed with a graduate education I have a better than average vocabulary. Nevertheless, when I read things by authors like James Talmage or other heavy hitters of revered gospel works I often come away frustrated more than uplifted because I have to spend so much time looking up words in a dictionary that I lose track of what it is they are trying to say. In sharp contrast, this book is something I could stick with all the way through because it made sense to me. It is FAR from fluff reading. There is real meat here and holds some big ideas that left me pondering for a long, long time. Still, it is presented in a manner that most any reasonbly literate adult could understand, and that appealed to me. (Even the parts that made me want to pull the covers over my eyes.)

While it is not at all light reading, Skousen takes you step by step through things prophets have taught about the last days and then lays out specific real world examples that illustrate how those very things are coming to pass. He ties together a myriad of teachings in a way that makes his message abundantly clear. The opening sections really are pretty scary. But if you stick with it he also lays out how we as a people can hold firm to what we know to be true to get through those hard times to take part in the miracles and blessings that will also be a part of the last days.

The main points I gleaned from this book are these: We are in the winding down times of the great plan of salvation. There is a reason for many of the events that are unfolding in the world now. In the days to come there will be even more precarious and turbulent events. Without question, there will be a great deal of suffering for the righteous and wicked alike. But as we hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ and put our full trust in Him, we do NOT need to be afraid. Even when we have to endure tremendous adversity, we will be comforted and blessed. That does not mean we will be rescued from all the bad stuff. Even many of the elect will fall vicitim to what's coming. Let's face it, we ALL will die sooner or later. Some of those deaths will be those of good, righteous people who fall prey to the violence and volatility of both natural and man made catastrophes we know will come.

Still, what this book reminded me in very powerful ways is that how we choose to live during what may be the darkest and most difficult days of human history really does matter. We don't have to just cower in the dark because bad stuff is coming. We can make choices about what we stand up for and how we conduct our lives. We were specifically chosen to be upon the earth at this time to face down these very events. So no matter what tempests may be coming, there is a clear path that will protect us from the chaos in all the ways that really matter. The bottom line for me from this book can be found in Section 38, Verse 30 of the Doctrine and Covenants: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear..”

Several other bloggers have also written reviews of this book. If you would like to read more about what others have to say on this work you can find the links to their reviews by clicking HERE.

Many thanks to Tristi Pinkston over at Valor Publishing for giving me the privlege of this sneak preview read and an opportunity to review this book. It is scheduled to be released April 1. You can pre-order it now at a discounted price by going HERE.

It is unsettling book, to be sure, but I think a very worth while read.


Jen said...

This book was very thought provoking, and I agree, scary in places.

As I was reading it, I kept thinking of the YW/YM theme scripture, "Be strong and be of good courage, and be not afraid, for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9)

Cheri J. Crane said...

I agree with Jen. This book was extremely thought-provoking, and it inspired me to do research on the prophecies concerning the latter-days. Also, as a YW leader, I've found a lot of comfort in our theme this year.

Great review, Belladonna. =)

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