Monday, July 10, 2017

The Continuous Conversion

Author: Brad Wilcox
Pages: 216
Rating: Awesome - in all seriousness, I feel it's odd to give a faith based book a movie type rating, so I'm not going to.

Summary: (From the Author)
I wrote this book because I know too many people who are giving up! One discouraged friend said, I can't do this Mormon thing. I've tried, and the expectations are just way too high. ... I know returned missionaries who spent their entire missions teaching about the Atonement, but now they have made some mistakes and feel like the Atonement won't work for them. I know people who have gone to the temple to be sealed and then never returned. I know others who are feeling burned out in their callings. Too many Latter-day Saints feel like they will never measure up.

I wanted to write something that will provide hope and motivation next time we or those we love are tempted to toss in the towel. I wanted to write something that would remind people why we do what we do and that it's worth it--not because of all we are earning, but because of all we are learning. Instead of just going through the motions, I wanted people to read this book and once again feel the emotions of discipleship. That's what they are missing. Whether the challenge is getting more out of the temple endowment or dealing with callings or juggling the many aspects of our lives and feeling like we are dropping too many balls, I wanted to provide a shot in the arm.

I started writing The Continuous Atonement when I was serving as the bishop of a young single adult ward.... I realized that there was an aspect of the Atonement they didn't get. They knew about how the Atonement could cleanse and console us, but they didn't grasp how it can transform us and how Christ offers us His enabling power however long that transformation process takes--even continuously. This book picks up that same theme and answers the question, How?;How do I apply the Atonement and feel it's transforming power on a continuous basis?; True conversion is not a onetime event, but a process that takes time. Most people accept that in theory, but we still beat ourselves up when we fall short. My message is; Be patient. You are doing better than you realize. Hang in there! We are not paying our way into heaven. We're practicing for it!

My Thoughts: I LOVED this book. Seriously, now that I've finished it I actually intend to read the entire thing again, immediately! But this time, writing down thoughts and impressions I have. It was really that good. Our perspectives really need a change sometimes. I loved the chapter that talks about callings in the church - it's not a ladder that we climb, it's more of a train track that we just move around on. When you go from being Primary President to nursery leader, it's not a "step down" because callings are not placed on a ladder! It's just a move to a different place, a different opportunity for growth and development. It's just a new place on the train track.

I also appreciated the final chapter that talks about how difficult it can be to juggle all of our responsibilities, commitments, and service opportunities. We are constantly being told to simplify, prioritize, and give more attention to the most important things. But even when we've cut unnecessary things out of our lives, it can still feel overwhelming. Wilcox suggests that we make our relationship with Christ our number one priority, and then after that, the Spirit will help us know what to put second. And what comes second will change depending on the day, the hour, even the minute. Family history work may be something I need to prioritize this week, but next week another matter may take precedence, and that's ok! As long as we are letting the spirit dictate what we spend our time on, it will all work out and we should not feel any guilt for the things that we did not do.

Anyway, this book is highly recommended!