Former Catholic Shares His Favorite LDS Books That Truly Impacted His Life




The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.

-Abraham Lincoln




1. BOOK OF MORMON ; Translated by Joseph Smith Jr.

Around 2005, I had two people attempt to give a blue book titled The Book of Mormon. One was not successful since my Catholic friend was present and rejected it  while highly recommending me to not even skim through it. The other gave the book to me with a challenge. He said “This book (Book of Mormon) is either a holy book or it is the biggest scam ever created in human history.” I stood there looking at it..wondering if I was going to take the stance of proving him that it truly was/is a scam or perusing with an open heart. The deciding factor of my position was to be open and humble as I read the book. I chose that route since he had everything I wanted.

He had a great family.

The warmth I felt at his house enveloped me to a higher plain. I wanted to feel that way every day.

He had wealth. The Lord had blessed him and his family.

I once even heard him say ” You buy someone’s opinion, you buy their lifestyle” . I wanted his lifestyle. He wasn’t Christ, but he was a follower of Christ and I admired his way of living.

He didn’t finish his words there. He said ” You can find out FOR YOURSELF”. He was talking about the Moroni Promise in the back of the Book of Mormon.  The promise invites those truth seekers who want to know if the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. I took that challenge (by coupling reading and prayer)  and I finally understood the truthfulness of that piece of work was very much TRUE.  I had to independently find the answer and I came to this simple conclusion:

RELIGION IS A SACRED INTERDEPENDENT BELIEF SYSTEM WHERE EVERYTHING HINGES ON HEAVEN INTERACTING WITH A HUMAN SOUL. The Human must ask Heaven, Heaven must answer.  It is not based on the opinions of others, or someone’s beliefs, but based on an interaction with something of a Higher Order. This book is what the spiritual doctor ordered in so many ways. I love testing truth by asking heaven directly. This was one of the first times I ever questioned the truth of anything. I want to put this book on the top of the list.

2. Return from Tomorrow; Authored by George C. Ritchie and Elizabeth Sherrill


At the age of twenty, George Ritchie died in an army hospital. Nine minutes later, he returned to life. What happened to him during those minutes was so compelling, it changed his life forever.

In Return from Tomorrow, he tells of his out-of-the-body encounter with other nonphysical beings, his travel through different dimensions of time and space, and ultimately, his transforming meeting with the Light of the world, the Son of God.

Ritchie’s amazing experience not only altered his view of eternity-it has since directed and governed his entire life. One of the most startling and hopeful descriptions of the realm beyond, Return from Tomorrow may change your life for the better, too!

Notes: There is one moment in this book that changed my life. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it is interesting to know that later the author was baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What he saw on the other side aligns perfectly with the doctrine my church teaches about the after-life.


3. The Living Christ; By Cleon Skousen VOLUME 1 & 2


Many wonderful and inspirational surprises lie within the covers of this book and its companion, Volume 2. Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Skousen had concluded that just about everything connected with the life and mission of Jesus Christ had been written. Then he began to find some scriptural treasures that had been missed. Before long he was deep into a comprehensive study of the life and mission of the Savior that finally culminated in these two volumes.

Notes: My second favorite book of scriptures is THE NEW TESTAMENT. If I could turn the hands of time, I would go back to the time of Christ in his ministry and I would love to associate with him for the 33 years he lived on earth. I find such wisdom in everything he did. However, I have heard people say that some of his sayings are hard and difficult to understand. They wish the bible was easier to read. I found this book to have a story-like feel to it so it helps the reader smell the dust of Jerusalem.


4. The Second Comforter; authored by Denver C Snuffer Jr. 

The Second Comforter describes the process, as set out in the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is an Odyssey through the greatest principles, ordinances and meanings of the Latter-day Saint faith in a comprehensive narrative. It will change the way you think of yourself, and of your life.

Notes: If you want to know what Joseph wanted every saint to accomplish, this is the book to read. I have found more reasoning behind all of the things we do in this book..more than any other book I have read. I now have a new goal in my life: to see the face of God for myself. This book teaches the purest form of what Christ and Joseph Smith Jr taught in regards to be personally mentored by Christ himself. I love how Denver speaks from experience and not from theory. He is a true witness of Jesus Christ.


5. Joseph Smith The Prophet, authored by Truman G Madsen

 Here is the printed version of the “Joseph Smith tapes.”

More than all else I have written or recorded, these cassettes have engendered a return wave, international in scope, of responsive letters and comments. Apparently we live in a new era of catch-all listening: the padded earphones of the “Walkman,” the car-cassette playback, the ever-faster computer access to ever-larger “databases.”

Recurrent questions include these: Where were the lectures given? To whom was I talking? Why was the material recorded instead of written? Whence my long-standing interest in Joseph Smith? How is it that I talk as if I know him? How reliable are the many documents I cite, and where can they be found? Where might one go to read more? The most frequent query has been, “When are you going to publish the lectures and provide the sources?”

The lectures were delivered at Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center during an Education Week. That a goodly number came to give eight hours of undivided-or even divided-attention to these two-a-day classes was a manifestation of the richness of the subject. The audience was “in-house.” With them I could begin with presumptions and assurances which to others would have appeared startling. But between the lines I was also thinking of many who had posed penetrating queries about Joseph Smith over the years, both in and out of the classroom. They were an “invisible” audience. And at certain points it is apparent that I was addressing them, in a kind of underground conversation, more than those present.

Note: One of the greatest writers of our time. The Spirit is very strong when you read this book. It’s a “surface” book as far as information about Joseph, but the moments he shares of his life are classic. I would recommend this to a new convert; but not to a LDS scholar or seasoned LDS member.



6. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling , authored by Richard Bushman

Founder of the largest indigenous Christian church in American history, Joseph Smith published the 584-page Book of Mormon when he was twenty-three and went on to organize a church, found cities, and attract thousands of followers before his violent death at age thirty-eight. Richard Bushman, an esteemed cultural historian and a practicing Mormon, moves beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud to explore his personality, his relationships with others, and how he received revelations. An arresting narrative of the birth of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling also brilliantly evaluates the prophet’s bold contributions to Christian theology and his cultural place in the modern world.

Note: This is the Joseph Smith book that truth-seekers are looking for. I believe this book coupled with Truman’s version makes a great take on the 2nd most influential and religious leader of all time.  It has an unbiased look at Joseph Smith jr. and since we are in the information age; it brings great context to why Joseph did certain things. How can we understand someone who lived in the 1800’s without adding cultural context. These context notes that Richard makes invite the reader to forgive some of Joseph’s follies and helps us understand that prophets are not perfect, nor do they ever claim to be in religious scrip. Loved this book! If you want the quintessential book on Joseph Smith Jr, you’re searching is done.


7. Doctrinal Commentary of the Pearl of Great Price , authored by Richard D. Draper

Although the Pearl of Great Price is relatively short, its scope is remarkably broad, recording revelations to prophets in several dispensations – from Abraham and Moses to Joseph Smith. It provides deep and powerful insights into crucial Restoration doctrines, particularly doctrines relating to the plan of salvation. Three authors who are experts in ancient cultures bring you this verse-by-verse, even word-by-word commentary, the most thorough and reader-friendly treatment available. It will immeasurably enrich your understanding of such doctrines as the nature of God, pre-mortal life, the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement, the establishment of Zion, the Last Days, and the Second Coming.

Notes:  The scriptures were meant to be analyzed and something you prayerfully go into. This book opens up the scriptures like I have never seen. The Pearl of Great Price is not accepted as scripture in the world yet. It is a true gift to our generation that grew up after Joseph Smith Jr. was born. I saw thousands of insights that I overlooked reading the Pearl of Great Price! Amazing Read! My favorite chapter is the one talking about the Joseph Smith History. 


7. The Atonement: A Personal  Search for the Meaning of the Atonement, authored by W. Cleon Skousen 
Latter-day Saints have a unique insight into the real meaning of the atonement of Jesus Christ, thanks to The Book of Mormon.The key beginning place for understanding the Atonement is in Alma 34. Here,Amulek is teaching about sin and repentance, and the need for a great and last atoning sacrifice.Amulek then makes this alarming comment in verse 11: “Now there is not anyman that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another.”It’s a startling comment that flies in the face of traditional Christian understanding about the atonement. If no man can shed his blood to atone for the sins of another, then what exactly did Jesus do? Did he not shed his blood for all of us? How do we reconcile these two conflicting ideas?As a young missionary serving in England in 1930, W. Cleon Skousen had a lot of questions about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Every Easter, young Cleon would listen to the story of the suffering the Savior had to endure and wondered why all of that torture on a Roman cross was necessary.Some years later he arrived in the mission field at age 17 with the same questions still stirring in his heart and mind. And then one evening, Elder Skousen found himself riding the train with his mission president, Elder John A. Widtsoe, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Skousen decided to ask this Apostle for help in understanding the Atonement.From that encounter began a lifelong pursuit for knowledge that eventually resolved all conflicts and questions about the sacrifice of Jesus, and uncovered the true foundation stone for his atoning sacrifice.The Atonement relates W. Cleon Skousen’s search for understanding, and how a kind and patient Apostle of the Lord led him step by step into realms of discovery and insight that were almost lost to generations of Latter-day Saints.W. Cleon Skousen includes all of the source materials for his delightful and moving presentation, and shares them happily for those with a desire to embark on the same sacred journey. It is a wonderful, beautiful, and very personal search for the true meaning of the Atonement, by W. Cleon Skousen.

What are your favorite books? I am always looking to expand my horizons, but these are the ones that had a huge impact on my life. I am glad that GOODREADS is setting up a social network where people can share their favorite books and quotes. If you have a book that revolves around the Mormon faith; please share in the comment section below. Also, share why it had such a great impact on your life.


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