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Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley

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Biography of the fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This book shares a behind-the-scenes look a a spiritual leader who has spent a great deal of time in the forefront. It is a story filled with work humor, dedication, and testimony.


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Biography of the fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This book shares a behind-the-scenes look a a spiritual leader who has spent a great deal of time in the forefront. It is a story filled with work humor, dedication, and testimony.

30 review for Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The subject of the biography is not what is just OK, I really like Gordon B Hinckley; what I didn't care for was the biography. Pres. Hinckley just does stuff, but we gain no insight into the man; we don't know what makes him tick; we don't see his struggles and his decisions; we don't delve into what processes he goes into and uses to make decisions. All we see of the man is what he did, not how and why he came to do what he did. In my opinion, what makes a biography really interesting are the The subject of the biography is not what is just OK, I really like Gordon B Hinckley; what I didn't care for was the biography. Pres. Hinckley just does stuff, but we gain no insight into the man; we don't know what makes him tick; we don't see his struggles and his decisions; we don't delve into what processes he goes into and uses to make decisions. All we see of the man is what he did, not how and why he came to do what he did. In my opinion, what makes a biography really interesting are the little and not so little things that he does from day to day: what was he really like as a child? Did he do anything interesting that impacted his life as a child? Why did he decide to go to work for the church? Was it always fun, or did he wish he had another job? Was it just a job, or was it always a calling? Did he have doubts? Did he wonder if he would be promoted? Did he wish he could do other things with his life? Did he ever lie awake at night wondering what his children were up to? Did he struggle with money, and if so how did he work around it? I read the book, but didn't feel like I knew much about the man and found little that I could use from it to model my own life, which is why I read biographies.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book has made a lasting impression on my soul. I have learned so much about leadership from the life of Gordon B. Hinckley. He was a man of optimism, hard work, humility, continuous learning, industry, with a genuine love for people and a sense of humor to put anyone at ease. He was concerned about the individual. He was solution focused. He acknowledged contributions from all, he respected people and their time and was probably one of the best time managers to walk the earth. His life This book has made a lasting impression on my soul. I have learned so much about leadership from the life of Gordon B. Hinckley. He was a man of optimism, hard work, humility, continuous learning, industry, with a genuine love for people and a sense of humor to put anyone at ease. He was concerned about the individual. He was solution focused. He acknowledged contributions from all, he respected people and their time and was probably one of the best time managers to walk the earth. His life amazes me. To see how he was prepared to become the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a powerful witness to me of the divinity of God and how God is involved in our lives.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Adams

    I decided to read President Hinckley's biography this year in conjunction with our study of his teachings in priesthood/relief society. I'm so glad that I did! I knew it would be an interesting read, I just didn't realize how much so! He was a great man... I found the stories of his tireless service so inspiring. I'm grateful for his example of complete dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I feel compelled more than ever to go forward with faith as the title suggests.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Reedblackburn

    Asking my brother in the summer what las book has he read that's had an impact on his life he recommended Go Forward with Faith. I enjoyed the book as much as my brother. ' I can see why my Dad loved President Hinckley so much. He was so personable, so human. We see his strengths, but we also catch a glimpse of some of his human weaknesses. We see a man whose religion, family, and work ethic shape him into the prophet that led the church in the beginning of the internet and media age. Some of my Asking my brother in the summer what las book has he read that's had an impact on his life he recommended Go Forward with Faith. I enjoyed the book as much as my brother. ' I can see why my Dad loved President Hinckley so much. He was so personable, so human. We see his strengths, but we also catch a glimpse of some of his human weaknesses. We see a man whose religion, family, and work ethic shape him into the prophet that led the church in the beginning of the internet and media age. Some of my favorite parts from the book -Skipping the first day of school in 7th grade with friends as a protest of having to stay at the elementary (he was supposed to move up to a jr. high, but because of overcrowding had to stay at an elementary one more year). When he was found out his mom wrote a letter to the principal apologizing for her sons actions "Dear Mr. STerns, please “Dear Mr. Sterns, Please excuse Gordon’s absence yesterday, his action was simply an impulse to follow the crowd. Gordon later explained why his mom’s response stung so deeply. “It wasn’t an impulse to follow the crowd” he said “I was one of the instigatiors. But to have mother classify me as one to do something just to follow the crowd cut me and I made up my mind then and there that I would never do anything just to follow the crowd." -Going on a mission: in 1932, during the depression and when he was 23 bishop called him in to serve a mission. Missions were the exception rather than the rule. He accepted, but wondered how he'd finance it. The money he had saved for college was gone as his bank collapsed. “Sometime later the family discovered that for years Ada (his mother who had passed away) had nurtured a small savings account with the coins she had received in change when buying groceries and had earmarked the fund for her sons missionary service. Even after her death she continued to support and sustain him.” L -Principles on parenting: They wanted their children to have the strength within themselves to make their own decisions and to move forward. Family prayer was central. “We pray that we may live without regret” was a common prayer. Never read a book on parenting but would teach about it often. 4 basic principles. Love them, teach them, respect them, pray with and for them. -Father passing away-My great desire was to so conduct my life that it would reflect only good on my father and my mother. Having them both gone renewed in me that desire. I only hoped that one day I would measure up to my heritage. I feel the same way many times about my father. One of the best biographies I've read. The prophet of my teenage years, a prophet who helped shape me and a prophet who I always connected to. I remember his sense of humor and the way he seemed to connect with the younger as well as the older generations.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    When I first read this 12 years ago (!!!)I was overwhelmed by how much of my life was impacted by Pres Hinckley. He was stake president in East Millcreek before we moved in. By his decisions, the stake center (where I was in roadshows and attended seminary) was built. He bought the EMC stake welfare farm where I hoed beets and picked tomatoes. The seminary building at Skyline was his. I spent HS graduation night at a party in the OLympus seminary blding he approved. He organized the Laurelife When I first read this 12 years ago (!!!)I was overwhelmed by how much of my life was impacted by Pres Hinckley. He was stake president in East Millcreek before we moved in. By his decisions, the stake center (where I was in roadshows and attended seminary) was built. He bought the EMC stake welfare farm where I hoed beets and picked tomatoes. The seminary building at Skyline was his. I spent HS graduation night at a party in the OLympus seminary blding he approved. He organized the Laurelife conf. I attended at BYU in @1969 where I heard Pres Lee share his testimony and heard the presiding bishopric bless the sacrament which was then passed to 3000 girls. Because of him, my brothers got deferments from the draft to Vietnam and instead served missions. I used the uniform missionary lessons he wrote when I was a stake missionary. He worked with Jesse Stay to put the endowment on film. It goes on and on. Thanks, President Hinckley, for a great life!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Wow, this book was like a comprehensive Church history of the last 100 years. (President Hinckley was born in 1910 and been involved in Church administration since he was in his twenties.) I'm amazed at the stamina and energy he had throughout his whole life. The biggest take away lesson for me was that of Work, Work, Work. Really, this man was unbelievable. My testimony of living prophets has definitely been increased as I have read about the amazing and miraculous things President Hinckley has Wow, this book was like a comprehensive Church history of the last 100 years. (President Hinckley was born in 1910 and been involved in Church administration since he was in his twenties.) I'm amazed at the stamina and energy he had throughout his whole life. The biggest take away lesson for me was that of Work, Work, Work. Really, this man was unbelievable. My testimony of living prophets has definitely been increased as I have read about the amazing and miraculous things President Hinckley has done in his life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    T.K.

    There are so many things I loved about this book! First, it was hilarious how reluctant he was to cooperate with his biographer and to have any sort of fuss or acclaim. Second, he's so wonderfully humble; he never gives himself the credit for his accomplishments. The message is always the same: the Lord somehow made me able. Third, I'm adopting his life mantra: wear yourself out in the service of the Lord. Wonderful book, wonderful biographer, and I'm crying happy tears as I write this. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danny

    I got this book on CD as a gift and took it with me in the car when I had to go to visit an inmate at the Prison. President Hinckley's life is fascinating; he really was in the right place at the right time and has had a hand in every facet of how the church has come out of obscurity. The only thing that is distracting about the presentation is that Sherri Dew's writing style is really heavy and plodding.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alex Kennedy

    An amazing look at one of the Lord's holy prophets. The level of President Hinckley's dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his sacrifices to bring the gospel to the world are staggering. I'm so thankful to have been a LDS person when he was President of the Church. I well remember when he came to my stake conference in NYC and announced the Manhattan Temple. Wow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnn

    Wonderful biography. I love the man and his counsel. He has helped me over the rough spots in life. I also came away with a deep awe of Sheri Dew's literary prowess. She edited/wrote the book but retained his voice.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    President Hinckley lived an exceptional life with many faith promoting experiences. It did seem too lengthy in spots and sometimes after reading it I would tell my husband "I feel tired and lonely" (insider's joke ~read it!)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    He was such an amazing man!! What a gift that we have this insight into what made him who he was and is!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Gover

    It's a long book--I'm about half way--an amazing man!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claudine Cable

    Great book with fascinating insights into the life of a wonderful Prophet of God.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I gained such a great respect for Pres. Hinckley by reading this book. It helped remind me that God molds these men from thier youth so that they are prepared to take on the call of Prophet.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Murri

    It was really interesting to see how his experiences prepared him for further Church service, but realizing he was completely humble the whole way and willing to work hard - devote himself to the Lord. It impressed me how the Church was changing a lot then, which should give us less surprise to see continual changes in the Church today. He is a great example of faith and fortitude, from drawing on the experiences of the faith to provide optimism for the future. Overall, a great read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sandie Graham

    I loved this book! Sheri is an awesome author her writing style kept me constantly wanting to read more! I love President Hinckley what an inspiring man I loved this book! Sheri is an awesome author her writing style kept me constantly wanting to read more! I love President Hinckley what an inspiring man ❤️

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brit Stanford

    Phew! This was a big book, and it took me a lot longer to finish than I thought. It was certainly worth the effort. I felt the spirit many times as I read. I felt my heart beat faster and throat and eyes constrict with tears as I read of the sacrifice and faith of the Asian Saints choosing to be ostracized from their family and culture, simply because they knew the church was true, or when the British saints canceled expensive vacations and traveled many hours just to hear a prophet of God Phew! This was a big book, and it took me a lot longer to finish than I thought. It was certainly worth the effort. I felt the spirit many times as I read. I felt my heart beat faster and throat and eyes constrict with tears as I read of the sacrifice and faith of the Asian Saints choosing to be ostracized from their family and culture, simply because they knew the church was true, or when the British saints canceled expensive vacations and traveled many hours just to hear a prophet of God speak. Is the work good or bad? It is a good book. It isn’t necessarily my favourite style of biography writing. I’ve read more skilled biographers (ie. Unbroken). But, you can’t go wrong, learning more about the incredible Gordon B. Hinckley, as well as a good chunk of Church history. What did I agree with? What messages does this have for me specifically? Wow. I think of The Lonesome God’s Johannes, who wanted so badly to be a ‘complete’ man. I think President Hinckley was almost as close as you could get to a ‘complete’ or ‘whole’ person. He was a giant intellectually, spiritually, relationally (limitless compassion and media-savvy) and physically (as far as his stamina and work-ethic went). I think that this completeness took a lifetime to construct, and I believe it began (as the bio states), on Gordon’s mission, when his father told him to “forgot yourself, and go to work”, and “Be not afraid, only believe.” One part I loved was Gordon’s childhood. He began as “a spindly, frail boy” and became a giant of a man, just like Theodore Roosevelt! I loved reading about his parent’s 5-acre farm and country cottage, where the children could play and explore like children should, and learned to work as children should. I want to raise my children this way: to be up early, working hard (when the list of chores done, the day is theirs to do as they wish), growing much of what we eat, with an orchard, canning, a big front porch to gather family and friends. I want my kids to play with the neighbourhood kids, playing kick the can and wholesome games, not in on video games. I want a family library that is warm and inviting, that can be closed off for study, where my children are exposed to the greats, and learn to recite passages from the classics. To be dressed neatly, even the boys learning to darn. Where the church is their social center, and where they are involved in all that is around them. With Family Nights on Mondays, family praye rand sharing of spiritual experiences – for the children to see the depth of their parent’s faith and godly examples. To laugh and play and work together as a family. To know that being a Stanford means something. This is the type of family life I’d like to create! I did look a lot at the women in Brother Hinckley’s life. His mother and step-mothers had careers before becoming mothers, and they fulfilled demanding church callings, like Relief Society president. But, their focus was on their children. Even when Marjorie was traveled worldwide with her husband, her heart was still with her children and grandchildren (though she loved the people of the world as much as Brother Hinckley). I loved Marjorie. From her, I learned that sometimes God calls your husband away from you and his children, and leaves you to raise them (often) alone. Don’t resent this. Be the biggest support for your husband carrying forth the greatest work on earth. Enable him. Strengthen and support and sustain him as he works in the Lord’s kingdom. Be cheerful and optimistic and work hard. Remember, the Lord comes first, then your husband, then your children. I also loved that Brother Hinckley shared my degree: journalism. His life proves the reason I decided to get a degree in journalism: strong communication skills are powerful. Brother Hinckley was a master communicator, and I want to be just like him someday. I want to learn from him. I too relish beautiful literature and wonder at the modern forms of communication. I want to be a master communicator like him. Look at all the good he did for the kingdom with this unique gift! Something else that really struck me was how difficult things were for President Hinckley. I suppose I assumed that the spirit or revelation just came easy to these spiritual people. It shows me that anyone, including me, can have access to the spirit and great guidance and revelation, but it takes hard work, discipline and commitment. Brother Hinckley had doubts when he was considering going on a mission, like anyone, and he searched for answers and resolved them. He had a difficult mission. He had to decide between a successful career and the church many times, which wasn’t always an easy decision. But, in the end, he dedicated nearly his whole life from the time he left on a mission, to this Church. He was a great man – intelligent and wise – it must be true for a man of this caliber to believe in it so deeply. Also, if I want revelation and answer to prayer, I must remember that the prophet of God spent months praying and seeking for an answer for the location of an Asian temple, and one night – poof! – the Lord revealed the answer. Don’t give up the Lord. Have faith, be disciplined. God is nearer than you think. Talk to Him. Three final impressions: 1. Hard work & Age Man! I felt exhausted just reading about the daily schedule of an 85 year old man (one who was happy to report he could still work like a 50 year old (the age when everyone else is starting to think about retirement!)). It gave me a wonderful perspective on the true meaning of life. As he often said, life is to be worn out in service. And boy, President Hinckley really wore his life out in service. He wasn’t going to waste a minute. This gives me an optimistic look on life. No, you aren’t old once you leave your 20s. 50 is the best age to be (the age Marjorie wants to be for eternity!), and a man can have hard and eternally fulfilling work through his 80s and until the very end! 2. Compassion for all While presiding at a Stake Conference in California, Brother Hinckley left to go see a missionary companion who had gone inactive. It was awkward at first, but he loved this man enough to see him and invite him back to church. Imagine that. Brother Hinckley had a stewardship over millions of people at the time, and he still took the time to go see one man. Is there a greater example of leaving the ninety and nine, and going after the one? It made me think about Maren. I really didn’t make much of an effort at all to get to know her because she was no longer Truman’s girlfriend. I didn’t see the point of extended energy to befriend someone (something I already find difficult) who I would probably never see again. Well, I read this and realized that every single person deserved my notice and love. Every person I meet is a child of God and DESERVES respect and love. I mustn’t hoard my love. If President Hinckley can love millions, then I can love one more person too. 3. The wonder of the gospel work Finally, I was blown away by the growth and scope of the church. In the beginning, starting with Brother Hinckley’s pioneer ancestors, the gospel was very small. Even when Gordon was young, as a missionary, the church was quite small and mostly an American church. This is mindblowing to me, as I’ve grown up with a church that is all over the earth, thousands upon thousands strong. It shows me how quickly the church is growing and how EXCITING the gospel work is – also, how each of us doing our small part helps move the Lord’s work forward in a big way. This makes me want to learn more about the history and modern working of the church, as well as read the biographies of other church leaders. Like Bryant and Gordon Hinckley, I want to know the prophets as my heroes. Brother Hinckely is now one of mine. What did I disagree with? HOW on earth did the parents in this world discipline without punishment?! Gordon says his parents simply communicated disappointment, which was enough to turn around most of their kids actions. They talked to them about respect and the kids seemed to respond to that. Is that really possible? The BIG IDEA/ overarching theme of this work? The greatest work we can do in this life is to help in God’s work. That work is the most difficult work we will ever do, but the key to true happiness is to ask God for help, then forget yourself and go to work, wearing your life out in service to Him. No matter how difficult or hopeless it seems, God’s work will come through in the end.

  19. 5 out of 5

    thethousanderclub

    Sheri Dew has a special talent in taking fascinating, extraordinary personalities and making them boring. Go Forward with Faith is the second biography I have read which was written by the popular LDS author and former Deseret Book CEO. Although I recognize the difficulty of her task, I am once again disappointed by the result of her work. Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet of my youth, a phrase and feeling other Latter-day Saints will understand. I have long felt a strong affinity for Hinckley Sheri Dew has a special talent in taking fascinating, extraordinary personalities and making them boring. Go Forward with Faith is the second biography I have read which was written by the popular LDS author and former Deseret Book CEO. Although I recognize the difficulty of her task, I am once again disappointed by the result of her work. Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet of my youth, a phrase and feeling other Latter-day Saints will understand. I have long felt a strong affinity for Hinckley and my admiration and respect for him has only grown over the years. When I have an itch to listen to older General Conference talks, I often listen to his talks because of their wit, candor, and sincerity. Reading a biography about Gordon B. Hinckley was a natural and expected way to become more acquainted with a man I hold in high esteem. The biography begins with some promise but quickly backslides into an interminable travelogue, especially during the middle of the book. The end shows the same promise as the beginning but never fully lets the reader appreciate Gordon B. Hinckley for the visionary leader he was. The book often insists on simply telling you his qualities rather than portraying them in a meaningful and compelling way. One of the most aggravating weaknesses of the book is that Dew hardly ever provides any context for circumstances and events Hinckley was a part of. When she does provide context, such as during the missionary/draft controversy related to the Korean War, the book is its most interesting. Hinckley was a part of a real world with real people; however, more often than not, Dew writes in such a way that Hinckley appears to exist in a vacuum whose efforts are admirable but somewhat disconnected from the rest of human history and experience. In addition, as with Ezra Taft Benson's biography, Dew deals with some of the most difficult moments of Hinckley's tenure as a General Authority with a certain unwillingness and a "there's nothing to see here" mentality. I am by no means a critic of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; in fact, I probably couldn't be farther from it. Yet, I recognize the value of truly understanding an event within its proper context. It often can illuminate the brilliance and honor of an individual by understanding why their critics disliked them so much. What about Hinckley angered his critics so deeply? And how did Hinckley manfully handle their reproaches? Again and again the book skirts a sensitive issue but doesn't necessarily replace it with anything of interest. Whenever Dew suffered from writer's block while writing this biography her working and writing philosophy must have been: [Insert travel itinerary here]. As badly structured and written Go Forward with Faith is, it's rather remarkable that Gordon B. Hinckley comes alive as much as he does. Indeed, the book is at its best when Dew steps back and lets Hinckley speak for himself. He was an incredible man with a very, very special set of skills. I learned quite a bit from the descriptions of how he handled certain administrative problems, his work philosophy and ethic, and, of course, his testimony and vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a special soul designated for a special time, and I will forever remember him with tender feelings. http://thethousanderclub.blogspot.com/

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Wonderful biography. I loved hearing President Hinckley speak growing up. He was such an inpiration to me. I really enjoyed reading about his life - and there were so many things in the book I had to underline - and that I want to remember. I'll get to those in a minute . . . but one general thing that I learned as I was reading, that I didn't know about him before - was his love of architecture and buildings . . . and his practical knack for building and remodeling. He would knock out a wall Wonderful biography. I loved hearing President Hinckley speak growing up. He was such an inpiration to me. I really enjoyed reading about his life - and there were so many things in the book I had to underline - and that I want to remember. I'll get to those in a minute . . . but one general thing that I learned as I was reading, that I didn't know about him before - was his love of architecture and buildings . . . and his practical knack for building and remodeling. He would knock out a wall and extend his dining room the night before a wedding reception. As one who doesn't understand construction at all . . . that is amazing! He had such practical knowledge . . . and I thought how wonderfully suited he was to champion the building of so many temples. He knew the intracicies of building and construction and loved it! That is wonderful! Things that struck me as I was reading . . . 1 - the beauty of the organization of the church. President Hinckley had many opportunities to learn and grow and be mentored while working for the church and as an apostle. By the time he became President of the Church he was prepared in so many ways. President Hinckley was ideally suited to lead the church at the time he did. His early beginnings in journalism, his work in the missionary program of the church - having to produce materials to explain the doctrines of the church to investigators - that must have been an amazing learning opportunity - he knew how to present the gospel. His work with the temples . . . producing the temple media presentation in many languages, furthering the reach of the church through various media. Being the only able man in the first presidency for many years, learnign from so many mentors . . . . I could go on. I just think it is wonderful how the Lord prepares us to accomplish the things he would have us do. 2 - His love of good literature. "From the reading of 'good books' there comes a richness of life that can be obtained in no other way. It is not enough to read newspapers . . . but to become acquainted with real nobility as walks the pages of history and science and literature is to strengthen character and develop life in its finer meanings." 3 - Marjorie's mother's discipline trick. This incident stuck out to me - and I've tried this line on Allison. Marjorie said, "I don't ever remember Mother tellign me I was naughty. When I was misbehaving, she would say, 'this must be Sally from the mountains in my kitchen. My little girl would never act this way'. 4 - President Hinckley's ability to learn and assimilate information. Robert D. Hales said, "I have never met an individual who can become so well informed through reading and through contact with people." Elder Maxwell said, "He remembers what he has read and distills that which he wishes to reatin." 5 - President Hinckley's ability to make those he came in contact with feel at ease and feel that they were special to him. Many people in the oriental countries said that President Hinckley had a special place in his heart for their country. He truly loved all people and had such an uplifting outlook. 6 - His admonition to accentuate the positive and stop seeking out the storms of life . . .

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I started this book when it came out a couple of years before I finished it. I finally finished it over a few months by leaving it in the bathroom and reading while Dylan was in the tub. It was good to read. I learned a lot about the prophet. I am going to write down page #s and summaries of a few points that touched me in particular. p. 47 When he was in college he had a time of doubt and questioning about some things about life and the church. I really appreciate this: "Underneath Gordon's I started this book when it came out a couple of years before I finished it. I finally finished it over a few months by leaving it in the bathroom and reading while Dylan was in the tub. It was good to read. I learned a lot about the prophet. I am going to write down page #s and summaries of a few points that touched me in particular. p. 47 When he was in college he had a time of doubt and questioning about some things about life and the church. I really appreciate this: "Underneath Gordon's questions and critical attitude lay a thread of faith that had been long in the weaving. Little by little, despite his questions and doubts, he realized that he had a testimony he could not deny. And though he began to understand that there wasn't always a clear cut or easy answer for every difficult question, he also found that his faith in God transcended his doubts." I really like this because I feel like it is similar to what I experienced when I still lived with Heather. It is still comforting to know that it is Ok not to have the answers for everything. p. 168 Rules vs. Principles - Their kids said they didn't have a lot of rules at home. They didn't need them because they knew some basic principles. p. 171 Family Prayer p. 384 Pres. Hinckley was called to serve as a 3rd counselor to Pres. Kimball. He talks about feeling "under a deep cloud of depression. I suppose it is the spirit of the adversay, but it is real indeed." This felt sincere and I thought it was interesting and helpful that even the prophet felt negative at times, even when proceeding in a right direction. p. 449 Love for learning - It talks about how well educated Pres. Hinckley was. He took time to learn about the interests and professions of those he came in contact with. He knows about various topics and is always learning. p. 480 Selecting site for Guayaquil, Ecuador temple - this is a great story of divine inspiration. I don't have the page numbers, but I also really liked the part about deciding to close the Hotel Utah. It had been losing money and Pres. Hinckley felt the need to close and rennovate it, even though he didn't have final plans in mind. He took a lot of criticism from the city and the press. He went ahead with it and it is not the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It is a great building and an important tourist site for the church.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    I loved learning about President Hinckley, and I found his life so inspiring. What an incredible, prepared, humble, consecrated man President Hinckley was! Every time I read a new section of the book, I felt motivated to be more faithful and give more. He was such a remarkable prophet. At the same time, I tire a bit of how we feel the need to put our prophets on a pedestal. If someone deserves a pedestal, I would nominate President Hinckley, but the tone of this biography put me a bit on edge. I loved learning about President Hinckley, and I found his life so inspiring. What an incredible, prepared, humble, consecrated man President Hinckley was! Every time I read a new section of the book, I felt motivated to be more faithful and give more. He was such a remarkable prophet. At the same time, I tire a bit of how we feel the need to put our prophets on a pedestal. If someone deserves a pedestal, I would nominate President Hinckley, but the tone of this biography put me a bit on edge. Why the need to be so, so careful not to criticize/analyze a single thing about President Hinckley--or any of the other church leaders, for that matter? Obviously, Sheri Dew is not going to write a "Rough Stone Rolling" biography of President Hinckley, and so my slight disappointment in her over-the-top laudatory tone is probably nullified; she's ultra-faithful Sheri Dew, so what else could I have expected? Still, I feel very uncomfortable with the way a biography such as this encourages what I see as a false tradition within the church. We only discuss the personal strengths of our leaders and mythologize them to a dangerous level. People have left the church after finding out that our leaders are, in fact, human and very flawed. I certainly will not be teaching my children about prophets using the tone found in this biography. I would love it if we could decouple the office of prophet from an unrealistic expectation for personal virtue. King David and Joseph Smith are great examples of men who were deeply flawed--sinful, even--and still they held the office of prophet. God used these men for his purposes and loved them in spite of their weaknesses and, at times, outrageous sins. Studying the prophets with such understanding in mind seems to me like a much more authentic and ultimately faith-promoting lens than biographies that turn our prophets into two-dimensional myths. But then again, after reading this biography, I have no idea if there even is anything to criticize about President Hinckley. Anything negative about him was all left out. Having only this biography and my uniformly positive reactions to his talks to go on, I am a huge fan of his. And, ultimately, I am glad I have this biography to somewhat flesh out the man behind all of those wonderful talks. It's better than nothing!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    I can't even begin to describe my disappointment in this book. President Hinckley is one of my absolute all-time heroes, and I decided to read this book specifically because he always represented such a huge beacon of hope to me. I was in a very dark place in my life, craving that light and hope, and felt confident that his biography would help me see things in a new way. Unfortunately, the writing of this book is downright terrible and does no justice to the wonderful person he was. It is I can't even begin to describe my disappointment in this book. President Hinckley is one of my absolute all-time heroes, and I decided to read this book specifically because he always represented such a huge beacon of hope to me. I was in a very dark place in my life, craving that light and hope, and felt confident that his biography would help me see things in a new way. Unfortunately, the writing of this book is downright terrible and does no justice to the wonderful person he was. It is exasperatingly long, tedious, and repetitive, full of silly and inconsequential details. By the time I had finished the first third of the book, I was groaning every time I picked it up again, determined to finish it. I don't care what he ate day by day, I don't want to read again about how he deliberated about moving out of his house (which is mentioned at least two dozen times, in separate chapters), and I have had enough plane delays in my lifetime to know that they are too boring to repeat in a book. It is seriously ridiculous. Dew mentions in the Preface how reluctant Hinckley was to having his biography written. She mentions that, when she met with him after reading the first third of the manuscript, he stated that he was "sick, sick, sick of reading about Gordon Hinckley. There is just too much about Gordon Hinckley in this manuscript". I chuckled to myself when reading that, chalking his statement up to his legendary humility. But I understand that comment on a whole new level now, after reading the book itself; it is seriously ridiculous. Had it been my biography, I would have been embarrassed. In all fairness, I felt the book picked up a bit in the last 150-or-so pages, and thoroughly enjoyed it from that point on. I think I finally got what I had been looking for in the beginning. But really, the whole book just wasn't worth it for me. I would never recommend it. Instead, I recommend any of the wonderful and uplifting books that he published in his years as prophet and President of the Church.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Whitehead

    I need to start this review with a little bit of a disclaimer. This is a review of this book, not of the author or of the person that it is about. Gordon B. Hinckley was a wonderful man and I loved to hear him speak. He was also a prophet of God. This book, a biography of his life, is written with such passive language and to so much pointless detail that it is impossible to read. The book shares some interesting tidbits about Gordon B. Hinckley’s life, especially as a young child and adult. I need to start this review with a little bit of a disclaimer. This is a review of this book, not of the author or of the person that it is about. Gordon B. Hinckley was a wonderful man and I loved to hear him speak. He was also a prophet of God. This book, a biography of his life, is written with such passive language and to so much pointless detail that it is impossible to read. The book shares some interesting tidbits about Gordon B. Hinckley’s life, especially as a young child and adult. However, it appears that most of the information in the book came from ether church meeting minutes or records of travel arrangements. In fact a good portion of the book reads like that is exactly what it is. There are multiple passages that dwell, for several pages, on the things that Elder Hinckley spoke about at each location while he was traveling all over the world and speaking to members of the church. These are not transcripts of talks — though often long passages are quoted — but are lifeless summaries, almost like Cliff’s Notes. If all the gristle and fat could be rendered out of this product a much leaner book could have been published and one that would have also contained more relevant information. The other problem I found was one that I’ve found in many LDS biographies. The language is very passive and always sounds more like the driest of bored historians compiling facts from internet searches. I’ve read other biographies where the author had actual conversations with the subject and tells the story from that point of view. I’ve read those where the events are expressed from the point-of-view of people who were there from written letters, interviews, journals, etc. This book doesn’t feel like that. Too many words to describe not enough emotion. I feel that there are few, if any, good biographers in the LDS church and it’s unfortunate because there are some truly great and powerful people whose lives deserve a good biography. This has kind of turned me off of trying more of them — though not entirely, I’m sure I’ll get around to reading more some day.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    I started this book about a year ago, but it became overdue at the library and someone had it on hold. I kept it for two weeks paying the 5 cents/day late fee (since you can't renew when someone has it on hold), but I was too busy watching the first three seasons of LOST back to back. Finally I decided to give it to a more faithful person, the one who had it on hold at the library. Then President Hinckley died, and I was like, "Oh! I totally missed my chance to read his biography. Now he's dead I started this book about a year ago, but it became overdue at the library and someone had it on hold. I kept it for two weeks paying the 5 cents/day late fee (since you can't renew when someone has it on hold), but I was too busy watching the first three seasons of LOST back to back. Finally I decided to give it to a more faithful person, the one who had it on hold at the library. Then President Hinckley died, and I was like, "Oh! I totally missed my chance to read his biography. Now he's dead and it's too late." Actually, though... I can probably still read the book, huh? I even have a copy of it on my bookshelves now. I inherited it from my mom earlier this year when she was cleaning house. Dear dead President Hinckley: I am very sorry that I was too busy watching LOST to read a book about you before you died. I did read the Book of Mormon before Christmas that one time you asked though, so does that count for anything? PS. I am so excited for LOST to start again next year!! What do you think happened to the people who got left on the island? I can't believe John Locke was dead in the casket! Did you know that the real John Locke (a philosopher) has his body preserved an on display at some college somewhere, I think in England? A substitute teacher told us about that once in Jr. High, and I have never forgotten. When the character John Locke was dead in the casket in the last episode, I totally thought about the real dead John Locke! Whoa. I am so excited for that show to start again. I bet they've already filmed episodes, so President Hinckley (from his heavenly perch) probably already knows what happens! I am SO jealous!!)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Moon

    My husband's Stake President gave him this book when he earned his Eagle Scout Award. And since the aging leader of our Church probably won't be with us much longer (update: he just passed away at the beginning of this year) I thought it would be a good time to learn about his life. President Hinckley served a mission to Great Britain thanks to his mother's foresight and planning during the Great Depression. He really gained his testimony of the work while on that mission and the same week he My husband's Stake President gave him this book when he earned his Eagle Scout Award. And since the aging leader of our Church probably won't be with us much longer (update: he just passed away at the beginning of this year) I thought it would be a good time to learn about his life. President Hinckley served a mission to Great Britain thanks to his mother's foresight and planning during the Great Depression. He really gained his testimony of the work while on that mission and the same week he returned he got called by the First Presidency to head a committee on Missionary Materials/Resources. And and he got engaged to Miss. Marjorie Pay who passed away a few years ago. Sherry Dew did a great job acquiring and organizing stories of his life. I am in awe of his mother, Ada Bitner, a polished professor at Brigham Young Academy in the early 1900s who raised 6 step-children before having her own brood. She was a very wise woman and had the forethought to pay for her eldest son's mission before her death and the Depression had struck. It was interesting learning about his call to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and as a General Authority go around the world and strengthen the missionary work especially in Asia. It makes me feel like I should't complain anymore in the sacrifices my little family makes for the church! He gave his life in service of Christ's restored Church. I keep this book by my bed. It has some great interviews in the back I still need to read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Preethi

    I've always loved President Hinckley, and have always felt a special affinity towards him. After reading this book, it was all the more clear to me how he had a way that made everyone feel close to him. Dan and I read this together, and we were simultaneously amazed by his work ethic coupled with a focus on what is most important. Much as I love President Hinckley, though, this wasn't my favorite so far as biographies go. While Sheri Dew is a great writer, I don't think she's the best I've always loved President Hinckley, and have always felt a special affinity towards him. After reading this book, it was all the more clear to me how he had a way that made everyone feel close to him. Dan and I read this together, and we were simultaneously amazed by his work ethic coupled with a focus on what is most important. Much as I love President Hinckley, though, this wasn't my favorite so far as biographies go. While Sheri Dew is a great writer, I don't think she's the best storyteller. She did an excellent job of chronicling his life, but it felt fairly repetitive at times (yes, I understand that he did a ridiculous amount of travel and that he was very tired EVERY time but that he continued on despite his fatigue EVERY time. thank you.), while not providing nearly enough detail in others (it mentions that the Family Proclamation was announced while he was President, but how did it come about? what were President Hinckley's feelings on the 2nd official declaration and the months and years leading up to it?). I read the biography of Spencer W. Kimball, another prophet, several years ago, and I thought it did a much better job of helping the reader understand the progression of his thoughts and feelings and relationships. Instead, this one felt more like a "journal" than a "diary" (Went to Asia. Called as apostle. Spent long hours at the office. Spoke at many many firesides.). While I got to know what he did, I didn't feel like I really got to know him all that much more than before.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Crazy Uncle Ryan

    Gordon B. Hinckley; what an incredible man! He became the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right near the end of my junior year of high school. He was the prophet that I have the most memories of and the one that I have felt the greatest love for and I miss him very much. I really enjoyed reading this book about his life. I learned a lot of things about him that I didn’t know and read many accounts that I had heard before but that I still really enjoy hearing again. Gordon B. Hinckley; what an incredible man! He became the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right near the end of my junior year of high school. He was the prophet that I have the most memories of and the one that I have felt the greatest love for and I miss him very much. I really enjoyed reading this book about his life. I learned a lot of things about him that I didn’t know and read many accounts that I had heard before but that I still really enjoy hearing again. The book was well organized and well written although I thought that Sheri Dew’s writing style was a bit dry at times. There was one thing in particular I wanted to mention that really stood out to me. In the course of my reading of this book we had the 2008 election and the Church started coming under a significant amount of fire when California’s Proposition 8 passed. I remember with all the criticisms and attacks being leveled at the Church and its doctrine I found myself feeling a little discouraged. However, as I read this book I was reminded of the fact that this was hardly the first time that the Church has been attacked by a vocal special-interest group and that this is certainly not the worst the Church has faced. It was a real comfort to me to be reminded that in spite of all the criticism, all the attacks, all the lies and false accusations the Church has never once taken a backward step and never will.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Jensen

    I started reading Pres. Hinckley's when I first got it as a gift from my wife a few years ago, but, for whatever reason I didn't keep going and got caught up in action-candy books. I really feel ashamed that I didn't read this book while he was still alive and I could appreciate the background more fully that led him to being the Prophet. I will say that I think that Pres. Hinckley has done more for the modern church than anyone except for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. He was either a main I started reading Pres. Hinckley's when I first got it as a gift from my wife a few years ago, but, for whatever reason I didn't keep going and got caught up in action-candy books. I really feel ashamed that I didn't read this book while he was still alive and I could appreciate the background more fully that led him to being the Prophet. I will say that I think that Pres. Hinckley has done more for the modern church than anyone except for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. He was either a main contributor, a main driver or the driver behind almost everything associated with the Church post-WWII. I'm so grateful for his service and his focus on those things which are most important as well as innovations with electronic media, temple building, Church organization, etc, etc, etc. He traveled so much and his focus on individuals was amazing. He wanted to understand people and their lives. When he was the only functioning member of the 1st Presidency in the early 80s, he would make sure to take time to get out of SLC and among the people across the world because he wanted to remember it was all about people and their relationship with Christ. I'm in awe of this man, his faith, optimism and humor in the face of difficult circumstances. His talks were great, but paled in comparison to his work and inner faith. Truly a man to emulate. Anyone know if there is an epilogue to this? I would love to read about the rest of his presidency, his last few days and his legacy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    It took me forever to read, partly because it's long, and I like things that are quicker, but also because it wasn't terribly well written. Maybe because it wasn't fiction with a plot? Also, in some ways I would have to agree with President Hinckley himself in saying that there's a bit too much of Gordon B. Hinckley in it. I think this is because there is so much of church history in it that I got the feeling I was reading a church history and wanted to know more about other people and events It took me forever to read, partly because it's long, and I like things that are quicker, but also because it wasn't terribly well written. Maybe because it wasn't fiction with a plot? Also, in some ways I would have to agree with President Hinckley himself in saying that there's a bit too much of Gordon B. Hinckley in it. I think this is because there is so much of church history in it that I got the feeling I was reading a church history and wanted to know more about other people and events etc, but then the focus always came back to Pres. Hinckley. And there were a few times when I thought the accolades were slightly too high, (in addition to the sheer length of the book, the likes of which has not been done for a prophet before him), and sometimes the quotes of different people tended to show a slight favoring him above other prophets, when I don't think that's appropriate. Maybe I was misreading them, but that was my impression. In any case, I would love, actually, to know more about all the prophets. But I do love President Hinckley and know that he was the right prophet for the Church at his time. Reading some of his quotes and parts of the scripts of interviews he did in the back matter made me miss him a bit, but also made him feel still present--a voice from the dust, so to speak.

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