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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out of Jerusalem series by H. B. Moore

What are the things that help you understand the Book of Mormon best? Of course, the best way is to immerse yourself in the words of the scriptures, then spend time in prayer, letting the words and the feelings flow over you until they become a part of your very being. Gradually, the language and messages become clearer, more personal, closer to hearing your Heavenly Father’s voice as if He were talking just to you. The wonderful part comes from knowing this is true.

There are other ways, as well. I think it is a huge blessing to realize how intimately Heavenly Father understands each of His children. He realizes that the methods that are easy for one are not necessarily the talents of others. He provides for every condition, talent and temperament of those who are truly trying to seek Him. Think for a moment about all the different experiences He provides, opening the door for the Spirit to touch our hearts in the most appropriate ways.

I am particularly grateful for books. I love everything about being part of the gospel. I cherish are the books written from a gospel perspective. Still, there is the part of me that freely admits that nonfiction is not always the best way for me to understand things. Ok, I know I write nonfiction, but it’s not always the way to my heart when I truly need to feel something. That’s the special place gospel based fiction has for me. Fiction or nonfiction, there is something for everyone.

There is a popular series out that you have probably heard of: Out of Jerusalem by H. B. Moore. If you’re yearning to feel closer to those early Book of Mormon heros, here is one place to look. I bow in reverence to Ms. Moore’s ability to stay so keenly close to the scriptures and the simple stories they tell, while expanding them with full, rich characters and settings that can help you feel what it must really have meant for Nephi to say, “I will go and do”.

The Out of Jerusalem series begins with the book Of Goodly Parents and takes the reader from the very beginning scenes of the Book of Mormon in a way that is very fulfilling. Not better than the scriptures, just different. Ms. Moore takes what we know and what we believe then colors in all the empty gaps between with vivid detail and human emotion. That’s what makes this series so popular. For many it is a blessing that can help them reach a goal of becoming closer to the gospel and understanding the scriptures.

It’s not the particular route I prefer, however. I love the poetry and fluidness with which H. B. Moore writes. She is an excellent storyteller that leaves readers much satisfied. Me, I have a different approach when I pick up her books. I become impatient following a storyline that I already know how it turns out. J Seems silly, I know. But when I read Out of Jerusalem, I’m looking for something else; I’m looking specifically at the colors and filled in gaps. I’m looking at the easy ways the writer places in a description of a well, or riding on a camel for days. I’m specifically looking for the things that couldn’t be included on the brass plates. I’m looking at the emotions and setting. I’m not disappointed. But I still find myself skipping pages when the story comes forward following exactly the original information available within the Book of Mormon. I know, it’s weird. H. B. Moore can be honored and credited for how strictly she portrays the true message of the scriptures, but I skip that part! I appreciate what she is able to accomplish in that area, but I keep her books on my shelves for the human experience they portray.

The Out of Jerusalem series is loved by so many, in fact, that the last book, Land of Inheritance, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Best Historical Fiction.

Return to the Neighborhood.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I've read a few reviews of this now and read a bit on Heather's own blog and I'm getting really excited to read it for myself.