Friday, July 10, 2015

LDS BOOK REVIEW: The Way Back to Heaven by S. Michael Wilcox


Our earliest scripture tells the story of those who thought they could build a structure high enough to get to heaven, and of the consequences of that mistaken belief. In contrast, the prophet Jacob dreamed of a ladder sent down from heaven by God, with rungs—steps—that we could ascend to return to Him. In The Way Back to Heaven: The Parable of the Crystal Stairs, award-winning author S. Michael Wilcox helps us discern the "stairs of man" from the "stairs of God." Using the metaphor of a beautiful crystal stairway, he shows us the difference between a focus on "being and becoming" and "believing and doing" in our life's journey. While we may think we know the steps we'll need to take, the author suggests some unexpected—even counter intuitive—yet essential stairs each of us will encounter as we make our way back to our Father in Heaven.


S. Michael Wilcox received his PhD from the University of Colorado and taught for many years at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He has spoken to packed crowds at BYU Education Week and has hosted tours to the Holy Land and to Church history sites. He has served in a variety of callings, including as bishop and counselor in a stake presidency. He has written many articles and books, including House of Glory, Sunset, 10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven, and Finding Hope. He and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.


The thing I most like about reading gospel related books is the way they make me think.  Being a lover of analogies and parables, I really liked the author's presentation of the way back to our Father in Heaven as a staircase.  It was a good reminder that there's only one way back to God and that 'staircase' is provided through the Father's plan and the Savior's sacrifice.  While many desire to return home building our own staircases based on man-made ideas or philosophies or plans isn't going to get us there.  While man-made staircases may contain elements of truth, there is only one staircase that will get us to heaven and it's only by following the perfect example of the Stairbuilder that we can make it up that staircase and go 'home'.  Wilcox includes a number of experiences that highlight the points that he is trying to make.  I appreciated how vivid these stories are both personal and scriptural in highlighting the importance of loving the Savior.  It's only through developing that love that complete submission and obedience will follow.  If like me you enjoy looking at gospel principles through the lens of parables and analogies than I can highly recommend this book.

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