As one begins to read The Miracle of Forgiveness, it soon becomes obvious why this book is already one of the most oft-quoted pieces of Church literature. President Kimball writes:
“When we hear sermons decrying transgression and urging the need for repentance, most of us are peculiarly apt at applying the point exclusively to others. Someone said that we spend too much time confessing other people’s sins. Apparently it is much easier to see those sins than our own, and to walk complacently through life without acknowledging our own need to mend our ways.
“Yet everyone sins in some degree, and hence no one may properly call others to repentance without including himself.”
After this point in the book, everyone should be reading it with personal application in mind.
In his great conversational style, President Kimball talks about particular kinds of sin, including petting, masturbation, and homosexuality. He doesn’t hedge or skirt around these areas but provides straightforward and meaningful material from the scriptures and the prophets in a complete and candid way.
You’ll probably agree that the high point of the book comes near the end in the beautiful discussion of the miracle of forgiveness and its application to all of us. “Those who heed the call (of repentance) whether members or non-members of the Church, can be partakers of the miracle of forgiveness. God will wipe away from their eyes the tears of anguish, and remorse, and consternation, and fear, and guilt. Dry eyes will replace the wet ones and smiles of satisfaction will replace the worried anxious look.
“What relief! What comfort! What joy!”
If you are a baseball fan or if you enjoy a good heartwarming story of determination, you’ll enjoy the story of Harmon Killebrew, superstar. The book is easy to read; and like an old sweater, it wears well because of its looseness. This approach also contributes to the feeling that the reader is really feeling what Harmon Killebrew went through in his rise from all-American boy to all-American man.
You’ll feel his disappointment when he was injured so badly that he couldn’t even bend his knee and for a month had to eat standing up. You’ll share his anxiety when, after a recovery period of two months, he once again stood at the plate. You’ll feel a thrill as he hits a home run on this first time back in the game. And you’ll discover how he feels about the game. “Signing a big league contract was one of the big thrills of my life and one of the smartest things I ever did. It meant heartache, frustration, disappointment, hard work, and often painful injury. But all of these things have made staying and playing in the major leagues all the sweeter.”
Besides following the story of Harmon’s life, the book also includes comments and opinions of other players, sportswriters, and prominent figures in the baseball world; these comments are woven into the story in a way that adds to the already rich tapestry of Killibrew’s life. But when all is said and done, one of the best things about the book is Killebrew’s feeling for the gospel, how it works in his life, why he has such strong personal feelings about the standards of the Church. It’s really a thrill to meet (as any reader will) such a tremendously great athletic hero who believes deeply in prayer and in honoring his priesthood.
This is an autobiographical account of a young man’s search for truth, a search that eventually leads him to membership in the Church. The story is all the more remarkable because Brother Cherry is a Negro. He came to grips with the Negro-priesthood issue and faced it calmly and realistically. No outside speculator, without this type of firsthand experience, can provide a better witness to the truth of the gospel than can Alan who was actually engaged in the experience himself.
And in fact, Alan has some interesting and beautiful insights on the priesthood—on the role of priesthood in the kingdom of God and its function relative to those in the Church who do not hold the priesthood: “I look to the priesthood as the channel through which the pure truth of God can flow to me. And yet as I look for this guidance and understanding I too often get confused by an emphasis that seems to be placed on the channel, or the priesthood, and not the truth which should be flowing through it. For myself, someone who cannot be part of the channel but must receive only what the channel can convey, this sometimes is frustrating. It seems to me that a man in Zion is only ‘honoring his priesthood’ when he is serving as a channel for light and truth. But a channel through which no witness, no element of truth passes is absolutely worthless to those of us who do not hold the priesthood, but are dependent upon it for direction.”
In this light, Brother Cherry’s views are valuable to every young man who holds the priesthood. But in addition to this, Alan’s conversion story and his testimony of the Lord’s hearing and answering his sincere prayers are aspects of the book that will thrill any Latter-day Saint who likes to hear faith-promoting conversion stories.