Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poll Results: Favorite Summer Wedding Colors

60% voted for: lavender, powder blue, and sea green

Book Review: An LDS Girl's Guide to Getting a Date by Dr. Brent Barlow

An LDS Girl's Guide to Getting a Date, by Dr. Brent Barlow. Published by Leatherwood Press, 168 pages. Retail price: $11.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-046-7.

If Brent Barlow was not a PhD, scholar, and BYU professor, his book, An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date, would still be credible to me simply based on his upbeat voice, succinct advice, and plethora of ideas. An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date is the perfect book for any young single LDS sister.

The “girl” in the title of this book may be misleading, but Barlow actually wrote the book for adult women of marriageable age (i.e. over eighteen). The book’s cute design and light, encouraging style is appealing and inviting. Barlow’s dating formula—Animation, Closeness, and Touch (ACT)—sounds too easy or too problematic, but throughout the book Barlow gives all his advice by teaching sound social and spiritual principles and moderation. He also supports his ideas and instructions with useful quotes from modern prophets and apostles.

An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date is even more than a guide to getting just one date. Through this book, any single sister can feel like she’s taking Brent Barlow’s marriage preparation class at BYU. Barlow’s book is more like a personal dating coach for any sister looking for Mr. Right.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: Your Temple Wedding, Not a Cover-to-Cover Read

Your Temple Wedding: A Guide to Planning, Preparing and Celebrating Your Special Day by Jeri-Lynn Johnson and Amy Jones. Published in 2007 by Leatherwood Press, 128 pages. Retail price: $16.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-060-3.

A recent LDS wedding planning guide is always in demand. In their attractive new book, Your Temple Wedding, Jeri-Lynn Johnson and Amy Jones give great ideas for current wedding venues and resources. Their planning guide is appealing and helpful, but, due to its complicated organization, difficult to manage cover-to-cover.

Flipping through Your Temple Wedding for the first time, what caught my eye were the color photograph pages with ideas on flowers, reception set-ups, dresses, cakes, refreshments, and photography. Matching these photographs, the best part of the book is the reception chapter. The authors’ ideas on choosing a reception site and all things about the reception are very practical and informative. The other chapter I particularly enjoyed was “The Temple Wedding,” a great run-down on temple protocol, expectations and requirements, what a temple wedding day is like, and suggestions for spiritual temple preparation.

Your Temple Wedding’s greatest weakness is its organization. Based on the simple, appealing cover, I expected the book to be effectively organized for a prospective bride. With a temple wedding as its theme, I also expected “The Temple Wedding” to be the highlight of the book. Instead, I found that Your Temple Wedding is cumbered with enormous task lists that make it sound like every wedding idea ever thought of is a necessity. For example, the first thing a bride needs to hear when she becomes engaged is not all the difficult topics to discuss with her fiancĂ© (page 13) or that she must have a good wedding coordinator, videographer, and live band.

In their introduction to Your Temple Wedding, the authors state, “This book is designed to provide you with options” (page 9). Perhaps the authors meant this statement to be a disclaimer that means that not everything they suggest in the book is important, but I disagree with many of the authors’ suggestions. For example, choosing a style and a theme for your wedding shouldn’t be the second thing you do after you get engaged, your wedding doesn’t have to cost at least $10,000, and what you really should do “before you begin” is remember the covenants that you are planning to make.

Your Temple Wedding’s saving grace, in terms of organization, is its index. A lot of the information in the book is helpful, even though most of it isn’t anything that most people haven’t heard before, but the organization of the book is poor. The book gives some good modern ideas about websites and other current venues, but overall its resource list is limited. Unfortunately, I have never found the perfect temple wedding planning book. Your Temple Wedding is not perfect, but is a new and current book, just make sure you use the index rather than reading it cover-to-cover.

Book Review: Wisdom of the Prophets—Temple Worship, The Perfect Gift

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship, design by Andy Goddard, printed by Leatherwood Press, 2006. Retail price: $14.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-008-5.

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship is a beautiful, inspiring, and inviting gift book. The design of the book is so appealing that I wish it were available in a larger coffee-table sized version. The quotations throughout the beautiful pages are not just by modern prophets, also modern apostles and quotations from the Doctrine and Covenants. The photographs throughout the book are wonderful, but I wish there were more temples and less just generic nature pictures. I also wish I knew who took the photographs. Overall, the beauty of the book and inspiring selection of quotes makes Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship the perfect gift for pretty much anybody—yourself, a spouse, parents, siblings, newlyweds, children, current and prospective missionaries, and nonmember friends and family.