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What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review of The Continuous Conversion: God Isn't Just Proving Us He's Improving Us by Brad Wilcox

Product Details

  • Title: The Continuous Conversion: God Isn't Just Proving Us, He's Improving Us
  • Author: Brad Wilcox
  • Publisher: Deseret Book (March 2012)
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1609073274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609073275
  • FTC FYI: I received a hardback review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description

"I wrote this book because I know too many people who are giving up! One discouraged friend said, "I can't do this Mormon thing. I've tried, and the expectations are just way too high." … I know returned missionaries who spent their entire missions teaching about the Atonement, but now they have made some mistakes and feel like the Atonement won't work for them. I know people who have gone to the temple to be sealed and then never returned. I know others who are feeling burned out in their callings. Too many Latter-day Saints feel like they will never measure up. I wanted to write something that will provide hope and motivation next time we or those we love are tempted to toss in the towel. I wanted to write something that would remind people why we do what we do and that it's worth it--not because of all we are earning, but because of all we are learning. Instead of just going through the motions, I wanted people to read this book and once again feel the emotions of discipleship. That's what they are missing. Whether the challenge is getting more out of the temple endowment or dealing with callings or juggling the many aspects of our lives and feeling like we are dropping too many balls, I wanted to provide a shot in the arm.

I started writing The Continuous Atonement when I was serving as the bishop of a young single adult ward…. I realized that there was an aspect of the Atonement they didn't get. They knew about how the Atonement could cleanse and console us, but they didn't grasp how it can transform us and how Christ offers us His enabling power however long that transformation process takes--even continuously. This book picks up that same theme and answers the question, "How?" "How do I apply the Atonement and feel it's transforming power on a continuous basis?" True conversion is not a onetime event, but a process that takes time. Most people accept that in theory, but we still beat ourselves up when we fall short. My message is "Be patient. You are doing better than you realize. Hang in there!" We are not paying our way into heaven. We're practicing for it! "
—Brad Wilcox

"I can't do this Mormon thing," a friend told Brad Wilcox. "I've tried, and the expectations are just way too high." And she's not alone in her thinking. Many people, as they feel themselves falling short of perfection, are tempted to quit trying.
But are there only two options? Think of it this way: When a person is learning to play the piano, are the only two options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? Similarly, in mortality, are the only two choices being perfect or giving up?
"No," writes Brad Wilcox. "Growth and development take time. Learning takes practice. Discipleship is a journey, and true conversion is a continuous process."
In this hope-filled book, Brad shares his keen understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as it relates to our own conversion. Conversion occurs, he says, "when we stop trying to earn heaven and start trying to learn it. . . As we take each little step to show faith, repent, make and live covenants, seek the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, we are not paying our way into heaven. We are practicing for it." 

Excerpt from The Continuous Conversion

God desires us to obey, learn, change, and improve, but some days that still seems like an impossible dream. Some see where they are now and how far they have to go, and they feel there is just no way they could ever really overcome all they need to. They’ve tried to make positive changes before and fallen too easily back into their former bad habits. When they’ve mustered the courage to try yet again, they’ve still failed miserably. Before long they finally just give up trying altogether. At these low moments, it seems easier to try to justify and rationalize poor choices instead of humbly trusting Christ.
Some ask, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to stop going to church and being constantly reminded of goals I am not reaching? Wouldn’t it be easier to plug my ears during general conference so I am not reminded of all the things I should be doing? Wouldn’t it be easier to look up anti-Mormon websites that ‘prove’ the Church isn’t true so I don’t have to break my bad habits?” They decide they are just going to believe in some big bang or nebulous higher power because big bangs and higher powers don’t require anything.

Are such paths really easier? Perhaps momentarily, but big bangs can’t love you the way a big brother can. A nebulous higher power can’t help you the way Heavenly Father’s power can. Our motivation to keep trying, keep overcoming, and keep getting up each time we fall is found as we acknowledge God’s existence and plan for us, and as we feel His love and power.
Some might say, “Don’t talk to me about God’s love and power. Even if He is there, I’m pretty certain He is so busy with all His numberless children on His numberless worlds that He doesn’t have time to help me.”

I remember once feeling the same way. When I arrived on my first mission in Chile as a young man, I went through culture shock. I found it difficult to learn another language. I felt homesick and discouraged. Although my companion and I were working hard, we faced much rejection. Finally one day I snapped. I thought, Why am I even doing this? What’s the point? But I knew the answer: I was there because God had called me. God needed me. Then I had another thought I had never had in all my growing-up-Mormon life: So where is God? Is He even there? The thought bothered me. It shook me. I determined I needed to be reassured, so that night I knelt on my top bunk to say my prayers. (I always chose the top bunk because it was a little closer to heaven and a little farther from the fleas.)

I prayed, “God, are you there?” and suddenly my room was filled with light—and then the car passed, leaving me alone again in the dark. No answer came—nothing. I felt disappointed and even a little angry. My companion and I taught investigators they could receive an answer if they read, pondered, and prayed. I had done that. So where was my answer? As I lay there on my top bunk unable to fall asleep, I thought more about my situation and realized I had not read, pondered, and prayed as diligently as I could.

I am being very honest when I say that up to that point in my mission my hardest challenge was staying awake during study time. From that moment on, the challenge was finding more study time. Over the following months I read the Book of Mormon and the other standard works. I read Jesus the Christ and A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. I was transferred to another sector where my companion and I worked harder than ever and loved the members of our little branch so sincerely. I felt better, but still the answers I sought eluded me.

Then my mission president, Gerald J. Day, came to town for interviews. “How are you, Elder?” he asked.
“Fine, President.”
“How’s your companion?”
“Fine, President.”
“How’s your sector?”
“Fine, President.” A few more questions and a few more “fine, Presidents” later I stood to leave. Then President Day said, “Elder Wilcox, do you have any questions?”
Did I ever! Let’s start with Is there a God? Does He even exist? But how could I share my questions with him? He was the mission president, and let’s face it—if your mission president finds out you don’t have a testimony, you are never going to become a zone leader!

I felt hopeless. Then his name tag seemed to melt away. I didn’t care about his title. I desperately needed a friend, and he was there. “President Day,” I began, “is there a God?”
“Yes,” he responded.
“Does He know me?”
President Day said, “Brad Wilcox, He knows you by your first name.”
“President, does He love me?”
That was it. No scripture references or quotes from the Brethren. Just one word—yes. In our covenant relationship, God’s love for us and our love for Him is often affirmed with a simple yes. Such was the case on that special day in Chile when the Spirit washed over me confirming my mission president’s words. That night I prayed, and my supplication soared. I prayed to a Heavenly Father I was at last beginning to know in the name of a Redeemer I was finally beginning to comprehend.
God had been there all along. So why hadn’t He answered the first time I called? If He had, would I have ever studied, prayed, served, worked and learned as much as I had? Was I earning His love? Earning His attention? Earning His approval? No. I was learning. Would I have ever learned to swim if He were still holding my head above the water? Would I have ever learned to walk if He were still carrying me in His arms? Would I have ever learned to play the piano if He were not requiring me to practice? God’s delays are not always denials. He tested my faith, but by so doing He educated it.

My Review
 Have you ever felt like you are just not perfect enough and it would be easier to just give up? I know that there are days when that thought has crossed my mind. In this world of of things that appear "perfect" on TV and in the movies, we may feel that we don't measure up. After reading The Continuous Conversion by Brad Wilcox, I felt like there is always hope for me and every other person out there. Right from the first chapter in this book entitled, Learning(Not Earning) Heaven, we learn that each day as we show faith, repent, make and live covenants, seek the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, we are practicing to live in Heaven again, not earning our way there.

Brad Wilcox uses such inspiring stories of real people to drive his point home. His storytelling is excellent. Another chapter, A Mighty Slow Change, teaches us that true conversion doesn't happen instantly, but is a continual process. Every choice that we make daily directs us on the path either towards Heaven or away from becoming a saint.

One things about Brad Wilcox's writing is that it never feels dry or boring. He also writes in a way that doesn't make you feel like you are being beaten over the head with what you're doing wrong. The information is given to the readers with a lot of love and hope intermixed. I recommend this book to all people who are looking to be encouraged and uplifted through their daily struggles. You will find answers to your life's challenges as you dwell on the teachings found in The Continuous Conversion.

About the Author

Brad Wilcox is an associate professor in the department of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University, where he also works with programs such as Especially for Youth and Campus Education Week. As a young man, he served his mission in Chile, and he was later called back to that country to preside over the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2003 to 2003. He currently serves as a member of the Sunday School general board.

Brad is the author of the bestselling book The Continuous Atonement and the BYU devotional “His Grace Is Sufficient.” He and his wife, Debi, are the parents of four children and grandparents of three.

You can purchase The Continuous Conversion and  The Continuous Atonement HERE at Deseret

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