I have always been fascinated by the subject of angels: Who are they? What is their purpose? How do they fit into the gospel plan? And are they really real?
When Deseret Book offered me the opportunity to read and review a book that might finally answer my questions and feed my curiosity, I jumped at the chance.
The book is Angels– Agents of Light, Love and Power, by Donald W. Parry, a professor of the Hebrew Bible at Brigham Young University and popular BYU Education Week presenter.
Even though the book started off with answers to my most immediate questions, I wasn’t sure this was going to be the book I was looking for. It felt a little clinical in the beginning with lots of snippets of scripture and quotes from prophets and scholars. I have to admit, I am more conversational in my style. When I read a book, especially the first time, I am more fond of narrative that flows. But since I was learning from what I was reading, I continued on.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Once we got the “mechanics” of who, what and how out of the way, I really began enjoying all the stories of encounters with angels, how and when they have appeared to help and guide people and their role in restoring the gospel and building the kingdom.
The book is divided into three sections: “About Angels,” “Angels Minister with Love to Mortals,” and “Five Symbols Associated with Angels.” Part II was definitely my favorite part of the book. While Part 1 explained clearly the basic information about angels—and I love that it’s all here in one place and I don’t have to hunt through volumes of work and piece it all together myself because Donald Parry has done it all for me—I really loved reading the testimonies and experiences of those who have felt the direct influence of angels in their lives. Those experiences helped me to reflect and ponder on experiences of my own that I have wondered about, and confirmed some things.
I also learned a few facts about church history and angels that I had not known. For example, I had never read before that Brigham Young had actually seen the Salt Lake Valley in a vision before he ever left Nauvoo. And I had just recently read the story of Emma Smith’s death and how Joseph came for her. It was nice to see it confirmed here.
I also learned a lot from the third section of the book. I have always had a keen interest in the symbolism of the gospel, so I am always happy when I have the experience to understand more of it. I need to go back and re-read and study these last chapters more.
In fact, this is will be one of those books that I know I will return to periodically to see what new insights I might gain and how it will complement my study in other areas.
This book is available through Deseret Book in both hardcover and eBook formats. You can find it here. It is definitely a worthy addition to any gospel library.
How about you? Have you had experiences with angels? Have you wondered about them? I would love you to share your thoughts and comments below.
I personally don’t, but my son did. Or at least I believe he did. He was 3, and we had just moved to a second floor apartment in San Angelo. We were playing on the balcony, he was engaged in his play, and I needed to go to the kitchen really quickly to check dinner. I told him to stay put, I’d be right back. I was gone, not even 30 seconds, and I heard a blood curdling scream. I rushed outside only to find Noah on the concrete walk on the ground on his back. I screamed, fearing the worst, and ran down the stairs, expecting broken bones or worse. I knelt down beside him and asked if he were hurt; he said no, the fall scared him but landing didn’t hurt at all. I helped him up… He stood just fine, no dizziness or other signs of cranial injury or damage. I asked him what happened and he just said he felt like he was floating down, but he’d still been scared. To this day, the story is told the same way. I can only conclude that angels helped him down. No bruises, no broken bones, not even a scrape or torn clothing were on him. It had to be angels.
I do believe children are especially receptive and sensitive to angels–and I do believe that they (and we) have guardian angels who watch over and protect them. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. That just gives me goosebumps.
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