** I was given a copy of this book from Deseret Book in return for a review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
When Deseret Book offered this book, The Gospel at 30,000 Feet by Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf for review, I jumped at the chance! I think that sometimes we tend to gravitate toward or have a connection to certain leaders or speakers, and Elder Uchtdorf is one of those for me. The first time I heard him speak I loved his accent, his simple analogies, his obvious love of his sweet wife, and his dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The book itself is not super long, just 125 pages in length. It is a compilation of 20 short stories and analogies Elder Uchtdorf shared in LDS General Conference over the years. It has some fun images of Elder Uchtdorf when he was young, and I love being able to learn about our leaders when they were young, as they grew into adulthood, and in their later years. I feel like it humanizes them, it shows that by choices and self-mastery, having your priorities straight, putting God first, we too can learn, grow, and become the best version of ourselves – and have lots of wisdom to share with those who are in our own circle of influence!
The book is divided into 5 major themes: Principles of Flight, Lift, Guidance on the Journey, Weathering the Turbulence, and Our Eternal Destination – you can see that his love of planes and flight are woven throughout the book, but you don’t have to be an airplane buff to appreciate his stories and analogies. Anyone can relate to the topics he touches on – doing our best, self-mastery, finding joy in serving others, having hope, and turning away from temptation to name a few.
One of the stories that was inspiring to me was shared in his book happened back in the 1960’s he was attending a pilot training in the United States Airforce. He felt inadequate with the English he spoke and understood (he was born in Czechoslovakia and was raised in Germany) and felt so far from home, worried that he would not do as well as the native English speakers. While there, he was given the opportunity to help in the building of a chapel for the members of a small Texas town called Big Spring, after the long hours of pilot training. Rather than rest or study more (or engage in not so good activities like his fellow classmates), he dedicated much of his time to building the church house. His flight instructor who was also a member of the Church told him that he should not spend so much of his free time building the meeting house, but that he should study. Elder Uchtdorf felt that God knew him and his heart. He said ” What mattered to Him was that I was doing the best I could, that my heart was inclined toward Him, and that I was willing to help those around me. I knew if I did the best I could, all would be well. And all was well”. pg. 78
The beautiful thing about adding this small book to your own family library is that you can utilize it for different things. I love to read short stories or quotes to my kids each day – and this is perfect for that, not to mention Family Home Evening. It would make a great coffee table book to have available for anyone to pick up and read, and really you could use it for your own daily study. Each story or analogy is so uplifting and would be perfect for a quick inspiring thought for the day, with quotes from other leaders of the Church as well, so you know it would make a great gift for really anyone you know.
I am grateful to have such inspiring leaders who have faced life’s challenges head-on and kept their focus on what is most important in life – God, family, and serving others. That is where we find true happiness, and men like Elder Uchtdorf and the way they chose to live their lives are proof that.
Who is one of your favorite Church leaders to listen to?
See the Happy!