Many fascinating Christian books are currently available, and it is difficult to know which ones merit attention. Occasionally, one book comes along that is truly important, not only because of what it says to Latter-day Saints, but also because of what it says for Latter-day Saints. It is as if the author is an “agent on the inside”—making points that no LDS author could as credibly make. Such a book is Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. Although this book has been on the shelf for almost ten years now, it has retained its value to Latter-day Saints and deserves wider notice than it has received so far.
In its foreword, Richard Foster calls the work a “masterpiece and a wonder,” and compares it to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. While these are superlatives run amok, it is true that The Divine Conspiracy is a jewel. Latter-day Saints should warmly welcome its viewpoints on popular culture, scholarship, and spirituality. The titles alone of its ten chapters should catch the eye of every Latter-day Saint; for example, “Entering the Eternal Kind of Life Now,” “What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed World,” “Who Is Really Well Off?—The Beatitudes,” “On Being a Disciple, or Student, of Jesus,” “A Curriculum for Christlikeness,” and “The Restoration of All Things.” Its sparkling doctrinal points are strikingly underscored, not just by what is being said but also by who is saying it. Although Latter-day Saints will probably disagree with some terms, concepts, and conclusions in The Divine Conspiracy, those logical differences are overshadowed by the value of the author’s positive and passionate convictions.