A couple of years ago, Deseret Book began publishing the Let’s Talk About series, books designed to help readers learn about interesting—and potentially difficult—topics. The books are relatively short, ranging from 130 to 168 pages. Each book measures 4¼ × 7 inches, making them the perfect size to fit into a pocket or purse. The tone of each book is conversational and engaging. The authors are as varied as the subjects, recognized authorities in their respective fields and believing Latter-day Saints. The series began in 2021, and nine volumes have been published as of summer 2023.
Let’s Talk about Polygamy, by Brittany Chapman Nash (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2021)
Brittany Chapman Nash provides a thought-provoking exploration of the controversial practice of polygamy. A specialist in Latter-day Saint women’s history, Nash explores the historical, cultural, and social aspects of polygamy, shedding light on its complexities and implications. Through historical narratives and thoughtful analysis, she offers a nuanced understanding of polygamy’s impact on individuals, families, and communities—in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With care and empathy, this book encourages open dialogue and critical thinking, addressing the historical and doctrinal dimensions while examining the lived experiences of those involved in polygamous relationships.
Let’s Talk about Religion and Mental Health, by Daniel K. Judd (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2021)
Daniel K. Judd dives into the intricate relationship between religious beliefs and mental well-being. An expert in the field, Judd explores how religious practices and beliefs can impact one’s mental health. Drawing upon extensive research and personal experiences, he presents a balanced perspective, emphasizing the potential benefits of religious involvement while also acknowledging the complexities and potential challenges. This insightful work offers a compassionate and informative discussion that encourages open dialogue and understanding regarding religion and mental health.
Let’s Talk about the Book of Abraham, by Kerry Muhlestein (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2022)
Kerry Muhlestein packs a comprehensive examination of the Book of Abraham into this relatively small volume. A renowned Egyptologist and scholar, Muhlestein guides the reader through the historical, textual, and archaeological evidence surrounding this sacred scripture. With detailed research and analysis, he explores various perspectives surrounding the origins, translation, and doctrines of the Book of Abraham. Muhlestein’s work fosters a nuanced understanding of this important Restoration text, inviting readers to engage in thoughtful discussion and critical thinking about its authenticity and significance.
Let’s Talk about Faith and Intellect, by Terryl L. Givens (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2022)
Widely recognized scholar Terryl L. Givens examines the tensions and harmonies that arise when reason and belief converge. Drawing from a wide range of philosophical, theological, and literary sources, he navigates complex topics such as the nature of God, the role of doubt, and the quest for spiritual truth. Through insight and prose, Givens invites readers to embrace the richness and complexity of faith while engaging critically with the world of ideas. This book offers a compelling and enlightening dialogue between faith and intellect, encouraging readers to seek a deeper understanding of both within the context of the faith of Church members.
Let’s Talk about the Law of Consecration, by Steven C. Harper (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023)
Steven C. Harper provides an exploration of the principle of consecration in Church history and what it means today. A respected historian, Harper explores the historical origins, development, and application of this principle in the Church. He examines the complexities and challenges of living a consecrated life as well as its implications for individual and communal well-being. He also dispels some of the myths and misunderstandings associated with this foundational doctrine and practice. This thought-provoking book invites readers to reflect on the timeless principles of sacrifice, stewardship, and selflessness inherent in the law of consecration.
Let’s Talk about Temples and Ritual, by Jennifer C. Lane (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023)
In this exploration of the significance and meaning of temples and their rituals in the Restoration, respected scholar of religious studies Jennifer C. Lane peels back the layers of the historical, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of Latter-day Saint temple worship. Drawing upon diverse sources, she uncovers the rich symbolism and transformative power embedded within the temple experience. With clarity and depth, Lane invites readers to engage in understanding the purpose and impact of these sacred spaces and practices, offering a fresh perspective on the role of temples in the covenant path.
Let’s Talk about Race and Priesthood, by W. Paul Reeve, foreword by Darius A. Gray (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023)
W. Paul Reeve writes a compelling and enlightening account of the historical relationship between race and priesthood authority in the Church, from Joseph Smith to the present day. An acclaimed historian, Reeve delves into the complex and often controversial history of racial exclusion (and inclusion) in the context of priesthood authority. Drawing on extensive research and archival materials—some in print for the first time—he examines the social, political, cultural, and doctrinal factors that have shaped Latter-day Saint understanding on this complicated topic. With sensitivity and scholarship, Reeve invites readers to reflect on the racial dynamics of the past and present, fostering a deeper understanding of race and religious identity for the future. The book is at once challenging and faith-enhancing. Well-known Latter-day Saint Darius Gray provides a tender and frank foreword.
Let’s Talk about the Translation of the Book of Mormon, by Gerrit J. Dirkmaat and Michael Hubbard MacKay (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023)
Coauthors and Book of Mormon scholars Gerrit J. Dirkmaat and Michael Hubbard MacKay provide a comprehensive exploration of the translation of the Book of Mormon. They examine the various methods employed by the Prophet Joseph Smith, explore the primary documents surrounding the translation, and answer many commonly asked questions. This enlightening book offers readers a deeper understanding of the translation process, shedding light on the divine and miraculous origin of the Book of Mormon.
Let’s Talk about Science and Religion, by Jamie L. Jensen and Seth M. Bybee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2023)
Jamie L. Jensen and Seth M. Bybee have written a captivating exploration of the dynamic relationship between science and religion. These two esteemed scholars in the field of biology investigate the complexities and intricacies that arise when these two realms interact. Through analysis and thought-provoking examples, they bridge the gap between science and religion, offering a nuanced perspective that encourages conversation and understanding. With a focus on fostering mutual respect, intellectual curiosity, and faithfulness to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, this book invites readers to navigate the fascinating terrain where scientific inquiry and religious belief meet.