This eighth volume in The Restored Gospel and Applied Christianity series is an even better read than its predecessors. As word has gotten out over the past decade about O. C. and Grace Tanner’s generous prize bequest to the McKay Contest, the student writing competition’s quantitative leaps in submissions have stimulated a steady increase in the quality of the best essays—these eleven were the cream of almost two hundred entries.
There’s a lot to like in this collection of student essays examining the application of the gospel to life. Matthew Kennington’s “Mud,” for example, illuminates the miracles God can work with the meanest, muddiest materials—not only with lowlifes like Matthew’s friend Frank, but with us. The essay challenges whether we can “look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands” (Alma 5:19). I, with the author and muddy Frank, would “kinda like to get cleaned up first.” This vivid essay sticks in the mud of my conscience with the probing persistence of those “pesky foxtails that burrowed into my socks and scratched my ankles all the way home.”