No single topic demands greater attention of Latter-day Saints than the quest for celestial exaltation. This concern is the subject of a short, ten-chapter book entitled The Way to the Sun by a young LDS author. This “brief outline” of the plan of salvation, which might have been more appropriately titled The Way to The Son, is expressly written for Latter-day Saints “who haven’t yet reached perfection,” but who are struggling to live the basic principles of the gospel, seeking fellowship with the Savior and desiring to partake whole-heartedly of the love of God. Specifically, the author’s purposes are: To help the readers find the greatest happiness—the Love of God; To bring them to Jesus Christ, their personal guide; and to help them live celestial lives on earth, that they might be exalted in the hereafter.
To fulfill his purposes Barrus deals very briefly with these basic themes: celestial happiness or love of God; Jesus Christ as the spiritual light of our lives; faith as the foundation of all things; prayer; becoming disciples of Christ; love; suffering as a part of the plan of life; Lucifer’s way; the value of scripture study; and mortality as a time of testing. Barrus’ discussion is written mainly in hortatory style (“we must”) and draws upon statements primarily from the scriptures for support and clarification.
The Way to the Sun fulfills only in part stated purposes of the author. The book deals with some basic elements and principles of the plan of salvation, but omits a number of others crucial to the author’s purpose of illumining the way to exaltation. For instance, little or no mention is made of the role of gospel ordinances in our lives or the place of the temple, nor is specific treatment given of such vital exaltation principles as sacrifice or consecration. This criticism is meant only to suggest the need for a more precise statement of the book’s coverage. Moreover, it would seem that in an attempt to outline the gospel plan, reference should be made to the most complete scriptural definition of the gospel itself, that found in 3 Nephi 27:13–22 given by the Savior; yet the passage is not cited. Some other less important weaknesses are evident. The book lacks continuity in topical movement from some chapters to others, and has some organizational deficiencies. For example, the discussion on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ (Chapter 5) might well have followed immediately, or even have been incorporated into, the chapter (number 2) on the Savior as the light in our lives. Also more care might have been shown in distinguishing between entering the celestial kingdom and obtaining exaltation. The distinction, though probably obvious to most Latter-day Saints, would add accuracy to some of Barrus’ statements.
These weakness do not seriously obscure the message of The Way to the Sun. What is said is stated succinctly and simply, amply supported by well-selected scriptural passages. The book is written in a sincere and concerned tone, and evidences in the author both a high sense of commitment to the Lord and conspicuous spiritual insight. Focusing on the basic and eternal verities of the gospel, and upon necessity of consistent application of these principles and daily living, Barrus gives special emphasis to the Savior as the light and heart of our lives, and to the importance of following Him in order to be renewed spiritually and become partakers of the divine nature. In all, Barrus has made a highly commendable effort to summarize some of the basic gospel requirements comprising the way to the Son.