One of the more annoying things about belief in a religion is the devout’s attempt to format history or the culture to fit with a belief system. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard how many advancements the world has experienced since 1830, the founding of the LDS Church. (For some reason the bad stuff, Nazis, hard-core pornography … are never blamed on the restoration of the Gospel…) Conversely, it is refreshing to learn how Gospel principles are found as ingredients — with many, many neighbors, religious and secular — for historical events worthy of respect and emulation, past and present.
Deseret Book has a series of books “for Latter-day Saint Families.” Previous entries have included both Testaments of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Church History. The latest is “Great American Documents for Latter-Day Saint Families.” Unquestionably it’s geared toward church members, but besides its educational benefits, it assigns the secular, historical documents as the main offering for the reader, with theological “dessert” as background material designed to add spiritual significance to LDS readers of the “Declaration of Independence,” or “Gettysburg Address,” or “John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address,” etc. (Disclosure: Ryan Jenkins, the Standard-Examiner’s Eye of Faith blogger, is one of the associate editors for the book.)