“This is a must-read for anyone who has questions about life’s uncertainties.
David Christensen’s effectiveness as an inspired teacher becomes immediately obvious in the simple format he uses to draw the reader’s attention to the power of the ‘greatest handbook for living,’ the Book of Mormon. With side-by-side scripture and commentary, he answers 44 such questions. David Christensen’s inspired and insightful commentary warms the soul and penetrates into the fabric of real-life challenges. It has the power to change lives and deepen the soul.”
—David J. Ridges, best-selling author of the Gospel Made Easier series
From Deseret News Review:
Some books seem designed by their very nature to invite readers to form an interactive personal relationship with the words printed on their pages. The Book of Mormon is one of these books.
In “Questions of the Soul: Answers from the Book of Mormon,” David A. Christensen sheds light on both the general and personal relevance of the Book of Mormon by providing a series of questions and answers we can ponder in conjunction with our own study of the scriptures.
Christensen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as president of the Chile Santiago North Mission and the Guatemala City Missionary Training Center. He recently took early retirement from his decades-long work on the Brigham Young University-Idaho religion faculty and is currently associated with the school as adjunct faculty while he pursues writing and humanitarian work in Honduras.
The author provides more than one way to read his book and more than one way to ponder and receive answers to the questions he presents. He explains the book can be read from beginning to end or isolated according to any of the book’s 44 main questions.
The “answers” to Christensen’s questions take shape in both a small sampling of relevant scriptures and brief commentary of his own. Perhaps most importantly, he provides pages for readers to ask and answer questions of their own — as well as extra space to make personal revelatory notes in each of his 44 main chapters.
As an author, Christensen’s main concern does not appear to be convincing readers to accept his “commentary,” or even the verses he uses to illustrate his chosen answers. Instead, he seems focused on helping to catalyze revelatory experiences for those who approach the Book of Mormon with “a sincere heart, (and) real intent” (see Moroni 10:4).
“Questions of the Soul” is a good book for those seeking to make the Book of Mormon a greater part of their lives.
From the Standard Journal, Rexburg, ID:
In Hemming Village, I am waiting in front of the Kiwi Loco at a small table. It’s been a lovely day, with the sky a deep cobalt and peppered with sun-bleached clouds. The temperature is steadily advancing, leaving the brisk morning air behind. Mr. David A. Christensen and I are meeting to discuss the release of his book, “Questions of the Soul: Answers from the Book of Mormon.”
Meeting Mr. Christensen myself, I was disarmed by his accommodating demeanor. He comes across as acutely kind, but could be considered stern by those who meet him for the first time. This may have more to do with his nine children and 21 grandchildren being in town. Either way, this interview is somewhat of a respite from the fray. He is indeed kind, and definitively intelligent.
“Mr. Christensen,” I ask, “Why did you write this book now? Why not earlier?”
He smiles knowingly, then explains, “It found its beginnings in Guatemala. I asked the teachers and missionaries there what questions they heard while out serving the people. And these are a little under half of what we got.”
Christensen, you see, arranged “Questions of Soul” as a reference book, a study help if you will.
“The real queries come from within.” Christensen said.
However, “People usually read a book from cover to cover, and I suppose someone could do that with my book, but if someone were to read just the introduction, and maybe use just two or three questions to either help themselves or someone close to them … then I could say it was worth it.”
Christensen was born in Farmington, N.M., to a family of six, with three more to be added to the tree in the subsequent years. He was raised within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but first gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon at the age of 17, while attending what was then Ricks College.
“I kind of rode on the foot-tails of my parents up to that point,” Christensen said. It was through Melvin Hammond and Keith Sellers guidance (who were then professors at Ricks) I came to know of the Book of Mormon’s truth.”
While as a youth, he was indeed taught much in his home about spirituality (both verbal and non-verbal), but he was also instructed on the importance of hard work. His father mind-you, not only taught him how to work, but how to work smart, and David hasn’t shirked. Mr. Christensen has served as a bishop, stake president, mission president of the Santiago North, Chile mission from 1999-2002, as the President of the Guatemala Missionary Training Center from 2008-2010, and is now serving as a temple sealer in the Rexburg LDS temple.
He has applied the lessons of his youth in his career as well. Christensen served as a professor of Religion at BYU-Idaho for 20 years, while earlier employed as an administrator in the seminaries and institutes of religion in Arizona, Utah and Florida. He wrote and developed the secondary education curriculum for the church in Salt Lake City, while also serving as chairman on the curriculum writing committee. He definitely knows the ins and outs, the doctrines and principles of the church extremely well. And, as I read through the contents of “Questions of the Soul,” it is apparent his knowledge of the Book of Mormon is also extensive.
“The Book of Mormon” is the greatest handbook for living,” he said. “Everything has its purpose, those stories have multitudes of applications, even beyond the doctrine.”
“Questions of the Soul” has reached an audience far wider than he had anticipated. With stories from bishops and those not of his faith expressing their gratitude and appreciation.
So what now for David Christensen, after “Questions of the Soul?” Christensen has moved from academia, to social entrepreneurship and service to humanity. He is involved in an online educational programming company, and is acting CEO of a non-profit organizationb in Honduras, called One Life at a Time. It is this second role that speaks most to where David’s heart is. “My real desire, is just to be helpful.”
This need to help is apparent in his book, and will provide a skilled study of the Book of Mormon for those wanting to challenge themselves with a smattering of introspective questions.
Preston Lindsay lives in Rexburg. He is a reporter for the Standard Journal newspaper.