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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Have YOU Done Any Good in the World Today?

(Image from Deseret Book)

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from March 1995 until his death in January 2008, once said:  
It is not enough just to be good.  You must be good for something.  You must contribute good to the world.  The world must be a better place for your presence.  And the good that is in you must spread to others.  
In her new book, Standing Up in a Sit-down World, Merrilee Boyack talks about specific ways we can all follow the prophet's counsel to do good in the world.  Boyack, a popular speaker at events like BYU Education Week and Time Out For Women, is also an attorney, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an author, a life coach, and a busy community activist.  She knows exactly what it's like to feel overwhelmed, but she also knows how good it feels to spend time making a difference in the lives of others.  To that end, she suggests easy ways all of us can contribute to the welfare of our friends, families, communities and the world at large.

While Boyack's message is nothing new—especially to members of the church who learn to serve others from the moment they toddle into Nursery (if not before)—she did say a few things that struck a chord with me.  First, she talks about the difference between offering to help and actually doing it.  I don't know about you, but I'm pretty good at the former, not so great at the latter.  Boyack, though, insists that "[doing good] requires action" (75).  She suggests opening your eyes and ears to the needs of the people around you, listening when the Spirit prompts you to help, then having the courage to follow through.  A lesson I definitely need to learn.  Second, she assures us that, since all of us are unique and have different talents, we can serve in the ways that are most comfortable and satisfying to us.  Third, she reminds us to be bold.  Stand up for your values, for your rights, for your beliefs.  Even the smallest of voices can make a difference.

It's obvious from all the examples she shares in the book that Boyack not only believes what she's preaching, but also practices it every day.  Her enthusiasm is definitely catching.  While Standing Up in a Sit-down World might not offer anything really profound or original, it does serve as a great reminder of the power of serving others.  At only 106 pages (including an appendix, list of references and an index), it's a quick, motivating read that will inspire all who read it to not just be good, but to "be good for something."

While we're on the topic, I wanted to share this gorgeous rendition of "Have I Done Any Good?" by Alex Boyé and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert.  It's ... stunning.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  G

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Standing Up in a Sit-down World from the generous folks at Deseret Book.  Thank you!


  1. I saw this book at Deseret Book yesterday and contemplated purchasing it. I ended up getting a Hank Smith CD instead, much to the delight of my 14-year old daughter.

    I think I might have to get this book... sounds like a good read!

    1. It's an okay book. Nothing really special, but a fast, inspiring read. I don't know how much it costs at DB -- probably not much.

      I've never heard of Hank Smith, but it sounds like he makes teenage girls happy :)

    2. Hank Smith is an EFY speaker... and we LOVE his talks on CD.

  2. I haven't read this book but what you mention with regard to doing and not just offering strikes a cord with me too. I've always been good with the offers as well but earlier this year I broke my foot and was housebound for three months. Being the recipient of 'good intentions' and 'actual service' certainly opened my eyes. I learned a lot from the doers and appreciated them so much. They're the best!

    1. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I was doing some radiation treatments for thyroid cancer. My R.S. president kept asking what the R.S. could do for me. Finally, after hearing me say, "We're fine. Really, no need to worry about us," she said, "Look, we're going to help you whether you like it or not. Either you tell us what you need done or we'll just do what we think needs to be done." Talk about action! She taught me several good lessons that day :)

  3. LDS or not, I think this is a message that's great for everyone. I sure know I could use it.

  4. I really, really like Merrilee Boyack. Have you read her book, "The Parenting Breakthrough"? It's one of my favorite parenting books. I love hearing her speak, too.

    Thanks for sharing the video. So good!


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