(Image from the author's blog)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long championed the family as a sacred institution ordained of God. It has always urged its members to honor and protect this most precious of God's gifts. How? By using the formula reiterated in the Church's 1995 proclamation to the world: "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." Of course, Mormon families vary as much as any others, meaning they don't always fit this LDS "ideal." And yet, this is what members of the faith try to cultivate, believing that strong families lead to strong individuals, strong communities, and strong nations.
Benjamin Hyrum White's new book, Defenders of the Family, seeks to bring this message to children. With bright, comic book-style illustrations (by Jay Fontano) and simple, but direct statements about LDS beliefs, the book provides a solid foundation for learning about subjects that can be both confusing and controversial—gender identification, marriage, gender roles, procreation, etc. The principles are laid out firmly in black-and-white (so to speak) while still maintaining this overall message: "We can love and show kindness for everyone while standing up for what we believe."
While Defenders of the Family makes a point of portraying some non-traditional situations, against-the-LDS-norm families are not necessarily highlighted. However, any family can benefit from reading this book together—all of the topics presented can lead to open, honest, and enlightening conversations that will promote greater communication and understanding within a family unit.
If you're looking for an engaging, straightforward picture book about LDS beliefs on marriage and family, you can't go wrong with Defenders of the Family.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't really think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Defenders of the Family from the generous folks at Cedar Fort. Thank you!