My original intention was to read Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image by Ophira Edut this month. I read this book of essays for a class roughly seven years ago and thought it would be a great conclusion to a month dedicated to self-care. Then I went to pick it up and my soul just ached at the thought of reading another book where an arrival at body acceptance comes through trauma. There is so much trauma, and I am tired. I needed something that would refresh my soul, give me an optimistic view of our world and myself, and give me something to think about. The logical solution to this problem was to read a book my parents got me for my 16th birthday – Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinkley by Virginia H. Pearce.
As a teenager, I was always fascinated by Sister Hinkley. I found the knowledge of her existence to be comforting, her dedication to her ideals admirable, and her clear love of life to be exhilarating. Indeed, the love I had for her rivaled the love I had for her husband who was – at that time – the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book her daughter wrote about her, with the help of dozens of those whose lives she touched, brings her to life in a truly unique way. The book is divided into eleven chapters: Faith, Genuineness, Mothering, Optimism, Gratitude, Enthusiasm for Learning, Sense of Humor, A Listening Friend, Confidence Builder, Grandmothering, Reaching Out, and Synergy.
The chapter on mothering, in particular, was so lovely to me. The beauty of her philosophy was lost on my 16-year-old mind (the last time I read this book) and is so refreshing to me now as I prepare to bring a third life into this world. On page 53 Sister Hinkley states “Children rise higher when they are treated with respect. Use courteous and respectful language when you talk with one another. . . you don’t teach a child not to hit by hitting. We cannot expect to be respected if we treat others in demeaning ways.” This one statement, more than almost any other, really sums the book up for me in this reading. If you give love and respect, you will get it in return.
Ultimately, I love this book because it makes me want to be a better person without making me feel inadequate about the person I am now. This was true when I was 16 and following the teachings of the LDS Church and it is true now when I am 30 and I do not. Regardless of your religious beliefs, background, or current life circumstance, this is a book that will make you better than you were when you began it.
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