||American Book Publishing
||Mar 5, 2007
This award-winning collection of more than 200 stories from the Old Testament for adults and young adults was named one of the "Top Ten Reads" for 2007 by Carolyn Howard-Johnson on "My Shelf.com." The stories, told in modern English from an LDS perspective, tell of prophets, priests, and kings and of Jehovah's dealings with his covenant people until after the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. They are unembellished, unfictionalized , and captivating.
It is now selling at my bookstore for $19.95!
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The Old Testament is brimming with wonderful stories--some inspiring and some not--but all of them great stories. When you consider the overall impact of the Old Testament stories, it becomes clear that their primary message is of the then-future mortal mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, the foreshadowing of the Savior's great redemptive mission permeates the pages of the Old Testament. "How Often Would I Have Gathered You" captures the essence of these wonderful Old Testament messages. The easy style brings the Old Testament to life without embellishing the stories and without fictionalizing the message. This book does for you what no other book has done before. The stories are written for adults and they are written from the perspective of the Latter-day Saint. Though the LDS perspective does not matter in most stories, when it does matter, it matters a great deal. Many books have been written in an attempt to shed light on the Old Testament. Some have succeeded better than others, but you will find that this book has truly succeeded. The stories are clear, cogent, and true to their source. The stories are presented in chronological sequence, with few exceptions. the first story tells of the Grand Council in heaven before the foundations of this earth were laid--a story not taken from the Old Testment at all, but from the books of moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. The book ends with a story from the book of Nehemiah recounting some of the struggles of the Jews after their return from Babylonian captivity. "How Often..." is not intended to replace your study of the Old Testament, but only to enhance that study. The goal is help you to understand the Old Testament so that you read it, appreciate it, and grasp its exciting, magnificent message.
You can read sample stories from this unique at
A copy of the book's preface, which explains how I approached the task of writing this book so that it would be valuable for adults and young adults--and not just children--is included in "My Articles."
Association for Mormon Letters (AML)
A recent "B.C." cartoon strip made its way across the Internet recently. A worm is spitting out a dust ball and his friend, a pre-historic bird of some sort says. "Yuck! A dust ball! How disgusting." The worm responds, "How can you treat a fellow creature with such disdain?" The bird answers, "I read the Old Testament, buddy."
Indeed, it seems to some readers that the Old Testament is filled with all kinds of loathsome things--murder, incest, prostitution. Reading through this sacred testament can be something of a roller-coaster ride. Is there any redeeming value to reading the Old Testament? Perhaps the same might be said of the Book of Mormon. It, too, has a lot of warfare, a lot of death, a lot of sadness. But readers can sort through all of this and draw out so many important spiritual lessons.
Part of our appeciation of biblical history is in acknowledgment that along with the good there is evil. Such things "must needs be." The key to appreciating any sacred writing is in the ability to sort through the honest accounts and find that which is good, cling to it, and then be aware of the consequences of evil.
Over the years, scholars and teachers have come to recognize that studying the story line of the Old Testament is a valuable tool in understanding the work as a whole. One organization, "Walk Through the Bible Ministries," has designed an entire curriculum that allows the reader to skip portions of the Old Testament without missing parts of the overall story. For example, they would have you read Genesis, Exodus and Numbers, and have you skip Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Yes, you miss some of the teachings, but the story continues unabated by reading the books in this manner.
Our present book tries to accomplish this goal--learn the story of the Old Testament, but supplement this in a way that "Walk Through the Bible Ministries" cannot: Integrate the thoughts of LDS scholars over the years, the unique insights of Restoration scriptures, and the wisdom of generations of Mormon thinkers.
The subtitle of the book explains it quite nicely: "Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints." Greenwood has a goal--he wants you to see the wonderful continuity of the Old Testament story, the blessings of obedience and the challenges of faith. And, in my opinion, he accomplishes this nicely.
In a series of 229 brief studies, the author takes you through the story. His prose style is exceptionally easy; his grasp of the story solid. One can read each of the studies in just a few minutes. Each study is preceded by the scripture reference covered. Some of the studies are quite focused, covering just a few chapters of scripture. Others are very broad--he covers the entire book of Deuteronomy in just one study! But this is as it should be--Deuteronomy does not move the story forward at all.
A nice selection of basic maps is included. Greenwood also includes a pronunciation guide to Old Testament words. A brief bibliography and both name and subject indices, close the volume. A word of caution about the indices. I neglected to read a note at the head of this appendix, notifying me that numeric references were to the studies, and not the page numbers! After looking up a few references incorrectly, I wondered how the author could have gotten it so wrong! Then I read the instruction, and was once again reminded of how important it is to read carefully!
Many of us have enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. We spill the pieces onto the table and then proceed to put them together according to the pattern on the box top. Imagine trying to assemble the pieces without having the picture on the box top! So many try to read the Old Testament piece by piece without having the benefit of the big picture. This book gives you just that: the big picture.
"How Often Would I Have Gathered You" is not a scholarly tome, neither is it intended to be. Instead, it fills a gap between published Church curriculum and the larger, more detailed studies available to the interested reader. It reads like a novel, but it tells a true story. Readers of all ages will appreciate this resource and enjoy the fine work that Val Greenwood has provided for us. -Jeffrey Needle
HOW OFTEN WOULD I HAVE GATHERED YOU: STORIES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT AND RELATED SOURCES FOR LATTER-DAY SAINTS, by Val D. Greenwood, illustrations by Owen Richardson. Millennial Mind Publishing, 378 pages. $29.95. The author has carefully gathered stories from the Old Testament that share the familiar theme of the title--then he has summarized those stories so that they can be quickly called to mind. The typical reader may know many of the stories already, but a gret many more may be unfamiliar. Each is provided in a page or less. --Dennis Lythgoe
BYU Magazine, Summer 2010
In How Often Would I Have Gathered You: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints (Edenwood Press; 380 pp.; $29.95), Val D. Greenwood (BS ’62) tells familiar Bible stories masterfully in a simple, straightforward style free of fictionalizing and embellishment and consistent with the Latter-day Saint perspective. Basing the stories on the King James Version, but with modernized language, he arranges them in chronological sequence, beginning with the Grand Council in Heaven (drawn from the Pearl of Great Price) and continuing through the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. Greenwood included rich and carefully researched footnotes applying LDS scripture and the Joseph Smith Translation, as well as maps, a pronunciation guide, a chart of the kings, and a bibliography. Although these stories do not replace the scripture, they are exciting and clarifying retellings that bring new life to a scripture often weighed down by confusing language.
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