Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Anytime, Anywhere by John H. Groberg

One of my very favorite books ever is John Groberg's "In the Eye of the Storm" which has been renamed "The Other Side of Heaven" after the movie version. "Anytime, Anywhere" is Brother Groberg's 3rd book, which is just a random grouping of spiritual stories from his many adventures living all over the world over the course of a 30-year stretch as a full-time general authority.

It's a great book. Often I sell the books I buy if I don't see myself picking them up again for a 2nd read, even years down the road. This one is a definite keeper. Great stories, really neat and interesting spiritual stuff, and just a whole lifetime of adventures that they had with their 11 kids, moving all over the world.

I particularly enjoyed the story of some Tongan saints who drove to SLC from California so they could present President Benson with a handmade blanket so he would be warm enough (this was at the end of his life when his health was very frail). They arrived and were honored to be allowed to leave the blanket in his office. They were leaving when President Benson's personal nurse called and asked if someone happened to be there to see the President. He spent most of his final days resting in bed but on this day got dressed and said someone was going to visit him that day. John Groberg took the Tongan saints over and translated for them, and they presented President Benson with the blanket, which he accepted sweetly and with thanks. The Tongans were so moved by the experience that no one said a word to each other on the entire return trip.

The only knock against the book is that it's a little heavy on the wrap-up. Each chapter is a memory and a story, but at least 1/3 of each of the chapters is kind of a 'here's what I learned and what we all can learn from this story" thing that he does. I think it's appropriate to put a little slug in there but in most cases it was literally 1/4-1/3 of the entire chapter. It's OK to let us draw our own conclusions, a little.

But don't let this stop you from checking it out if you have an interest. There's more than enough meat on the bone here. I wish more general authorities would write books like this. They're just simple spiritual stories, all of them neat. Some dramatic, some just small but cool. You know they all have interesting occurrences like this. Spill it! :)

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