Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon (Hardcover)
"Fascinating and moving . . . full of insight, perspective and humor. It's a chance for Mormons to see themselves in a new light, and it's a chance for those not of the LDS faith to understand the journey of an intelligent, deeply religious man." — Dean Hughes
"Besides telling a fascinating story of his life and conversion, Hamilton illuminates what it means to be Black and Mormon. . . . This is a careful, thoughtful book." — Edward L. Kimball
"Last Laborer is a book which is not only a joy to read but a journey into Keith's extraordinary life. He weaves his own experiences through the book, and leaves the reader chuckling at some points, pondering at others, and inspired throughout. . . . This is more than a book; it is a blessing." — Margaret Young, President, Association for Mormon Letters
"On 1 June 1978, the heavens opened . . . and God gave a revelation . . . decreeing who could hold His Holy Priesthood. This was the great event of our day and generation. . . . Hamilton movingly tells how this affected him, and all of us. You should read this account." — Oscar W. McConkie, Sr.
"Keith is a storyteller, with an amazing and worthwhile story to tell . . . . As fun and poignant as is his story . . . his treatment of the issues associated with the LDS Church and its former restrictions against blacks is even more enjoyable and the best on the subject I have ever encountered." — Thurl Bailey (from book's Foreword)
Given its history regarding blacks, why would any African American even join the LDS Church? Yet Keith Hamilton, the grandson of a Southern Baptist minister, joined the Church in 1980, while a college student in North Carolina. He then became BYU's first black law-school graduate and one of the Church's first black bishops. In his thought-provoking and often humorous book, Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon, Hamilton explains how and why he joined the LDS Church. He also shares uncommon and well-researched insights on issues related to the historical "Mormons and Blacks" controversy, through perspectives centered on the Church's watershed 1978 revelation on priesthood.
Last Laborer is a compelling must read for all, especially the missionary-minded saint. If you ever have had questions about the LDS Church's historical relationship with blacks, have felt or feel uncomfortable sharing the gospel with others because of that history, or simply wonder what an African-American convert's experience in the Church may be like, this is the book for which you having been waiting. Last Laborer will challenge your traditional thoughts, stimulate your mind and inspire your soul.
About the Author
A Must Read Book
by Jill - reviewed on April 22, 2011
I have been waiting and hoping for a book like this for years. I have two adopted children that are bi-racial. Keith answered questions and addressed issues that put my heart at rest. I'm grateful to have his book to share with my children and others who lack understanding and an accurate perspective on such an important issue. Thank You Keith!!!
Courageous, entertaining, enlightening and inspiring.
by Eileen - reviewed on March 17, 2011
The insights Keith sets forth in this new book are courageous and enlightening. Anyone who has ever questioned the LDS position on the blacks needs to read this book. The first half autobiography is entertaining as well as a proper foundation for the doctrinal second half text. I was inspired.
by Sandra - reviewed on March 20, 2011
This book is a must read, it is inspiring and thought provoking and is for everyone, no matter what is going on in your life it will totally inspire you. You will love it.
by Scott - reviewed on July 07, 2011
I found this book to be a great two part work of a master story teller. The first part is a great insight to the back ground and life of Keith Hamilton. The second part is a superb and touching testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ways of the Lord from Brother Hamilton's perspective. We are all laborers in the Lord's field, this gives us a spiritual boost!
Very impressed, grateful for the insight.
by Terrie - reviewed on April 13, 2011
Having lots of friends in the Black community, Mormon and non-Mormon, I really appreciated Keith sharing his story and background. I was most impressed with his expressions of love for Christ and his testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ AND his insight to the "ban" of Black's having the fullness of the Priesthood. It brought me such peace on the subject as I have never heard it articulated that way. Thank you Keith.
A real eye-opener
by Louis - reviewed on February 14, 2011
As a Black American of African ancestry, a researcher and a non-Mormon; I found Keith N. Hamilton's "Last Laborer" a true tour de force and a real ground breaking lesson in explaining certain aspects of Mormon doctrine. For anyone remotely interested in the "why's and the why not's" of the LDS faith and its relationship in reference to Blacks holding the priesthood prior to the June 1978 Churches Revelation, must read this book. Mr. Hamilton definitely knows the bible! He's insightful, very intelligent, spiritual, honest, and at times quite humorous. Congratulations for succeeding in taking such extraordinary steps in simply proving that, "God Is No Respecter of Persons." Amen! Peace Be Still, Louis Los Angeles, California
A Book about "Being a Mormon" like no other!
by Greg - reviewed on February 16, 2011
What I like about the book Last Laborer, is that it is an autobiography of Keith Hamilton who describes his life as a black person growing up in Virginia and North Carolina with events, challenges, success, and failures that will leave you "glued" to the pages wanting to find out more! But Kieth also gives the reader a perspective as person born of Negro parents in the South who is converted to the LDS faith, comes to Utah, and allows us to know what it is like to be immersed in to a whole new world and culture as a member of the Mormon Church. Even more appealing is how Keith writes about LDS doctrine and his testimony of Jesus Christ and his own feelings about the Blacks receiving the Priesthood in 1978 and wonderful information and his insight about this amazing revelation from President Spencer W. Kimball. This book has inspired me as we all strive to understand each other! Greg Carlisle, Orem Utah
by tom - reviewed on February 19, 2011
The look behind and through the eyes of another Latter Day Saint is inspiring and amazing. Keith is truly a child of God in his approach to this hard subject as he inspires great appreciation for his Father in Heaven for his trials and his lessons he has learned through his amazing life. This book is like two in one. One part history, the other great doctrinal insights. You can't help but be amazed and inspired all at the same time. Thank you and bless you for your great testimony of this gospel.
by Mel - reviewed on February 20, 2011
Keith's book provides an excellent resource in understanding the doctrinal background of Blacks and the priesthood. However, what is more inspirational is his personal transformation from a "ladies man" of the world, to a committed Latter-Day Saint who endured many challenges along the way. Any one who has faced personal difficulties or doubts about who they are and their position in the Lord's kingdom will find comfort in knowing that Keith has been there too, and his conversion and perseverance will provide great inspiration for any circumstance.
by Rebecca - reviewed on February 21, 2011
Inspirational, educational, and thought-provoking. I am very, very grateful to have been able to learn of this book and read it through. I've been wanting to read it for years and never knew!
The book can play a major role in advancing the word and work of the Lord among all people, regardless of race or color.
by Joanne & Harold - reviewed on February 25, 2011
It is seldom we can read a book that contains an author's genuine and real thoughts and reflections divinely inspired about a subject so credible and important as a black person who converted to the L.D.S. Church. It is significant, not only to the black community, but equally important to all of God's children regardless of race or color. This book is very well written and can give to all readers a sense of an individual's growing and becoming in a society that is struggling to know God and that His goodness knows no limitations.
A truly rewarding read about how we are all alike in the eye of God. Exceptional!
by Dennis - reviewed on March 03, 2011
Keith is a great story teller. His mastery of the English language makes this book a very pleasant read. Being a convert to the LDS faith myself, I can testify that Keith's insights are very inspirational. His understanding of Church doctrinal issues helped me understand better this subject matter.
What a great reference we now have to help with the "Black Question".
by Mike - reviewed on March 06, 2011
I had the privilege of reading your book this past long weekend. Though it was not my intention to do so, I spent most of my spare time the past 5 days reading as I could not put it down. Few books capture my attention like that so for me it was profound. My I just tell you with all sincerity, thank you. I laughed, I cried, I was fill with emotion and at times "my cup runneth o'er". Mike Frandsen
A remarkable well-written autobiography
by Allen - reviewed on March 07, 2011
Clearly an insightful autobiography wherein the author permits an intimate look at his soul. An honest treatise that will cause any true seeker of truth to examine his own soul. Keith Hamilton has a remarkable story, one that well written. Last Laborer is an account of a new type of pioneer. Hopefully, it will open eyes and breach barricades concerning that which is required to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Allen C. Christensen
by Daniel - reviewed on March 12, 2011
The writing in the book is great. I loved the personal history. It gave me great insights into you as a person, and appreciation for the man you have become. The doctrine and testimony gave me great pause to think and to apply the principals to other aspects of the gospel. You gave great depth and meaning to many of the scriptural citations and parables. Thank you for writing the book and allowing me to read it.
Helped me to better feel Christ love for all our brothers and sisters
by Hal - reviewed on March 13, 2011
Keith, thank you for letting us get to know you better by reading about various accounts of your life's journey, including some of the rough spots. I also laughed, cried, felt the spirit of the brotherhood of man and of your testimony of Jesus Christ. I feel like I am a better person by knowing you. After reading your book I feel more accepting of others and better comprehend our God given gift of free-will wrapped with blessings and sorrows. I also recommend your book to those that might be struggling with any of the various issues LDS apologists are faced with.
The "A Marvelous Work and A Wonder" for the 21st Century!!
by Chris - reviewed on March 14, 2011
Hamilton's moving story of faith, testimony, and accomplishment in the face of challenge and adversity touched my heart and inspired my soul. His doctrinal insights into the LDS Church's historical relationship with blacks deepened my understanding of the issues and strengthened my belief in God as a loving and merciful Being. His book is the "A Marvelous Work and A Wonder" written for our generation and I believe in due time will similarly become an LDS Classic.
Highly Recommended For All
by Terry - reviewed on March 14, 2011
I truly enjoyed Keith's book, especially his story of faith in spite of many trials. Although our backgrounds have little in common, the book resonated with me on several personal levels. I feel Hamilton's book was inspired in its purpose and inspiring with its message. I give it my highest recommendation for all, regardless of faith, race or gender!
This is a profoundly gratifying book
by Bryan - reviewed on March 15, 2011
This book's words carry with them a palpable sincerity. The author has given thoughtful consideration to the effect of every story, insight and faith-filled expression upon his readers. I often felt, particularly in the latter half of the book, like I was engaged in a one-on-one conversation with Keith Hamilton. Whether because of that or because of its tone of persistent optimism and faith, this book refreshed me.
This profound book contains truths all God's children need to understand.
by Jonathan - reviewed on March 16, 2011
I wish I could have read this book 20 years ago. In the military, I was asked by non-LDS service members about the historical policies of the LDS church toward its black members and I did not have any answers. In fact, I questions of my own. Ultimately, I resolved the issue for myself as Keith Hamilton resolved it--as a matter of faith. In reading this book, I felt a kindred spirit with the author as he invited me to see the world from his perspective, to share his pains and triumphs, and to know God as he has come to know Him. "Last Laborer" deepened my understanding, changed my heart, and brought me closer to God. This book is a must read for all who are seeking to know God.
A Labor of Love
by Kory - reviewed on March 17, 2011
In his book, Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon, Keith Hamilton bares his soul to all who are willing to truly listen with their hearts and spirits. I was overwhelmed by Brother Hamilton's demonstration of his love for the Savior, for the Gospel, and his fellow man. His unwavering faith and convictions of truth are manifest through his writing. By sharing his experiences, Keith bolstered my personal testimony, faith, and desire to further serve in the Lord's vineyard. He has given me a greater fervor to do all that I can to put my God-given talents and abilities to their best use in furthering the Kingdom of God. Last Laborer has helped me to remember that God is always near and that we each have been called to labor in some capacity, and that is up to each of us to gratefully accept when called upon make an offering of service. This book dispels the "Mormon Mythology" in regards to our brothers and sisters of African decent. Additionally, Brother Hamilton reminds each of us that we can receive the answers to even some of life's toughest questions if we but exercise our faith. This is a "must-read" for all of our Father's children, no matter what the culture, color, or faith one has been born into.
A missionary must read.
by John - reviewed on March 18, 2011
Growing up in LDS culture gives one a perspective of life and our world that is vastly different from numerous others. Seeing the world through the eyes of Brother Hamilton, as he eloquently moves us through his journey, gives us new insights that help us relate with our fellow men. This book is perfect to gain precious insights we may lack if not exposed to this wisdom. The doctrinal sections are of import causing one to reflect and truly study. I highly recommend this for missionaries who WILL be asked about these beliefs. Thank you, Keith, for putting your soul into this work.
Very intriguing and uplifting!!!
by Ruth - reviewed on April 01, 2011
I have known Keith for several years and consider him to be a trusted friend and example. This book is easy reading, fun, fast moving, and very uplifting. It is not by chance that he was sent to this earth to have the experiences that he has had to help him gain spiritual insight about the Blacks, the gospel, and our world today. Interestingly enough, this title, The Last Laborer is not a reflection of Keith but of his humble sincerity. He is always first to give unconditional love, help, forgiveness, understanding, & wisdom. This is accurately reflected in his book. Keith is an emissary of our Heavenly Father for all races and generations. I feel honored to be his friend and am on the 2nd reading of this book. It=s awesome!
a compelling read for all .
by nickson - reviewed on March 22, 2011
this is the greatest book on this subject . it is a great and inspiring read to any person irregardless to their faith. i believe that it is a compelling read and hope it will reach many whom will enjoy it and find it spiritually very uplifting and at the same time it addresses and provides great insights to many questions regarding the blacks and the priesthood in the church . a subject many people tend to struggle with fond it quite uncomfortable to deal with at times. as keith narrates his story i can see my self in his shoes and relate to many of his experiences. i believe many will feel the same as they read it as well .great work keith .
FANTASTIC EXCELLENT READ!!
by james - reviewed on April 03, 2011
Keith Hamilton is a miracle! Keith's book is a FANTASTIC EXCELLENT READ!! As a white person who has lived and attended an almost all African American High School in North Carolina I empathize with his experiences and insights. Like Keith, I believe people are people and we must strive to turn our feelings to both God and each other and cast out our misconceptions and desires to control others. Keith's writing brought both tears and joy to my life! Thank you, Keith!!
The most spiritually illunination book I have read on the analysis of the Declaration 2.
by Nathaniel L - reviewed on May 19, 2011
Keith Hamilton has written the most spiritually illuminating, profound and thought provoking analysis of the Declaration 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants on he LDS former restrictions against Blacks serving in the priesthood that I have ever read. Being Black and a Book of Mormon convert too, I found it enjoyable and spiritually enlightening. It should be read by every one.