To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson

by Heidi S. Swinton, Thomas S. Monson

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“The sweetest experience in mortality is to know that our Heavenly Father has worked through us,” says President Thomas S. Monson, sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he does more than say it — he lives it. Throughout his life, he has been an instrument in the Lord's hands, one through whom the work of the kingdom of God is lovingly carried out.

President Monson cares about people by the millions; he has traveled the earth to bless countless lives in unnumbered lands. He may be known best, though, for caring about people one by one. He takes time for those who may have been mostly forgotten by others. He recognizes the person in the crowd who might need the extra bit of attention he can provide. He goes where the Spirit leads him — even if it means traversing continents to offer a priesthood blessing to a suffering friend.

To the Rescue chronicles the life and ministry of this extraordinary leader. It is filled with the heartwarming personal accounts so typical of President Monson — some that have become favorites over time and many others that have not been told before. Readers will be transported to his childhood, where he learned his first lessons about reaching out to others. They will glimpse his school experiences, his hobbies (especially his prize Birmingham roller pigeons), his military service in the navy, and his courtship with Frances Johnson, who would become his eternal companion and greatest support.

Most important, readers will observe Thomas S. Monson going “to the rescue” in his more than six decades of devoted Church service. Called as a bishop at age twenty-two, as a counselor in a stake presidency at age twenty-seven, as a mission president at age thirty-one, and as a member of a Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age thirty-six, he became early on a skilled administrator and a tireless servant of the Lord. He oversaw the work of the Church in East Germany for more than twenty years, beginning with hushed meetings held in automobiles to avoid listening devices and culminating in the dedication of a temple behind the Iron Curtain. He played key roles in landmark programs in the Church, from correlation to welfare to the publication of the LDS editions of the scriptures. And through it all, he recognized people as individuals and ministered to their need in personal ways.

“I testify that each one of us can feel the Lord's inspiration as we live worthily and strive to serve Him,” President Monson has taught. To the Rescue demonstrates the truth of that teaching, illustrating its power in the life of one remarkable man.

Table of Contents
Introduction: To the Rescue
1. A Heritage of Faithful Souls
2. Between the Railroad Tracks
3. "I Want To Be a Cowboy!"
4. Like Huck Finn on the River
5. Becoming a Gentleman
6. School Days
7. The Greatest Lessons
8. Starting a Family
9. "Decisions Determine Destiny"
10. Always a Bishop
11. "He Went About Doing Good
12. "Have Courage, My Boy"
13. "O Canada"
14. Called to General Church Committees
15. A Special Witness
16. Serving in the Twelve
17. "He Was Everywhere
18. Near and Far
19. "Weary Not"
20. Faith of the People
21. The Wall Comes Down
22. The Work Goes Forward
23. Poised for Growth
24. Opening Doors
25. Neighbor Helping Neighbor
26. There Are No Coincidences
27. Ordained in Heaven
28. "Loyal, Helpful, Friendly ..."
29. An Indomitable Spirit
30. The Consummate Counselor
31. Reaching Out to the One
32. Joy in the Journey

Product Details

Audiobook NarratorNathan K. Wright
Audiobook ISBN9781606419298
Audiobook RuntimeApprox. 20 hours
Audiobook Discs15

About the Authors

Heidi S. Swinton

Heidi S. Swinton is an award-winning author and screenwriter whose works include the PBS documentaries American Prophet; Sacred Stone; Sweetwater Rescue; Trail of Hope; and America’s Choir. She has served on the Relief Society general board and as a member of Church writing committees. She is the author of President Thomas S. Monson’s biography, To the Rescue. She served with her husband, Jeffrey C. Swinton, as he presided over the England London South Mission (2006–2009); they are the parents of five sons, four living, and have four daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.

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Thomas S. Monson

PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON has served as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008. He was called as an Apostle in 1963 at the age of thirty-six. After serving as second counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson and then President Howard W. Hunter, he served as first counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley from 1995 to 2008. Thomas Spencer Monson was born to G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson on August 21, 1927, in Salt Lake City. Following his service in the U.S. Navy near the close of World War II, he graduated cum laude from the University of Utah and earned an MBA from Brigham Young University. He had a distinguished career in the publishing industry. He served as president of the Canadian Mission from 1959 to 1962 and was a member of several general Church committees before becoming an Apostle. He married Frances Beverly Johnson in the Salt Lake Temple in 1948. They are the parents of two sons and one daughter. They have eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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Average rating:

(based upon 18 reviews)

Great Book
By , Submitted on 2018-04-13

I am thoroughly enjoying the book and learning many things about President Monson and his family. I would recommend this book!

Church History
By , Submitted on 2018-02-08

I felt this book was poorly written. To me read more like a church history book instead of a life history of a prophet. Too many inconsistencies and bad transitions. I quit reading at chapter 10 but maybe someday will pick it back up.

Wonderful and Inspiring!
By , Submitted on 2017-10-19

It took me forever to get through this book, reading or listening to it a little bit at a time, but it was well worth it. For me it was the kind of book you have to read a little bit at a time. I am so glad I was able to finish this book during the time that president Monson is still our prophet. It makes me understand him and why he does the things he does better. This book makes me want to be more like him- especially in the way I follow promptings and help others around me. I love the various examples found throughout the book of how he helped, cared for and administered to the "the one." What a great man! This book is wonderful and insightful. I would recommend this book to all adults, it will enrich and benefit the person who reads it as well as anyone who comes in contact with them. This books makes you want to change for the better. It is well worth the read, I highly recommend it! I really enjoyed reading the book, but I also enjoyed the audio book which was done very well. The man who reads it is easy to listen to and it is perfect for trips in the car. You will not reading getting this book!

A Great Book
By , Submitted on 2016-01-04

I listened to the mp3 audio of To the Rescue and really enjoyed it- this book has fantastic narration. Heidi Swinton is also very thorough as she writes of accounts from president Monson's life. It was great to learn more about the prophet's life and teachings through his own stories and other's perspectives.

A true Disciple and Prophet of God.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

An excellent read, what you get from this book about Thomas S. Monson is his love for everyone and his concern for the one. His life is one dedicated to following the example of Jesus Christ.
After reading it you have a greater desire to follow his example and be a better, more dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ.
Reading this book only furthered my testimony that Thomas S. Monson is truly the Lord's Chosen Prophet on the earth today.

Inspiring Stories from the Life of President Monson
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Utah Dad and I recently finished reading To The Rescue : The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi Swinton. We've spent the last few months reading a chapter together at least once a week. It is always entertaining to read the stories of the charismatic and fun-loving President Monson (president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Many of the stories were ones we had heard before in his talks and I was frequently reminded of his personal speaking style. He has always been the quintessential story teller.

We were most enthralled with the stories of his childhood and also the chapters that go into depth about the growth of the church in East Germany throughout the decades before the fall of the wall. President Monson's role in that growth is inspiring. It is clear to see that he is an instrument in the hands of God.

Many of the stories of President Monson's call to follow inspiration and touch the individual person moved me to tears. He is truly an inspired man and my testimony of him as a prophet of God grew as we read more about his amazing life.

Utah Dad and I have joked over the years that President Monson is the "angel of death". If he suddenly shows up to visit you, watch out, your time is limited. So many of his stories involve following the spirit to the bedside of a dying friend or stranger and then of speaking at funerals. But what a touching, tender mercy of the Lord to send his servant to comfort many of those in their final hours. Really, President Monson is so close to the spirit that he knows just where he is most needed.

Heidi Swinton is a good story teller in her own right and has written a very approachable, readable book. This book is not a scholarly explanation. There are questions left unanswered (such as why his father was not active in the church) and it does not go deep into the emotions and feelings of President Monson. What it does do is include many of President Monson's stories in one volume and give a lovely over view of his history. It is also encouraging and motivating. President Monson exemplifies a Christ-like life. He cares about people. He is in tune with the spirit and follows it so that he can touch people just when they need it most.

Poorly Written
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

The overwhelming majority of the book consists of ambiguous praise of Pres. Monson. Please do not mistake me; I admire and sustain him, but this author ceaselessly sings his praises without giving any meaningful insight into his life. The book is also full of awkward transitions, empty quotes and irrelevant anecdotes. For example, the author describes, at length, a time when he shot and made two baskets while visiting a Church gym and includes a copy of his third grade report card, to make sure you're impressed. Yet, the book leaves you frustrated and wondering at questions that would actually provide insight; questions like- Why didn't he serve a mission after his extremely short time in the military? Why was his father inactive? How has he come to be financially successful with so little time in the professional world? Etc. For such an expensive book, one would hope to find more than exaggerated praise and rehash of his talks, yet that is all this book contains. Pres. Monson asked the author to write the book, but reading it left me frustrated and wondering why he would provide her a constructive monopoly on something that should be free for all members, and why he would permit so much shameless praise to be published. For me, the book raised far more questions than it answered.

This book helps us to become more loving.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

It was wonderful reading about a man that is loved by so many. By following his example, we can become more loving ourselves. This book shows many small steps we can take to become more Christlike. President Monson truly is a prophet of God

Life Changing Experience!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Outside of the scriptures, this is the best book that has ever been written or sold. My wife and I spent time each night reading this book together. We have been having numerous challenges in life this year and this book helped us to grow in faith, to grow in testimony and to grow closer together during this time. If you want to improve your relationships, improve your testimony or just improve your overall life, this is certainly the book to read. I strongly encourage all couples and individuals to read this amazing and inspiring book.

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I read this book in a few days it was difficult to put down. I feel like that anybody in a leadership position should read it. Reminds you to focus on the individual and not on programs.

Jen Katene New Zealand

A prophet from his beginning
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Having served in the Canadian Mission just prior to President Monson, I was very impressed with the Author's quotes about the mission. HOWEVER
Before printing more books I wish to save Pres.
"Eagle eye" Monson's reputation. On page showing the mission home the address is incorrect. That home is on 133 Lynhurst Ave. The Toronto Chapel is on Ossington.

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I was delighted to learn more about the life of our Prophet. His influence in different areas of the Church throughout his years of service is really inspiring and astonishing. This is an interesting, enjoyable and uplifting read. I highly recommend it!

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I just finished reading this marvelous biography of our prophet. It reaffirmed my testimony that President Monson a true and living prophet here on this earth. It is a perfect instruction manual on how to be a true disciple of our Savior Jesus Christ. President Monson sets a wonderful example for each of us about how to have true Christlike love for one another. It was great to learn so much about our amazing prophet.

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

What a wonderful biography, I learned so many things about our dear prophet. He was instrumental in so many things I didn't know about before reading this book. The most beautiful thing I gained from this book apart from a stronger testimony of Heavenly father's Prophet and a stronger desire to follow his wonderful example is that I now feel I know the prophet as my friend!! Well done Heidi Swinton a remarkable biography.

on my third reading and still cannot put it down!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This is one of the best books ever written about our great prophets. So much applicable to our lives each day!

This book reminded me to love others others
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I have been anticipating the opportunity to read this book. I was not disappointed. Upon reading only the first few chapters I found myself looking at others around me and wondering how can I be of help to them? I was looking at others with new eyes. I quickly found myself doing as President Monson would as I stopped and talked with my neighbor, a widow, today. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. I learned so much from reading about the humble and wise leaders of President Monson's youth that taught through their example how to be a loving leader. I particularly loved reading the poem written by his father at his birth. It is clear poetry was a part of his life from the beginning. I enjoyed reading of his boyhood visits to Vivian Park, the ballpark and his yearning for a pet. I was interested that his first calling was to be the Secretary of the Deacons Quorum. My son holds that same calling now. I hope he feels the same about his responsibility as President Monson did. Heidi Swinton's writing is beautiful, insightful and inspired me, through President Monson's life experiences, to be a better person who cares for those around me - perhaps a bit more than I did before. Heidi Swinton is a memory weaver. The product of her work, this biography, is a wonderful opportunity for all to learn more about this ebullient prophet with a "big heart."

"To the Rescue" is best book I ever read!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

"To the Rescue" is such an inspirational book! Throughout his life, President Monson has always reached out to the one, giving his time freely. He listens to the promptings he receives from the Holy Ghost to find those who need him, and then he acts. What a wonderful example he has set for all of us. I will strive harder to follow in his footsteps. President Monson's biography is the best book I have ever read.

This was a great witness of a prophet
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I just finished reading To the Rescue and it was a great witness of a true Prophet of God.

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