Have you ever felt you might be special?
Where does that feeling come from—and what does it really mean?
The truth is that we are special, because we are all beloved children of our Heavenly Father, and we enjoyed a special, personal relationship with Him before coming to earth. Having left His presence, we feel a void, a homesickness that reminds us that we are more than mortal beings and inclines us toward our Father and His love.
But we are sometimes persuaded by the lie that we are more special than others. The lie lifts us above others, creates feelings of entitlement, and convinces us that the void we feel signifies our personal destiny for glory. It inclines us to seek fame, prestige, or wealth as proof of our superiority over others.
Each of us is constantly enticed by this truth and this lie, and we respond to both using four strategies to manage our acceptance or denial, each with its defining feature of pride, despair, selfishness, or true discipleship. In Are We Special? authors Jeffrey Reber and Steven Moody show us how to increase our acceptance of the truth and denial of the lie in order to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.
By Mary, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I have just completed reading a life changing book, asking the question, Are We Special? After reading it the word special has taken on a new meaning for me. The thoughts, ideas, and stories in this book made me want to be a better person...truly a better Disciple of Christ. Thank you Deseret Book for publishing this terrific book. I would love to see more from these 2 authors!
By Jennie, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This was an amazing book. I found myself in deep thought as I thumbed through each of its pages. I also found myself in tears as my heart was touch by the reassurance that I have a loving, all knowing Heavenly Father. His love is unconditional and we are always worthy of it. I closed the book wanting to do better...to love and serve all those around me with that same unconditional love that our Father loves us with. I am especially grateful for the instruction that is provided throughout the book. I learned so much about myself and how I see others. I highly recommend this book! AMAZING read!
By Joseph, Submitted on 2015-02-25
In this well-written work, Reber and Moody discuss the culture of 'special' that surrounds us today. And though this book is written for Latter-day Saints, who have their own unique culture of 'special,' it seems a book appropriate for everyone.
In some respects, Reber and Moody are trying to help readers identify character flaws which otherwise go unnoticed - that is what I liked best about the book. As I read it, I found myself resonating (sometimes to my chagrin) with the various character flaws of the Pharisee, the Egoist, and the Nihilist - all characters who fall prey to the debased forms of our culture of 'special.' In helping me realize these flaws (and, at times, even convicting me), I felt like I was being given a second chance - a chance to turn my thoughts and behaviors back over to Christ.
I'm not sure everyone will have this experience. I should disclose that I spent 3 years teaching beside one of the authors in the same academic department, where we often discussed this book before its publication. I heavily anticipated it and was not disappointed. I'm sure the years I spent discussing this book with the author, then finally reading it, have something to do with my experience. But I am hopeful that most who read it will have a similar experience, and I am certain that at least some will.
By Heidi, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I'll say right out that I loved this book. Not only is it informative and enlightening, but I found much to think about here. The authors made many good points about how every human being is special because we are children of God. They go on to discuss how all to many people take this fact and (with Satan's encouragement) turn it into a lie. The lie that some people are more special than others for whatever reason, place/circumstances of birth, wealth, talents, etc. The authors then discuss how people behave based on whether they believe the truth, the lie, or bits of both. The four types they came up with are: the Pharisees, Egoists, Nihilists, and Disciples.
Pharisees believe both the truth and the lie. People in this quadrant believe that human beings are special as children of God, but that the 'chosen' are more special than anyone else.
Egoists believe only the lie, that they are more special because of their own individual circumstances, choices, and talents.
Nihilists believe neither the truth nor the lie and are full of despair and discouragement.
Disciples of course believe the truth and reject the lie. These people are trying to be true followers of Jesus Christ.
The authors go through and discuss each of the above categories. They make clear that few people stay in any one quadrant, most move back and forth throughout our lives. The goal is to become permanent residents of the Disciple quadrant and learn to believe the truth and reject the lie. This is a profound book with great insights and examples into some of the misconceptions that Satan would have us believe. I found myself identifying with many of the things that the authors said. This is the kind of book you can read over and over and still find things to help you improve. I highly recommend this book to those who like me are always striving to be better disciples of Jesus Christ.
By Lisa, Submitted on 2015-02-25
As members of the LDS church, we often get caught up in the idea that we are "special." We take pride in the truth that you find in the church. However, this idea of being special can be taken in the wrong direction as well. In this book, these ideas are explored. We see how we can balance our pride and our true value as a child of God. This can lead us to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.
I was very intrigued by the premise of this book, and I was not disappointed in the reading of it. I find that our feelings of being special or unique as members of this church can sometimes be off-putting to others. This book helped to clarify that. It separates the truth that we are special and beloved children of God and the lie that we are unique and special in and of ourselves. This lie is really a strong example of pride, and this is where the problem lies. The book separates the different lines of thought into four basic quadrants based on whether they believe the truth of being special children of God and/or believe the lie that we are special in a more worldly way. It then goes through and studies each of these quadrants in depth.
I found myself really reflecting on where I stand. As is mentioned in this book, most people slide through many quadrants at any given time as we work through the things in our lives. I was really inspired by this book. I found myself recognizing that I spend way too much time in one quadrant concentrating on my flaws to excess almost. I need to work to find my unique divine nature while still finding a way to maintain humility in a worldly sense. I found this book answering questions that I didn't even know I had. This book is a fairly quick read, and I highly recommend it. I think that it will help people to see where they are good and where they go wrong, and this will then help us all to become better disciples of Christ.
Book provided for review.
By David, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is a great book. I really enjoyed what I found to be a very practical approach to overcoming some of life’s challenges and in becoming a better disciple of Christ. I found the authors’ personal experiences with their own challenges and successes in focusing on becoming more like our Savior to be extremely helpful. I can now better recognize my own “Pharisee” tendencies and strive to see others as Christ and our Heavenly Father do.
By Lana, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I cannot recommend this book enough. A must read for parents, youth leaders and anyone exposed to media (in short, everyone). Reber and Moody dare to challenge the culture of "specialness." They take a close look at what drives humans to want to feel "special," while providing both spiritual and scientific evidence for how this trap can lead to self-destructive behavior. The book is written in a clear, easy to understand manner, yet there is plenty of deep, thought-provoking material that will keep you thinking long after you close the page. If you want to improve your life, or know someone who wants to take their life in a healthier direction, this is the book to read. Ten stars!!!
By Edwin, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is truly a unique and important book, and I am very pleased to see Deseret Book publish it. The authors bring to bear their considerable intelligence and wisdom, as well as extensive training in the social sciences, to examine a host of profound problems that we face as Latter-day Saints -- though we seldom recognize just how profound the problems are or how fully we are enmeshed in them. Though the issues are complex and multifaceted, the authors' style is straightforward, engaging, and sincere. I read the book over the course of a weekend -- I was quite literally unable to put it down. I have recommended it to many friends and family -- something I would not do unless I was absolutely convinced of the books value and importance. Reber and Moody are to be commended. The LDS community definitely needs more books of this quality, insight, and spiritual substance. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.
By Jenna, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The ideas in this book changed my views on so many things. I have a deeper understanding of God's love for me and know that we are all special because God loves us individually and personally. The book has made me realize that I can see others through his eyes and have more empathy and understanding for others. I also really related to the void idea and how we all try to fill it in different ways. The idea of the four quadrants was well explained and hit home for me. I highly recommend that every member of the church read this book!
By Benjamin , Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book engaged me and sucked me in. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about the ideas in it. Since I've finished, I often catch myself saying, "You're being a Pharisee," or, "How would this situation be different if I was being more in relation to Christ?" This book will challenge any latter-day saint on their motivations for and assumptions about salvation and exaltation. As a result, it's a humbling read, because it gets at our most self-centered motivations for living the gospel, even if those are unconscious to us at the moment. I'm grateful for many of the realizations I got while reading this book, and the insights I've gotten even since I've read the book while pondering my daily activities. I feel like what the book has done for me is given me a framework to learn how to live the gospel more consistently as Christ would have me live it.
I have learned recently of the need to be in relation to Christ as primary and fundamental, even over that of following doctrines and principles rigidly as the Pharisees, who were so caught up in the law, that they didn't come to know Christ, which is life eternal (John 17:3). I teach at the MTC and notice often that missionaries try to separate their talents and abilities to teach with their ability to help others feel the spirit. However, afer reading this, I'm trying to help them realize that they are with Christ always, and that He is constantly with them and always has been.
By MaryEllen, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I highly recommend this book and I loved reading it! I am so grateful for the wisdom it provided. This book truly helped me to want to be a better person in so many different ways. It will help change anyone’s perspective to be more compassionate, empathetic, or just a better human being for that matter. It is so easy to get sidetracked by everyday life and forget what this life is really all about. We are all “special” children of a loving Heavenly Father and what an inspiring book to help us all remember that. Fantastic writing had me wanting more, bravo to the authors!
By Robert, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Really good book. I loved the way Reber and Moody present western society's obsession with egoism and the "culture of special" as well as the Pharisee-like inclinations amongst some members. Their modern references, psychological principles and quotes from the brethren blend well and offer fresh insight. Most importantly, I felt like the instruction and motivation provided about pursuing a more ego-less path to discipleship helped. Their insight on perfection from the lens of counselors who have worked with addicts also felt dead-on and needed. Great book, highly recommended.
By Jinky, Submitted on 2015-02-25
My copy of this book is all marked up and frankly, stained with tears. I found it to be very insightful, edifying, hopeful, and especially caring. It not only provided the "what" to thought processes but the "why" and so I came out of the read armed with the power of knowledge that can help me succeed in truly filling the "void". Such power came from the scriptural and prophetic words that were cited. The author's personal examples also strengthened my understanding. Overall, my spirit felt the truth of the admonition that were being conveyed. God's message of love radiated in this book and seeped to my heart. It was and is an amazing feeling. Read this book and you will feel it too. Moving, truthful, and empowering ..period.
*Paperback copy provided by authors in exchange for an honest review.