Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Great Gatsby Film Adaptations Review

When I went to my library, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I found a TV film adaptation of The Great Gatsby on the shelf. Then when I went to place a hold on the Leonardo DiCaprio version, I stumbled upon a 1974 version. So naturally I put a hold on that one and watched it too!

Review #1: 2000 Made for TV Mira Sorvino, Toby Stephens and Paul Rudd, 90 minutes
It was a really great adaptation. It lacked the great music of the time and had a sparse sound track, but the actors were great doppleganger's of my imagination as I had read it. Especially Wolfsheim! The only actor who didn't quite meet my imagination was of Gatsby himself. He seemed a little overdone and didn't quite pull off the "old sport" phrase as easily as I imagined it should have. But then, you COULD have interpreted it as Gatsby using the phrase in a more forced "I made this my catch phrase when I came into this new identity" which I could see and appreciate that. There was only one deviation from the book that was noticeable to me, and that's how he got the Gatsby name. I liked the flashbacks to when he first met Daisy. The accident with Myrtle was quite grotesque and detailed. Overall, I really liked it. Especially the actor who played Tom, he completely embodied everything in his air and countenance that I would have suspected in Tom as well as matching the physique. While it wasn't the most detailed and left out several minor details, Nick and Jordan's relationship was definitely one of the focuses, which I think is important.

Second: 1974 starring Mia Farrow as Daisy and Robert Redford as Gatsby. 143 minutes

LOVED Robert Redford's job of Gatsby. I thought he got the "old sport" just right and the really good balance between debonaire and incredulity of Daisy coming back into his life. I felt Daisy was a bit overdone. I know she seemed really over the top in the book, but the acting just was a bit too much for me. Jordan Baker and Nick's relationship wasn't really explored at all in this adaptation, which is weird because it contained more details from the book which I really liked. However, they also took more liberties with it as well. For instance, there are only supposed to be TWO gunshots heard at the end. In this one, Wilson shoots Gatsby several times before ending his own life. Totally unnecessary. There weren't any flashbacks to when Daisy and Gatsby first met (but there also wasn't a visualization flashback of the accident with Myrtle either). I thought that Tom was a little scrawny for what I imagined, but he definitely had the self absorbed conceited part down. The other thing is that all the guys were always so SWEATY. I mean, I KNOW in the book it talks often about how hot the summer was, but the girls were NEVER sweaty and the guys faces always seemed dripping with moisture. I didn't know how to take it. The music in this one was absolutely great! Although with all the great music of the roaring 20s, they seemed to only really feature one style-the Dixieland Band on the cusp of evolving to jazz. Likewise the soundtrack was better than the TV version. 

Third: 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio, Carrey Mulligan. 143 minutes

I have to say I was disappointed in this film adaptation. Being the LONGESt adaptation I thought for SURE they wouldn't leave ANYTHING out. Yet the Owl man was left out. Other than DiCaprio's remarkably good interpretation as Gatsby, and truly amazing music, and Macguire's VERY convincing role as Nick, I felt that the others interpreted the rolls differently than me. Also, there wasn't nearly as much development in the relationship between Nick and Jordan that I felt was important to the story and Nick's outcome. Oddly enough, if you're all about making the film mirror the literature as much as possible, the made for TV version-probably with the lowest budget-is my favorite version. If you're looking for pure entertainment while keeping MOST of the story's integrity, DiCaprio's is best. The only great thing about Robert Redford's adaptation is Redford himself.

The Selection/The Prince, Kiera Cass

3 out of 5 so far.

This is the Bachelor set in a post-apocalyptic America. After America was taken over by China (because we owed them too much and couldn't pay it back and after we were defeated by the Chinese and they realized we were beyond bankrupt, they became the American State of China and were puppeteered by China), Russia attempted to invade both China's mainland and the American State of China in which Gregory Illea was able to lead to our independence from China once again. Not wanting the tainted name of America, the land was re-Christianed Illea. A monarchy state. The way it works is that any princess born to the royal family would be married to another country for alliance purposes (very old fashioned for such a futuristic time), the Princes when they become of age, have a lottery drawing of 35 young women within a certain age range chosen at random to come to the palace to see if they could become the new princess of Illea.

The society is organized by birthright into castes One-Eight. These castes determine which professions you are allowed to pursue and how much monetary gain you will most likely attain. Ones are royalty (and clergy). Twos are military and celebrities, Threes are the inventors, thinkers, teachers, Fours farmers and business owners, Fives classical musicians, artists, sculptors, Sixes are maids and office clerks, Sevens manual laborers, Eights are orphans who can't verify birth caste, homeless, drug addicts, and physical and mentally handicapped (this detailed explanation is found in the deleted material edited out for one reason or another but found on Kiera Cass's website).

America Singer, our protagonist is a Five. She is an accomplished classical musician who sings beautifully and plays many different instruments with passion. I like this. I can relate-since I am a classical musician myself :-) She's already decided The Selection is bogus and the Prince is shallow, but her mom REALLY wants her to go. For one, every week America is away as part of the Selection, their family gets a check of compensation. That money is badly needed. And for anther, if she can become the Princess, her whole family is elevated to the status of a One. But there's one glitch. She's already in love with someone else.

*sigh* So this book predictable STARTS OUT having a love triangle. I am so OVER love triangles! But if that is the POINT of these stories, then maybe I can handle it. The Prince Novella is basically the beginning of The Selection from Prince Maxon's viewpoint. Much the same what Midnight Sun is to Twilight. Many interesting things are learned from being inside the palace. Like just how everyone has a hunch that the Selection isn't as random as they think? Well, they're right.

But I AM curious to see how things play out. There are two rebel groups against the Royal Family. One that seems to be constantly looking for something (breaking into the palace and ransacking things but never taking anything) and one who just keeps attempting to get in. We (the reader) don't know what either group wants yet. I assume we'll get to know more. But we DO find out that as Maxon cares for America, his eyes are opened to the society outside his walls that he's been sheltered from. Because America's caste is so low, she is aware of everyone even lower. She describes the hunger that drives a boy to steal food-and then be whipped for the crime. Based on that, Maxon creates a new policy for a Food Assistance program for anyone in castes Five, Six, Seven or Eight, where they may go to get at least one complete meal in the evenings. So good things are happening. And I hope MORE good things like this happen because he will become more aware of the "working class."

I have Book 2, The Elite (the top 10 Selected....although there is a slight change to that number at the end of Book 1) on hold at the library and will get it soon. There is another Novella (The Guard....cuz you know it wouldn't be a love triangle if America's Love Interest #1 didn't happen to show up at the Palace right smack dab in the middle of the Selection where she was SO determined NOT to like Prince Maxon but found in getting to know him that maybe he's not so bad after all) so I'm gonna assume it's from HIS point of view, which I'll probably read after The Elite, and the final book in the series is The One, which comes out in May.

Decent writing and likable characters, I just think I'm turned off by the whole Love Triangle thing. I feel like it gives girls false ideals of how their love lives should go. Growing up, I was ecstatic when finally ONE BOY showed romantic interest in me. But because I never seemed to manage to get anyone else (whom I was also attracted to) to be interested in me romantically, I had a false idea that the ONE guy who liked me would be the ONLY guy to EVER like me. So I clung to that. Probably too hard. Luckily I met my husband (who happens to be maybe the THIRD guy to show true interest in me that was more than fleeting). But it still sometimes haunts me, because literature like this (not to mention the other media outlets of tv shows and movies, etc et all), show that beautiful, likable, lovable women are desired and pursued by at LEAST two men at the same time. So OBVIOUSLY if I never found myself in such a predicament where I had to be the one to CHOOSE which guy to be with, something was lacking for me in the beautiful, likable or lovable part of me.

BUT if you look at this book from a strict entertainment value, I stand by my 3 out of 5 rating still. We will see where it goes politically....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Son, Lois Lowry

The final book in The Giver Quartet. I will describe this book in one word:


I am amazed at my luck finishing this book on Good Friday. The banishment of Evil and the powers of Evil over mankind in this book mirror my Easter beliefs of Christ banishing the effects of Evil forever with the Atonement and Resurrection.

This book DOES bring everything and everyone full circle. I only have one big question that was left unanswered-but it was about the Community in which Jonas grew up in and not relevant to the characters we know and love from the series. So I understand why it's not there, but I do still wonder about them....

Anyhow, the time frame of this book is also different. The other three have been sequential and chronological. This one is different, but I don't want to say how, because the mind blowing event when I figured it out was incredible, and I want everyone else to figure that out too.

The other difference is that this one is in split narrative looking in at different characters from their vantage point. This was definitely necessary, but I became concerned with the characters that were NOT the current voice sometimes and felt like I needed to know what they were thinking but couldn't.

We meet one new "main" protagonist, and that is Claire. She opens the book with her experience in the Community, having been assigned "Birthmother" at her Ceremony of Twelve. And my hunch of conception being through artificial insemination was solidified. The Pills that everyone takes seems to take away any human nature characteristic towards caring for one another in any more than a superficial way, along with other tactics are how Birthmother's are prevented from becoming attached to their Product (the baby, is ALWAYS referred to as the Product, given a number and referred to as an It for the Birthmother's sake). Through a series of very unusual events, Claire ends up fleeing the Community, making her the 3rd person we're aware of who has left that particular populace, since we know Jonas fled with Gabe in The Giver. I can't say WHY Claire leaves without spoiling it, so I won't.

Claire leaves by boat, though, and somehow ends up washed ashore in a different community, a rather simple one without electricity or anything, and she has no memory of anything but her name. She meets Alys, an older woman who knows of medicinal herbs and does the midwifing for the women. She has never married or had children of her own and takes Claire in as a daughter until Claire remembers more and needs to move on.

Trademaster makes a re-appearance. He was banished from Jonas' new dwelling community-after Matty relinquished his life in order to heal the earth and all the people from the Evil that had taken over. But he makes a trade that is more cruel than any we've seen so far. The only person who can stop him is Gabe. Yay! Gabe is back in the picture! He's been thriving in the community Jonas brought him to, although growing up in a society where families love one another, he can't comprehend the society Jonas saved him from and feels incomplete not knowing anything about his mother. He too, has a gift, but his is one of empathy and understanding. He calls it "veering" when he veers into another, he sees and feels things as that person does. For instance, he recalls an instance when he veered into Mentor, the school teacher and upon feeling Mentor's passion of learning, knowledge, and love of his students and desire for them to succeed, and from that time forth put much better effort into his studies. Basically, Gabe could know and feel EXACTLY what you know and feel about anything and therefore have a PERFECT knowledge and understanding of what you are going through. Perfect empathy. Using this ability to gain understanding an insight, he is the only hope for permanently banishing Evil for his community and reversing any remaining damages.

Being Christian, I immediately drew parallels from Christ and Gabe. Whether this was intentional or not, on the part of the author, I don't know. But I do know that it was very meaningful for me and my belief set. Christ does not have to "veer" into us, but in the Garden of Gethsemane, he DID experience a similar process, although we cannot begin to comprehend how, where He experienced ALL of EVERY HUMAN BEINGS physical and emotional pains, sufferings, elations, happiness, sorrow, sins, guilt, success, embarrassment, adulation, depression, grief, any emotion you can think of, He experienced it there. Why? So He could have a perfect understanding and knowledge of what we have been, are going through, or ever will encounter. He even knew Evil-Satan, and understood the anguish of a damned soul, enough to pity him, but not enough to let him take over humankind. If we accept Christ as the vanquisher of Evil, then Evil will have no place in our hearts and "no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo" (Helaman 5:12) Through the power of the atonement, any thing Evil in our lives CAN be reversed. Leave no trace.  18 Come now, and let us areason together, saith the Lord: though your bsins be as scarlet, they shall be as cwhite as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

I am more than satisfied with the ending. The people had vanquished Evil before and rebuilt a better community-and the most important part-they did so WILLINGLY and WITHOUT FORCE. You cannot force people to be good or to be charitable or giving or welcoming. It must be a choice. Otherwise it's not genuine. But sometimes we cannot vanquish Evil from our presence permenantly all on our own. We need someone else. Someone who is not only willing, but able. Someone with a gift and the purpose to do so.

While this book was longer than the others, and at times seemed frustrating and a bit slow, every bit in there was necessary to build the story, to make everything more poignant. There are parts that are horrifying and parts that are healing. It was absolutely beautiful and full of hope. Have a GOOD Good Friday to all!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Messenger, Lois Lowry

Book 3
SUPER fast read, I read it in a day, it's under 200 pages.

This story takes Matt-now Matty as protagonist. He is now living in Village instead of his birthplace (where Kira is still at) with Seer, a blind man. Apparently, Forest is not friendly to everyone and it has a life of its own. And a mind of its own too. It has been known to give Warnings to people-roots or sticks or rocks actually moving of their own accord to hit, trip or poke someone. If you get a Warning, you NEVER go back into Forest because Forest will strangle unwelcome people. Matty has never had a Warning and seems to be able to have a natural ability to navigate through Forest, and thus he becomes a messenger for Leader (the leader of the village) whenever communication is required.

Village is a great place to live, everyone helps everyone else, handicaps are revered and accepted. This is a town built of rejects from other harsh societies. However, something has been happening to change the people. The Trade Market is no longer a market where goods are traded back and forth so much, but people trade themselves for things or favors. I honestly think this doesn't mean prostitution in any way, but you are never truly sure. The only explanation is that they "trade their deepest self" which might be akin to "selling your soul"? Perhaps? It creates fighting and unwelcome attitudes. In fact, a group of people want to close the borders to Village and not allow anyone else to come in and be a part of their society.

So I wasn't sure if this was going to be an anti-immigration plot, which I suppose many could read it as such-and let me go on record here, I am NOT and never have been against immigration. I AM however, against ILLEGAL immigration. I understand we have a desirable country and things, but please do things right and be here legally. If I wanted to live in any other country, I'd have to have the necessary Visa's and paperwork and if I wanted to become a citizen of another country, I'd have to go through legal processes to do so. I expect to be required to do those things or be deported, so I expect people to be respectful of that here as well.

Anyhow, I don't think it was necessarily an anti-immigration plot, but an anti-SELFISHNESS plot. As the people grew more and more unwelcoming, so did Forest. It was proportionately more dangerous in relation to how the people viewed and treated one another. The people began to be vain, valuing physical appearances. People traded away pieces of themselves in exchange for their handicaps or deformations or birthmarks to disappear in order to catch others attentions or to be "better" when reality is who you are in on the inside and how you treat others is of greater worth. One family trades something unknown to get a Gaming Machine. Basically it's like a slot machine but instead of money, when your symbols match, you get a piece of candy. Getting things creates greed for MORE things, so much so that parents stop treating their children with love and care and treating them like an irritant or burden. This book was published in 2004 and I can definitely say that the themes resound with our society-and any first world society at that.

Matty has a gift that can heal, and in order to heal the people, he heals the Earth. I'm not sure what the message there is, maybe the Earth is more willing to be healed? Maybe how we treat Earth has a direct correlation with how we treat humanity? Or just that everything in our eco-system is intertwined in a way we can't even comprehend. So I'm not sure what the author intended for us to take from that. But the ending for me was quite unexpected, rather abrupt, and I'm still in shock. There is an ultimate sacrifice. I was ok with that type of sacrifice at the end of another book.....but with this one, I didn't. I really didn't. BUT, it can be a bit metaphoric from a Christian stand point. Christ shouldn't have had to pay an ultimate sacrifice, it wasn't fair, he wasn't part of the problem, but He did. Why? So He could heal us. He could help us turn ourselves around to learn to be kind to ALL of His creations. So maybe that's the lesson I can bring away from it.

One thing that bothered me quite a bit, though: ****SPOILER ALERT*****
Leader is Jonas from The Giver. It is obvious by his blue eyes, and by the story that he came to Village as a boy on a red sled which is displayed and revered. BUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BABY?? Gabriel, or Gabe, I think they called him. Jonas smuggled him out to prevent him from being Released. But we NEVER hear of him in this entire book! That bugs me. And I'm not entirely sure that the final book in the quartet is going to mention him at all either, because you're back in Jonas' old community and the protagonist is a Birthmother who-against the rules-becomes attached to her son. So I'm not sure, but I've got it on hold at the library and we shall see.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fablehaven Rise of the Evening Star, Brandon Mull

Book 2 in the series.

Kendra and Seth have been home from their first visit to Fablehaven for awhile now and are nearing the end of the school year. Kendra has increased confidence from her experience and Seth has new perspective. Sort of. He's still pretty young. Anyhow, a threat enters their lives and Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson request the help of the kids in helping "care for the grounds" since Grandpa fell off the roof and can't do as much. Well, truth it, the Society of the Evening Star is after the Relic hidden on Fabelhaven's grounds.

Kendra finds she has more powers bestowed upon her by the Fairies after they kissed her that help her with things. Seth is still fairly reckless, but DOES show a little more caution.

In order to remove the relic and give it a new home, new characters are introduced. Coulter, an older man who has been friends with the Sorenson's forever, Tanu a large friendly Samoan man whose talent is in obtaining and mixing powerful potions, and Vanessa a beautiful, stealthy woman who has a penchant for breeding her own magical creatures and harnessing magical powers from them when possible. But someone is a double agent. Kendra and Seth are left to fend for themselves and save Fablehaven once again.

Once again, Seth is reckless-but this time he also uses reason and deduction and knowledge from previously learning closely. Kendra also shows extra courage she didn't know she had.

This book also discusses feminism in a small degree, as Coulter simply refuses to allow Kendra to come on a mission because she is a girl. But his reasonings are out of respect-he doesn't feel like women should be subjected to certain things, and that way of thinking is admirable. Although Kendra (who admits she wouldn't want to go if given the choice) just wants to HAVE the choice. This could bring up a lot of good conversations, about how some things are gender discrimination and how some things are genuine respect and how to tell the difference-whether or not you agree with it. Coulter wasn't doing it JUST because of her gender, he TRULY wanted to protect her from things he felt wouldn't be good for her to see because of the nature of the female character. Like it or not, some things ARE genuinely wired differently in males and females.

It also brings up the issue of how you can know if you can trust someone or not. Sometimes the people you SHOULDN'T trust are the ones who give you the most reasons that you SHOULD trust them. But Kendra and Seth are young and haven't learned yet. Heck, I'm in my 30s and I'm STILL trying to learn who I can trust or not-and when I find I CAN trust someone, I have to figure out to what DEGREE are they trustworthy.

All in all, I was a little less annoyed with Seth. I didn't see some of the twists coming at all, and I enjoyed it. The book leaves with a HUGE cliffhanger ending making you question just about everything you THINK you know about this world. So while it's taking a bit more time to suck me in than other series, it's definitely reeling me in now!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue is the second companion book in The Giver Quartet. In this book, it is not apparent at all that it is related in any way to anyone in The Giver. But it gives a glimpse into another futuristic (yet without futuristic technology-in a similar way to The Giver) society. This one is one where people fend for themselves, girls and women are denied literacy by law, there is very little love even between parent-child relationships and definitely little love between husband/wife relationships. The naming system is interested, when you are first born, your spirit has not yet come to you, but once it does, you are given a one syllable name. When you hit puberty, your name turns into a 2 syllable name, when you are of a parenting age I believe, you get to 3 syllables and if you are very old, it's 4. It seems they just keep adding on. For instance, Tom becomes Tomas and could morph to something else like Tomasen. Ann becomes Anna, Annabell and finally Annabella. Anyone who becomes useless to society for whatever reason is left in The Field to be taken by Beasts.

Our main character Kira is introduced to us in mourning her mother's death from illness. Her father was taken by Beasts before her birth. Kira is different because she was born with a crippled leg. They wanted to take her as an infant (before her spirit came to her) and put her in the Field, but since her mother, Katrina, knew that without a husband she wouldn't have any more children, she defied law and promised that her daughter would never become a burden to society and was allowed to keep the child. Katrina is a fine weaver, one of the only members of society who knows how to dye thread and to repair the only real elaborate material the community posesses-the Singer's robe. The Singer's robe has embroidered scenes from the history of the world. It details everything from the Creation (as modern Christian's would describe it) to the Ruin (destruction of our current society, I presume) and up to the current society's time. Every year, there is a Gathering and the community assembles to listen to the Singer sing the song and remember. The only building left from after the Ruin appears to be a Christian church of some sort, with stained glass windows and the Worship Object (a cross) to which everyone bows because before the Ruin it was considered to have some sort of magical quality.

When Kira becomes orphaned, because she's learned her mother's trade-and has become an even better weaver than her mother was (a natural knack) instead of being taken to the Field she is given a new place with the leaders with the role of repairing and creating new scenes for the blank spots on the Singer's robe. There she is introduced to such novelties as running water and hot water, meals brought to her, her washing done for her. She meets Tomas the Carver who's job it is to update the Singer's Staff where it has worn down and smoothed over and to add upon some blank spots as well. He too had been orphaned, but at a much younger age. Kira takes lessons on dying from Annabella, the same woman who taught her mother. But there is no blue. "Blue be yonder" Annabella tells her and points. Kira's young friend Matt sees. One day Matt disappears and leaves-he wants to find Blue for Kira.

Little clues are dropped here and there about the more sinister side of the society. WHY are Kira and Tomas both orphans? As well as a small girl who has a magical voice and is being trained as the next Singer. Why is there always fighting and no one helping one another out? In spite of being treated better than ever in her life, Kira feels trapped. She is not allowed to make the weavings that come naturally because they tell her what to do. If she wants to work on her own things, it must be done before or after work time hours. Their creative artistry is being stripped and contained to what the community's leaders want.

In the end, Kira is very aware of her circumstances and she has an understanding of what her society means. She has an opportunity to leave, but just as The Giver chose to stay behind to help the people deal with the Memories Jonas left behind, Kira makes a conscious decision to stay. She wants to attempt to help fix the society for better before abandoning it. I can understand both sides of feeling she is crazy for staying, but admiring her for not abandoning the others who would be left to still fend for themselves. But she knows at the end that her society isn't the only community of people on the Earth and that they all don't live the same way-that they can choose to be different; to be better. And she wants to try to be a part of that positive change.

It was a good-quick read. Not very long. It went a little slow, and while I had my suspicions about things, Lowry does a pretty good job of not letting you in on things until Kira figures it out for herself. I am not a fan of figuring things out BEFORE the character does (since then I get annoyed that the character can't figure it out). I've read that the 3rd book in the quartet is going to bring characters from The Giver and Gathering Blue together, so I've already got it on hold at the library!

I read the back cover excerpt and OH MY GOSH IT JUST HIT ME. Where Jonas comes in-not by name-but I just figured it out. Bomb drop. Can't believe I didn't catch it while I was reading it, especially since I read the two so close together and knew they were supposed to connect somehow. Crazy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Women and the Priesthood, What One Mormon Woman Believes; Sheri Dew

For some reason it's getting harder and harder to find image URLs that will imbed in my posts. Anyway, luckily I found this really nice one someone somewhere staged :-)

Obviously a religious book. It focuses on the Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints and the not new but fairly re-invigorated movement of women not being eligible for Priesthood Ordination through the organization Ordain Women.org...

Needless to say it's considered a "hot topic" and while I personally have never had the desire for official ordination, I do have friends who feel conflict or confusion over this matter. I have been to the group's page and read their FAQs and feel I have a fairly decent understanding of the main body. I also, however, feel there is a sub-group who don't fully support all that the O.W. group do and are simply riding on their coat tails but have their own agenda, which is unfortunate.

Anyhow, I have far too many quotes from this book that made a HUGE impact on my understanding to be legal to post on a blog, I'm sure. But what I will say is that I learned a LOT. I learned a lot about what the Priesthood is, how to understand it more fully, and how as a woman who has been to the temple, I actually have SO much more than I ever realized in terms of Priesthood access. I had personal revelation given to me while reading this book. I feel that Sheri Dew, as usual, does not sugar coat anything, but gives enlightenment with many, many references and examples to illustrate her point. She is very candid in her approach, yet also sensitive. I have been inspired to do a lot of my own searching for understanding, because as one quote illustrates: Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: "This doctrine of priesthood-unknown to the world and but little known even in the Church-cannot be learned out of the scriptures alone. It is not set forth in the sermons and teachings of the prophets and Apostles, except in small measure. The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation. It comes, line up on line, and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who love and serve God with all their heart, might, mind and strength.....Priesthood is power like none other on earth or in heaven." Page 104

And just a couple more quotes that had a large impact on my perception and understanding:

When all is said and done, as stated earlier, people of faith must have faith that the Lord has organized His Church according to His will, that He knows best what will lead all of us toward exaltation, that He is the one who determines those who will hold priesthood keys, and that He is the one who inspires them to use those keys according to His will. Page 124

If the Lord's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man and it is; if His entire purpose is to help us ultimately live where He lives and become as He is, and it is; thens surely in His infinite wisdom and perfect love, He has given His children-both men and women- the gifts, privileges assignments, and challenges they need to learn to walk by faith and to eventually become exalted beings. (82)

This post is not a start of a debate. It is a book review of one woman's perspective and my reaction to it and how it helped me come to my own understanding of things. I am neither condoning nor condemning the ordain women movement. Should the doctrine ever change for women's formal ordination, I would support it. Should the doctrine NEVER change for women's formal ordination, I would fully support it. I have faith and a testimony that the Lord is in charge of His church and that what Sheri said about having all the necessary components of life needed for exaltation are available to me right now. I also have faith and a testimony in the Living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson and feel that he is a loving man of God who has heard many petitions from various members of the Church and society and does not simply ignore anyone, no matter how "silly" anyone may view their plight (the guy in England who wanted to sue him? I have a pretty strong personal opinion that President Monson was most likely aware of it and most likely prayed for that individual when the rest of us just called him crazy for attempting to bring such a flimsy case to a court system).

Part of the reason I feel this way is because of the pattern of previous revelation-usually when policy changes are announced, it is met with surprise-like the changing of the missionary age. I bet there have been people who have written letters about it (particularly women who didn't want to wait until 21 and wanted to have a better chance to serve a mission AND get married at a younger age so they could also start a family with less of a time table ticking-just my personal thoughts), but we NEVER heard mention of any such letters. There was never an on-going update such as "Yes, we're just letting you know we've received several letters about such and such issue and we are still praying about it and waiting for an answer, we haven't forgotten or ignored you." It just happened. Without much fanfare. Based on this, I am confident in our leaders and in the Lord and will continue with faith to live my faith.