Letters to a Young Mormon

LettersCover_FINALI published a new book called Letters to a Young Mormon (Maxwell, 2014). It’s very small and very personal. You should read it.

I wrote the book as a series of letters intended for my own children. My oldest is thirteen now and my boys are nine and seven. (The hour already seems late.)

I’m a writer and so I wanted to write something for them. I wanted to give them something tangible they could hold, mark, and crease. I wanted to give them something they could give to their kids.

I wanted to give them something to help them understand why I’m still trying – with all my weakness and wondering – to give my life both to God and to Mormonism.

Though the book is written for my children, it treats them as adults. (This is, I think, something we do too rarely, even with adults.) It talks in a grownup way about grownup things. I tried to cover both the things they’ll need to know now and the things they may need to know later. I wanted to give them both things to be used and things to be remembered.

The book doesn’t try to soft-pedal the troubles that will come to them with being hungry and lonely and mortal and it doesn’t try to sand down the rough edges of Mormon culture and history. Rather, the book tries to show these troubles in a different light. It tries to model a perspective that doesn’t deny or expunge their difficulty but cares for them as life’s inevitable companions.

This shift in perspective is introduced a line at a time in each of the book’s letters. Given this, I don’t recommend reading the book piecemeal or only in parts. It’s not that kind of thing.

I try to speak directly and with my own voice. Unlike some of my professional work as a philosopher, this book isn’t academic or technical or vague. It is filled with very practical advice about love, hunger, faith, prayer, scripture, sex, the temple, etc. and I return constantly to very concrete and personal examples drawn from my own life.

Most of all, the book is faithful. Though some might suggest otherwise, it bleeds testimony.

I know because the blood is mine.

You’ll have to make your own decisions about this book. It may be of more value to some than to others.

But for my part, I think you should read it. I think you should give it to your kids. And, even better, I think you should read it with them.


Here’s a link to the Maxwell Institute press release.

Here are links to the currently available reviews:

Neylan McBaine, “A Grateful Mother of Young Mormons

EOR, “Letters to a Young Mormon: A Review

Trevor Holyoak, “Book Review: Letters to a Young Mormon

Chris Henrichsen, “A Letter to My Young Mormon


10 comments for “Letters to a Young Mormon

  1. Christopher Bradford
    January 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I’d love to get this on Kindle.

  2. Jax
    January 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    My oldest (of 6) is 11 and I’m constantly asking, in Sunday School and/or Priesthood, about parenting advice from the older members. I almost never actually get an answer. I don’t know if they think I’m not serious in my request for advice or if they feel they did such a poor job parenting that advice from them has no value.

    So I’d LOVE to read parenting advice from other LDS members about how they approach topics with their children. I’m glad you filled this need. Thank You!

    I’m glad to see your list of topics doesn’t avoid “taboo” items like sex, but do you also cover items on other hard to approach topics like bullying, school violence, terrorism, etc, that might not be “church” topics but that need to be talked about??

  3. Bradley
    January 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Just ordered it off Amazon. Very excited. Thanks Adam.

  4. January 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Jax, those other hard topics are not within the purvey of the book. It is only 78 pages in length. Those may be some interesting ideas for future books in the series.

  5. Adam Miller
    January 15, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    The Kindle version should be available in a couple weeks.

  6. jks
    January 16, 2014 at 3:59 am

    It sounds interesting. I wish I could read an excerpt before purchasing.

  7. Adam Miller
    January 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

    There will be an excerpt available soon. I’ll try to post a link here when it shows up.

  8. Adam Miller
    January 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Here’s a link to an excerpt posted at the FAIR blog.

  9. January 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I love this book.

  10. January 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    What a fantastic, fantastic book. Thank you for this.

Comments are closed.