"A Princess Story" and book club!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be starting a book club! We will be reading non-fiction, Christ-centered books. At this point I am envisioning maybe 3-4 books for the year to read on our own then come together to discuss. There will be an online option to join the discussion for those who want to participate, but don't live in northern Utah. Please invite anyone, no matter where they live, whom you think might be interested in joining us!

I am even more thrilled to tell you about the first book we will be reading!!! It is the second book written by my dear friend, Jaci Wightman. She will be joining us for the discussion, which will be the end of March or beginning of April. If you are interested in joining, start reading soon because there are additional study sections after each chapter. One in particular will be best to take your time through. Watch for the date soon! We are in for a treat because she has written a guest post for us below.  

UPDATE: We will be getting together the evening of ***THURSDAY, MARCH 31*** to discuss this book!
But first, let me just tell you really quickly about my experience with this powerful woman of light. I have known Jaci for about eight years and she was been one of those pivotal people for shaping me into the woman I am today. Five years ago I sat in her Gospel Doctrine classes in our ward back in Rexburg. I was on the edge of my seat! I had never heard the gospel preached that way before. For the first time there were no holes, no "the gospel is over there and my messy life is over here" preaching. She is a master scriptorian, yet so down to earth and presents the gospel in relatable terms. I would literally go home and search LDS.org trying to figure out where this was coming from. I knew what she was saying was true, I just couldn't quite wrap my mind around what she was saying because growing up as a member of the church, many of my introductions to doctrine had been watered down and laden with social doctrine fluff. :) I can see clearly that she was sent on my path to prepare me. Jaci, and many other dear ones in the ward, were critical in their own way to point me to Christ. Jaci was the means God used in my life to bring the gospel to life from something sterile to something meaningful and obtainable. As our lives began to fell apart towards the end of that year. Once I quit fighting it and realized that THIS was the application of having Christ in my personal life and what it looked like in my own situation and circumstances, the struggle became minimal to move forward. It was like her teaching had created in me a frame-work that once I took the first step, the next steps instantly kicked in. Jaci speaks as one who has struggled, yet has overcome with Christ. In her book, she walks us through each step and continually points us to the one who gives all the details and strength to move forward in our own personal journey. She lays out mysteries of God in all their power, yet delightfully and simply enough that this book is appropriate for young women (but also women, women as well). The audience is for women; however, my husband has read parts of it with me and I would recommend for ANYONE seeking to understand God's great plan of happiness better.

In President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s popular Conference talk, “Your Happily Ever After,” he lavished young women with words that I’m sure were music to their ears:

You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now (Ensign, May 2010).

What girl (or woman for that matter) doesn’t love being told she’s a princess? It’s the stuff dreams are made of. After all, our world today is enamored with the idea of being a member of royalty.  Just walk through Walmart and you’ll find princesses plastered on everything from toothbrushes to T-shirts to tennis shoes. And don’t forget all the images of Princess Kate staring back at us while we wait our turn in the checkout line. I believe that’s the reason President Uchtdorf ‘s talk was so beloved—because he took all that princess hoopla and made it real. To think that we as daughters of God are princesses in our own right is pretty heady stuff.

And yet, as inspiring as that idea may seem, the scriptures actually throw a hitch into all the princess hype. For one thing, the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that Christ “so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons [and daughters] of God” (D&C 34:3, see also 11:30, 35:2, 45:8). And Alma also talks about our need to be “changed…[and] redeemed of God, [thus] becoming his sons and daughters” (Mosiah 27:25). The word become means to be changed or transformed into something, so if we really are princesses like President Uchtdorf said, why would the scriptures say we need to “become” daughters of God? Why the need to be transformed into something we already are? It just doesn’t make any sense.

I wrote A Princess Story to answer that very question. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to understand our divine, royal heritage, but the truth is that that’s only the beginning of our story. It’s just the first scene. In order to fully comprehend who we are and who we must become, we’ve got to move past that introductory scene and explore the rest of the story. I know many of us think we know the gospel backwards and forwards, but I’d like to introduce you to a whole new way of looking at it. I hope to convince you that, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, each of us has been swept up in a real-life fairy tale, complete with a princess and her prince, an evil villain, an awful monster, an epic battle, and a daring rescue. In other words, all those classic princess movies have jumped right off the movie screen and into our personal lives. All we need to do is open our eyes to see it, and we can embrace the adventure with all the passion and enthusiasm we can possibly muster.  (If all this seems a little too far-fetched for you to swallow, just take a gander at 2 Nephi 9:10 and you’ll get a quick glimpse of the stirring saga I’ve been talking about.)

If you’d like to learn more about your own real-life fairy tale, I invite you to pick up a copy of A Princess Story. As the storyteller, I promise you that this enchanting drama will include some unexpected twists and turns, and a better happily-ever-after than any Disney princess movie you’ve ever seen.

"A Princess Story" is available at:
Deseret Book
Seagull Book
Barnes & Noble

Jaci Wightman, a wife and full-time mom of 7, graduated in 2012 from BYU-Idaho with a degree in University Studies. She is the author of A Princess Story: The Real-Life Fairy Tale Found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2016) and Body Image Breakthrough: Learning to See Your Body and Your Beauty in a Whole New Light (2014). To learn more, visit her website at jaciwightman.com.