Book Review: Changed Through His Grace, by Brad Wilcox
The first time I heard of Brad Wilcox was Christmas time, 1978. I was
at the Missionary Training Center, preparing to serve in Bolivia. My
girlfriend was attending BYU and dropped off a gift for me: The Super Baruba Success Book,
by Brad Wilcox. Wilcox is a few months younger than me, so he published
this book prior to serving his own mission. The only thing I can
remember about the book is a personal anecdote, where Wilcox talks about
using a locker room shower for several weeks that delivered only cold
water. Eventually, it occurred to him that the other showers provided
hot water and he made the switch.
Since then, Wilcox has thrilled young people in the Church with his
personal stories that deliver messages that relevant to them. I know of
several LDS youth who have returned from Especially For Youth
conferences bubbling over with enthusiasm for the gospel because
something Brother Wilcox said stirred them.
Changed Through His Grace is not directed specifically
towards youth, but retains the frequent anecdotes that make Wilcox so
popular as a speaker and author in the Church. The book speaks briefly
on one important component of Grace, how it ties in to the atonement of
Christ, and how it is the power that changes us.
The book begins by explaining that grace and salvation are neither
brought about by the cheap grace of some Christian faiths, nor by
earning it by our own works. Wilcox suggests a middle path, where we are
saved by Christ’s grace, but we must embrace that grace, allowing it to
change us into holy and sanctified children of God.
The book focuses less on how Christ can transform us, and more on how
we can access His power in our lives. This includes discussions on
commandments, ordinances and covenants, including those made at baptism,
the Sacrament, and in temple.
One interesting thought Wilcox shared concerns the Parable of the
Talents. He suggests we view talents as if they were books given by the
Lord to us to use. The books are freely given, but only are of use if we
crack the covers and read them. Only then can the books enrich and
change us. For those who have read the books given them, the Lord
welcomes them to his Master Library. The individual who tosses his one
book in the trash or allows it to collect dust and cobwebs, has not
benefited nor appreciated from the gift. His book is taken away and
given to another. Though a terrific analogy, I would have loved to see
Wilcox develop this idea more: do I only need to read the books/talents
given me, or does quality count as much as or more than quantity read?
I encountered such moments several times in the book. Wilcox would
make a very astute observation and then hurry off to his next point,
rather than slow down and delve into the various facets of the subject.
Still, for a primer, it holds many gems and anecdotes that will keep the
reader engaged with the text.
This is a wonderful book for helping the average LDS Christian
understand how the grace of Christ works in our personal lives, and how
we can use Christ’s grace to become Christlike. It is a great beginning
to understanding what grace is, how it changes us, and how it brings
joy, peace, and hope to us.
Available March 27,2017 at Deseret Book, Amazon.com, and other retailers