Title: One By One
Author: David A. Bednar
Publisher: Deseret Book Company
Genre: LDS, Religion, Spirituality
Year Published: 2017
Number of Pages: 168
Reviewed by Alisa Bates for the Association for Mormon Letters
I walked into that first Gospel Principles class prepared with a lesson, visual aids, handouts, and class assignments printed out for each class member. It was my first week teaching the newly baptized members in our ward. By the end of class, I had only given a fraction of my prepared lesson. Most of the time was used answering questions related to the subject matter, though not necessarily as presented in the manual. It took me a few weeks to realize that through this manner of teaching, this particular group of students was able to more fully grasp the lesson concepts and to feel the spirit.
In reading David A. Bednar’s book One By One I came to appreciate the importance of ministering one by one. Scriptural references and accounts and Elder Bednar’s personal stories are included within the pages of this book. As a special bonus, the words to the new song, “One by One,” composed by David A. Bednar and Paul Cardall are featured in the text.
The book is formatted into five chapters, with sectional subjects in each chapter. A comprehensive summary closes each chapter. Following the summary, each chapter carries thought-provoking questions set up in workbook style. “Questions to Consider,” asks three questions for the reader to contemplate. “My Own Questions to Consider” provides space to list three questions for personal study and pondering. “Scriptures Related to What I Am Learning” allows the reader to pinpoint three scriptures for further research.
In the first chapter, “One by One and Spiritual Patterns,” we learn of the Savior’s unconditional love for each of us as a unique individual, that He ministers to us one by one, and that He knows us name by name. We are reminded of our responsibility to minister to others and seek out those who are lost. In essence, we must minister as the Savior did, one by one. David Bednar states: “I believe that in the work of the Lord there is no such thing as a coincidence.” This belief is reiterated throughout the book. Also, “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God” is a major theme of this chapter and echoes through to the end of the book.
Chapter Two, “One by One and the Example of Jesus Christ,” illustrates through numerous scriptural accounts Christ’s example of ministering one by one, as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
“One by One and the Book of Mormon,” Chapter Three of this book, relays scriptural examples of Christ’s ministry in 3rd Nephi. It also describes in great detail Christ’s encounter with the brother of Jared, as well as His messages through Lehi’s dream.
Chapter Four, “One by One and the Work of the Ministry,” contains enlightened instruction concerning our mission to aid in His work. By using this one by one pattern in our personal ministry to family, friends, and others, we will be more effective in offering love and service in our day-to- day interactions, striving to help bring others to Christ and to aid in rescuing souls. We learn how His church accomplishes His purposes, and that His church is an organization designed to bless individuals and deliver opportunities for personal growth.
Finally, in Chapter Five “One by One and the Tender Mercies of the Lord,” we learn that tender mercies, also known as personalized blessings, are often delivered one by one through another person.
This book serves as a reminder to recognize opportunities to serve, to view those we serve as individuals, and to minister one by one to reach heightened effectiveness in our service. As a Gospel Principles teacher, I will use the things I learned to better teach and serve the students in my class.
I love the comment of Elder Bednar: “We do not teach lessons; we teach people.” Later he illuminates: “Thirty individuals do not constitute a class; rather, a class is comprised of thirty individual ones.”