Sunday, February 9, 2014
Book Review: Added Upon by Nephi Anderson
Author: Nephi Anderson
Enjoyment Rating: ***
This book would be rated: G or PG
When our family was investigating the LDS church, one of the first pieces of media we were introduced to was the film Saturday's Warrior, which was based on a play that features a family's journey from the preexistence to after death. I LOVED it (I was fourteen at the time), and I got all sorts of romantic notions about how I had already met my husband in the preexistence and I would recognize him when I saw him.
Apparently, Nephi Anderson's Added Upon was the inspiration for Saturday's Warrior. It follows the story of one man (and a bunch of side stories about other people) from his time in the preexistence (and his premortal attachment to a certain woman), to his time on earth (when he marries that woman), to spirit paradise, the millennium, and eventually eternal judgment.
The book was written in 1898 and is one of the first examples of Mormon fiction. Anderson's life story (born in Norway, a frequent missionary for the LDS church) figures into the novel, which was the first of many he wrote, and the book was popular enough to be in print continually from 1898 until the early 2000s. However, the story is extremely didactic and preachy and Anderson basically goes on giving sermons for page after page at times. Despite the limitations of the story, it's an important book for Mormons, especially from a cultural standpoint.