Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Iranian courts have handed down a death sentence to an Iranian pastor of a Christian church. Yusef Nadarkhani converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of nineteen. Now in his thirties, Nadarkhani founded a small Evangelical Christian congregation named The Church of Iran, but in October of 2009, he was arrested for heresy.

Both his first trial and his appeal ended in convictions. Nardakhani is now appealing to the nation's Supreme Court. If that appeal also returns a guilty verdict, Nardakhani must renounce his faith or be put to death under Sharia law. His wife is currently out of jail on her own appeal, and Fox news reports that Nadarkhani's defense team, though active muslims, also fear for their own safety and for the safety of their families, simply because they've chosen to represent this Christian man.

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was the first U.S. official to issue a public outcry regarding this case. Bravo Speaker Boehner. Four hundred years ago similar religious freedom-seekers found themselves worshipping under penalty of imprisonment for daring to question the Church of England. Since the King of England was regarded as both the Britain's political leader and the conduit to heaven, rebellion against the church was also considered treason. Many of these religious rebels left their homeland as banished exiles, arriving in America, a barren land that grew into this great nation on the engines of liberty and free thought.

We still have our own struggles with this issue. Remember John F, Kennedy's need to delineate his faith from his governance? Remember Mitt Romney's statement in 2009 when the former Massachusetts governor felt a need to assure America that if elected president, he would serve "no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest." But he did not backpeddle on his convictions, boldly adding, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind . . . My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. … These are not bases for criticism, but rather a test of our tolerance."

Yes, even we still struggle with religious tolerance at times, but what is happening in Iran is unconscionable. Perhaps the underlying themes of liberty and freedom prevalent throughout Christianity, and woven thoughout God's inspired word in many lands, are what terrify tyrants. Read these passages from the Old and New Testament, and from the Book of Mormon.

Galatians 5:13
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

James 2:12
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

Galatians 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

2 Nephi 10:11
11 And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.

Alma 46:12
And it came to pass that [Moroni] rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

Isaiah 61:1
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Alma 56:47
47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

Doctrine and Covenants 98:5
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

Alma 61:14-15
14 Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God . . . according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.

"...the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in each of His children."

May God bless you, Mr. Nadarkhani. We are praying for you.

Laurie LC Lewis's upcoming release is book 5 in her FREE MEN ans DREAMERS series, "In God Is Our Trust."

Saturday, September 24, 2011




Therea Sneed

Debuting author, Theresa Sneed, chose an ambitious project for her first novel, a spiritual fantasy titled No Angel, and I’m pleased to report that it delights on many levels.

Sneed’s No Angel opens in a heavenly realm, moves into mortality where good and evil spirits impact humans, and then she thrusts her readers into a frightening underworld where even good spirits can become trapped through error. Each world is filled with complex characters and governed by strict rules—rules Sneed’s main character, a reluctant Guardian Angel named Jonathan Stewart, hasn’t bothered reading.

Jonathan was sorely disappointed by his own mortality and in an effort to make this second earth experience, (required by all post-mortal spirits), quick and painless, Jonathan selects an EMD client, Early Marked for Death, knowing his client will die young, allowing him to complete his assignment early and quickly exit earth once and for all.

What Jonathan failed to learn from that unread handbook is that special conditions surround the exceptional spirits assigned to be EMDs—their goodness makes them prized targets of the dark spirits.

Jonathan’s poor attitude is a disappointment to the more dedicated Guardians, but more importantly, it also places him in the cross-hairs of dark spirits who pose a threat to his successful completion of his mission, and to Faith, the child, he has been sent to guard.

But Jonathan has two allies, a loyal Guardian Angel named Grace, who takes a special interest in him, and Celeste Knight, the premortal spirit of Faith. Their interest in Jonathan is not accidental.

Sneed does a wonderful job of fleshing out heaven and the underworld with rich, vivid description that drives the theme of good versus evil deep into the reader. Still, the book is not dark and eerie. Sneed successfully slingshots between humor and drama during Jonathan’s bumpy, spiritual evolution, providing a change of pace that makes this book suitable for YA as well as adults, while also endearing this disgruntled soul to the reader. Without those humorous passages, No Angel would have been a dark, eerie tale. And though that was not Sneed’s purpose in writing this book, she proves she has the talent to go that direction if she ever chooses.

The explanations of the rules of each world slow the read in places, but they are essential to the ensuing tension, and there is plenty of tension, which intensifies until the conclusion, which leaves the reader unsure about the outcome of many of the characters until the very end.

NO ANGEL is fiction, but its powerful themes of good versus evil, spiritual promptings, choice and accountability, family, friendship, and loyalty, make it a valuable springboard for family discussions on these topics, and therefore makes this book one to be read together as a family, and worth having in a family library.

This is a first-rate read that quickly earned Theresa Sneed a Whitney Award nomination. Sneed is a talented writer who should find No Angel a contender for Whitney’s “Best Novel by a New Author” award. She is already completing a second project, proving that great things are ahead for her, and those who pick up her imaginative, tender books.

NO ANGEL is available LDS bookstores, at Barnes and Nobles, and on Amazon.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Announcing the LIFT Conference for Women on Saturday, Oct. 29th!

This one day conference will feature prominent speakers that will inspire, educate and of course upLIFT. The event will be held in the Orem High School auditorium (175 South 400 East, Orem) and go from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (with an hour lunch break - lunch will not be provided by event. Doors open for seating at 8:30am).

Topics include improving spouse communication, letting go of anxiety and regret, and having hope when life brings its challenges. Liz Edmunds (star of the popular TV show, The Food Nanny) will be the hostess. Other speakers include Dr. John Lund, Hank Smith, Meg Johnson, Sheldon Martin, Kathy Jenkins, Kim Nelson and a performance by Amy Hansen.

Tickets are: $19.99 (early bird registration) and $29.99 after Oct. 20th or at the door. All participants will receive a tote bag and chocolates with registration. Please bring your printed ticket to the event..Click here to register!

The War of 1812 Tease Press Tour

This looks as if it will be a film worth watching, as PBS separates the history from the myths about the War of 1812. I can appreciate that struggle after threading through the letters and historical accounts while researching Free Men and Dreamers.PBS launches this series in October.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Thanks Tristi, Pinkston, for organizing this blog hop!

Welcome to the September Blog Hop! Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites, and entering our contests! There are no limits - you can enter the contest on every blog. With over 40 blogs participating, that's over 40 prizes you could win. Just click on the links below to move on to the next blog.

On my blog, you can win a nice prize package:

An autographed copy of any of my books,
(check out my web site at
to choose a title),
plus I'll throw in a an extra book from my shelf

of must-read titles--that's 2 books!

To win this prize package you just need to do two things.

1. Become a follower of this blog. If you're already a follower, sign up to "Follow by Email" in the block to the right. And if you've already done that, then sign up in the "Follow me on Twitter" box. Just do one.

2. Leave me a comment in the trail and tell me why you'd like to win this prize.

That's it! You are now entered. The contest ends on Saturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it's visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you're the lucky winner.

Now go visit my other friends ...
September Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Joyce DiPastena
3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
4. Mandi Slack
5. Michael D. Young
6. Six Mixed Reviews
7. Pam Williams
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Kristy Tate
10. Marilyn Yarbrough
11. Stacy Coles
12. Kristie Ballard
13. Lynn Parsons
14. Pushing Past the Pounds
15. Sheila Staley
16. cindy Hogan
17. Jamie Thompson
18. Jaclyn Weist
19. Cathy Witbeck
20. Secret Sisters Mysteries
21. Tamera Westhoff
22. Tina Scott
23. Lynnea Mortensen
24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
25. Jeanette A. Fratto
26. Bonnie Harris
27. Melissa Lemon
28. Mary Ann Dennis
29. Stephanie Black
30. Jane Still
31. Janice
32. Laura Bastian
33. Tamara Bordon
34. Betsy Love
35. Maria Hoagland
36. Amber Robertson
37. Debbie Davis
39. Christy Monson
40. Carolyn Frank
41. Rebecca Birkin
42. Melissa Cunningham
43. Emily L. Moir
44. Ronda Hinrichsen
45. Lisa Asanuma
46. Joan Sowards
47. Jordan McCollum
48. Diane Stringam Tolley

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Braden Bell had this to say after previewing, "In God Is Our Trust"--

In the final installment of this epic series, Lewis deftly blends the many strands she began earlier. This final book is a well-executed and engrossing tale. But it is also a powerful meditation on freedom and bondage, and the many ways in which we can lose freedom and become enslaved. Through the eyes of her characters, the reader comes to appreciate the blessings of liberty and more fully grasp the responsibilities that come to those who are free. Elegantly connecting the dots between our three great responsibilities, God, Family, and Country, Lewis leaves the reader with a visceral appreciation of those who have gone on before and a commitment to stand more firmly in the moment that is now ours. A week after staying up all night to finish it, the characters and themes of this masterpiece haunt my mind and heart.

Pinch me!

September has been a busy family month, so thank heavens for pre-scheduled blog posts or I would have had a barren blog. Family time was great, but our last visitor—our oldest grandson—left for home today, and now it’s time to get back to work.

As soon as my editor hands me the cover image for “In God Is Our Trust,” crazy things will begin to happen professionally. This volume takes us full circle to the original intent of the series—to illustrate how the War of 1812, and the events in America, were preparing this nation to become the cradle of the Restoration. The tender Pearson saga continues, carrying our friends through the post-war recovery, and into a new day as American comes into her own, seeing herself not as a young upstart nation, but as a major player on the world stage.

This new sense of political identity is overshadowed by religious division in America. As science and philosophy begin casting greater doubts on miracles, and spiritual manifestations, a young boy from New York State attests to miracles and manifestations not considered since biblical times, and the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom and tolerance is put to the test as tensions rise. With carefully conducted research, “In God Is Our Trust” will toss my readers into this very confusing and marvelous period.

We’re going to have ads in most LDS print publications and on LDSradio announcing the release of this fifth and final volume of Free Men and Dreamers. And I’ll be launching a new, improved web site, and fan page on Facebook. We’ll have lots of contests and drawings for some really lovely prizes, so please check back.

Candace Salima has invited me to be a guest on her radio talk show in October as well, and we’re planning signings in Washington, Utah, and Los Angeles. It’s going to be exciting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Saturday, September 10, 2011


I'm going to be on an airplane on the tenth anniversary of 9/11,  with Tom, our grandson Tommy, and Amanda's family as we fly home from vacation. My first thought as we booked these tickets was that this would likely be the safest day of the year to fly. Surely vigilance would be ramped up because of the significance of the date, and then we heard the recent reports of an unconfirmed but credible warning of an impending attack on a bridge or tunnel in New York or DC. we're flying into Baltimore. I have to admit we're a little less comfortable, but still confident that all will be well.

Like all Americans my thoughts are on that day ten years ago. I was offered an opportunity to share my opinion on how September 11th changed me spiritually. Here are my thoughts. This article appeared in the Deseret News on September 8th, section c, page nine, and in the Mormon Times, I believe. Once I gave thought to this question, I realized 9/11 was the catalyst to my increased love of America, my increased interest in the chapters of scripture that discuss the special role this nation was designed to play in human events, and it was the springboard to my desire to visit America's hallmarks--Philly, Williamsburg, Fort McHenry--where the ideas for my books were born.

That day changed us all a bit. Here's my story:

I remember the impressions of that day so well, but the memories are jumbled up in emotion rather than logic. I had left my position with the school system. That fall was the beginning of a less-complicated, more peaceful writer's life. Or so I thought, until I turned on the news and saw the loop of the attack on the towers.

We live in the hot zone between DC, the biological-weapon storehouse at Fort Detrick, and the Underground Pentagon to the north. My mind immediately ran an inventory of our family members. The phone lines were jamming and hearing each voice was mission one. From family, our thoughts turned to friends.

I couldn’t tear myself from the news as the great symbols of America’s financial, military, and political strength fell victim to the attacks. Never before had I felt so vulnerable. Never before had I felt so angry.

The president I most wanted to hear was President Hinckley’s warm reassurance. I slipped to my knees and prayed a disjointed, jumbled plea for protection to Heavenly Father—for my family, for my country, for the leaders who would have to sort this all out. I was grateful for the counsel to prepare, grateful for a living prophet, grateful for the organization of the Church in the event we would need to protect and care for one another and our neighbors. And in the event of catastrophe, I was grateful for my Savior and the Plan of Salvation that would make everything all right.

The next day, fear and fright turned to defiant patriotism. The lines at the fabric store swelled as I waited in lines with others hungry for some scrap of ribbon to show our unity. Every face became a friend. Every hand seemed outstretched.

The Book of Mormon scriptures about America as the land of promise, and the warnings in Ether 9 against the danger of secret combinations bent on overthrowing liberty and freedom, became personal. I became enamored with history, seeing connections between American history and the scriptures, and in the lives of the Smith family, recognizing God’s hand in the formation and preservation of America as she was being prepared to become the cradle of the Restoration.

I realized that mothers or father, soldier or civilian, we are each the guardians of liberty, for liberty requires faith, and faith requires liberty to flourish.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Kathi Oram Peterson

It’s a wonderful thing to find a book you can become so immersed in that laying it aside is a burden. Kathi Oram Peterson has written such a book. ”River Whispers” is one of my favorite reads this year.

The storyline is engaging, the list of suspects is endless, and Peterson's setting in small town Trailhead, Idaho’s Snake River country provides a complicated web of tangled lives and plot lines, but it’s Peterson’s writing style that captivated me. She writes like a painter—creating perfect moments and clear images that drew me in and made me love her characters.

Trailhead is far too small a town to bottle up Regi Bernard’s mistrust of two men. Samuel Tanner abruptly ended their romance when he abandoned both Regi and Trailhead without a word of explanation. Worse yet, when he returned years later, he seemed bent on making her and her husband miserable at every opportunity, clear up until Earl’s death. Curtis Romney, a local park ranger, abandoned her daughter after dragging her reputation through the mud. It’s no secret how Regi feels about either man.

On a particularly unpleasant trip into town, Regi has run-ins with each of these irritants, and her temper lets loose. In a moment of frustration, Regi issues a scalding warning to Curtis, and when she stumbles upon his corpse a day later, she becomes the prime suspect.

Peterson does a splendid job casting doubt on everyone’s innocence, which casts a pall of suspicion over those Regi loves most, leaving her mistrustful of their assistance until she believes only she can prove her innocence.

The tangle of lives is tight and convenient at times, but Peterson’s deft writing style fleshes out the situations nicely. Her characters are rich and complex, and she releases tidbits about them like a cracker trail through the woods readers will be delighted to follow.

Clearly, Peterson knows her setting well. Raised in southeastern Idaho, Kathi Oram Peterson developed a love for the Snake River region early on, while her research on fly fishing, Indian culture, and ranching enriches the story and draws the reader in.

Still, what makes Kathi Oram Peterson one of my favorite authors is her unique descriptive passages. She works hard for her readers, bypassing trite descriptions in favor of rich, colorful, original thoughts that satisfy.

The book is written in third person, but the reader is constantly in the characters’ minds, as they ruminate over, and rehash, the same questions over and over. These passages slow the read a bit in places, but Peterson’s efforts to insert the reader into the characters’ thoughts adds urgency early on.

The mystery is well-formed and keeps you turning pages as does the romantic tension between Regi and Samuel. While these two are clearly drawn to one another, they also suspect one another, and with good cause. Peterson doesn’t tip her hand about their innocence or guilt to the very end. Nicely done.

I’m nominating River Whispers for a Whitney Award. The e-book version is available at Amazon. Readers can pick up copies at Deseret Books or at your local LDS bookstores, where you can also purchase Kathi Oram Peterson's other fine books.

Readers can contact Kathi through her website, www.kathiorampeterson.com, and her blog, www.kathiswritingnook.com.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Kensington, Maryland VFC's 9/11 Memorial Serves as a Reminder of the Enduring Human Sipirit

As Tom and I were driving to the D.C. Temple we noticed a crowd gathering in front of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department's Station 5 house. Afterwards, I Googled the station to see what had been going on there, and discovered they were dedicating a 9/11 memorial. We stopped by and two of Station 5's members were gracious enough to give me a interview. Gracious with their time, John E. Thompson and Jean Ward provided living examples of the spirit engrained in these first-responders. Here is the story.

The events of 9/11 are deeply personal to the volunteer firefighters who call Kensington Maryland's Station 5 “home.” When hijackers crashed a plane into the Pentagon, Station 5’s members gathered at the house, overcrowded their ambulance and engine, and raced to the scene, rescuing the wounded, recovering the dead, and battling the fires at the emblem of America’s military might.

James Stanton, KVFD fire chief is understandably proud of his crew. “We didn't have to call them. We didn't have to send out a page. They knew they were needed, and they showed up."

Days later, Station 5 volunteers responded to another 9/11 need when a request arrived from New York City for help at the embattled World Trade Center site where thousands perished when two hijacked planes brought the Twin Towers down.

Speaking of that call for help, Master Firefighter John E. Thompson, a 43-year veteran of the KVFD said, “We were asked to provide an engine company and an ambulance, and we were there for several days. . . They had to fight the guys off because everyone wanted to go.”

A small crowd gathered Saturday, June 25, at Kensington Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 5 for the dedication of a very special set of monuments. 16-foot twisted beam of steel juts from an inscribed black base which reads:


Nearby, a piece of granite, pulled from the point of impact at the Pentagon, rests upon a similar base inscribed with these words:


The half million dollar memorial project, the vision of KVFD President Steven R. Semler, was funded through donations and volunteer labor. The 9/11 Families Association assisted Station 5 in acquiring the beam. “This beam is from the point of impact between the 91st and 94th floors. It was given to us by the Port Authority of New York City and the 9/11 Families Association. We went up there, picked it out and brought it back,” said John E. Thompson. The Department of Defense provided the block of granite from the Pentagon.

Steve Heidenberger, president of Heidenberger Construction, served as project manager, reaching out into the community for contractors willing to contribute materials and labor. For Heidenberger, the project was deeply personal. His brother, Tom Heidenberger, lost his wife Michelle at the attack on the Pentagon. Steve Heidenberger said he wanted the memorial to be built from volunteer labor and goods, not money. His brother Tom hopes the memorial will also serve to teach future generations about 9/11. Said he, "They're going to ask, 'Mommy, daddy, what is this? Each of us will be able to explain to them what happened and the thousands of people who lost their lives that day."

Following speeches and the dedication of the monuments, a 3500 pound bell, one of the “Bells of Remembrance,” inscribed with the names of the firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, was rung in commemoration.

The monuments rest upon a red brick patio that pulls visitors out of the bustle. Gray bricks are interspersed throughout, engraved with the names of the contractors who contributed to the project. For a gift of $100, private individuals can have their own names or a message inscribed on a brick as a permanent remembrance. “The money raised [from the sale of the bricks] goes back to the 9/11 Families’ Association and other similar charitable efforts.”

In 2005 the firehouse was also invited to serve as the site one of four test rose gardens. The rose bushes are grown to determine climate hardiness for specific varieties being considered for three memorial rose gardens in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA. Several of the varieties are named specifically to commemorate 9/11 with names such as “Veterans’ Honor” “Firefighters,” “Forty Heroes,” and “September Mourn.” Jean Ward, a lifetime member of the fire company, and caretaker of the rose garden, explained why roses were being chosen for the planned memorial gardens. “Because the rose is a sign of remembrance.”

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching, many remembrances will occur as Americans pause to reflect on the greatest attack on the Continental U.S. since the devastation of Washington during the war of 1812. This one is right in our nieghborhood, and worth a moment to stop, reflect and remember.

Families and organizations interested in buying a brick can submit requests to https://kvfd.engravedbricks.com/.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Thanks go out once again to Kathy at "I'm a Reader, Not A Writer" and "Buried in Books" for sponsoring this Back to School Blog Hop.

DRUM ROLL please. . .

I'm concluding my eight-year, five book historical fiction series, FREE MEN and DREAMERS, with the October release of volume five, "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST!!!"

I'll be hosting giveways and contests every week from mid-September to November, so stop back often.

For this hop, I'm giving away 2 autographed copies of any of my books. Visit my web site to see the selection. I'll personalize them for someone else if you'd like to give them away as gifts.

1. To enter, you must be become a FOLLOWER BY EMAIL of this blog. Please enter your email address in the box to the right.

Additional entries may be obtained by doing the following, but you MUST respond separately for each entry to count:

2. Follow this blog the standard way or let me know if you already are a follower

3. Visit my current online article at http://tinyurl.com/3uofqej and report back. (You don't need to read it, just visit it.)

4. Friend me on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/3bcwtgs

5. Pop over to my newest online article at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=968&sid=17048108

That's it! Now enjoy all these other stops on the blog tour! Entries close at midnight September 7th! Enjoy!