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What's new Today: 'Why?'

It's the 5-year-old's favorite question and many a teenager's lament: "Why?"

Now it's also the title to a surprisingly good book for Mormons.

"Written" by John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat, this bright blue volume of information is really more a poster full of color, fun and imaginative response to questions most people have asked from time to time.

Even the introduction is kind of quirky when it asks why anyone would throw this beautiful baby out the window?

From there it goes on to address all kinds of sticky topics: Why keep the Word of Wisdom, why listen to the prophets, why stay sexually pure, why not cheat on a test, why go on a mission, why attend seminary, why avoid pornography? This list is pretty extensive. There's even some pretty up-to-date advice: "Why shouldn't I text message in sacrament meeting?" "Why shouldn't I wear flip-flops to church?"

And the answers are good — no pussyfooting around here.

They're honest, sometimes funny (Page 100: "Four out of five dancers run the serious risk of getting married") and well researched (Page 73: "Could we all fit in Texas?" Yes, with room to spare).

There are all kinds of interesting facts thrown in that make the point, such as how fast is a torrent? (they travel up to 600 miles an hour) and how many simulated murders will the average U.S. teen have seen on television by 18? (16,000).

The text is liberally interspersed with fast facts, graphics, photos and charts.

It's easy to read, either page by page or just flipping through.

Specific topics are easily accessed and reviewed upon demand.

Here's a good book to buy for the family library and keep handy.

An entire home evening can be based on a single question or chapter.

The authors have managed to avoid sounding overly preachy, yet they quote the prophets consistently.

Some nice examples include: "You are very, very, very, very, very, very foolish when you like to participate in music that is dark and noisy. Worthy inspiration cannot get through to you where you are," Elder Boyd K. Packer.

"In our time those found in dishonesty did not die as did Ananias and Sapphira, but something within them dies. Conscience chokes, character withers, self-respect vanishes, integrity dies," President Spencer W. Kimball.

There are also some strong suggestions: "If you have viewed pornography and have not yet talked with your bishop, put this book down and call him. Right now."

Why buy and read this book? The bigger question is: why not?

Sharon Haddock

haddoc@desnews.com