In Promises to Confess To: An Encouraging Word, Elder Harvey Marshall, who identifies himself as a born-again Christian, writes that he knew that God was calling him to service from the time he was a small child. In 2009, while serving in the United States Military in Iraq, Marshall sent texts and e-mails about the “Good News” of God’s love to people in far-flung places, including Bahrain, Germany, Japan, Iraq, and the United States. Promises to Confess To is the continuation of his effort to inspire and encourage others. Marshall offers a biblical “promise” with supporting quotes from scripture followed by several paragraphs of the author’s commentary, interpretation, and personal reflections. It is Marshall’s hope that readers will find in his words inspiration for their own prayer, meditation, and individual and group Bible study.
Upon reading Promises to Confess To, it immediately becomes obvious that Marshall’s passion for God is strong and his faith secure; the reader can feel that the author’s heart is on fire to inspire others to equal passion. Marshall is to be commended for the amount of prayerful time he must have devoted to compiling his reflections on the scriptures—at 570 pages, his book represents a true and long-term labor of love. Unfortunately, errors in grammar, punctuation, word usage, tense agreement, and sentence structure are too numerous to count. While such errors might pass unnoticed during a sermon, when those gathered are swept up in the emotional energy and spirit of the message, in print they cannot be excused. Readers who use Marshall’s book as he suggests are likely to find themselves growing ever more frustrated.
The book’s format is one that Christians who are accustomed to opening their Bibles randomly to seek guidance from Scripture will find familiar and helpful, but Marshall’s title may be confusing to the uninitiated. While the cover art is subtle and engaging, the use of four different fonts reduces its attractiveness. Promises to Confess To is in need of careful proofreading to correct the book’s many errors (including those on the back cover), as they detract mightily from Marshall’s message of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.