According to Nephi Anderson, his book, Added Upon, “is an effort to give in brief an outline of ‘the scheme of things,’ ‘the ways of God to men’ as taught by the Gospel of Christ and believed by the Latter-day Saints” (see “Preface to the Third Edition”). By that standard, Added Upon does its job. It follows several people—most of whom become married couples in mortality—through their pre-mortal, mortal, and post-mortal lives, specifically as they relate to their dealings with and views of God. While, naturally, most characters and many details therein are fictional or at least guesswork, Anderson backs up the most important points, events, and doctrines with scriptures, mostly from the Bible.
Anyone familiar with the play-turned-movie “Saturday’s Warrior” (another so-called “salvation story”) will be strongly reminded of it in reading Added Upon (or vice versa—the first edition of Added Upon actually predates the first performance of “Saturday’s Warrior” by 75 years). However, the two works have important differences, mostly due to their respective purposes and audiences. By my understanding, “Saturday’s Warrior” was created primarily as entertainment for Latter-day Saints.
Added Upon, however, targets—and teaches—those not members of the LDS church. It focuses on outlining “The Plan of Salvation”, as the Latter-day Saints call it. It gives less attention to characters than “Saturday’s Warrior” does, which may be the reason I found it much less diverting. I was, however, impressed by the extensive scripture references; as I tried viewing the book from a non-LDS perspective, I found these references interesting and convincing. While many Latter-day Saints would call Added Upon “old news”, I learned a couple things from it.
Literarily, I enjoyed and admired Anderson’s beautifully delicate voice, which seemed suited to the content and purpose of the book. I was less pleased with the highly formal tone, which admittedly could be attributed more to the age of the book than to Anderson’s style. While I might not label Added Upon as great literature, I would be happy to recommend it to a friend interested in learning more about our LDS beliefs on life before, on, and after this earth.