Book Review – By the Power Vested in You (By: Brother G. Martin Freeman)

By the Power Vested in You is a book published by the Universal Life Church that is available for sale on their website by itself and with several “packages” of various ministerial and wedding gear. Basically, the book is “weddings for dummies” but with only 43 pages of content from the table of contents to the page before the appendix. It’s more like “performing a wedding for people who might not have any idea what a wedding even is”. That is to say, the book is a very basic one.


It is a well-written one, though, I was never left confused or feeling talked-down-to at the end of a sentence or paragraph. And the information presented about the basics of a wedding ceremony, what questions to ask the bride and groom, and the reference charts for keeping information are all a necessary foundation. It just feels a bit lacking in material. I feel that someone shooting from the hip for their first ceremony (as I basically was) could easily check off most of the boxes of the checklists from the book without thinking about it. But I might be giving people too much credit, as I have experience in many things that would relate to the job a minister has to perform, and the bride and groom had much of it organized themselves.

It is certainly nice to have the conformation of reading a book someone else wrote on the subject and being able to check off all of the boxes, and as a way to ease your mind, it would definitely get my recommendation. By that token as well it works as a pack-in item to a “wedding kit” and the price for the book on its own is reasonable (but I wouldn’t buy it on its own). The most useful parts of the book are the little bits about ceremonies in different cultures (but it’s really only enough to remind you to research more about it if you’re doing a wedding for someone to whom it would be applicable) and the appendix where you can write down the names of family members, those in the procession, and the couples answers to any questions. This is more useful the first time one is handling a large wedding party, and I think people would quickly develop their own way of keeping this information, but it is a good jumping off point.

In the end I would say that it’s a middle-of-the-road book. I did like the clear and concise language as well as the charts and checklists in the appendix, but I did not like the lack of much real information and the overuse of stock photos (I don’t think I mentioned that before, there are way, way too many). It does what it set out to do pretty well, but it’s no manual for sure.

Blog 7-10-16 – July Update

Hello everyone, Austin Smith here, and it is July 10th, also known as the absolute last day one could possibly consider in the first week of July. Though I must admit I believe I did fail when I said I was going to have an update up during the first week. I did spend some extra time making sure the two posts I put up as tokens of proof that I am still going to update this site were a little more polished. The update is: I have not reached the point yet where I am in a position to fully restart my posting schedule. But I have said all of the things before about how I’ve seen Internet projects disappear, and how not getting things done snowballs. So I won’t go over them again, instead I’ll tell you about some of the things I did that are holding up the content but were still great to do. I’ll post another update by the first week of September.

The first really exciting thing that I did was go out to California and administrate a wedding for a family member. Unfortunately for me right now the photos haven’t come in, and all of the others that have me in them aren’t great (but I wasn’t who people were there to see) so I don’t have a photo from the ceremony right now. So instead here is one of me in Texas in the same outfit that looks like the Lord is shining down upon me.


I’m also still moving, and here are ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of what a literal ton of books (as in actually 2000 pounds) looks like boxed up and on the shelf.


Most recently I went to both of my local 4th of July festivities, in Alpine Texas. The first one, Fiesta del Barrio, I attended as a vendor selling some of my books. But I’m bad at taking pictures so I only got one of the parade, and one of a horned lizard. I also missed the second parade and only got one picture of it as well.


And here is a panorama someone took of me from the Reds show I was featured in in early April.


Anyway, hopefully those photos and my posts from yesterday sufficiently prove that I am alive and dedicated to these blogs. Thank you for your patience.


Speak Your Mind 192 #956-960


1. What do you think you would like your wedding to be like?

2. What color do you think goes best with blue?

3. Do you like ribbons in girls’ hair?

4. Do any kids you know drive too fast?

5. Do you think teachers should call on students who do not have their hands raised?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. I’d rather just sign the papers and not have a ceremony at all.

2. That definitely depends on the context. Generally purple.

3. No, I like ribbons in no ones hair.

4. I’m sure quite a few do.

5. No, not at all.