Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States Paperback – October 1, 2013
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
The chapter on Scientology is fantastic. It is very specifically detailed with a clear breakdown on the belief system, various programs and abuses. This is deadly concise and makes an incredibly clear and compelling case for the utter absurdity of the church (Though I'd more of ME in it!) -Jamie DeWolf, great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard.
Stollznow takes the reader on an entertaining and informative romp through religions that are bizarre (Satanism), highly criminal (offshoots of Mormonism), absolutely ridiculous (Scientology), weirdly archaic and quaint (Amish), exotic and strange (Voodoo), foaming-at-the mouth in ecstasy or exorcisms (charistmatics and evangelicals), profoundly inane (New Agers) and silly (Quakers). God Bless America presents a patchwork quilt made from the fabric of some of America's finest traditions and religions. Stollznow actually mingled with these people and lived to tell the tale! - Robert T. Carroll
In God Bless America, Karen Stollznow opens the doors and looks at the people inside some of the more interesting congregations of the United States. Maybe it takes an Aussie to really dig down under into these American faith's lesser known secrets? While respectful, Stollznow doesn't shy away from any of the sometimes disturbing things she finds. From Shakers to undead movers, it's a spirited book full of surprising beliefs and practices that will engage you thoroughly. - Blake Smith aka "Dr. Atlantis" of the Monster Talk podcast
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Beliefs are not neutral, as they guide our actions, as we base those on what we hold to be true to better their potential for success. Some beliefs are dangerous to the practitioners, some to those they persecute because of those beliefs, while some belief practices, such as violent exorcisms, can cause injury or death in those alleged to be possessed.
Stollznow's book, God Bless America, puts these into focus, with one of the most objective treatments of the subject I've seen to date. Compare this with Ravi Zacharias' "Kingdom of the Cults," and similar works written by religious apologists currently in print.
The first chapter, Modern-Day Prophets and Polygamists: Fundamentalist Mormons, describes the extreme branches of the Mormon Church, those not considered by the more mainline LDS Church to be true Mormons, but which consider themselves to be that very thing. Some of the early history of Mormonism that gave rise to these breakaway sects, or from which they lay claim to legitimacy, is explained, and their controversial practices and lives revealed with no small amount of scrutiny.Read more ›
Addition, 2/13/2014 - if you get the Kindle edition and read it on your computer, iPad or Kindle Fire, you will be able to follow a link directly to some of the referenced articles. It's a handy way to get a little more info on a particular story or incident.
Luckily a person like me can turn to Karen Stollznow's God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States. Yes, that title is certainly a mouthful. But the book itself is easily digestible with chapters covering everything from Fundamentalist Mormons, Amish and Mennonites, New Agers, Satanists, Quakers and more. Each chapter blends a history/breakdown of said religion's beliefs and experiences Karen Stollznow and her husband Matthew had in interactions with the believers. There is a part in Signs, Wonders and Miracles chapter (about Charismatics and Pentecostals) that had me darting into the living room and re-enacting Matthew's session with the Charismatic "healers" complete with a stuffed cat filling in for Matthew.
Thanks to God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States, I now know what an Anabaptist is and sorry Conradin from Saki's excellent and chilling short story "Sredni Vashtar", an Anabaptist isn't as thrilling and wicked as it sounds. I've also found out the differences between Amish and Mennonites. No stupid questions about why some Mennonites use computers and others doesn't from me! <cue my Mennonite friends sighing in relief>
Would I recommend God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States? Certainly!Read more ›
Then, when I began to study comparative religions in college, I encountered a totally different perspective: the detailed (and often dry) scholarly dissection of world religions. These books were often massive, and included huge detailed sections on the mythologies and core beliefs that soon became overwhelming. It was eye opening to see what other religions reveal about the religion you grew up with, but it was also a lot of hard work.
Between these two approaches is Karen Stollznow’s lively book, God Bless America. It strikes the perfect tone between these extremes. It takes an outsider’s view of American religions, as do most religious scholars, without hundreds of pages of tedious details to read through. Yet it also critiques these religions, and comments on the more absurd parts of their theology and belief systems, something that my little Sunday School book also did—but without the commitment to Presbyterianism. It is written in a wry, lively style, often poking gentle fun at the sublime silliness of some beliefs (and the fact that their practitioners see no irony or absurdity in their beliefs).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading some of the reviews here, I was hesitant to get this. I like Mrs. Stollznow's work on the very enjoyable "Monster Talk" podcast, and recently found out that she's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RGMac
As a former ministerial student I was aware of some of the religious practices discussed by Dr. Stollznow, but her coverage of the more bizarre ones shocked even me. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eldermusician
Dr. Stollznow takes a number of fringe religions and practices, condenses them into understandable bites, and helps the reader to get a better grasp of the religion or... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Robin Lynn
This engaging book peals back the layers of some of America's more fringe religions, giving a detailed look at the benefits and flaws of these lesser understood beliefs and... Read morePublished 13 months ago by S. Barber
Such a disappointing book. Some of the information may be accurate, but it's hard to tell because the tone is so snide and dismissive. Read morePublished 18 months ago by LouV
As a person raised in a pentecostal family, I have always been fascinated by the lengths people will go to for their individual faith. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Julie
This is one of the most fasinating books I have ever read. Well researched and well written.Published 19 months ago by Anthony W. Shallin
The author writes with insight, clear evidence of a collection of facts, and humor.Published 20 months ago by mdcatdad
If you'd like to know about unusual types of religion told in an interesting way, this is the book to read. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kerwin L. Schaefer