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In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide Hardcover – October 15, 2013
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*Starred Review* In 2008, the small town of Oregon City, Oregon, became the epicenter of the legal battle to end the practice of faith healing that denied medical treatment for children. The Followers of Christ Church had nineteenth-century roots in Clackamas County, whose culture included believers and those who tolerated them, who both bought into ideals of the Right to raise children without government interference. The Followers of Christ’s faith-healing fundamentalist beliefs were supported on the national level by the powerful Church of Christ, Scientist. But a series of child homicides drew the attention of those determined to make sure that children didn’t suffer and die from illnesses left untreated. Fighting against religious shield laws that protect parents who refuse medical treatment for their children, a team of investigators and prosecutors worked with a Followers insider and a former believer and advocate who’d lost her own child to faith healing. Stauth offers a dramatic account, broad enough to include historical perspective on the Great Awakening and the prophets and religious figures who shaped the faith-healing fundamentalists, and intimate enough to cover the families who struggled to reconcile love for their children with unyielding faith in their beliefs that dictated they take no action, other than prayer, to save their children’s lives. A powerful, shocking story. --Vanessa Bush
“Stauth offers a dramatic account, broad enough to include historical perspective on the Great Awakening and the prophets and religious figures who shaped the faith-healing fundamentalists, and intimate enough to cover the families who struggled to reconcile love for their children with unyielding faith in their beliefs that dictated they take no action, other than prayer, to save their children's lives. A powerful, shocking story.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“A powerful tale of religious beliefs gone awry.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In the compulsively readable In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children From Faith-Healing Homicide, Portland reporter Cameron Stauth interweaves two parallel narratives, both equally compelling.” ―The Oregonian
“Stauth's book is a compelling look at a religious cult that appeared to be flourishing, but was consuming itself from within. In the Name of God reads almost like a novel, as Stauth gets into the mindset and emotions of its many participants. Many readers will find it difficult to put down; others may have difficulty coming to grips with the horrifying situations that these loving parents found themselves in.” ―The Oklahoman
“In the Name of God shows how wrong people can go when they fail to recognize that medical technologies are gifts from God, too, and that ‘medical miracles' are just that. Cameron Stauth deserves loud applause for uncovering the truth. He deserves our prayers that what he has found will help expose the differences between religions that empower people and cults that weaken them and, sometimes, kill them.” ―Keith Ablow, M.D., New York Times bestselling author
“In the Name of God takes you to an America where religious extremism practiced in isolation leads to deadly consequences for children. Fortunately this unforgettable book also brings us heroes who refuse to let the ignorant and the malevolent use faith to escape their crimes. If you are concerned about the balance between religion and justice you must read this book.” ―Michael D'Antonio, author of Mortal Sins
“America has a number of fascinating criminal subcultures that remain all but hidden from public view. One of them has now been exposed in a startling new book by Cameron Stauth. In the Name of God is a definitive account of the secret, deadly history of faith healing in the U.S. Stauth's research has uncovered some of the worst things people do to one another under the guise of religion, casting much-needed light on this criminal darkness.” ―Stephen Singular, author of When Men Become Gods
“Only a bold, highly gifted writer could take a sickeningly true crime story like this one, and with the delicate skill of a high-wire artist craft it into a non-judgmental nail-biter. Under the author's sensitive, yet humorous pen, the colorful personalities in this eye-opening drama pulse with lifeblood. This is a vitally important book. Historically accurate accounts such as Cameron Stauth's breathtaking masterpiece, In the Name of God, rip the skin off of America's stench-filled underbelly, bringing the gasping promise of healing, fresh air, and the determined assurance of a better tomorrow.” ―Susan Ray Schmidt, author of Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy
“Powerful, moving and painstakingly researched, Cameron Stauth's In the Name of God illuminates the little-known culture of faith healing in America, and shows us why it is so important for all Americans to stand together and demand action and intervention to save the lives of its youngest victims. These children have no voice, so they need all of us to advocate on their behalf.” ―Lisa Pulitzer, New York Times bestselling author
“Stauth is a talented and graceful writer and a tireless reporter. ” ―The New York Times on The Franchise
“A book of insight, power and wit. ” ―The San Francisco Chronicle on The Golden Boys
“A riveting picture of network television -- one of the best yet.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Sweeps
“Extraordinarily compelling and engaging.” ―Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List, on The Manhunter
“A remarkable work by an excellent writer...” ―D.S. Khalsa, M.D., on Healing the New Childhood Epidemics
“I strongly recommend it.” ―Deepak Chopra, M.D., on Meditation as Medicine
“Fascinating and magnetically appealing...” ―Booklist on Brain Longevity
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Top customer reviews
The story itself was eye-opening and revealed a hidden world I had very little knowledge of prior to reading the book. I’ve certainly got more knowledge now. However, somewhere between a third and a half of this book was fiction, not true crime. Now, all good true crime authors take liberties to create a more engaging story by re-creating short dialogues and thought patterns. These are generally based on careful interview and often on tapes. Here, the author creates entire sections of internal dialogue and conversation, chapters long, of which he could not possibly have knowledge. No one can remember in that much detail what he or she was thinking or the course of a long conversation, especially years later, to relay it to the writer, and some of it was frankly condescending. The longer it got, and the more tangents the author went off on (history of various locations, for example), the more it bugged me. I’m sure the author could write a great mystery with his gift for dialogue, but that’s not what I thought I was getting.
Towards the end, it also got repetitive. I found myself saying, “Yes, I know. You’ve already told me that twice before,” on more than one occasion. Once again, a good edit could have fixed those issues. I also didn’t know, or didn’t remember, who the author was or how he was connected to the crimes in question when he suddenly appeared towards the end of the book. All at once there were sections narrated by ‘I’ instead of he/she/they. Here, some introductory detail would have been nice.
All in all a fascinating subject and a good writer, but with issues that bugged me too much to rate the book any higher.
Stauth subtitles his book “The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-healing Homicide.” That signals a problem with the book from the start because homicide simply means the killing of a person by another. I don’t believe homicide was ever hinted at in the book. Death because of following faith-healing beliefs doesn’t imply that death has been caused by another. To me it means that death occurred because a person with strong beliefs that God is all-healing allowed a death to occur. The legal system struggles to bring clarity to that distinction
Stauth has written a book about the beliefs held by certain religious groups, primarily the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, Oregon, concerning faith-healing and the avoidance of medical treatment. He presents a short history of many such fundamentalist religion groups in the United States that is well-researched and that will open a lot of eyes about the results of such practices. It certainly would seem that such inhumane convictions are outside the norm and should be discontinued. But religious groups, protected by shield laws in most states, continue to allow deaths to occur by refusing to seek medical attention for injuries and illness. Stauth recounts many such incidents in his book, along with many legal efforts to bring to justice to those who shield their actions from being criminal by invoking religious beliefs...
The author gets it right in his accounting and presents the facts in detail. Many interviews, legal and medical records, and investigative reports have been included, along with several trial proceedings. He has been described as a “talented and graceful writer.” I would second that. Unfortunately the tone of his reporting is faintly judgmental and almost snide in some places. Too much emphasis is put on Followers’ practices and too many snarly names are used to describe their world; Clackatraz, Clacklacky, and Clackatucky are few that are too often used. I would also have preferred less gory detail in the descriptions of the conditions of bodies. The tendency to shock rather than inform takes the book out of the reporting category.
The book was riveting even though I suffered through some less than professional writing. I certainly agree with the author that humanity is more important than sanctity and hope for some clearer thinking from faith-healing communities. As Stauth says, change will only come from inside pressure, fear of legal liability, and doubts about the validity of their doctrine.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
Throughout the entire thing I kept turning over to my boyfriend (when he was still awake and hadn't fallen asleep while I kept reading, enthralled) and saying "Did you know...insert crazy fact here!?!" Definitely an eye-opener into some of the darker shades of religiosity. I did sometimes feel as if it dragged a little, but most of the time it had my attention caught as if I were reading a thrilling murder mystery.