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Torn by God: A Family's Struggle with Polygamy: A Novel Paperback – January 6, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The skill with which this novel is written keeps us in suspense. Beth sees her mother grow seriously ill from the psychic pain she suffers due to her husband's desire to have multiple wives. Beth also sees the disturbing possibility that she could be taken out of school and forced to marry an unpleasant, sex-obsessed older man. Even her younger brother, Mickey, can sense a feeling of doom arising from the path his father is taking. Meanwhile, the father, Michael, caught up in his fanatic religious obsession, remains blind to the affect it is having on those around him. In spite of how bad it gets, Beth doesn't lose her sense of love for her family and the desire for things to return to normal. That feeling of love she has and tells her story with provides part of the human quality of the novel.
While the story had significance for me in terms of how it deals with polygamy, and I learned a lot about Mormonism, I think that Murdock provides insights beyond those themes. The story relates to fanaticism as it exists in any religion, a type of destructive fanaticism which we see so much of throughout the world today.
As seen by his daughter, Beth, Michael doesn't come across as a bad man, he is more a man with weaknesses.Read more ›
Though handed a challenging family to grow up in, Beth (the 12 year old narrator) retains her openness and innate compassion and never becomes blaming or bitter - quite an accomplishment. Because of this, the book can serve as a wonderful jumping off point for further discussion that can help us understand the variety of psychological motivations that lead us to our worldviews. Because fundamentalism is inherently black and white, this book's compelling story brings us welcomed shades of gray.
Additionally, the novel answers some of thr questions about Mormon polygamy that help to explain the popularity of groups such as the FLDS, led most recently by federal criminal Warren Jeffs. I have read many accounts from those who have left the Short Creek community, but the explanations of the Law of Celestial Marriage and the Law of Consecration given in this novel provide a more clear foundation for understanding the beliefs and inner-workings of the group.
Told as a first-person account, this novel is an incredibly engaging story about the family and personal struggle for the main character, after her Mormon father believes that he has seen a spiritual vision leading the family back to the original rules governing polygamy as given to the Church by Joseph Smith. Beth must learn to become the rock upon which her family can lean when her father travels far away in his search for Truth, her mother becomes overcome with illness as a result of the trauma polygamy has brought to their family, and her young brother struggles to understand what is happening to his once-idyllic Mormon family.
This book was extremely well-written, a joy to read, and difficult to put down. I highly recommend it for those with an interest in religion, Mormonism, or family dramas.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
an amazing story,would recommend it ,very well written and easy to follow and the turmoil in ones hearth to figure it all outPublished 10 months ago by mary van rynsoever
This book was written by one of my high school classmates. Having grown up in Utah and experiencing the presence of polygamists, I found the book riveting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Wendy Anderson
This is a amazing book. The magic of this story is the voice of innocence that tells it. Tortured innocence, where she is forced to question everything in her life. I loved it. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
In Torn by God, twelve year-old Beth sees her father showered in a ray of light from the heavens as he stands in the middle of a river. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kristina V Grey
I've read around 15 books on polygamy. This one was different. This story was not a first-hand account of a person, or even a family living in polygamy. Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by Erika Lambert
I found "Torn by God" to be compelling in the sense that the author keeps you wanting to know what happens next, but much of the story was redundant. Read morePublished on September 15, 2013 by Susan Gibbons
Michael stood naked in the raging river, Beth screamed in horror as logs, boulders and debris swept past her father. Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by Ragnar
There are good books to read. We read them, we love them, and we even can't stop reading until we close the end cover on them. Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by Happy customer of Amazon.com