Doc Cleland is a man who lost his childhood to an abusive, alcoholic stepfather; his wife to Lou Gehrig's disease; his job, home, and savings to the economic downturn; and 4 of his 5 children to paths that stray from his Mormon roots and lifestyle. Seemingly a man who has also lost his path in life, Doc decides to honor his great-grandmother's memory by re-creating her pioneering handcart journey of 1856. He begins walking in Iowa City, pulling a wooden handcart, heading west on his 1400-mile journey, uncertain of exactly what he'll encounter along the way.
Sarah Goode Marshall was the first Mormon handcart pioneer to reach the Salt Lake Valley, a 34-year-old widow with 6 young children and a powerful commitment to her newly found faith. A woman who left in England her family, her home, and everything she knew, Sarah's story has lived only in family journals and lore for the past 5 generations until Doc brings her to life by connecting with her indomitable spirit during his trek.
Join Sarah as she discovers the faith that is true for her, withstands the abuse her husband piles upon her, and finally leaves her home in England to answer the call to Zion. Her husband, who dies after mishandling an attempt to poison Sarah, lies buried in English soil while her siblings chastise her for daring to consider leaving their homeland; neither is enough to stop Sarah from following her heart. She and her children travel by ship, train, and finally by foot and handcart in their journey to reach the Great Salt Lake Basin. Though their company is plagued by exhaustion, inadequate nutrition, terrifying storms, savages and death, an indomitable spirit travels with them and seems to leave traces behind, just waiting to be discovered by the next travelers.
While Doc experiences physical ailments that land him in a hospital and near-constant mental struggles due to his exhaustion, he engages the reader with his gritty determination to understand his ancestor's journey, his jaunty commitment to his task, and his humble acceptance of what eventually transpires: a spiritual gratification unlike any he's ever known. Although Doc walks alone, his encounters along the way expand his experience to an understanding of humanity in its many and varied forms, from the Schwan's delivery man who drives ice cream out to him, to the Civil War Re-enactment buff who gives up a day to drive behind and protect him, to the women who spend their days rescuing birds from sludge ponds and share their stories with him.
In Faith Greater Than Pain, Sarah Goode Marshall's story anchors Doc's modern-day journey, as each-separated by a century and a half-walks toward Zion, all the while discovering a second Zion within.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Susan Imhoff Bird grew up in Utah, earning her BS and MSW from the University of Utah. Traveling in Asia, South America and Europe has exposed her to many different cultures and religions, and has resulted in a prize winning short story and a book about humanitarian work in Nepal, The Constant Possibility of Grace: A Story of Love, Loss and Tools to End Poverty. When she's not writing she can be found on her bicycle, where her favorite route is the one the handcart pioneers walked as they entered the Salt Lake Valley.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Faith Greater than Pain juxtaposes the experiences of an original Mormon handcart pioneer, Sarah Goode, and a reenactment of her journey by a great grandson. He attempts to walk the journey under the same conditions as Sarah. Cleland has carefully compared the similarities and differences of their journeys while adding his own homespun philosophy and humor. There is much to think about in this story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a reenactment must be worth a million. The book is a wonderful example of a "journey" read. "Doc" is not the same person when he has completed his trek as he was at the beginning--physically or spiritually. The trip nearly cost him his life, but he discovered his soul. A worthwhile read!
Lynn Cleland wanted to honor his ancestor Sarah Goode, so he decided to pull a handcart across the plains from Iowa to the Salt Lake Valley just as she did (a widow with young children) back in the 1850's. This book is VERY well written! Lynn Cleland's incredible experiences pulling his handcart are interwoven between Sarah's amazing story, beginning in England. Often we don't know if a book is good or not, but this one is WELL WORTH READING!!