God is an interesting character. Attracting His attention isn't always a good thing, and hearing from Him directly can be a real problem -- especially if you're not sure precisely what He said.

Zoe Murdock's novel Torn by God opens with a terrifying vision. More precisely, a young girl has the bizarre experience of watching her father wade out into a raging river where a pillar of light descends upon him. He returns, certain that it was a message from on high. From that moment forward, nothing on Earth is as important to him as discovering (and carrying out) God's special plan for him.

Naturally the father (Brother Sterling) starts to dig deeply into the roots of his own faith tradition. Being a Mormon, Brother Sterling centers his search around the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. This search leads him to old doctrines like polygamy and the "Law of Consecration" (signing over your belongings to be distributed by the church). He drags his family (not literally kicking and screaming, but almost) into the bosom of the local independent Mormon fundamentalist group. The resulting emotional and financial hardships are made all the more painful by the constant realization that everything could so easily go back to normal if only Brother Sterling could forget about his vision and cut the crazy out of their lives. Read more