When I was fifteen, I had the incredible experience of being able to go to Russia with a group of other teens on a tour designed to teach Russian teens about free enterprise. While there, we toured some of the huge cathedrals and learned the history of religion in the country, how many of the churches were destroyed or turned from their original purpose. Our tour guide explained how some of the churches were still operational as such, but not all. I was saddened to look upon these beautiful buildings, designed to glorify God, but instead, reduced to mere pieces of incredible architecture.
"The Silence of God" by Gale Sears very much speaks to this theme. Going back to 988 A.D. and the introduction of Christianity to Russia by Prince Vladimir and moving forward in time to the Revolution in the early 1900s, we see how important religion is to the lives and emotional well-being of these people who have been placed in some of life's most difficult circumstances. We meet the Lindlof family, the first LDS family in Russia, and follow them as they try to adhere to the tenets of their faith in the midst of harsh adversity, including time spent in Siberia. We learn of the Bolshevik theology and are shown the leaders of this movement in a more human light than we ordinarily view them. We are shown friendship and the power it has to preserve life.
Of necessity, Sears fictionalized many aspects of the Lindlof's story, while the basic structure is factual. It's impossible to know everything a person thought, said, or did when looking back at them through the lens of time. Sears did a remarkable job of keeping the tone of the country consistent through word choice and the structure of her dialogue.
I did wish that some sections had been fleshed out. This book could have been easily twice its length and I would have stayed with it until the last word on the page - the events depicted are fascinating and some were only given a mention where a full page or even a chapter would have done it more justice. That said, I give "The Silence of God" two big thumbs up and highly recommend it.
A free copy of the book was received for my review. This gift did not influence my thoughts in any way.