One of the most emotionally exhausting books I’ve read in a long time. Having grown up as a part of the Mormon church in Utah, I’ve seen several instances of extremism similar to this (albeit less dramatic). I’m sure anyone who’s lived in a religious culture has. Voids created in families as a result of diverged beliefs, social circles heavily determined by religion, and feelings of confusion, anger, and loneliness for those who are skeptical and don’t quite fit in.
It’s really easy and comfortable to stick with the beliefs you’ve grown up with, accept them without question, and pass them on to your kids. However, it’s incredibly difficult and courageous to question your entire upbringing in the pursuit of a more balanced worldview. I never truly understood how much being raised in a bubble can fabricate your worldview (and make you feel more enlightened than everybody else) until I saw it from an outside perspective.
I have to be careful with what I say here because it’s still a sensitive topic for myself and my family, but I think extremist beliefs, religious or not, can be dangerous and damaging for everyone involved. This story is a perfect example of it. We need to take a deep breath and realize that we’re all in this life together. Nobody has all the answers—we should be learning from each other in a productive way and having open-minded discussions rather than trying to force our worldview onto others.