Item description for The Other Side of Darkness by Melody Carlson...
Overview Ruth is unaware that she suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and she mistakes her overwhelming need to feel clean as a desire for spirituality. She falls as easy prey to a charismatic pastor's mind-controlling sermons and is slowly convinced that almost everything is evil and that demons abound everywhere.
Publishers Description "Once again, I have kept the demons at bay." As a wife and mother, Ruth knows her prayers are crucial to her family's spiritual welfare. She stands between her precious children and the evil one, doing battle in prayer. She can't afford to be careless. Thankfully, she has powerful allies: Pastor Glenn, New Life Christian School where her daughters Mary and Sarah attend, and the inner circle at Arbor Drive Fellowship. They all reinforce her careful nurturance of her children. If only her husband, Rick, understood that. He's exasperated about the money Ruth keeps spending for the church and school. Doesn't he see that these are their best defenses in shielding their children from the dangers of the world? But the forces that threaten Ruth's faith, her family-her very life-are not the ones she expects. Ruth doesn't realize that her heartfelt desire to obey God is mingled with dangerous currents of OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her own strategies for protecting her family may be the very thing that tears them apart.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Other Side of Darkness by Melody Carlson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 09/01/2008 page 110
CBA Retailers - 07/01/2008 page 64
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I started writing "professionally" about twenty years ago. I quickly learned that I'm a fast writer and, as a result, I've published more than 200 books--with more than 6 million books sold. And it stuns me to write out those numbers today. How did that happen? I've been told I'm in the top twenty "most prolific authors" of all time. Although I'm not certain this is true, it does make me wonder--and I wonder how other authors (in previous generations) managed to write so many books without the use of a computer. Last year I won a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times. But that doesn't mean I'm ready to retire. I have lots more books coming out and new ideas popping into my head all the time. I write from a studio right next to the house I share with my husband in Oregon. My dog Audrey goes to work with me every morning. I have to say...it's a pretty good life...and I am grateful to God for every bit of it.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Other Side of Darkness?
The Other Side Of Darkness is a novel that serves as a warning. May 7, 2010
As a person who belonged to a cult for twelve years, this is a story that must be told.
My church and situation were different and for years after I left it I could not see that it was really a cult.
But just as the situation in THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS, the church members were considered more important than family. I left the church I was born and raised in to follow "The One True Church."
When my husband tried to keep me home, I left him and my children "For God." After all, I must obey God rather than man.
Our family got back together on the promise that my husband would not keep me from my church.
After twelve years the Lord brought me out of that church and back under the spiritual leadership of my husband.
The Other Side Of Darkness is a novel that serves as a warning.
Do your church leaders lead and keep you in the church by fear? Do they talk down other churches? And your other family members and friends?
Disturbing look into the mind of a cult member Jan 22, 2009
I can't say I enjoyed this story but I did find it deeply disturbing and had to keep reading to find out what eventually happens to Ruth, her husband and their children. While reading I kept looking to see how many pages were left because it was really starting to get to me how scary this woman was becoming and the thought that she might turn her two impressionable daughters into the same type of women. As I read it was so hard to believe that someone could become that obsessed and crazy but never even realize it. I guess a crazy person never thinks they are crazy and I suppose Ruth's thoughts are probably similar to those of people who get caught up in religious cults. I suppose not being deeply religious I can't believe that people could go so far in their beliefs and be so harsh on other people.
I am not one that usually goes for these types of depressing sort of books which accounts for my lower rating but if you really want to see what might go on inside the heads of people who join cults this is an interesting book.
Revealing issues surrounding being drawn into cults Nov 3, 2008
I read with intensity the story of Ruth and her family. Dealing with low-self esteem issues, Ruth is drawn into the "church" and doesn't realize that Cynthia and the pastor is pulling her into the inner circle more and more. I agree that the reality of a cult is very well defined in this story. Melody Carlson did an excellent job and the accuracy and dangers that we can face in today's society.
Yet, I felt that the story went on and on. I realize that the drama of the story had to be portrayed, yet the big picture was given well into half of the book. I would have liked to read more about the recovery and how Ruth realized that she was sucked into the drama of the church. That Ruth would realize that God loves her as she is and that she doesn't have to be part of a cult to receive his grace and mercy. That would have put a positive end to the story. I'm sure that there are some cult stories that are not positive in the end, but the book dragged for me.
Some Cults are so easy to get into!! Oct 5, 2008
Hold on to your heart when you read this gut-wrenching real situation in which Melody Carlson describes how someone could easily find themselves in a cult. I think the circumstances of this situation makes it scary and real when you see how the little things that grab the main character Ruth at first. It's the little things - like words said, things prayed about that prick her spirit and weigh heavy on her heart. But she brushes them off as nonsense in the beginning, when she finds herself in the middle of a church split. She's confused about what to do.
It's not something that Ruth intentionally seeks out to be a part of; "they" draw her into one of the churches that split. Ruth likes Pastor Glenn, who left and went to start his own church. The members that stay behind try to warn Ruth of Pastor Glenn's questionable behavior. 'Things aren't what they appear to be', they tell her. But Cynthia, the new church secretary, starts befriending Ruth. Cynthia has answers to the accusations and starts grooming Ruth for a good position in the new church. They "need" Ruth - and her money. Oh, it's not said like that; it's more subtle. They start building Ruth up by telling her she was made for this position, and Ruth likes the attention and responsibility.
Pastor Glenn's assistant and worship leader at the new church, Bronte, heads up the prayer meeting where Ruth discovers some pretty disturbing things from her past - things she doesn't remember but the "new" church members tell her she has experienced. "Ruth you just have to trust God" they tell her. Fellow members of the new church set out to train Ruth to do 'Spiritual Warfare' to fight the enemy. It's the only way the demons will leave her and her family alone. Ruth must trust them because she needs to be set free from this horrible event in her past - she can't remember. Ruth has unsettling feelings about all this. The Holy Spirit is trying to rear it's head in Ruth's reality but she chalks it up to being a child of the faith and weak in character. Ruth was determined to learn to be like the others and become a strong warrior in this battle she signed up to fight against the devil.
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." Cynthia and Bronte don't lead Ruth to this scriptural passage -- that's for sure -- the very passage Ruth needs to be free. They feed her a bunch of half truths and twisted scripture to back up the lies. And, since Ruth was not a self-thinker, she believed everything they told her.
Ruth's husband, Rick, tries to tell her these "new" church people are filling her up with fear so they can control her. Rick says, "I'm not a theologian Ruth, but the Jesus I know is about love and forgiveness. Your church gives more glory to Satan than it does to God." Ruth doesn't listen to him because he doesn't go to her church. "What does he know?", she asks herself. The others warned her not to listen to Rick and what he had to say. She had to fight the good fight.
I truly felt for Ruth and her family in this story. Melody Carlson does such an amazing job of portraying Ruth getting drawn into this cult hook, line and sinker. She also describes what Ruth's immediate family does to help her as they see her getting in deeper and deeper into the "new" church, being driven far away from them all.
Melody Carlson tells the story from a first person point of view which made it read as if you were in Ruth's head as she struggles with her inner turmoil. This story is all too real!! Cults are popping up everywhere and I've always wondered how someone would get into one in the first place. Melody Carlson delivers a story of hope, forgiveness and redemption. It was difficult to read in some parts because I wasn't sure how far Ruth would be lead down the wrong path with this "new" church. I think this book is a must read for everyone. Melody Carlson gives us a glimpse into the world around us. You will never forget Ruth and her struggles. It's haunting.
Finding Hope Through Fiction [...]
refreshing very intense inspirational Christian tale Sep 18, 2008
Ruth loves her husband and children, but fears for them. She doesn't want them tricked by the machinations of the evil devil. She prays for them and does everything to prevent Satan from tricking any of her loved ons into sinning.
However her husband Rick resents how much money and time she spends on the Valley Bridge Fellowship Church and it's New Life Christian School. Her children Mary and Sarah resent her pushing religion down their throat as they have enough at school. Worse her hero Pastor Glenn has been fired by the congregation either because they were fooled by Satan or jealous of how good he is. Ruth feels her world imploding as the more she prays the more things go bad and the more they go bad the more she prays especially when she follows her idol Pastor Glenn to his new church; her family refuses to go with her.
This is a refreshing very intense inspirational Christian tale in which the main character suffers from a serious mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder. Ruth is unique protagonist as the more time she gives, the more troubled she becomes. Interestingly several deeply religious individuals selfishly and knowingly take advantage of her time and money. Although seeing demons seems unnecessary, Melody Carlson leaves the audience with a deep poignant thriller in which accepting psychological treatment is just one tool provided by God to help his flock with free will.