"You believe me, don't you, Nathan." It was not a question, but a statement, filled with wonder.
It stunned Nathan.
"You believe it all. I can see it on your face."
For a moment, time seemed suspended as Nathan probed the inward recesses of his soul. There was still the incredulousness, still the sense of hearing something that couldn't possibly be true. And yet he knew it was. He knew without the least shadow of doubt that everything Joseph was telling him was true. And so, finally, with a wonder of his own, he said, "Yes, Joseph, I believe you."
Pillar of Light — the first volume in the series The Work and the Glory — begins the epic story of the Benjamin Steed family. In the 1820s they move from Vermont to Palmyra Township in upstate New York in search of better farmland. There they meet a young man named Joseph Smith and are thrown into the maelstrom of conflict and controversy that swirls around him. Did he really see the Father and the Son in a pillar of light? Has he truly been visited by angelic messengers? What is all this talk about gold plates and new scripture? In short, is he a prophet and seer or a monumental fraud? The answers each one gives to these questions — intensely personal, potentially divisive — will dramatically affect the lives of the Steeds forever after.
Author Gerald N. Lund here masterfully weaves together historical reality and high-powered fiction. In his hands this combination seems to make the reader an eyewitness to the early scenes of the Restoration, thus deepening one's understanding and appreciation of those momentous events. The well-drawn plot and fictional characters present a moving, gripping story. Here are Benjamin and Mary Ann Steed, devoted to each other as man and wife, yet at odds over religion; Joshua, their volatile son, who rebels and heads for trouble; the sensitive Nathan, their second son, in whom Joseph Smith's message strikes a responsive chord; the beautiful Lydia McBride, who captures the hearts of both Joshua and Nathan.
This book skillfully explores the inmost motivations of Joseph Smith and his early followers and the responses of typical contemporary families to the claims he made. These people come to life in this powerful historical novel, a story that captures both the heartache and the happiness that came in the wake of Joseph's experience with the pillar of light.