Reading Group Guide
1. The community, the church, and Camilla’s father are all afraid of the Mormons who are camping in their town. Where does that fear come from? If they had acted toward the Mormon people in another way, do you think Camilla might have chosen differently? What might Camilla’s parents have done differently to prevent her running away with Nathan? How much responsibility do they share for her choices as a young teen?
2. Camilla’s parents have a grasp on true Christianity, yet they fail to convey the reality of it to their daughter. How is this experience reflected in the church today? How have you experienced it in your own family or circle of friends? What do you make of the difference between the way Camilla’s father provided spiritual instruction to his daughter and the way Nathan taught his daughters?
3. As a Mormon, Nathan believes that his salvation depends on successfully converting Camilla to the Mormon faith and on taking a wife and starting a family. Yet he promises Camilla that on her first unhappy day, he’ll take her home. Do you think he ever meant to keep that promise? Why or why not? If he did mean to keep it, when and why did he change his mind?
4. What causes Camilla to doubt the Mormon faith after the birth of her son? When she questions the Mormon faith, she sees fear in Nathan’s eyes. What is he afraid of?
5. When Nathan finally convinces Camilla to go back to church, the elder preaches that there are those among them who need to confess their sins. He singles out Nathan and Camilla’s loss of a child. Nathan suggests that Camilla needs to seek forgiveness. What does he think she needs to confess?
6. It was part of God’s plan all along that Camilla write Scripture in her journal so that she would have it as a resource in teaching his Word to her children. Can you think of anything in your past that didn’t seem to have a purpose at the time but made sense later, in light of what you were going through?
7. When Camilla senses the Lord calling her to take a stand for the truth about him, she tries to convince herself that what she has “could be enough.” Has there been a time in your life that you’ve sensed God calling you out of your comfort zone in order to grow closer to him or to become more like him? How did you respond? How would you like to have responded?
8. When the elder is questioning her, Camilla says, “My Lord commands me to obey my husband. And he has been commanded to love me. As long as he is not in disobedience to his command, I see no reason to disobey mine.” Is Camilla right to use God’s command to justify obeying her husband even in his unbiblical desire to take a second wife? Under what circumstances today do wives need to heed this command? When might it be appropriate to disobey one’s husband?
9. After Camilla refuses to be baptized again in the Mormon church, she returns home and discovers that Kimana has been praying for her. Have you ever been forced to defend what you believe even if it isn’t popular? And have you ever felt strong facing a difficult situation and realized later that someone had been praying for you?
10. Discuss Camilla’s decision to leave her children. Why does she feel she must do so? What would you have done in her place? What comfort does Camilla have as she leaves her home? Have you ever had to sacrifice something for your faith?
11. What do you think will become of these characters? If you were writing the second part of the story, what would happen to Camilla? Nathan? Amanda? Kimana? the children?