Title: And It Came to Pass
Author: Laura Stone
Publisher: Interlude Press
Length: 222 Pages
At a Glance: I loved how much this book made me think, how much it made me feel, and how much I learned from it.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out, by both his strict father and his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, goes off to his mission in Barcelona, Spain, and realizes that his life may not follow the trajectory already chosen for him.
His mission companion, Brandon Christensen, is a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner on the surface. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.
Review: Laura Stone’s new novel, And It Came to Pass, is absolutely stunning. It’s clear from the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book that this is a very personal story for Stone, and it’s one I’m so glad she decided to tell, because she did it beautifully. I have friends who grew up Mormon. I know that it’s difficult for some, and that there can be many conflicting feelings about the practice. Especially for teenagers and young adults, when we’re questioning so many things about the world and ourselves already. How do we reconcile the things we believe and love so deeply about our religion with the things that don’t sit right in our gut, or the ideas and rules that would make us unwelcome or unfit? This dichotomy between the principles of Mormonism and homosexuality, the beliefs of the Latter-Day Saints vs the tenet that love is love, is the central theme of the book.
At nineteen, Adam Young has finally answered the call to serve, and is at the beginning of his two-year mission in Barcelona. He didn’t feel a strong call. Serving a mission was something he was expected to do, not something he felt passionate about. But, when he meets his mission companion, Brandon Christensen, that slowly starts to change. Christensen is full of energy, and love for the Gospel, and everyone thinks he’s a born leader. He does seem to bring out the best in everyone, on top of which Adam discovers that Brandon has many questions of his own that fall right in line with things Adam has been wondering about the Church as well. Adam begins thinking that maybe this mission, this companion, are exactly what he needed.
He’d never shared with anyone his hope of gaining a stronger belief in the Church while on his mission; hadn’t even looked straight at his own thoughts about it. This just might be the companion to light the fire in him, might be the leader who could get his mind where it needed to be. He could find his faith and maybe figure himself out, too.
I loved everything about Brandon. His attitude and his spirit, his openness and his love for his family and for God. I loved how devout he was, and how much his faith was an integral part of him that he never lost even though he was questioning. We don’t initially know that Brandon is unsure of anything, though. At first glance Christensen seems to have it all together, whereas Adam is internally questioning so many things about the Church, and about himself. He gradually learns that his mission companion is going through a similar crisis of faith, but is shocked when he learns that part of the reason is that he has the same feelings Adam has.
When these guys open up to each other and begin to explore their feelings, it’s so beautiful. They realize that the Church sees what they are doing and feeling as wrong—but, they can’t see how it possibly could be when this is how God made them, and it feels so right when they are together. Adam especially struggled initially, but then I loved these thoughts as he tried to make sense of everything in his mind:
It was scripture—that had to make it okay, because what he felt, this tenderness and affection for such a good man was just what was in that Bible verse.
It seemed so natural practicing his religion with this man, sharing faith, and even more natural was the night before, what they’d shared in his bed. Surely God, who commanded his children to “love one another” was a God of all forms of love?
I loved how much this book made me think, how much it made me feel, and how much I learned from it. But, what I loved most of all, was that neither Brandon nor Adam lost their faith. They felt the iron fist of the Church looming over their heads, but they never lost their love for God. This line, that Brandon says to Adam, was so spot on: “It’s like the Church is about the Church and not about Heavenly Father.”
Ok. I can’t quote you the whole thing…and I don’t want to give too much away…so, I’ll leave it there. But first, I have to quickly also say how much I loooved Brandon’s parents, and how fabulously, wonderfully amazing they were—Adam’s parents, not so much—and that the setting of Barcelona was completely beautiful and fantastic! There.
This story is going to stay with me for a while, as are Brandon and Adam. Especially Brandon. I hate to pick favorites…but, he really was everything. I hope everyone goes out and grabs this one. It’s so good!
You can buy And It Came to Pass here: