Book review: 'Faith Greater Than Pain' is phenomenal read about Mormon pioneer, descendant

By Micah Klug

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Feb. 3 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

"FAITH GREATER THAN PAIN: The Real Life Story of One Man ... Two Feet ... 1400 miles," by Lynn “Doc” Cleland and Susan Imhoff Bird, Olympic Publishing, $17.95, 374 pages (nf)

“Faith Greater Than Pain,” co-authored by Lynn “Doc” Cleland and Susan Imhoff Bird, leaves the reader captivated by the beautifully crafted imagery and heartwarming tale of two souls separated by time, but connected in spirit.

The book guides the reader through two legacies, the first that of Sarah Goode Marshall, an early Mormon pioneer convert, and the second that of her great-grandson, Cleland.

The story of Sarah Goode Marshall leaves the reader in awe and respectful as they learn her conversion story. Sarah proves her humble heart and stalwart convictions to her newfound faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the death of her husband, she receives inspiration to take her six children to America and travel to Zion (the Salt Lake Valley) by handcart. The biography relates her tale, her struggles and her triumphs along the way. The reader cannot help but ache for her when she goes through struggles and cheer at her successes, especially when she reaches the Salt Lake Valley.

While reading Cleland’s tale, it feels like the reader is walking alongside him as a friend, pulling the handcart with him. His story of traveling over 1,400 miles on nearly the same trek as his great-grandmother in remembrance of her, is remarkable. Doc provides hope by showing there are still genuine and kind-hearted people left in this world. He also reminds the reader that there are still a few sour-lemons out there as well.

His personal journey doesn’t begin in Iowa City or end in the Salt Lake Valley. As Cleland relates his tale, his life, and allows the reader a glimpse into his soul, the reader comes to realize this is a journey that he has been prepared to accomplish throughout his life. This journey is a legacy he also leaves for his posterity to remember and cherish; a legacy alongside that of his great-grandmother.

Although Cleland begins his travels wanting to remember his great-grandmother and began this excursion as a spiritual journey and growth for himself, in the end he finds himself accomplishing something much larger than he imagined. Readers cannot help but feel they, too, have been changed by the trials, struggles, and hardships both Sarah and Doc passed through. One cannot help but want to be a better person for his or her own posterity and family after reading “Faith Greater Than Pain.”

Micah Klug graduated with her bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho with her husband and daughter.

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