Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More than a middle child

Author to present memoir on growing up in a polygamous family

Express Staff Writer

Susanna Barlow will give a presentation on her memoir, “What Peace There May Be,” at The Community Library in Ketchum on Thursday, Sept. 2. Courtesy photo

Author Susanna Barlow grew up in a Mormon fundamentalist home. Her upbringing shaped her life values and views. She was raised in a busy city neighborhood in Utah but was not allowed past her front gate. She says she suffered a great deal of abuse as a young child—the 23rd of 46 children.

Barlow managed to escape her family and the grips of the Mormon fundamentalist religion. As part of her healing process, she wrote a memoir, "What Peace There May Be." She will present her story at The Community Library in Ketchum on Thursday, Sept. 2, at 6 p.m. The presentation is free.

"This publication needed to happen," Barlow said. "It was important for me to free myself from the secret that was my life."

Barlow's book is a peek into a world that is an extreme religious organization.

"It's tribal," she said. "Everyone must conform for the survival of the whole. We were not allowed to talk with each other."

Barlow's account reveals that no matter how hard her family tried to keep out the rest of the world, it was impossible. She writes about how the world crashed into her house, breaking barriers.

"My parents have not read the book," Barlow said. "They are devastated."

Barlow is no longer affiliated with polygamous groups on a religious level, but she does have family and friends who are practicing polygamists. Her book recounts six years in her youth in which she struggled to come to terms with the conditions of her life.

"You have a survival instinct because it is being human," she said. "But, there is so much programming to unravel. I am a spiritual person, and now I am on a path to explore all religions."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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