Doing laundry changed the course of Steve "Dusty" Smith's life. He was pulling a book off his mom's bookshelf while waiting for a load to finish, and the Book of Mormon fell into his hand. That moment began a 30-year journey into, away from and back to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a journey he and Kimiko Christensen Hammari chronicle in "Trial of Faith: Why a Lawyer Abandoned His Mormon Faith, Argued Against It, and Returned to Defend It."
After his baptism and mission to Honduras (during which he corresponded with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), Smith stumbled into a new hobby — debating those who were against the church. As he delved into anti-church literature to match wits with opponents, he discovered claims he had never heard before. On Nov. 11, 1989, he realized he no longer had a testimony. Regaining that testimony took him decades.
"Trial of Faith" is divided into two parts: Smith's story and his advice for church members struggling with their faith. Through both sections, he bears compelling testimony of Heavenly Father's love for all his children, even through their rebellious and doubting times.
He tells his story in a way that is relatable. The writing is good and the voice is authentic.
Smith, who lives in Salt Lake City, graduated from the University of Texas in public relations and Thomas Cooley Law School with his juris doctorate. He is an attorney, former lieutenant colonel in the Army and served as a city councilman in Texas.
Co-author Hammari, who lives in Lehi, grew up in California and Utah and graduated from BYU with a degree in English. She served a mission for the church in Winnipeg, Canada. Kimiko is the author of nearly 20 books for children and families.
"Trial of Faith" contains no violence, sexual content or profanity. The authors do allude to controversial issues in church history, but the discussion is uplifting and faith-promoting.