What's the difference between a cult and a religion? Mostly time, I think, but sheer numbers probably have something to do with it. Hautman manages to give a balanced and fair report on life within a tiny religious community in the West. Jacob meets a girl from the outside world, Lynnie, and gains perspective, and she, too, learns. Jacob's relationship with his parents is nuanced. Every religion has elements that sound bizarre to outsiders, but also provides something, perhaps many things, to its adherents. It's kind of amazing, really, that the book never relies on simplistic reactions. Overall it is a book about what individuals need from their communities, that transcends any specific belief issues.