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Authors: Marian Wells

The Wishing Star

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The Starlight Trilogy, Book One

The Wishing Star

Marian Wells

© 1985 by Marian Wells

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ebook edition created 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publicaion may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—with the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-6248-6

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Manuscript edited by Penelope J. Stokes.
Cover illustration by Dan Thornberg.



Title Page

Copyright Page

The Starlight Trilogy

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Bibliographic Note

About the Author

Other Books by Author

Back Cover

The Starlight Trilogy

The War of 1812 was America's second war for independence, as if this young country must stamp its foot and remind the world once more that it had to be totally free. America would not, after all her struggles, endure fetters of any kind. When the first European foot touched American soil, it stepped forward in an enormous stride toward freedom. And freedom was the banner flung over all, forever.

But people can be trusted with freedom only when truth is coupled with liberty. Truth can best be discovered in freedom, but sometimes people unwittingly allow themselves to be enslaved in their search for truth.

After this second war, as America stirred and stretched, rumbles of freedom began in the churches. From 1814 to 1830, many of America's old mainline churches were split apart, each intent upon establishing its own freedom—and its own view of truth. And during this time, just before the outbreak of genuine revival, large numbers of new religions emerged.

America began to see herself possessing a unique position in God's sight, providing a pattern of freedom and holiness for all people, becoming a leader for the world. Just as people reached out for land during the westward expansion, they also reached for new experiences and new ideas. Rapt attention was given to the second coming of Christ, and nowhere did this doctrine stimulate more anticipation and frenzied excitement than in the new religions.

The new religions bore strangely similar traits which have been broken down into common dominators: a compelling leader, direct communication from God to that leader, a belief that here was
truth, and a twisted chunk of Christianity which was to color the whole, lending credibility to the institution.

This mixture of religious confusion becomes the setting for our story.
The Starlight Trilogy
pictures the emergence of one of these new religions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as founded by Joseph Smith. As one of today's few survivors of the new religions of that period, it must become a symbol to Christians of the danger of truth colored by divergent, seemingly innocuous beliefs.

The Joseph Smith story is a difficult one to write and impossible to handle lightly—there is too much of a dark, brooding aura about it all. For the uninitiated this has been projected as the mysterious; for the Christian there are intimations of another voice which must not be either ignored or feared.

Joseph Smith's story begins here with his late teen years, and is marked by an early thrust into the supernatural. Toward the end of his life, the picture is of a poor boy making good, at least by the standards of this world. From farm boy he rose to become rich, influential, loved, and revered. At the same time he was hated and scorned.

While Joseph shoulders, dances and coerces his way through life with the words, “Thus saith the Lord,” he is throwing a net of mysticism around his people. To them and to the world he paints his own image with the white color of holiness and teaches his people to do likewise.

Histories have been written on the life of Joseph Smith, but there is more to be considered. Beyond his personal story are the people of his kingdom, the hangers-on, the bewitched and the seekers after truth. And the story can best be told through the seekers.

Our story is set in the framework of a historical novel as seen through the life of one of the seekers, Jenny Timmons. It is historical in the sense that main events, locations and many characters actually appear in records of the period; and fictional in development and style. Jenny herself is representative of young women of that time who were caught up in the tide of interest in the supernatural and the new religions.

To read Jenny's story means suffering along with her, through the excitement of the mysterious, the fears of the unknown, and the emptiness of being merely human with only human powers. Along with Jenny, the reader will see the struggle of the people as they accept, not without heartache, the claims of the prophet and try to assume their roles as Children of Israel, seeking their Zion.

The daughter of a poor family living in the eastern states, Jenny Timmon's earliest years were shaped by poverty and superstition. Her mother held an unformed but earnest awareness of God. Most often these beliefs puzzled and frightened Jenny, perhaps because even in her formative years she was allowing herself to be manipulated by another force.

Just as Jenny was nearing her twelfth birthday in South Bainbridge, New York, she met a young man who held an uncanny fascination for her. Thus began her early dabblings in the occult and, eventually, her wanderings into Mormonism. The emphasis on the occult continues throughout Jenny's story because the same thread of belief is woven through the Mormon church.

The Starlight Trilogy
picks up shortly before the Mormon church is established to explore the spiritual roots of Joseph Smith and those who followed him. The main thrust of its message is that the occult and “magic” are much more than something indulged in for the fun of it. There is a deep, satanic influence that wraps itself around people's lives once they allow themselves to be involved in the rituals, the charms, the books, and the people who promote it. We see this happening in Jenny's life, as well as in Joseph Smith's.

To understand how Jenny and others like her are pulled further and further into the occult from seemingly innocent activities, her thoughts and feelings—as well as events—are described in some detail, but not in complete enough form to be “copied” if someone should want to try. Finally, the occult is shown not to be something beautiful and intriguing and providing power but as something thoroughly satanic with no common thread in Christianity.

True biblical Christianity alone can satisfy the spiritual needs of people. And only God's power can break the bondages and devastating influences of the occult in a person's life. No darkness, however oppressive it may be, is greater than the light of the “Morning Star,” Jesus Christ himself.

Chapter 1

Screaming with pain, Jenny dodged the razor strap that snapped at her legs. As her father reeled toward her, she dashed across the splintery floor, leaped through the open door, and with a cry of terror fled for the woods.

Still sobbing, heedless of danger, she ran between the broken plow and jagged pieces of firewood. Finally the searing pain in her side slowed her. Gasping, Jenny cast a fearful look behind her. The sagging gray shack across the field blurred before her eyes. She wiped away her tears and peered again.

The doorway was dark. If Pa were there, she would see the red of his dirty old shirt. If Ma were standing in that spot, there would be the light square of her apron. Jenny leaned against the maple that marked the edge of the Timmons' field. Nearly twelve years old, small and thin, she snuggled against the rough bark of the tree. She knew her size, the dark tumble of hair, and her eyes colored like the woodland creatures made her nearly invisible to those in the house.

When her ragged breathing had calmed, she looked around. The patch of broken ground lying between her and the littered farmyard was filled with rustling brown cornstalks and decaying pumpkins. She felt all brown and withery, too.

Her mother's sad face rose in her mind. Jenny's hands curled; she pressed them against her bony chest to keep the aching sobs from coming past her throat. How badly she wanted to throw herself into her mother's arms, to feel the warmth and the love that must be there.
I'll be good, Ma. I promise I'll be good!
The ache subsided, but nothing was changed, either inside or out.

She squared her shoulders and focused on the door where her father soon would be standing. Rubbing her tattered sleeve across her nose and then sniffing sharply, she jutted her lower lip out in a way she wouldn't dare if she were facing him. “Pa,” she muttered, even now not daring to say the words above a whisper, “you're nothin' but a drunken old sot. If it weren't for Ma's naggin' and fetchin' in the ladies' babies, we'd all starve. And you doin' little 'sides tippin' the bottle and yellin' at Tom for not gettin' at the plowing.”

She shivered as the October afternoon poked chilly fingers through her thin dress. Wrapping her skinny arms around herself, she shook back her heavy dark hair and shifted from one bare foot to the other. Her eyes moved constantly, checking the house, the door, wondering how long it would take Pa to leave and weave his way down the road to the tavern in town. “If he don't go pretty soon, I'm gonna freeze.—But better that than the strap again.”

She spied a shadow approaching the house from down the road—her brother Tom. Jenny watched him leave the path and head for the door.

Conscious now of the welts on her legs, she hopped from one foot to the other. A gasping sigh ended in a hiccup. “Poor Tom, you'll get it now,” she muttered. Tom was seventeen—old enough to be called a man. But the droop of his shoulders said it all: he would never be a man as long as Pa was there to swing that razor strap.

She shivered and looked down at her legs. The white welts had turned red and begun to bleed. Miserably she watched as Tom crossed the yard and leaped the high step into the shack. She could guess what would happen next.

With a sob, Jenny turned and limped into the darkening woods. “He'll be coming,” she whispered. “Pa'll send him after me. Like as not, Tom'll regret fetchin' me as much as I'll regret goin'. Next thing, Pa'll be jawin' me again for takin' the book; after that I'll get strapped 'cause I run out on him. I'll get twice beat for nothin'.”

Weariness seeped through every part of Jenny's body, but she forced herself into a spiritless stride, winding her way into the forest toward that quiet, shadowed glen known only to Tom and herself. As she walked her thoughts dulled. She knew only the moss underfoot and the occasional sharp prick of twigs and dried leaves against her bare feet.

At last she stopped on the rim of a bowl-shaped depression in the forest floor. She trembled, listening for footsteps. But the quietness satisfied her.

BOOK: The Wishing Star
4.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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