On Fire in Baltimore: Black Mormon Women and Conversion in a Raging City


by Laura Rutter Strickling
“The Baltimore women who shared their stories for this volume have given us a gift. . . . From plain-spoken theodicy to unflinching assertions on faith, here are riches that you won’t want to miss. ”— Kate Holbrook
“Magnifies the universal human yearning for inclusion and redemption.” — Segullah
“I truly enjoyed every moment of this book and highly recommend it to every member and nonmember alike. It truly is one I will come back to read again.” — Honest Mormon Mama

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Book Description:

On Fire in Baltimore is more than just the personal stories of Black women who converted to Mormonism. Against the background of a city known for its racial and economic inequality, these devout women of color tell stories of drug addiction and rape, of nights spent in jail and days looking for work, and of single motherhood and grief for lost children. Yet, their stories are also filled with visitations from heavenly beings, dreams of deceased mothers, protection from violence, and missionary messengers. They share how they reconcile their membership in a historically White church that once denied them full membership because of their race. Laura Rutter Strickling takes the reader on an intimate journey where Black and White racialized lives meet, where she is compelled to question how her own whiteness has impacted her perspective, and where an unquenchable spiritual fire burns bright in a raging city.


Q&A with the author  Authorcast interview

Praise for On Fire in Baltimore:

“This book is a treasure. . . . If you want to be inspired, moved to tears, and hopefully moved to positive action, please read On Fire in Baltimore. It is an intense experience that can help you see others with new eyes, even the eyes of our Savior.” — The Millennial Star

It’s raw because it’s real, and when we hear about loss and love one distinct voice at a time, we’re bound to connect. . . .  The conversions of these fifteen women inform my own, and the struggles that led them to choose baptism . . . magnify the universal human yearning for inclusion and redemption.” — Sherilyn Olsen, Segullah

“The interviews provide the reader with a deep close look at the lives of the members in this area. It is filled with details and background that will develop your insights into poverty and a divided country and why we have the struggles that we do today. It is not only a fulfilling dive into American history but encompasses the trials and obstacles found in the homes of the members living in a poverty stricken Baltimore. I truly enjoyed every moment of this book and highly recommend it to every member and nonmember alike. It truly is one I will come back to read again.” — Honest Mormon Mama

“In a church that tends to elide over racial identity and avoids acknowledging racist history, this book offers a welcome addition to a home gospel library. . . . The stories are raw and tell of cruel realities of segregation, racism, poverty and abuse. This is not chicken soup for your soul, but it feeds deeply.” — Exponent II

About the Author:

Laura Rutter Strickling received her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Intercultural Communication and PhD in Sociocultural Linguistics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also completed a two-year post-doctoral position in Urban Education in Baltimore City. She has written articles about language, culture, and education. In her free time, she rides bikes with her husband throughout the city of Baltimore.

More Information:

197 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58958-716-8 (paperback); 978-1-58958-722-9 (hardcover)

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