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Standing Firm: Under the Tamarisk Tree by Flori Paquette

As Christians, the world will tempt our faith in different ways. They say God would sometimes ask us to move mountains or swim the raging seas for us to prove how much we are willing to go on for His purpose. These tests, in turn, will help us move towards a greater goal一, one that takes us toward achieving His mission for all of us to know Him and change our lives for the better. However, some experiences are different from others, and author Flori Paquette's story will take you on a different journey that tested her faith and her firmness in God's grace.

Under the Tamarisk Tree (2020) is author Flori Paquette's testimony about how God tested her. The book tells the story of how she merely started as a newly born-again Christian and wound up brainwashed in the clutches of a wolf in sheep's clothing. A cult that made her and her family change, how her faith and hope was tested, as well as her deliverance from the abuse she and her family suffered from the horrifying cult they innocently went into for almost 10 years. This book also narrates their enticement at the words of a tyrannical pastor and how these words made them unconsciously ignore the warnings of the Spirit. This is the gripping story of how Flori and her family became increasingly bound in the abusive Tamarisk Fellowship, as well as her story of repentance as the truth finally dawns on her and her family, leading them to break free from the hold of the cult-like fellowship.

Author Flori Paquette shares her story in great detail in this book. Having watched the atrocities of Jim Jones and the People's Temple unfold on television, she never knew that she, herself, would fall into that kind of spell. She was inspired to write the memoir as many people listened as she told her story about the Tamarisk fellowship, the manipulation, lies and the abusiveness that she and her family have gone through during those years where a pastor's words blinded them. According to the author, this book narrates what it's like to be controlled by someone who claims they are a pastor and serves as a warning, a guide for those who want to understand the victims of cults and raises awareness of how cults operate. Readers will perceive how well-intended people can be easily convinced by charming words and become aware of the patterns that will lead to harmful fellowship. This is also evident as to how the hand of God will move to overcome evil and how we, as His children, can fall into tests like these that will determine whether we stand firm on the faith we formed with God.

Though there are many books about cults and churches that follow twisted doctrines, Paquette's book takes a unique turn as she shows the inside of the heart and mind of a person trying to serve God and slowly falling into deception一 looking into mind control tactics that lead to people being enticed with a cult-like fellowship.

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