Ms. Smith’s narrative echoes an increasingly common theme on this reservation, where unemployment is rampant, domestic violence is common, and alcohol is often used as an antidote to heartaches and hardships. In a land troubled by dysfunction and despair, a growing number of Navajos have been turning to the Mormon Church.
Linda Smith lost one son, a methamphetamine addict, to suicide when he hanged himself in jail. Her other sons are heavy drinkers, fathered by a man who she said nearly killed her one night in a fit of rage, driving her from her home on this corner of the Navajo reservation to Provo, Utah, where she found solace in the Mormon Church.
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