This book says very little about “finding God,” but boy it says a lot about “searching for ropens.” It’s 354 pages long, yes that’s a long book. Don’t bother even opening it, if you get your hands on a copy, unless you want to spend a lot of time reading. Once you get started, it’s really hard to put it down, and I’m just passing along what other people have said about this third edition and previous editions. I almost forgot to mention the name of the book, Searching for Ropens and Finding God.
The author, Jonathan Whitcomb, is a devout Mormon and makes no effort to cover up that fact. Yet he says more about Baptists than about Mormons, and that’s because so many Baptists have been searching for the ropens. Even so, the book is not about churches. It’s about men who have braved the steamy jungles of Papua New Guinea to get a photo or a bit of video of a ropen. The religious motivations are mentioned but not put on a pedestal. You’ll find a few pages about faith in God, but you’ll find many chapters about the ropens and about the people who see modern pterosaurs, and those eyewitnesses almost never say anything about religion. This is mostly cryptozoology.
Here is the title page:
I’ll tell you what I like best about the title page. “Working with people of other faiths” and “it soars above disputes about religion.” You won’t find much about Muslims, Jews, or Hindus in this book. It’s about Christians of different denominations who work together to find a modern pterosaur. I also like the part at the end: “Speculation that religious bias of investigators has played a big part in sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs—that conjecture has been shot down.”
I don’t mean that there’s hardly anything about religion. You’ll find some pages about that. But the meat of the book is searching in Papua New Guinea and in other countries, searching for pterosaurs.
Here is the first page of the Introduction:
I like this part about helping people avoid suicide:
After reading this book, if one person finds a reason to live and abandons thoughts of suicide, what a reward for all of us involved! This is not a textbook for preventing suicide, yet I suggest each of us can find ways to bring meaning into the lives of persons around us, motivating all of us to keep living and learning.
The book doesn’t say exactly, in so many words, how to help anybody avoid suicide. It’s not in the words exactly, but these men have endured years of ridicule and disappointment, yet they keep living and trying. It’s in their examples, never giving up hope or becoming despondent. The author suffers more failure than anybody else, if you read the book to the end. But he too keeps on going, like everything has to turn out right in the end. I guess readers can follow that example and keep moving forward in their own lives, in whatever they are doing.
My first exposure to a remote tropical island with a giant reptile—when my younger sister Cindy and I were infants—came from Mommy reading Peter Pan. When I was four, the new sister was born, not to the name chosen by Cindy and me, “Captain Hook,” but to a name chosen by compromising parents: “Wendy.”
Searching for Ropens and Finding God—The perfect gift for a loved one or for yourself
You deserve a break from the ordinary routine. Treat yourself to an extraordinary true-life adventure about encounters with flying creatures that most Americans thought became extinct long ago. Find out for yourself what may fly over our heads at night.