Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven

A Story of Violent Faith

Book - 2004
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This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America's isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

At the core of Krakauer's book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2004.
Edition: First Anchor books edition
ISBN: 9781400032808
Branch Call Number: 279.933 KRAKAUER
Characteristics: xxiii, 399 pages : maps ; 21 cm


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Feb 21, 2020

If you want to take an in depth, well-researched look into the origins of Mormonism, this book is a good source. The author adequately and masterfully shows the disturbing undercurrents of violence of the early Mormons flowing directly into the violence of some contemporary Mormon Fundamentalists. There is an undeniable unbroken chain of determined entitled belief leading to behavior so outside of the norms of civil society everywhere, as to not only be illegal and unethical, but incredibly shocking and sinful. But the Mormon god commands these atrocities, and we are left with child brides; shattered homes; and murdered men, women, and children.

Where the book digresses and spoils its otherwise excellent treatise; is the author's drawing of parallels between all fundamentalists of any belief system. The very existence of belief in God seems to sit ill-at-ease with the author, and "they are all the same," seems to be his personal bias. If you can step over those occasional clumsy blocks in the road, the book is otherwise an outstanding journey of necessary hard truths.

Oct 09, 2019

Chose this book because I had read and loved the author's previous books and also because I had just read Educated. Excellent research; fascinating reporting; sad and repugnant events. Well worth reading.
Jessie May Keller

Feb 16, 2019

Examined every disturbing piece.

Jul 04, 2018

One of the finest true crime--if not nonfiction--books ever written, period.

Jun 14, 2018

Ostensibly an account of a 1984 grisly murder in a Utah community, by alternating chapters of the present with those of the past Krakauer also provides a detailed history of the Mormon faith and its connection to the crime.

This book is simultaneously educational and horrifying. My heart breaks for the FLDS women, whose sole value in life and in their communities is as reproductive chattel. It also caused me to wonder any number of times throughout the text how anyone practicing religion can describe the more outlandish tenets and history of their faith with a straight face.

These two unrelated quotes in particular are worth mulling over:
"Although the prophecy of this father, Uncle Rulon, that the world would be swept clean in a hurricane of fire by the year 2000 did not come to pass, the events of September 11, 2001, have renewed Warren's [Jeffs] optimism."

"I remember wondering about contradictions between what the religion taught and scientific truth. But Uncle Roy told us that the way to handle that was just to avoid asking certain kinds of questions. So I trained myself to ignore the contradictions."

Apr 23, 2018


mko123 Apr 05, 2018

If you liked Education, by Tamara Westover, read this for a deeper understanding of religious fanaticism. The modern day fanatics in this book demand absolute obedience from their followers. Their out-of-control narcissism knows no bounds, even to the point where they are willing to assault their own wives and children. A senseless murder that is at the core of this story. The mystery is not who, but what kind of a twisted thinking and rage could lead to this.

Feb 24, 2018

Good journalistic writing, but too long.

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 21, 2018

Two fundamentalist Mormon brothers claimed that they committed murder under direct orders from God.

Aug 01, 2017

Terrifying look into how religion and belief can be twisted and used. In a religious belief system where everyone can and does talk directly to God and God can and does talk back, what happens when one person gets a message from God to kill and another person gets a message from God to not kill? Who's right? Who determines who's right?

I think it says a lot about critical thinking and thinking for oneself. An important lesson in today's world of instant news and no follow up.

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Jun 05, 2014

elbayless thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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