Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven

A Story of Violent Faith

Book - 2003
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Random House, Inc.
Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this “divinely inspired” crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion,savage violence, polygamy, 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.

Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, andMexico, where some forty-thousand Mormon Fundamentalists believe the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God. Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five “plural wives,” several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties), fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers, and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents.

Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism’s violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism. The result is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.

Baker & Taylor
Traces the 1984 murder of a woman and her child by fundamentalist Mormons, exploring the belief systems and traditions that mark the faith's most extreme factions and what their practices reflect about the nature of religion in America.

Blackwell North Amer
Jon Krakauer's literary reputation rests on chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In Under the Banner of Heaven, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by a pair of Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, and unyielding faith. In the process, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest growing religion, analyzes the abduction of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart (and her forced "marriage" to her polygamous kidnapper), and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.
Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, and Mexico, where some forty thousand Mormon Fundamentalists believe that the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God. Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five "plural wives," several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties), fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents.
Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the United States' most successful homegrown faith and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.

Baker
& Taylor

Traces the events that surrounded the 1984 murder of a woman and her child by fundamentalist Mormons Ron and Dan Lafferty, exploring the belief systems and traditions, including polygamy, that mark the faith's most extreme factions and what their practices reflect about the nature of religion in America. 500,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, c2003
ISBN: 9780385509510
0385509510
Branch Call Number: 289.33 Kra
Characteristics: xxiii, 372 p. : map

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salgeogal
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.

JCLBrentW Jul 17, 2017

A gripping tale. Eye-opening background on the Mormon church.

s
swheeler89
Sep 08, 2016

A name intensive book - as usual Krakauer has done his homework and taught the reader loads on a religion that has surpassed Judaism by number of people. If you live in the US, and faith maintains an active role in your life, I would encourage you to read this book. Crazy to see how a US-centric view of God and man caught hold in the second great awakening as Mormonism did.

b
bpatenaude1930
Aug 13, 2016

Provides history of the mormon church set against a backdrop of a gruesome murder. Found this book to be very entertaining and informative. It has opened my eyes to mormonism and the cult that it is...

a
aliciamarie
Aug 12, 2016

I admit it was a struggle to write this review due to the fact I have so many Mormon friends. In no way do I want to offend them. Who am I to judge or criticize someone's beliefs? I mean, I grew up with teachings of God speaking through burning bushes, a man's superpower strength stemming from his long hair, and even the fact that God gave a mere mortal the ability to part the Red Sea. Krakauer did an excellent, well-researched job in explaining the differences between the FLDS and LDS religions and also explains the two religion's shared past. Read my full review on this and other books at www.booklovinalicia.blogspot.com

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Elaine212
Oct 06, 2015

Krakauer uses the murders by two brothers of a woman and her daughter as the focal point to explore the religious precepts of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and whose credo is practiced by FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs. Krakauer contrasts the FLDS to the mainstream Mormon Church and its denouncement of the FLDS.

p
Persnickety77
Nov 17, 2014

You will get an excellent history of the Mormon faith, plus creepy polygamist tales. and a murder mystery. this book is riveting, and informative! excellent non-fiction.

m
Madreley
Jul 03, 2014

Very interesting book on the Mormon Cult, author gives good solid history facts and does delve into his own opinions. Reading this should convince anyone that Mormonism is truely a man made cult, that is why they are so secrative about some of the rituals that go in within the cult. If you want to know some facts on the origin of the mormons then I suggest to read this book WITH an open mind.

e
elbayless
Jun 05, 2014

I am a big fan of Krakauer's prior books, especially Into Thin Air, and I am interested in the topic he setas forth in "Under the Banner of Heaven." While well written, this book failed to draw me in as much as his other books have. It was still interesting and worth the read, just not his best work.

Lauraparr Apr 22, 2014

I knew nothing about Mormonism when I picked up this book. However, it gives a clear history and evolution of the religion. I really appreciated the fact that testimonies come from both sides: pro and anti Mormons. Those who thrived within it but also those who suffered from it. A great insight into Mormonism and the impact it has in today's world.

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elbayless
Jun 05, 2014

elbayless thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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