Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Paperback – June 8, 2004
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Photos documenting Krakauer's books and non-writing life can be viewed on his personal Instagram account: https://instagram.com/krakauernotwriting/
Top Customer Reviews
The above quote is from a man who brutally murdered his fifteen month-old niece and her 24 year-old mother in their home while his younger brother was at work. Lafferty's older brother Ron convinced him to commit the crime by claiming that God had spoken to him and instructed that it should be that way. Both men were born and raised Mormons, but turned to radical Mormon fundamentalism as adults. Through their horrific story and the history of the Mormon church in genral, author Jon Krakauer examines the larger issue of how relgion leads some people to commit unspeakable acts.
"Under the Banner of Heaven" is not an anti-Mormon diatribe, as anyone who has actually read it can attest. Krakauer, who had such a massive success with "Into Thin Air," should be applauded for taking a risk following up that work with a potentially controversial project well outside his area of expertise. Part travelog and part history, "Under the Banner of Heaven" is a very unique true crime book as the various narrative threads are wound together by the author. The simple yet forceful narrative style that made Krakauer's Everest such compelling reading are very much evident here.
Overall, "Under the Banner of Heaven" is an outstanding true crime book that raises some disturbing theological questions.
Instead, he decided to write about fundamentalist Mormons. While the LDS Church declared polygamy illegal in 1890, it took time for the practice to end in the official church. Those who would not accept the changes continued polygamy, with groups moving to Mexico and Canada. And there are those who continue this practice today. Krakauer is determined to understand how this came to be. In order to do this, he must retell the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.
While polygamy is no longer accepted by the current LDS authorities, the average Mormon seems less inclined to stamp it out. Krakauer shows several cases of gung-go district attorneys who go after polygamous families, and how these white knights are subsequently removed from office in the next election. He introduces us to small towns where everything and everyone in it answers to one man, the head of the Fundamentalist LDS church (FLDS). All property is owned by their church's corporation. And the girls are married by age 14. Krakauer finds many of them married to men who are already related to them, and at least a generation older. Women are seen as transferrable property, with marriages cancelled should any church member run afoul of the church leader.
And remember Elizabeth Smart? Here was a case of a modern Mormon family running into another FLDS wanna-be.Read more ›
Mormons are wonderful people with a strong and deep committment to the universal ideals of Christianity. However, they are often reluctant to be self-critical, especially about the more controversial aspects of our history.
The reason Fundamentalist groups have continuously splintered from the mainstream LDS church is the simple fact (as beautifully illustrated by Krakauer) that the modern LDS church bears little resemblance to it's radical, theocratic and chaotic origins. This fact should be embraced and celebrated by mainstream Mormons, not rejected and villified.
The mainstream church was wise and prescient to change it's position on many of the controversial teachings of it's early leaders. Just as most modern Christian faiths have done to balance their responsibility to society and the spiritual needs of it's members.
The goal of the Fundamentalists is to return the mainstream church to it's less than noble roots. This is why they are successful at recruiting otherwise devout Saints into their ranks. They preach a twisted, politicized, radical doctrine which (contrary to the vehement protestations of Mormons) are entirely consistent with many of the less-known but nevertheless regretably true ideas of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others.
It is this literalist interpretation, along with the mindset that all things must remain unchanged no matter how much society and the role of the church has changed, that breeds Fundamentalism.Read more ›
This is not an anti-mormon book, and the fact that Latter-day Saints and their leaders are so worked up about it seems to me to be a recognition that Krakauer is hitting pretty close to home. Ironically, he handles the modern LDS church with kid gloves, and is very careful to make the distinction between the Mormon Fundamentalits and the Mormons themselves. However, and this is the point that should be lost on no one, both churches hail from the same "common ancestors," and have evolved rather organically from those early prophets, most importantly Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor. At the time of Wilford Woodruff the world saw a split, and those familiar with the paradigms of biological evolution will recognize exactly what was going on. Today we see two radically different organizations with radically different messages...but they came from the same place.
Here's another juicy item that must drive the Church nuts. The fundamentalists are perfectly justified in their position on polygamy, extreme patriarchy and racism. After all, if those were the "revealed word of God" back in the early days of the church, then who are the modern day leaders to deny that word of God today? Just because wicked governments :-) refuse to cooperate should be no reason to back away from the most important points of doctrine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting and well- written. Krakauer seems to get his research right. Have read three other of his books and am impressed with his scholarly approach...Published 2 days ago by wfredbowen
Very well written and informative. I learned more than I have read in the past. It was a fast read and arrived in a timely manner.Published 2 days ago by Charen Fink
Being a resident of SLC, Ut. I have found this historical novel of the LDS faith extremely enlightening.Published 2 days ago by Shua
For the price of the book it is an average value. There was some wear and tear on the cover and the pages, which is to be expected from a used book purchase. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Steph
I read this book as someone who in adulthood rejected the Mormon faith after being indoctrinated into it as a child. Read morePublished 10 days ago by eric eldredge
many of us read not only for enjoyment but to expand our horizons of thought and perception and broaden not just our knowledge of the world around us but the world within us. Read morePublished 13 days ago by tjsloss
Krakauer is an amazing writer. I could not put my kindle down until I finished it.Published 14 days ago by mech