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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Paperback – June 8, 2004
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In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders. --John Moe --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran reporter Krakauer's insider look at the Mormon church translates well to audio thanks to his clean, by-the-book delivery. In 1984, brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty killed the wife and infant daughter of their brother Allen. Ron and Dan are fundamentalist Mormons, and their views-particularly their belief in the divine importance of polygamy-conflicted with those of their outspoken sister-in-law; accordingly, Dan received a revelation from God that he was to "remove" them for the greater good of His Kingdom. Dan, who was interviewed from prison, has no remorse for what he has done; after all, he maintains, why should he apologize for doing God's will? This segment is particularly chilling, as is Krakauer's unemotional delivery. Krakauer wisely eschews character voices and instead narrates the details of the crime and the history of the Mormon church in a no-nonsense fashion. The fascinating historical segments, though lengthy at times, serve a dual purpose: they explore the cultures that can give rise to religious fundamentalism and serve as a welcome reprieve in this highly emotional story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top customer reviews
odyssey of the original group under Joseph Smith and how his theology evolved. What a con it all was and continues to be!! And its as if the adherents just wallow in all the contradictions in it, as if it is only understandable to the elite hierarchy. I love how anyone can receive a revelation that can change a former commandment to allow for something that was once sinful to become orthodoxy.
I'm surprised Hitler was not an adherent. I lived with a woman who attended Brigham Young under a scholarship and lived happily among them because of their social network which allowed her to raise her children while attending school. However, I now find it ironic that this woman, herself a victim of child abuse, could not see through the tyranny of the system and its dangers. Happily, she is no longer within their clutches. I've always said that the long, hard winters of upstate New York was the breeding ground of several strange religions. It probably still continues to have that effect on people so this book should be in the Core Curriculum of that state.