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Under the Banner of Heaven
Jon Krakauer's book was exciting and hard to put down. Coming from a Mormon background drew me in because I appreciated another perspective on the Church that I had not focused on before. Our family was active in my growing up years and no longer are any of us involved in the Mormon church. The polygamists that believe in the FLDS church are following a way of life that was practiced ages ago in the Bible and to them it seems logical and correct. The lifestyle is workable if it has complete agreement from the women. Without that, it is dead. But when the Lafferty brothers come forward and say they have a revelation that affirms they need to "remove" the non believers, they have gone too far -- and they make for a very interesting read!
I suspect the reviewers who gave this book a "1" are fundamentalist Mormons. One of which does not even understand that the concept of fundamentalism can apply to any religion. Excellent, insightful read.
Stunning and Frightening
An engaging and well-written historical analysis of the Mormon Church and its tenets as well as an exploration of religious fanaticism generally. I heard about the book from a friend and not being a fan of "adventure' writing, might not have read it otherwise.
should be classed as "fiction" book
Amazing that people the likes of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are still held in such high esteem in the modern LDS. That in and of itself should make any would-be follower question the wisdom of hooking their cart to such a wagon. If the lack of regard for the equality of women, African Americans and unthinking worship of old, white men doesn't.
It was a significant book in 2003 and even more so now as we approach another presidential election. If the nice guy next door can suddenly receive a message from God that he must accept without question and murder two innocent people, what about the guy or gal with the nuclear launch codes?
Wrong facts and wrong assumptions in this "nonfiction" book.
"fundamentalists" are not and never have been "MORMONS". They are a separate identity, just as Jehovah's Witnesses are a separate sect. So what does the killing have to do with "Mormons" really except give a good story?
Why all the hoopla about polygamy. Read your bible people--polygamy is all over the old testament practiced by great prophets--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. King David had like 200 wives and then another 200concubines.... Polygamy has been a "God law" in the past. It is not now for some reason--ask God and find out why. Before you go condemn how awful polygamy is read your bible--you may be condemning God. I can't say I like the idea of polygamy either but I am not going to condemn something God has sanctioned in the past!!!
Down right scary in places, but puts what you have always been thinking about organized religion into print. A heroic effort to open your mind to most anything. Very well written.
Steve in MI
Under the Banner of Heaven
I feel like such a nit wit and I see that I am not the only person writing here who "bought" the stories premise "hook, line, and sinker."
No doubt that this author is a terrific writer and a great story teller and I must thank him for whetting my appetite for more reading. It was because of the additional reading, that I got a more balanced view of the Mormons and found the myriad of historical inaccuracies that pervade this writing.
I found that much or the author's research was a rehashing of much of the agenda driven anti-religion hatched jobs written throughout the ages against many faiths.
If you, like me, feel intellectually sucker-punched by the colored stories that attempt to jade our Mormon neighbors, simply go to Wikipedia - scroll to the bottom and start with the well cited critical response to this atrocity. How cunning are the atheists and agnostics of this world, but dispassionate vetting can keep us from stepping into the leavings of the proverbial male bovine.
Telling the chilling story of the Lafferty brothers and the murderous slaughter of their sister-in-law, Krakauer goes beyond the crime to investigate the the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith and the emergence of this new American religion. It would not have been possible to explain the fanatical beliefs of the brothers without doing so. The result is a fascinating investigation by Krakauer into the history of the movement and the offshoot that has become the polygamous FLDS sect, so much in the news right now. It is noteworthy that statehood for Utah depended on the end of polygamy as a tenet (unless God orders it!!) It is no wonder that some adherents considered it apostasy at the time Perhaps their motives may have more to do with enjoying this life rather than insuring the next. It is interesting to note that men find ways to dominate women under the cloak of religion and not just in the mid east.
Under the Banner of Heaven
An unfair, one-sided view of the Mormon church. At least 90% of what was said about Joseph Smith was entirely false. It's sad to think that there will be people who not only look up to this and do not consider anything of the LDS church, but will also despise and discriminate it. I've seen people holding banners and signs of at sacred Mormon tabernacles exclaiming how much they hate Mormons. I have lots of knowledge of the Mormon church, and know as a fact that they're very nice, honorable people who work hard to make the world a better place. In my opinion, this should be encouraged and thought well of instead of discriminated. The gospel of the Mormon church is hardly what this book claims it to be. Other religious followers are simply upset that the Mormon church receives as many converts as it does. Why? because people feel that it's right, and believe that they're doing the right thing in following a correct gospel. don't push them away from this. Even if you don't believe the Mormon gospel is true, Mormonism teaches lots of good morales such as no alcohol, drugs, or such, as these things cloud your view of judgment. I myself do believe in the Mormon gospel, and I think that Under the Banner of Heaver does a poor job of revealing it's actuality. He never labels a single source for allot of his arguments, nor does he explain the reasonings behind them. Most of his "facts" make no sense at all, and should not be listened to. Please don't base your opinions of this book. Mormons are allot different then this book makes them out to be.