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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith | [Jon Krakauer]

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

At the core of this 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. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

At the core of this 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, and Mexico, 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.

©2003 Jon Krakauer; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc., Published by arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Krakauer lays the portent on beautifully, building his tales carefully from the ground up until they irresistibly, spookily combust." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Krakauer presents details that indeed sound stranger than fiction." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

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    George 04-06-04
    George 04-06-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Mormons? Please"

    It seems that most of the reviewers confuse Mormon fundamentalists with Latter Day Saints. That's like comparing any modern protestant church or sect to the Catholic Church, which Martin Luther split-off from centuries ago. Get real. If you want to talk about the LDS church, try reading about it, not some wacky splinter group.

    14 of 59 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JWW 08-29-05
    JWW 08-29-05
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    "Under the Banner of Heaven"

    This is the most disturbing book I have read in a very long time.
    When Elizabeth Smart was found and the circumstances of her capture revealed, I was not surprised at all. Any child brought up under her conditions would probably have capitulated just as she did.
    The Mormon faith is not a religion...it is a cult...fundamentalist and main stream Mormonism both. So, the next time those "nice" Mormon boys come to my door, I am prepared.
    To think this is the fastest growing cult in the world is indeed frightening.

    3 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Hilden United States 08-24-04
    T. Hilden United States 08-24-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Under the Banner of Heaven"

    Chilling!

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Curtis Sherman Oaks, CA, USA 01-21-06
    Curtis Sherman Oaks, CA, USA 01-21-06
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    "worth a listen, but just barely"

    I loved into thin air, in fact it is still one of my all time favorites. This is not the worst book I have heard, but it's close.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Murrieta, CA, United States 01-16-04
    Robert Murrieta, CA, United States 01-16-04
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    "Don't waste your money !"

    I purchased AND read the book. The book now resides in our vacation cabin. We find the book useful as a door stop or used as tinder to start the fireplace or is usually used in the bathroom when we're short of toliet paper. The theme of this book is like comparing fish to airplanes. One has nothing to do with the other. Don't waste your money on the audio book.

    12 of 134 people found this review helpful
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