Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Format:  Hardcover,

372 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Jul 2003

ISBN-13: 9780385509510

ISBN-10: 0385509510

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
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.

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Jul 2003
ISBN-13: 9780385509510
ISBN-10: 0385509510
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 372
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.54
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.58 x 1.28 x 9.56
Walmart No.: 0385509510

About the author

Biography of Krakauer, Jon

Mountain climber and writer Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1954. He was raised in Corvallis, Oregon from two years of age. In 1976, Krakauer received a degree in Environmental Studies from Hampshire College in Massachusetts. He worked as a carpenter and fisherman and wrote articles on mountain climbing throughout the latter half of the 1970's. By 1980, he wrote regularly for Outside magazine and also wrote for such publications as National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Rolling Stone.

Krakauer but may be best-known for his book, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. In this book, Krakauer recollected his guided climb of Mt. Everest that was known as the 1996 Everest Disaster. Krakauer is also recognized for his 1996 book: Into the Wild. It spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list and became a movie in 2007. He also wrote When Men Win Glory in 2010.

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2004-02-01)

Having taken listeners on an unforgettable trip to the top of Mt. Everest in his best-selling Into Thin Air, Krakauer now makes a major departure. Under the Banner of Heaven is a no-holds-barred look at the darker side of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons. Using the murder of a woman and her infant daughter as a focal point, Krakauer traces the bloody history of the Mormon religion from its conception with Joseph Smith right through to its present-day assertion that the World Trade Center tragedy was a clear sign that the end of the world is near.

Reader Scott Brick does a wonderful job in presenting the material in a clear, modulated performance that greatly adds to the narrative, holding the listener's interest from the very beginning. This book will antagonize Mormon library patrons, but it's a story that needs to be told. Highly recommended for all libraries.

-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (2003-06-15)

In 1984, Brenda Lafferty and her baby daughter Erica were found murdered in their Utah home, victims of a "removal revelation" that her Mormon brother-in-law had supposedly received from God. Krakauer (Into Thin Air) aims to explain why and how this crime happened by recounting the history of Mormonism from its conception by Joseph Smith in the 19th century and tracing the origins of its extremist sects through to the present day.

Using current examples, Krakauer reveals that there are fundamentalist communities throughout North America and that although these sects are not recognized by the accepted Latter-day Saints (LDS) church (mainly because they still practice polygamy), they are able to exist unchecked by both the church and the U.S. government. The author's chronicle of the Mormon religion and its extremist offshoot is tempered by the very real and tangible story of Lafferty and her baby, whose lives were, in effect, taken by a fundamentalist faith.

Krakauer, admittedly just trying to get to the heart of religious extremism, remains as impartial as possible toward his elusive and controversial subject, but the result is still unnerving. A thoroughly engrossing and ultimately startling comment on all fundamentalist ideas; for public libraries.

- Rachel Collins "Library Journal"

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, 2003 (United States)
  • American Library Association Notable Books, 2004 (United States)
  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year, 2003 (United States)

Book description

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, 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.

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