Under The Banner Of Heaven

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

Under The Banner Of Heaven

by Jon Krakauer

Diversified Publishing | July 15, 2003 | Hardcover | Large Print

Under The Banner Of Heaven is rated 4.1429 out of 5 by 7.
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.

Format: Hardcover

Published: July 15, 2003

Publisher: Diversified Publishing

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375432213

ISBN - 13: 9780375432217

Found in: History

save 5%

  • Out of stock online

$42.00  ea

$42.00 List Price

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A scary history I read this book for a book club that I have been attending. This was their latest book. I was only part way through the book before the meting started. This book was a real eye opener. I knew some of the history of the Mormons as I had read a book about them last year. I have even traveled through Salt Lake City. I had heard something about some extreme fundalmenalists who still practised polymagmy, but not to this degree. There are some pretty gruesome stories in this book. It is hard to believe that people would do this sort things to other people and even members of their own family. This book attempts to a factual look at Mormon fundamentalist. The author uses the history of Mormons to explain where the fundalmentists got there beleifs and what the they did to protect their beliefs. This was a very heavy book. It took me awhile to read it. This book is not for everyone. Some of the subjuect matter may be too intense for some readers. It can even be frieghtening. As a sudent of religous history, I was interested in the book. If it weren't for the book club, I might not have read it. Ifound the book very interesting.
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting read! With all the contorversies and news surrounding polygamy and the LDS church, Jon Krakauer delievers gripping novel about mormonism. It explores the issues of fundamentalists vs modern LDS, and explores the development of the Church from when it was founded until now. Presented in an unbiased manner, this book is not only informative, but it reads like a good mystery/crime book! Good for anyone looking to understand a bit more about what they see in the news. Note- there is some very disturbing content in this book. Including stories about murder and rape. Read with caution.
Date published: 2009-06-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It Would Be Nice If... Authors telling the story of Joseph Smith used sources other than Fawn Brodie's biography "No Man Knows My History". Krakauer tells a fascinating story of the Lafferty Brothers and their many crimes and motivations, however his religious prejudice shows in his descriptions of the founders of Mormonism. He puts as much emphasis and spin as possible on the negative events in Mormon history in order to set up the Lafferty story. While I don't like sanitized versions of Mormon history, Krakauer should be more professional in presenting a view of a religion, even if he has a personal distaste for it.
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing read If you are interested in the roots of the Mormon faith, the fundamentalist views (including the support of polygamy and incest) of a small percentage of Saints, then you will likely find this a captivating read. I found the entire book, from the history of the Mormon religion to the modern murder committed by a group of FLDS followers, to be captivating. Krakauer makes the history of the church interesting, bouncing back and forth between the early founding of the church and the modern-day teachings. I would definitely recommend this title!
Date published: 2006-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling account of religious extremism John Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven is a compelling and well-written account of Mormon fundamentalism. Krakauer examines the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty by Ron and Dan Lafferty in an attempt to understand the history and theology of Mormonism. The author is particularly adept at outlining how and why the Mormon Church moderated its theology to move closer to the mainstream of American life, and how this accommodation moved some Mormons to extremism and bloody violence. The appendix alone is worth the price of the book. Krakauer easily refutes attacks on the first edition of Under the Banner of Heaven by Mormon elders. He then challenges them to open Mormon archives to non-Mormon scholars so that a full critical history of the church can finally be written. We need more books like this one!!!!!
Date published: 2005-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Disturbing Having been a fan of Krakauer's Outdoor articles, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild, I was somewhat taken aback when I saw the topic of his latest book. I was skeptical as to whether a book about Mormon fundamentalism would be interesting and what insight an 'eco-writer' would have. Suffice to say I found it very interesting and well written and thoroughly enjoyed every word. His views are informed and well articulated though un-popular with mainstream Mormons. This edition has the LDS critique and author's reply included which demonstrates a commitment to accuracy and fairness by Krakauer. The historical review of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young et al. was fascinating and the treatment they were given was in my view fair. That being said it is probably easier for me to reach that conclusion being an agnostic secularist. Sometimes the truth hurts and the LDS leadership exhibit [within the book and in the aftermath of its publication] a desire to pretend that polygamy was not a central tenet of Joseph Smith's teachings. Their reasoning and the ecclesiastical convenience which is exposed I found to be intriguing. I expect we have not heard the last of Mormon Fundamentalism in the news and that further conflicts are ahead. This book is essential reading for those who are interested in religous fundamentalism of any denomination and the effects it has on our society.
Date published: 2004-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely unbelievable!!! This book is so good that I can't put it down! It's an incredible, engrossing and unbelievable story of the Mormon faith and fundamentalist beliefs. Society today talks about terrorism and religious fanatics in Afghanistan yet this book explores the relious fanatics within our own borders. It's an intriguing, thought-provoking look at a growing religion.
Date published: 2004-07-14

– More About This Product –

Under The Banner Of Heaven

by Jon Krakauer

Format: Hardcover

Published: July 15, 2003

Publisher: Diversified Publishing

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375432213

ISBN - 13: 9780375432217

From 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, 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.

From the Jacket

Critical Acclaim for Jon Krakauer

“Jon Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind.”—citation from American Academy of Arts and Letters, upon awarding Krakauer an Academy Award in Literature

INTO THIN AIR
“Ranks among the great adventure books of all time.”—Wall Street Journal
“Raw and immediate and devastating. It haunts me.”—Boston Sunday Globe

“Gripping … a harrowing account.”—New York Times
“Wrenching … lucid … it is impossible to read this book unmoved.”—Entertainment Weekly
A great book, among the best ever on mountaineering. Gracefully and efficiently written, carefully researched, and actually lived by its narrator.”—Washington PostAstounding ... hones t... eloquent. ... Through objective and thorough research and in sparkling prose, Krakauer tells a story that arouses fury, disgust, admiration and tears.—New Orleans Times-Picayune

INTO THE WILD
“Terrifying … Eloquent … A heart-rending drama of human yearning.”—New York Times
“A narrative of arresting force ... It’s gripping stuff.”—Washington Post
“Compelling and tragic … Hard to put down.”—San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

JON KRAKAUER is the author of Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air, and is editor of the Modern Library Exploration series.

Editorial Reviews

Critical Acclaim for Jon Krakauer “Jon Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind.”—citation from American Academy of Arts and Letters, upon awarding Krakauer an Academy Award in Literature INTO THIN AIR “Ranks among the great adventure books of all time.”— Wall Street Journal “Raw and immediate and devastating. It haunts me.”— Boston Sunday Globe “Gripping … a harrowing account.”— New York Times “Wrenching … lucid … it is impossible to read this book unmoved.”— Entertainment Weekly A great book, among the best ever on mountaineering. Gracefully and efficiently written, carefully researched, and actually lived by its narrator.”— Washington Post Astounding ... hones t... eloquent. ... Through objective and thorough research and in sparkling prose, Krakauer tells a story that arouses fury, disgust, admiration and tear
read more read less

Bookclub Guide

JON KRAKAUER is the author of Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air, and is editor of the Modern Library Exploration series.

1. In his prologue, Jon Krakauer writes that the aim of his book is to “cast some light on Lafferty and his ilk,” which he concedes is a daunting but useful task for what it may tell us “about the roots of brutality, perhaps, but even more for what might be learned about the nature of faith” [p. XXIII]. What does the book reveal about fanatics such as Ron and Dan Lafferty? What does it reveal about brutality and faith and the connections between them?

2. Why does Krakauer move back and forth between Mormon history and contemporary events? What are the connections between the beliefs and practices of Joseph Smith and his followers in the nineteenth century and the behavior of people like Dan and Ron Lafferty, Brian David Mitchell, and others in the twentieth?

3. Prosecutor David Leavitt argued that “People in the state of Utah simply do not understand, and have not understood for fifty years, the devastating effect that the practice of polygamy has on young girls in our society” [p. 24]. How does polygamy affect young girls? Is it, as Leavitt claims, pedophilia plain and simple?

4. Joseph Smith claimed that the doctrine of polygamy was divinely inspired. What earthly reasons might also explain Smith’s attraction to having plural wives?

5. When Krakauer asks Dan Lafferty if he has considered the parallels between himself and Osama bin Laden, Dan asserts that bin Laden is a “child of the Devil” and that the hijackers were “following a false prophet,” whereas he is following a true prophet [p. 321]. No doubt, bin Laden would say much the same of Lafferty. How are Dan Lafferty and Osama bin Laden alike? In what ways are all religious fundamentalists alike?

6. Krakauer asks: “if Ron Lafferty were deemed mentally ill because he obeyed the voice of God, isn’t everyone who believes in God and seeks guidance through prayer mentally ill as well?” [p. 297] Given the nature of, and motive for, the murders of Brenda Lafferty and her child, should Ron Lafferty be considered mentally ill? If so, should all others who “talk to God” or receive revelations—a central tenant of Mormonism—also be considered mentally ill? What would the legal ramifications be of such a shift in thought?

7. Krakauer begins part III with a quote from Bertrand Russell, who asserts that “every single bit of progress
in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world” [p. 191]. Is this a fair and accurate statement? What historical examples support it? What improvements in humane feeling and social justice has the Mormon church opposed?

8. How are mainstream and fundamentalist Mormons likely to react to Krakauer’s book?

9. Much of Under the Banner of Heaven explores the tensions between freedom of religion and governmental authority. How should these tensions be resolved? How can the state allow religious freedom to those who place obedience to God’s will above obedience to secular laws?

10. Joseph Smith called himself “a second Mohammed,” and Krakauer quotes George Arbaugh who suggests that Mormonism’s “aggressive theocratic claims, political aspirations, and use of force, make it akin to Islam” [p. 102]. What other similarities exist between the Mormon and Islamic faiths?

11. How should Joseph Smith be understood: as a delusional narcissist, a con man, or “an authentic religious genius” [p. 55], as Harold Bloom claims?

12. Krakauer suggests that much of John Wesley Powell’s book, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, particularly his account of his dealings with the Shivwit Indians, should be regarded with a “healthy dose of skepticism,” and that it embellishes and omits important facts [p. 245]. Is Krakauer himself a trustworthy guide to the events he describes in Under the Banner of Heaven? Are his writing and his judgments fair and reasonable? What makes them so?

13. What patterns emerge from looking at Mormon history? What do events like the Mountain Meadow massacre and the violence between Mormons and gentiles in Missouri and Illinois suggest about the nature of Mormonism? Have Mormons been more often the perpetrators or the victims of violence?

14. At the very end of the book, former Mormon fundamentalist DeLoy Bateman says that while the Mormon fundamentalists who live within Colorado City may be happier than those who live outside it, he believes that “some things in life are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself” [p. 334]. Why does Krakauer end the book this way? In what ways are Mormons not free to think for themselves? Is such freedom more important than happiness?