Under The Banner Of Heaven by Jon Krakauer Buy book: $15.09
Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonismís 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.
I first discovered Krakaur with INTO THE WILD--which opened up a whole world of non-fiction to me. Before I had been almost strickly a fiction reader. Now, the stack of books by my bed is a solid mix of fiction and non. I am constantly amazed by Krakaur's skill with non-fiction. It isn't a straight line between A and B or Beginning and End, but involves other people, the history of places and ideas. I believe Krakaur leaves no stone unturned, but that doesn't mean it all finds its way into his books, either. He knows what is interesting to his readers and what can be left out.
Next my husband and I read aloud INTO THIN AIR which was just as good although we never quite finished it. I know more about Everest, climbing, crampons, and Sherpas than I ever thought possible and it is all woven together into a story, even though it too is non-fiction.
We bought UNDER THE BANNER ...to read aloud as soon as it came out in paperback. But, I had to tell my husband to stop reading. As hard as I tried, I could not cope with the mental and sexual abuse of the women. No, not women: girls. Children. I tried. Night after night we would confront a new chapter. But, I found myself dreading each evening as it approached and making excuses for not reading.
I think Krakaur has done a wonderful job bringing together so many pieces of the 'real' story and treating the sensitive and graphic information with care. Maybe someday I will finish the book, but for now, I couldn't bring myself to witness the endless abuse.
I appreciate the head's-up on this one. I had already decided not to read this one because I was getting angry just reading the prologue. Religion is a very hot topic with me.
I do want to thank you, though, for the warning about the graphic nature of the book's content. So many times I have started reading a book, even gotten 100 pages into it and then encountered material that I just will not read because it is too graphic.
I feel like you just saved me a whole lot of time!
At the same time, you did get me interested in Krakaur's other books! I have never read him before this.
Thank you twice!
I am not familiar with this author's work. This book caught my attention immediately. Can't wait to read the next episode. I think I'm going to be pulled into getting this book-and like one reader, I have a pile of books next to my bed.
It really proves everyone has skeletons; even one of the most famous religions in the world.
Pepper, I echo your sentiments. I tried and tried to read this book, but just could not tolerate the descriptions of abuse, both of the children and the system. I'm sure you know that most of these people exist (very comfortably, thank you) on goverment welfare payments. Just recently there has been national news coverage of the "lost boys", those young men who are booted out of the enclave because they represent competition for the females. Now, while there are those who point out this is an extreme sect of Mormonism, I would argue that the state government of Utah, which is dominated by Mormons, has done nothing about the situation. If this topic interests you, I would like to suggest A GATHERING OF SAINTS, by Robert Lindsey. This is the true accounting (very detailed) of a series of bombings that occurred in Salt Lake City in the mid-80's. It contains some very revealing information about the church.
A review of this book was done by Richard E. Turley, Jr. I think it is an excellent rebuttal to some of the assumptions and accusations in Krakauer's book. Here's an excerpt.
"AN UNDERLYING AGENDA
Ostensibly focused on murders committed by brothers
who had been excommunicated from the Church,
Krakauerís book is actually a condemnation of religion
"...Perhaps the reason for these shortcomings is that
Krakauer is not an historian, but a novelist. Perhaps
he doesnít know the LDS Church, its membership, or
its history well enough to present a factual, unbiased
historical picture. Either way, it seems a pointed shame
that a celebrated author would package historical lies
and religiously bigoted information and serve it to an
This message has been edited by chapteraday on Jun 28, 2005 2:56 PM
"Factual, unbiased picture" - I don't think this exists.
But I read this book when it first came out. I did not get the condemnation of the LDS church. But it did raise serious questions about some people (and only "some") who use religion as an excuse to do things and say things that are contrary to that religion. ANd how far they can go it they are surrounded by other people who do not question their acts and words.
Maybe that is the greatest argument for a diversive society?
There's no doubt that all religions have had to endure members who are playing short of a full deck, commit crimes they say were sanctioned by God, and give religion in general a bad name.
Krakauer may have a glowing literary reputation, but he simply got some of his facts wrong in this book which were pointed out in the article I mentioned in my first post which can be read at http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/Krakauer.pdf.
It was edited out of my first message and is worth reading. Krakauer responded to this article --- didn't even defend his "research" -- just asserted that the Mormon church was still trying to "cover up" the past. He would have had more credibility if he's apologized for his errors, such as naming an apostle, Mark E. Petersen as the president of the church, which he was not and never has been and responding point by point to the mistakes in his research.
I didn't read the blurb and for some reason thought this was a book about Nepal. Pretty far off! I'll read the weekly offerings but I don't think I will get the book from the library. The older I get the less I am able to read things like this.
I read this book not long after it came out, and found it deeply disturbing. I had some previous knowledge of the extremism that exists in the Mormon "religion", but had no idea that it extended to the lengths it does. This book spelled it out. Would I recommend it? Definitely. In fact, I have passed it on to my daughter, who passed it on to her daughter. It will eventually circulate through the family, and then I will lend it to some selected others. Despite the avowed loving nature of Christianity, it definitely has a dark side, not only among the Mormons. The credulous can so easily be led into unimaginable cruelty by charismatic and power-hungry leaders, and books like this one shine a much-needed light of truth into some of these dark and dirty corners.
"Despite the avowed loving nature of Christianity, it definitely has a dark side, not only among the Mormons. The credulous can so easily be led into unimaginable cruelty by charismatic and power-hungry leaders, and books like this one shine a much-needed light of truth into some of these dark and dirty corners."
Alice, I do indeed agree with the aforementioned quote from your response - have only read excerpt and reviews and had some of the same thoughts - that the same criticisms that are in this book about the "fundamentalist Mormons" could be said of many other religions as well and think that is covered in this book also -
We all know of the many wars fought in the name of "religion" - what's the song "--when will we ever learn? - when will we ever learn?" -
Fawn Brody's book about Joseph Smith was called "No Man Knows My History." She supposedly gave an "objective" view of the prophet Joseph Smith and the LDS faith, but was excommunicated from the church for her interpretations of "history." Many who write about the Mormon church are disgruntled and want to defame and discourage others from keeping their faith or joining. I read "No Man Knows My History" and as an active Latter-day Saint found some of it to be very compelling and interesting. As all history goes, and having a bachelor's degree in history myself, there is really no such thing as objective history.
I am a big fan of this author.....I've heard this was a very interesting and....well... creepy book but haven't had the chance to read it yet. Thank you...I know already I will be hooked because he is that good a writer. I'd be interested in what Mormons think of this....any out there in this group?
Under the Banner of Heaven is a very good book. It shows that fundamentalism in all religions a problem. Whenever someone thinks they have the corner on truth it's a problem. This is very well researched and written. I hope it will help some of the poor women caught in the web of pedophile and abuse that takes place in the fundulmental Mormon groups.