Antoinette's Reviews > Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
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's review
Sep 07, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: culture
Recommended for: everyone, religious studies students, history enthusiasts, desert dwellers, crime hounds
Read in September, 2008

"It is almost impossible to write fiction about the Mormons, for the reasons that Mormon institutions and Mormon society are so peculiar that they call for constant explanation." -Wallace Stegner, quoted in the eigth chapter.

Fantastic read for the curious, confused, condemned, or bored. Researched over a period of three years, it contains an exhaustive amount of information that definitely deserves another read through. Even though it is a non-fiction book about religion, it reads like a gripping mystery novel. There are so many levels to the story Krakauer spins.

Most interesting to me was the interviews with women that participate in polygamist marriage. They seemed so genuinely faithful that it was impossible to blame them for entering into such an unfair marriage. They spoke candidly of abuse, neglect, jealousy, lack of choices, etc. The next part of the section focused on the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Then, it explains the difference between fundamental Mormons and other groups.

All of this information swirls together to present a horrifying true tale of the murder of a young mother and her child by her husband's family. Convinced she was evil they p;rayed about her and god sent them an order to brutally beat and murder her.

And...I am not sure where the book leaves off. It is a brilliant wealth of information, but it is hard to end a story like that and not have more questions. It has really made me think about religion as a means of justification for self-righteousness and sometimes violence. Some of the characters are so twisted it is impossible to imagine them viewed as religious geniuses, prophets, or even members of a church. I am excited to read some of the work in the bibliography, and some of the quoted documents. READ THIS BOOK!

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