Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (CBR-III #23)

Cannonball Read III: Book #23/52
Published: 2003
Pages: 432 (10,559 total so far)
Genre: Nonfiction/History

Most of my knowledge of the LDS or the FLDS came from the TV show Big Love or a handful of knowledge from reading about FLDS polygamous compound escapees. I knew nothing about their origins or how the FLDS separated from the Mormon church.

This book is a great read if you're at all interested in a history of the Mormon religion, as well as its fundamentalist offshoots. The book starts and ends with the story of the Lafferty brothers who brutally murdered their sister-in-law, Brenda and her 15-month-old daughter because "God told them to". It's a tragic story and shows how far religious fanatics can push their religion.

Sandwiched between the story of the Lafferty brothers, there is a fairly comprehensive history of the Mormon religion. They have an odd and violent history, but then again, most religious history tends to look odd to outsiders. However, the Mormon religion is a fairly new faith compared to other religions, so some of their origins are viewed under heavy scrutiny due to it being easier to fact-check certain things.

I picked up this book because I've read a couple books about women who have escaped the Fundamentalist LDS compounds and wanted a more thorough understanding of their core religion. Overall, this book gave a very interesting look into the religion, including what happens when people decide to take their beliefs too far.

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