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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith


Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Cover

ISBN13: 9780385509510
ISBN10: 0385509510
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Amber Black, June 5, 2013 (view all comments by Amber Black)
Despite being a little outdated (mainly due to the massive upheaval in the FLDS in recent years), the history of these groups has not changed since 2003-2004. I found this to be a good primer on the beliefs and history of the LDS and FLDS churches, especially from a non-LDS perspective. In most respects, I found it to be a fairly balanced and well-researched treatise on the topic, despite the scathing review from Elder Turley of the mainline LDS church reproduced in the appendix. Krakauer's response was levelheaded and reflected some of my own views on the Mormon leadership's stance towards willful obfuscation and ignorance. I do not feel like this book reflected a negative view of most mainline Mormons at all, in fact, my enhanced understanding of their beliefs only helps me appreciate their religious point-of-view more fully. I am offended by the accusation of Elder Turley that I am one of those "gullible persons who rise to such bait like trout to a fly hook," just because I do not buy the LDS story hook, line, and sinker.

If you read this hoping for true crime, you will be fairly disappointed. Rather it takes an outrageous crime and tries to put it in the perspective of history, social forces, family drama, and religious fanaticism. There is no discussion of crime scene evidence or victim's perspective or any of the other typical trappings of the true crime genre.

The narrative does meander a bit and some parts did not flow well (the Elizabeth Smart section in particular seemed to come from nowhere and have little relevance later). Besides that, this is an engrossing study of Mormon Fundamentalism and Mormon history from the perspective of an outsider with a respectful and balanced view. I value outsider perspectives as much as perspectives from the faithful for the well-rounded view they advance, but there seem woeful few modern, non-academic Mormon histories written by someone with no stake in the LDS or FLDS (either as an active or excommunicated member, or some raised in the religion). While the LDS leadership may not like it, I think it's important to remember no one operates in a vacuum, religious groups least of all.
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Ralph Hubele, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Ralph Hubele)
Insightful, could apply to most religions and religious zealots in the world.
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Product Details

Krakauer, Jon
Doubleday Books
Krakauer, Jon
New York
United States - 20th Century (1945 to present)
Sociology of Religion
Mormon fundamentalism.
Christianity - Mormonism
Murder - General
Religious fanaticism
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saomts (
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (
United States - 20th Century
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
July 15, 2003
Grade Level:
9.56x6.58x1.28 in. 1.54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Religion » Christianity » Featured Titles
Religion » Christianity » Mormon » Controversial Literature
Religion » Christianity » Mormon » Mormonism
Religion » Christianity » Mormonism
Religion » Western Religions » American Religion

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385509510 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[T]old with raw narrative force and tight focus....Krakauer lays the portent on beautifully, building his tales carefully from the ground up until they irresistibly, spookily combust."
"Review" by , "Marvelous....A departure from Into Thin Air and Into the Wild...but every bit as engrossing."
"Review" by , "Terrifying....Startling....Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today."
"Review" by , "[A] probing narrative....[Krakauer's] insightful book brings readers closer to an understanding of [the Mormon] religion....[A] first-rate work of nonfiction from one of our most intrepid reporters."
"Review" by , "In collecting evidence, Mr. Krakauer ventures out to a lunatic fringe of polygamous self-appointed prophets....[T]his book provides more voyeuristic astonishment than curiosity or understanding."
"Review" by , "Well-researched and evenhanded....Thought-provoking."
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [351]-358) and index.
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