Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

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4-stars

TRIGGER WARNING: rape, incest, domestic abuse, child abuse, animal abuse, child murder

I’m speechless. (OK, maybe not). What the heck did I just read? You’re telling me this is non-fiction? …How? HOW? This isn’t just some freak incident either, people live like what’s described in this book, I’m baffled by it. I mean I’m a little baffled by strict religious following anyway (no offence meant) but Mormonism is just on another level.

The story of Mormonism is so strange because Joseph Smith was a control freak and swindler but also the way society got away with treating him and his followers was awful. You really can’t pick a right and wrong side, they’re both pretty terrible.

This book’s main focus is on how people’s strong faith in Mormonism makes them believe they’re above the laws of the land, so they go and commit crimes they think are justified and right. For example, Dan and Ron Lafferty, who truly believe God has spoken to them and told them they need to kill their brothers wife and young baby. A deed done by them so brutally, the poor baby was basically beheaded. Clearly this book isn’t for the faint hearted.

One of the saddest moments in this book is when Krakauer meets a Mormon family and their young daughter (I think she was between 8 to 12) comes into the room with floor plans of her dream house, where she’s drawn out several different rooms for the other wives of the husband she is going to share. How awful is that, to believe that you must share your husband with other women, because for men of the Mormon faith, women are just child bearers, nothing more. Joseph Smith actually declared God said “women shall be man’s handmaid”. For this young girl to be planning her life with a shared husband and feeling that’s normal, even feeling happy about it, is a terrible, terrible thing to think about.

This took me around 3 months to finish, not only because I accidentally left this in my dad’s suitcase when I came back from Spain, but also because this was such heavy non-fiction reading. Not only did it describe, in gruesome detail, the crimes committed by those under the Mormon faith, it was also a long historical timeline of how Mormonism was created and has grown to where it currently sits today. (Did you know, there are currently more Mormons on this planet than Jewish people?) Not to mention the confusion it causes when trying to remind you who everyone is and how everyone is related, because they’re pretty much all related through marriage.

This is certainly an interesting read. I’m sure you’ve heard about Mormon’s and the Book of Mormon and polygamy, etc, but never really looked further into it. Well, for those of you that would like to look further into it, then this is the book for you! It’s incredible to read all about how Joseph Smith magicked up Mormon faith and how gruesome and evil polygamy really is.

I really recommend this book for all of you who love learning about religions or just love to have some random shocking facts to dish out around the dinner table. A seriously interesting, if not disturbing read.

Buy it here!

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