Book: Under the Banner of Heaven / Jon Krakauer

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I must admit, I was attracted to this book by hopes that it would expand on some of the crazy-sounding stories I’d heard about Momonism and especially its founder, Joseph Smith. The book delivers that, to be certain, with the same meticulous, almost obsessive reasearch Krakauer displayed in Into the Wild. And while the author clearly has some respect for Mormon culture, this book tells the story of Mormonism through the atrocities committed in its name, past and present, in grisly, sickening detail. Not many religious traditions would come out shining from this historical perspective, and that is perhaps more the point of the book than just a digging up of skeletons in the closets of the Latter Day Saints. The questions raised echo Krakauer’s own, which he reveals in a brilliantly worded summary at the end of the book. In essence he asks how, with over 10,000 extant religious sects, most of which lay claim to the truth to exclusion of all others, is a seeker of the truth to choose which message to listen to? And how do we deal with such a variety of competing beliefs, often passionately held, when they cause great injury and suffering?

Referred by a review on NPR

3 responses to “Book: Under the Banner of Heaven / Jon Krakauer”

  1. I also liked this book because Jon was able to go to the source in many of the instances. So, what he wrote was not based on Hearsay-but the actual events. Sometimes, in very small closed communities, it’s hard to extract what actually transpired.

    For me it was very difficult to understand why the murders took place, until I waded through the historical aspects of the religion. At times, it was hard to keep reading due to the tragedies occurring.

  2. I heard the Nazis were bad too and that they did bad things. i think someone should write a book or say.. make a movie about those Nazis and see if they can make some money off it.

    just a thought.

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