Under the Banner of Heaven

A Story of Violent Faith

372 pages

English language

Published July 15, 2003 by Doubleday.


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5 stars (3 reviews)

Jon Krakauer's literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders.

At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously-researched account of this "divinely inspired" crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith.

Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest-growing religion and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief. Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, and Mexico, where some forty thousand Mormon fundamentalists believe the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when …

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  • Mormon fundamentalism