Under the Banner of Heaven is a gripping, richly detailed narrative of Mormon polygamy and its effect on a small town in Utah. Jon Krakauer—the award-winning journalist who encountered the Branch Davidian massacre in Waco, Texas—raises provocative questions about his own faith and the fundamentalist church he once served. Pulses race as Krakauer explores how a secret society founded by an obscure Mormon prophet in 1844 evolved into a global terror empire and what it means when one of these fanatical sects becomes delusional enough to believe it can create heaven on earth.
A riveting, harrowing story about a Mormon family’s descent into madness. When Jon Krakauer first visited the small town of LeBaron, Texas, in the mid-1990s, he found it lush with rustic beauty, home to more than thirty members of a family and their twenty children. Rich with ecclesiastical intrigue and endless adventure, Under the Banner of Heaven, is the remarkable story of a brilliant but visionary prophet who presided over his followers until his death at age eighty-three.
In a riveting narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith, Jon Krakauer recounts the shocking real-life story of the modern Colorado fundamentalist sect The FLDS. A cult so secret that outsiders had no idea even existed until Krakauer went eye-to-eye with members willing to give him their version of the story and a home movie revealing shocking acts of abuse perpetrated against children in their custody.
About Under the Banner of Heaven Book
A multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. This is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.
Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, 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 it renounced polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God. Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five “plural wives,” several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties), fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers, and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents.
Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism’s violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism. The result is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.