Is Under The Banner Of Heaven Anti Mormon

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Is Under The Banner Of Heaven Anti Mormon?

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, written by Jon Krakauer, is a historical non-fiction novel about a pair of Mormon fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who brutally murdered their sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her infant daughter, Erica, in 1984 in American Fork, Utah. Although the novel depicts some of the darker aspects of fundamentalist Mormon beliefs and practices, it is not necessarily anti-Mormon.

The novel, while unflinching in its examination of the heinous crimes committed by the Lafferty brothers and other individuals in the fundamentalist movement, is not so much an attack on the Mormon faith as it is an examination of the motivations behind the brothers’ actions and a larger exploration of the complexities of religion. Specifically, Krakauer looks at the way in which religious beliefs can be manipulated and twisted for violence and hatred. He expertly highlights the danger of extremism and how it is often enabled by religious teachings.

Krakauer is also careful to explain the difference between mainstream Mormonism and its fundamentalist counterpart. He discusses how the mainstream church has since distanced itself from fundamentalist movements and no longer sympathizes with or tolerates their beliefs, most of which are considered heretical.

In the novel, Krakauer explains how fundamentalist Mormonism is based on an interpretation of the Book of Mormon that claims that it is possible to receive direct revelation from God and that plural marriage is a divinely sanctioned practice. The Lafferty brothers believed that they had received a revelation from God to commit the murders and believed that they were doing the right thing in obeying it.

Krakauer also briefly examines the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, providing an overview of the church’s founding, the persecution Mormons have faced, and the faith’s evolution over time. He provides an objective, if sometimes critical, examination of the religion, focusing mainly on the fundamentalist element and its splinter groups.

Krakauer’s work is an honest exploration of the intersection between faith and violence, and while it may make uncomfortable reading for some, it is not necessarily anti-Mormon. While Krakauer does not shy away from examining the beliefs and practices of fundamentalist Mormons and the dangers of extremism, Under the Banner of Heaven is, ultimately, an exploration of how religion can be used for both good and evil.

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