Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (2005)

You get two books in one here, in addition to describing the details of divinely inspired murders committed by Mormon fundamentalists, a detailed history of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints is also presented. From Joseph Smith's humble beginnings as a small time con artist, through the creation of the Mormon faith (which is the homegrown American religion, and very successful at it), to his mob lynching death. After the death of the prophet, the religion moved West, into a territory around the present day Utah, where the State of Deseret was proposed to be founded. In the process of becoming more mainstream, the church leadership prohibited polygamy/plural marriage and also spoke against divine revelations/prophecies not coming from the head of the religion. These prohibitions triggered the creation of splinter groups, the so called fundamentalist, who in addition also question the role of government in enforcing prohibition of religious practices (including plural marriages between consenting adults, although it seems that many of these marriages happen to underage girls). An excellent read.

1 comment:

Starting To Learn said...

Although to get perspective on the book, one should also read: