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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith [Kindle Edition]

Jon Krakauer
3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders. --John Moe

Under the Banner of Heaven is a riveting read. The Lafferty boys were brought up in a squeaky clean All-American family. So what made two of them follow revelations from God to slit the throat of their ex-beauty queen sister-in-law and her infant daughter? The problem was that they got involved in the fundamentalist, survivalist wing of the Mormon Church.

Author Jon Krakauer expertly jumps from the immediate horror of the Lafferty boys to the context of Mormonism and the wider questions of religious violence. In the process we are taken on a house of horrors ride through the badlands of fundamentalist Mormon religion. Krakauer introduces us to red necks with more than 30 "wives"--many who were "married" in their early teens. It's a story of fraud, child abuse, incest, physical violence and spiritual and emotional rape at a deep level.

The contemporary story is lurid and shocking, but as Krakauer relates the picaresque story of Joseph Smith--the founder of the Mormon religion--you realise that present day fundamentalist Mormons are far closer to their founder in spirit and behaviour than the more squeaky clean manifestations of modern Mormonism. This well researched and tightly written account gives a great potted history of Mormonism and illuminates the psychotic fringes of religious mentality. In doing so it reveals the wild dangers of spiritual free wheeling and the need for caution and restraint in religion. --Dwight Longenecker


Mehr über den Autor

Jon Krakauer, geboren 1954, arbeitet als Wissenschaftsjournalist für amerikanische Zeitschriften. Für seine Reportagen wurde er mit zahlreichen Preisen ausgezeichnet. Er lebt mit seiner Frau in Colorado. Auf deutsch erschienen von ihm bisher »In die Wildnis«, der Millionenbestseller »In eisige Höhen«, »Auf den Gipfeln der Welt« und »Mord im Auftrag Gottes«.

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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interessant aber etwas sperrig 4. April 2006
Von Peer Sylvester TOP 1000 REZENSENT
Die Vorgänger von Jon Krakauer "Into thin air" und "Into the wild" habe ich gerne gelesen. Nun also ein Buch über extremen christlichen Glauben in den USA. Der Inhalt ist faszinierend und erschreckend zugleich - wer hätte gedacht, dass in den USA so viele Fundamentalisten und Polygamisten leben? Das es wirklich "Rechtsfreie" Räume dort gibt? Also, von der Motivation her ist das Buch empfehlenswert. Auch ist es ungemein gut recherchiert. Man lernt eine Menge über die Geschichte der Mormonen, der mormonischen Fundamentalisten und natürlich über den religiös mitivierten Mord der Lafferty-Brüder an einer Frau und ihrem Baby.
Allerdings macht Krakauer die Lektüre nicht gerade einfach: Ständige Zeitenwechsel zwischen der Zeit des Mordes und der Geschichte der Kirche machen das Lesen schwer. Zumal es dadurch auch schwierig wird die zahlreichen Namen noch zuordnen zu können. Und zwischendurch lässt der Autor auch zu sehr seine eigene Meinung durchscheinen - legitim aber an vielen Stellen störts den Lesefluss.
Alles in allem eine interessante Lektüre, auf die man sich aber einlassen muss und bei der man sich zwischenzeitlich auch etwas beissen muss, um bei der Stange zu bleiben. Aber wenn die Thematik interessiert, dann lohnt sich das auch.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Very well written, interesting story 21. Oktober 2012
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Great book. Very well written, the plot is captivating, and one learns a lot about Mormonism. The only complaint I have is that Krakauer doesn't say much anything about Mormons' beliefs about the afterlife. It's more of a thorough history of the LDS Church and Mormon history, and while I grew up in a very Mormon community, I learned more from the book than from anyone I knew. That's why I was hoping to find out more about the afterlife. If you worship well and attend temple and wear your special underwear, what can you hope for once your salvation comes?
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1 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The author Jon Krakauer describes the development of the splitting of the mormony faith into fundamentalism and neutral church. The development is described from the beginning as Joseph Smith decided to found a own church until the terrible murder in 1984. Moreover the author mentions the trials of the murderers Dan Lafferty and his brother Ron Lafferty who are waiting in prisons for their death penatly.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.1 von 5 Sternen  1.127 Rezensionen
283 von 306 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Faith and Murder 16. Juli 2003
Von Brian D. Rubendall - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"I was doing God's will, which is not a crime." - Dan Lafferty
The above quote is from a man who brutally murdered his fifteen month-old niece and her 24 year-old mother in their home while his younger brother was at work. Lafferty's older brother Ron convinced him to commit the crime by claiming that God had spoken to him and instructed that it should be that way. Both men were born and raised Mormons, but turned to radical Mormon fundamentalism as adults. Through their horrific story and the history of the Mormon church in genral, author Jon Krakauer examines the larger issue of how relgion leads some people to commit unspeakable acts.
"Under the Banner of Heaven" is not an anti-Mormon diatribe, as anyone who has actually read it can attest. Krakauer, who had such a massive success with "Into Thin Air," should be applauded for taking a risk following up that work with a potentially controversial project well outside his area of expertise. Part travelog and part history, "Under the Banner of Heaven" is a very unique true crime book as the various narrative threads are wound together by the author. The simple yet forceful narrative style that made Krakauer's Everest such compelling reading are very much evident here.
Overall, "Under the Banner of Heaven" is an outstanding true crime book that raises some disturbing theological questions.
816 von 922 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant synthesis of history, religion, and abuse 26. September 2003
Von Maddi Hausmann Sojourner - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Jon Krakauer admits he has become obsessed with extremes. It takes one form of extremism to go on an Everest climb, as he shows with "Into Thin Air." Now he returns to the West of his youth. Yet this is not the book he planned to write. Krakauer admits he wanted to describe how today's LDS Church, with their clean-cut, do-good approach, is at odds with its founding history.
Instead, he decided to write about fundamentalist Mormons. While the LDS Church declared polygamy illegal in 1890, it took time for the practice to end in the official church. Those who would not accept the changes continued polygamy, with groups moving to Mexico and Canada. And there are those who continue this practice today. Krakauer is determined to understand how this came to be. In order to do this, he must retell the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.
While polygamy is no longer accepted by the current LDS authorities, the average Mormon seems less inclined to stamp it out. Krakauer shows several cases of gung-go district attorneys who go after polygamous families, and how these white knights are subsequently removed from office in the next election. He introduces us to small towns where everything and everyone in it answers to one man, the head of the Fundamentalist LDS church (FLDS). All property is owned by their church's corporation. And the girls are married by age 14. Krakauer finds many of them married to men who are already related to them, and at least a generation older. Women are seen as transferrable property, with marriages cancelled should any church member run afoul of the church leader.
And remember Elizabeth Smart? Here was a case of a modern Mormon family running into another FLDS wanna-be. Krakauer contrasts her case with another 14-year-old, a FLDS community member, who was hidden in another FLDS community when her sister tried to rescue her from an early marriage she didn't want. The difference between the media treatment of the two kidnap victims is horrifying.
All this is merely background for a shocking murder case, where two LDS members who moved toward FLDS decided to kill their sister-in-law for being a bad influence, and her two-year-old as well. Both men insisted they were acting on revelations from God. Krakauer turns this into the Court's unease with discussions of religious belief and sanity.
The negative reviews of this book appear to come from LDS members who are unhappy with Krakauer's history of their church. It's a pity they missed his important points on the danger of revealed religion (where anyone can justify anything), or the welfare fraud committed by FLDS communities (subsequent wives declare themselves single parents and don't identify the father, while living in a trailer in his backyard), or the uneasy relationship between mainline Mormons and latter-day polygamists. It's a shame they are unwilling to look at their own church's rapidly mutating scriptures, where Krakauer shows how doctrinal racism was not removed from church teachings until the 1970s. One might ask how many of them actually read the book rather than took the advice of their stake president to publicly condemn it.
Read it for yourself, then let us know. It is a fascinating, disturbing, insightful, and important book.
94 von 104 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Required reading for every American--and every Mormon 11. September 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As an individual raised in the Mormon church who was repeatedly exposed to various Fundamentalist groups operating in and out of the mainstream LDS church I found this book to be invaluable and deeply vindicating.
Mormons are wonderful people with a strong and deep committment to the universal ideals of Christianity. However, they are often reluctant to be self-critical, especially about the more controversial aspects of our history.
The reason Fundamentalist groups have continuously splintered from the mainstream LDS church is the simple fact (as beautifully illustrated by Krakauer) that the modern LDS church bears little resemblance to it's radical, theocratic and chaotic origins. This fact should be embraced and celebrated by mainstream Mormons, not rejected and villified.
The mainstream church was wise and prescient to change it's position on many of the controversial teachings of it's early leaders. Just as most modern Christian faiths have done to balance their responsibility to society and the spiritual needs of it's members.
The goal of the Fundamentalists is to return the mainstream church to it's less than noble roots. This is why they are successful at recruiting otherwise devout Saints into their ranks. They preach a twisted, politicized, radical doctrine which (contrary to the vehement protestations of Mormons) are entirely consistent with many of the less-known but nevertheless regretably true ideas of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others.
It is this literalist interpretation, along with the mindset that all things must remain unchanged no matter how much society and the role of the church has changed, that breeds Fundamentalism.
If Mormons want to rid themselves of these parasites and malcontents, they need to come to terms with the realities of early Church history and the necessary evolution of the faith from those early years.
Just as devout Muslims have watched in horror as their faith has been infested and bastardized by Fundamentalist parasites who would return Islam to the decadence of some of it's early leaders, Mormons must recognize that these groups are trying to do the same with their beloved Church.
Just as Christian Terrorists like The Army of God have done it to other Protestant Faiths.
Its time to recognize Fundamentalism for what it is. Part of that realization is recognizing the ugly aspects of our past and present.
Fundamentalism has no place in Mormonism nor any other religious faith. It is an afront that must be vigorously opposed and clearly identified. That cannot happen if Mormons continue to refuse to recognize scandals of the past nor the coddling of such groups in the present.
Even as we speak, I know young men and women in the mainstream Chruch who are being preyed upon by Fundamentalist groups. This is not fiction, it is a dire warning to be heeded.
217 von 250 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not Anti-Mormon...just Intelligent 25. September 2003
Von Missing in Action - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an extraordinary book, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Though the Mormon Church has expressed it's hostility toward the book, as with all ostriches, they are simply sticking their head in the sand and asking the rest of us to follow suit. Thank goodness for people outside the Church who look in, and tell us what they see.
This is not an anti-mormon book, and the fact that Latter-day Saints and their leaders are so worked up about it seems to me to be a recognition that Krakauer is hitting pretty close to home. Ironically, he handles the modern LDS church with kid gloves, and is very careful to make the distinction between the Mormon Fundamentalits and the Mormons themselves. However, and this is the point that should be lost on no one, both churches hail from the same "common ancestors," and have evolved rather organically from those early prophets, most importantly Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor. At the time of Wilford Woodruff the world saw a split, and those familiar with the paradigms of biological evolution will recognize exactly what was going on. Today we see two radically different organizations with radically different messages...but they came from the same place.
Here's another juicy item that must drive the Church nuts. The fundamentalists are perfectly justified in their position on polygamy, extreme patriarchy and racism. After all, if those were the "revealed word of God" back in the early days of the church, then who are the modern day leaders to deny that word of God today? Just because wicked governments :-) refuse to cooperate should be no reason to back away from the most important points of doctrine. If it was good enough for Daniel to not back down (resulting in being cast into the lions den) then it should be good enough for modern prophets to not back down, either. (Okay, it's pretty darn important for me to state that I'm simply pointing out the fundamentalist argument, not my own opinion...)
At the end of the book you are treated to the prosecution team's argument that religious thinking is NOT insane, even it is, on the face, irrational. Any religious person should be moved, not disturbed, by the thoughtful arguments made by the prosecution's witnesses, many of whom were Mormon.
There are those who review this book who claim that the history is all wrong because it isn't always consistent with the "faithful history" that Elder Boyd K. Packer et al promote, and which is often the only history Mormons are familiar. Krakauer has consumed a great deal of history, and has drawn some really important conclusions. To throw out his book as "inacurate" because of a few minor disagreements on interpretation of facts would be like throwing out the quantum theory because we can't actually "see" a quark. The viewer, or the reader, interprets what they see or read and comes to rational conclusions based on their assessment. I want to read what other people DECIDE ON THEIR OWN after doing the research, not the same, tired old stories that have been approved and fed to the sheep year after year after year. I 've read a ton of Church history, and nothing that Krakauer said raised any red flags for me. But if there is a mistake in his "facts" somewhere (and if it's there, it's tiny), then it is still immaterial. The conclusions that the reader draws as they read how religious zeal CAN lead the faithful far, far astray is dead-on, pun intended.
This is an excellent, excellent book, and no one, Mormon or otherwise, should be "afraid" to read it, or afraid to consider what the implications might be.
42 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Don't pay attention to the negative reviews on this page!!! 7. September 2003
Von Aaron J. Race - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a fascinating and easy to read book--I could barely put it down after I started. However, there are people out there who want to criticize it simply because they feel it shows their religion in a negative light. I have respect for Mormons and the Mormon church, but I realize that the early days fo the church had many violent and negative moments. See these negative reviewers do not tell you that the LDS church has come out against the book--members have been told to not read the book, and they have been told to attack the book. So the negative reviews are not really honest. The LDS church has a heavy history in promoting revisionist views. Porter Rockwell is generally taught as a godly hero to children; the Meadows Mountain Massacre is completely removed from Mormon history--ask any Mormon about it and they will never have heard about the incident. Mormons only know a favorable view of their history. Nevertheless, at no point did I feel the book was attacking the current LDS church. The author always pointed out that the current church has nothing to do with the fundementalists. In fact, the author was actually quite kind to the current church. The reason that early church history is presented is to show its influence on current events. I felt it was quite balanced in presenting the past. Some reviewers state that the author refered to anti-LDS writers from the past, but he also refered to positive LDS writers and the words of the prophets themselves. Also, the author took fairly scholarly and respected texts that criticized the church--he did not take overly anti- and false sources like the Godmakers. The author at no time seemed to want to attack the church--those with a negative take are those who romanticize the early days and cannot accept that the early church has some dubious issues--does that mean the church is not true? No, and the writer never does that. So take off the rose-colored glasses and read the excellent work for what it is. As a professor, non-fiction reader and writer, and former member of the church, I found this book fascinating, well-written, and very well-researched. It was also extremely objective.
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All religious belief is a function of nonrational faith. And faith, by its very definition, tends to be impervious to intellectual argument or academic criticism. &quote;
Markiert von 397 Kindle-Nutzern
There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumaneas a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devoutthere may be no more potent force than religion. &quote;
Markiert von 298 Kindle-Nutzern
Despite the fact that Uncle Rulon and his followers regard the governments of Arizona, Utah, and the United States as Satanic forces out to destroy the UEP, their polygamous community receives more than $6 million a year in public funds. &quote;
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