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Here are the good things about John Krakauer’s amazing “Under the Banner of Heaven”: It’ll blow your mind about the Mormon church, with a revealing history of the Joseph Smith days and riveting tales of present-day latter-day sait looniness — the Lafferty murders, Elizabeth Smart. The book will get you thinking about how maybe, just maybe, Islamic fundamentalists aren’t all that different from our own homegown Christian fundamentalists. And the author is incredibly talented at weaving history, narrative, and interviews to create a swift weekend read.
Now the bad part: During and after reading the book, you’ll want to talk about it with just about everyone. And on occassion, one of those people will turn out to be a practicing Mormon. And if you’re being really dense, like me, you’ll probably end up making a huge ass of yourself.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Krakauer's UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN is interesting and well researched. His examination of the origins of the Mormon church were eye-opening as was his breakdown on the origin of the fundamentalist sect of the LDS church.
I am not a Mormon but one flaw I found here was a disturbingly anti-religious bias on the part of the author. Although he claims toward the end to be fascinated by the "culture" and "faith" of Mormons and other religious folks, it comes off as a bit disingenuous after many statements throughout the book which belittle people of faith or cast all people of faith in the same light.
Again, I'm not a Mormon and my personal opinion of Mormonism is not entirely favorable from a theological point of view; however, I am a person of faith myself and hate to see any group of people painted with the same broad brush.
Yes, the murders detailed in this book are deeply disturbing and some of the history of the LDS church past and present gives one the impression that it's a bit cultic in nature. But to say all Mormons are exactly alike, that they're all just like the two murderers in this book, is patently unfair to mainstream Mormons. To go further and suggest that ALL people of ANY faith are equally corrupt, as he does suggest in more than one spot, is even less fair-minded and betrays the author's admitted agnostic bias; that bias makes the book as a whole a bit suspect.
That said, there's a lot of good information and a fascinating "read/listen" to be had. Just go in knowing the author's bias and you'll be fine.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful