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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Well written OBJECTIVE book!

As a native Utahn I am very familiar with the teachings of the LDS faith, have lived among Mormons'with little confrontation' most of my life, and do understand how members of the Mormon faith can easily take this book out of context and be offended by its theory. But o...
As a native Utahn I am very familiar with the teachings of the LDS faith, have lived among Mormons'with little confrontation' most of my life, and do understand how members of the Mormon faith can easily take this book out of context and be offended by its theory. But one has to understand that the author clearly explains that the FLDS and the LDS are in fact very different, and he simply gives a general 'and well researched' history of how the FLDS church evolved from the mainline Mormon church, to supplement the story of the Lafferty Murders. If one'particularly LDS members' dive into this book with an agenda already in mind, I guarantee you will not like it one bit. But if one is purely interested in history and fact with an OBJECTIVE point of view, this will be an exceptional read.

posted by Anonymous on April 8, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

Ignorance and bias limit this misleading 'history'

Mr. Krakauer, in this error ridden diatribe against religion, makes so many errors of fact and logic that serious questions are raised regarding his competence and sincerity. As Prof T. Givens noted, 'To blame Judaism for Son of Sam would be anti-Semitic. To blam...
Mr. Krakauer, in this error ridden diatribe against religion, makes so many errors of fact and logic that serious questions are raised regarding his competence and sincerity. As Prof T. Givens noted, 'To blame Judaism for Son of Sam would be anti-Semitic. To blame Mormonism for Dan Lafferty is no less an act of naked bigotry masquerading as journalistic investigation.' As Jane Lampman has noted in the The Christian Science Monitor, Krakauer's book 'delivers a skewed and misleading picture of a faith now practiced by 11 million people worldwide.' Perhaps Naomi Schaefer, in her review for the The Wall Street Journal put it best, when she wrote that Krakauer's book 'is all quite misleading.' Neurophysiologists may note that Mr. Krakauer's best excuse for producing this incompetently researched, deceptive and misleading book is that he spent so many weeks at high altitude with insufficient oxygen. One can only hope he beats a hasty retreat from subjects like history and religion -- subjects apparently far beyond his abilities. R. Chris Barden, Ph.D., J.D. Sun Valley, Idaho

posted by Anonymous on July 27, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2003

    Ignorance and bias limit this misleading 'history'

    Mr. Krakauer, in this error ridden diatribe against religion, makes so many errors of fact and logic that serious questions are raised regarding his competence and sincerity. As Prof T. Givens noted, 'To blame Judaism for Son of Sam would be anti-Semitic. To blame Mormonism for Dan Lafferty is no less an act of naked bigotry masquerading as journalistic investigation.' As Jane Lampman has noted in the The Christian Science Monitor, Krakauer's book 'delivers a skewed and misleading picture of a faith now practiced by 11 million people worldwide.' Perhaps Naomi Schaefer, in her review for the The Wall Street Journal put it best, when she wrote that Krakauer's book 'is all quite misleading.' Neurophysiologists may note that Mr. Krakauer's best excuse for producing this incompetently researched, deceptive and misleading book is that he spent so many weeks at high altitude with insufficient oxygen. One can only hope he beats a hasty retreat from subjects like history and religion -- subjects apparently far beyond his abilities. R. Chris Barden, Ph.D., J.D. Sun Valley, Idaho

    4 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Don't waste your time on this book

    Krakauer has only written this book to make a buck. The same reason he is now going to make it into a sensationalized movie.
    The reasearch he did is so flawed concerning the LDS church, leaves me to believe that what he puts forth as fact through- out the book concerning the FLDS is also only half truths and hearsay. The false history he states about Joseph Smith and his testimony of what happened to him is so blatant that I decided to stop reading it at page 93. If you want to read the true history of the LDS church, The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith go to the source; the preface of The Book of Mormon. Krakauer must have only read anti-mormon literature to present a comparison of the two churches. The LDS have nothing to do with the FLDS. Their only link being the original church before polygamy was abolished. To compare the two churches today is like comparing Christ and Satan. By their fruits ye shall know them.

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    Fiction or Fact?

    I was appauld to read some of comments made by some readers of this book about the mormon faith. It is crucial we all understand the mormon fanatics and polygamists that are out there do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which is the first restored mormon church. Joseph Smith was its president and this original church still stands today as one of the fastest growing faiths in the US. Other mormon faiths have been started since the restoration of the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but these sects are not the true mormons. If you really want to know what the true mormon religion is about come to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse nearest you and check it out. Don't be fooled by the apostates or those practicing poligamy that call themselves mormons which the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints has abandoned for over 100 years. The author should have done his research a little better and explained this major distinction in his book so as to not confuse his readers.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2003

    One major flaw

    The author of this book has collected totally one-sided data. He has not seeked out or explored the input from current mainstream Mormon Church leaders to any extent. Why would a supposedly unbiased author want to write a documentary without considering both sides of the coin?

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2003

    Greatly disappointed

    Into Thin Air: great! Under the Banner of Heaven: bad. Nothing Krakauer reveals is 'new', he has simply given it a different slant to make it fit the premise for this book. It reads, at times, only slightly less sensationally than the anti-Mormon literature you can get at the Cummorah Pageant that Krakauer refers to. I was bored, easily distracted, and lost interest in the book quickly. I will forever see this book on my bookshelf and wonder why? Why is it there? Why did I buy it? Can I get a refund? Maybe through personal revelation I might find an answer.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    Horribly researched

    The writer uses research that even other non-mormom researchers have said did not happen. There are several statements of "facts" that have no reference as to where the information could be found. Clearly the writer wrote this book with an agenda in mind.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2007

    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    I respect JK for having the courage to write this book. However,it is unfair that he is dissing all mormons because if he really did his research, he would have discovered that there are at least three different branches of mormonism. Polygamy is not practiced in all mormon religions.These men were FLDS so... JK should have really done better research before he started writing. I am really upset at the things I have been called because of this book. the persecution in this day in time for mormons is ridiculous. thanks JK for making it worse for me!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2006

    Find another book

    The book is misleading about about FLDS and the LDS. The FLDS are the extremist and the church that still today practices polygamy. The LDS are the mainstream whose temples you are starting to see pop up everywhere. If you want a book that speaks the truth about FLDS, then here it is, however if you want one about the LDS, I recommend Pearl of Great Price.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2005

    Interesting!

    You got to be kidding me - if I wanted to purchase a new car and Ford would be my first choice, would I ask a sales representative that works for Toyota all about the Ford Explorer? Absolutely NOT! This author's views as well as proclaimed facts are far from the truth. Perhaps asking representatives from the Mormon church to expound on their beliefs would be the smart thing. Happy Kwanzaa!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    Historical Novel

    You will be very disappointed if you thought you would read an accurate and dispassionate account of Mormon history. This book is so poorly researched that it would better fit the category of Historical Novel than Non-Fiction. The author counts on the naïve reader to believe that somehow this author knows the unknowable, such as what was in the hearts and minds of people who died over 100 years ago, and what people did who were never heard from again.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2004

    Religious bigotry at its best

    Under the Banner of Heaven (Krakauers, 2003) is a deliberate attempt at profiteering from the fears of a post 9-11 generation. As contemporary news continuously portrays various fundamentalists groups (e.g., Taliban) committing zealous acts in the name of God, religious faith has become wrongfully equated with violence. Karakauer utilizes the 1984 Lafferty murder case and the Mountain Meadows Massacre as basis of his argument that adherence to religious beliefs in general and in this case, adherence to Mormon beliefs inevitably produces senseless acts of violence among its believers. Krakaurer (2003) reveals his intentions in writing his anti-religious book in the prologue when he notes that there is a dark side of religious devotion that is often ignored that motivates people to be evil, cruel, and inhumane. I say that there is a dark side to human beings that like to profit from atrocities like 9-11 and discriminate against peaceful religious organizations. The book seemingly contains well documented historical facts but the line between fact and fiction becomes blurred as Krakaurer tells a negatively skewed and rigidly anti-Mormon tale of historical events. This book represents religious bigotry at its best and its message is clear: religion is irrational, potentially violent and should be eradicated from society.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2004

    Misleading and disappointing

    This book is completely misleading straight from the get-go. As someone who has many Mormon friends and has actually been to church with them several times I can tell you that this book was only meant to turn people away from a church and group of people who are most loving and good-willed. These people in the story....at the time of the story could have in no way been related to the actual Mormon church. Mormon fundamentalist? what is that anyway. That would be like relateing jews and christians. They may have started at the same root but now are not closely similar. I would hope that people reading this book would take a deeper look into the Mormon church...possibly the cruel things done to them and the ways they were murdered. I am completely dissapointed in the way of trying to relate this awful crime to the real Mormon Church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Please if you are interested in finding out about the Mormon Church consider going to one of their services...it says on the building 'visitors welcome'. I hope this so called shoot-off of their church would strike the word Mormon from their title if this shoot-off even exists.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2003

    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    I got this book because I really enjoyed Into Thin Air and being curious about Mormons, I quickly purchased it. What I discovered was a large package of sleeze and lies in an effort to degrade the Mormon faith. I know several Mormons, none of them fit the JK's representation of a Mormon. In fact, maybe if some religions learned something from the Mormon's family relationships and service the world would be alot better off. Avoid this like the Plague.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    Another anti book yippi

    Here is a book written by someone who again knows nothing about our religion and trys to portray it. This book has some truth to it but still lacks the real truth. One thing every anti book published about mormons doesnt tell you is that only 2% of the mormon church actually practiced polygamy and that it was called of good for those who were worthy to hold that position in the church. Also if you know anything about religion when did god ever change. Never so there for read the bible. David had more than 1 wife so did Abraham and probably many others. so please get the facts straight first before trying to put a church down.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2003

    odd

    As a former member of the LDS church, I find it appauling that Mr. Krakauer even bothered to submit this book for publishing. He has done little, if any, research on the history of mormonism, and distorts facts freely. I am in no way advocating polygamy or the LDS church, just merely warning potential buyers that, if you need REAL historical facts on the Mormon church, ask someone who has or is a member (preferably was formerly), not some lunatic who rants on about meaningless 'facts'.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    Anti-Mormonism at its Worst

    Mr. Krakauker's book is a thinly-veiled direct attack on Mormonism and organized religion in general - attempting to draw suspecious parallels between events occurring in the first 50 years of the founding of the new religion and the heinous crimes committed by the psychotic Lafferty Brothers. His conclusion: Mormonism is an inherently violent and dangerous faith. But his method for arriving at this conclusion is deeply and terribly flawed. If one wants to take the measure of a religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity, Judaism or Mormonism, one must look at the entire picture - the millions of devoted followers who seek to do good in their daily lives together with those who abuse the religious doctrine. In his assault on Mormonism and its foundations, Mr. Krakauer fails to examine the tremendous good that this religion has produced. No religion on earth could survive the uneven-handed scrutiny which Mr. Krakauer showers upon the Mormons. Perhaps Mr. Krakauer's next project should be to warn the world of the dangers of 'extreme secularism' by focusing on the acts of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao. Compared to that crew, the extreme Mormons Mr. Krakauer exposes look like a church choir.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    I bought this book hoping it would be a nonfiction book. However, the information provided by JK is mostly false and compltely one sided. There are no such things as fundamentalist Mormons, you are Mormon or you aren't. Use your money for charity...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2003

    a real disappointment

    As a fan of John Krakauer and a student of the history and theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I eagerly awaited this book. I am a firm believer that my faith, complex as it is, cries out for intellectual scrutiny. Unfortunately, this book falls tragically short and was, for me, a major disappointment. Banner of Heaven is plagued by at least three fatal flaws. First, Krakauer undertakes the intellectual reasoning and creation of the book on with all the rigor of a high school research paper. In the early pages he reveals his thinly veiled hypothesis that, 'faith is the very antithesis of reason.' He postulates that 'when fanaticism supplants ratiocination [logical and methodical reasoning], all bets are off.' What he either fails to recognize ¿ or at least acknowledge ¿ is the sheer volume of scholarly research and sound writing which exists on the history of Mormon faith. He references none of it. What he does reference is virtually every fable, myth, and slanderous source available ¿ without any question as to its truth, value, or objectivity. In his rush to discredit both religion and the religious, he seems to overlook the methodology crucial to ratiocination ¿ i.e., balanced consideration of confirming and disconfirming data and rational analyses of the facts. While I have no problem with the printing of the fables on which he is so reliant, what is problematic is that he offers no consideration of the overtired anti-Mormon literature against more seriously credentialed sources. Mr. Krakauer chooses only to replay every myth, lie, and slander that supports his anti-Mormon, and frankly, anti-religion positions. The book is sourced with the rigor of a National Enquirer article. I found it inexplicably strange, for example, that he was able to gain unlimited, insider access to these isolated clans of several thousand nutcases and yet couldn¿t find even one of 11 million members of my faith with whom to speak. (That his anti-faith bias extends far beyond Mormonism is evident with his quote that, 'my own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.' Krakauer later offers his own rhetorical question, 'isn¿t everyone who believes in God and seeks guidance through prayer mentally ill?)' Second, Krakauer goes through a series of irrational, silly, gymnastics to link The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with the evil bands of cast-offs who call themselves `mormon fundamentalists¿. Never mind that each of the two groups is vociferous in its disdain for, and claims against, any association with the other. Mr. Krakauer is apparently not only smarter than either, but apparently able to speak for both in insisting on links between the two. You can ignore his very brief description of the eleven million members of my church who live clean, quiet law-abiding lives (hesitant even to leave the sidewalks and walk on the grass) and just blindly accept his premise that we are the same as the several thousand murdering, welfare-dependent, pedophiles and wife and child abusers of the fundamentalist ilk. You can ignore the fact that our church is peopled with leading businessmen, politicians, scientists, athletes, entertainers and more that constitute the best of our society and just blindly accept his links to this group that follows behind every nutcase, criminal, and whack-job that chooses to call himself a `prophet¿ and the `strong one¿. You can ignore our penchant for order, thrift, and industry and blindly accept that we are one and the same with this band of welfare-mongering, isolationist, in-bred clans. Right-o. Finally, Banner of Heaven ducks all of the honest questions about the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of its founder. Krakauer goes to ridiculous, logically inconsistent and slanderous extremes to try to paint Joseph Smith as everything that he w

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2003

    All religions have their psychotics

    It is estimated that 5-7% of the population is seriously mentallly ill. That the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is especially prone to producing murderous predators is not born out by any emperical data. As a matter of fact, the Church turns out more than its share of good citizens. And may I add, these fundamentalists are not members of the Church, even though they might formerly have been so. They are excommunicated, which I believe is all we as a church can do. Being familiar with Krakauer's account of the Mt Everst calamity, I know that their were other interpetations given to Krakauer's behavior than put forward in his book. That there were two sides to that story is something that he wanted us to believe. Might there be another side to this story? Geraldine Jensen

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    Latter-Day Sensationalism

    A book such as 'Under the Banner of Heaven' only works if the author is truly objective-- if the author, like a true journalist, begins with a question, and takes the reader along on his/her search for the answers to that question. Unfortunately, Krakauer fails to do just this. From the beginning, it is apparant that Krakauer already has his mind made up with regards to the conclusions he will eventually come to about the LDS Church and its fundamentalist offshoots-- and many religions in general. Thus, rather than accompanying the author on a journey into the heart of a mystery, and into the discovery of unknown facts about events 'ripped from the headlines' (as happens with the best true crime books), the reader is instead subjected to a 350+ page defense of Krakauer's presuppositions. His research is one-sided and his conclusions are debatable. Since this is a book purporting to look at a Christian religion, perhaps a Bible analogy would best describe the results: Krakauer seems to have built his house on the sand this time around. And perhaps saddest of all, after two winners like 'Into the Wild' and 'Into Thin Air' that had readers holding their breath, afraid to reach the end, 'Under the Banner' simply has readers counting pages to the end of each chapter and the next logical excuse to break away from Krakauer's pedantry. Bottome line: skip the latter and reread one of the former. Hopefully Jon Krakauer will revert to true, objective journalism next time around.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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