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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In bestselling wilderness adventures like Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, award-winning journalist Jon Krakauer has taken us to the extremes of human experience. Now he focuses his sights on extremism of another sort in Under the Banner of Heaven, a chilling tale of violence and fanaticism that strikes at the very heart of religious faith in America.
The centerpiece of the story is a grisly double murder committed in 1984 by Ron and Dan Lafferty, Mormon fundamentalist brothers who claimed to have killed at God's direct command. In Krakauer's expert hands, the bizarre details of this brutal crime play out against the equally bizarre history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and its subsequent splintering into fundamentalist sects over the issue of polygamy -- a sacred doctrine put forth by Mormon founder Joseph Smith in 1830.
Discarded decades ago in the Mormons' steady march toward the American religious mainstream, polygamy has become a touchstone for fundamentalist dissenters, who seek to return the church to its original vision…at any cost. Krakauer investigates the violent legacy of this single article of faith, explores the link between fundamentalism and the Mormon tradition of personal revelation, and draws a direct line between the religious fervor of a God-fearing community and the religious fanaticism that inspired the Lafferty brothers to kill in the name of the Lord.
Storytelling at its most compelling, Under the Banner of Heaven is a gimlet-eyed look into the blood-soaked history of the fastest-growing religion in the Western Hemisphere and a sober examination of the nature of faith in America. Anne Markowski