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Author: John Krakauer

What is it about? Part true crime, part history book, Under the Banner of Heaven tells the true story of two brothers who, in 1984, murdered their sister-in-law and infant niece, believing they were following God’s orders. Krakauer explores the beliefs of the brothers, who are Fundamentalist Mormons, by examining the history and the state of the Mormon church today.

Excerpts: “In any case, like a movie that is panned by New York critics yet goes on to become a huge blockbuster in the hinterlands, the tremendous popularity of The Book of Mormon makes it impossible to dismiss. The sheer quantity of copies in print – at last count over a hundred million – lends the book a certain gravitas, even among cynics.”

My Two Cents: This book made me realize that that South Park episode about Mormons was actually not exaggerating anything about this religion. Joseph Smith, the angel Moroni, the mysteriously disappearing gold plates; it’s all here. Krakauer brings to light the truly twisted nature of the polygamist communities of Fundamentalist Mormons in some fairly disturbing chapters. This is conveyed first hand in Chapter 3, through an interview with Debbie Palmer, a woman who escaped from the polygamist community in Bountiful, British Columbia. I think that Mormons get a bit of a bad rap in this book though, as they are unfairly lumped in with Fundamentalists, who actually comprise a small percentage of all the Mormons in the world.

You might like it if you like: Religious studies, true crime, learning about Mormonism.

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