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Customer Review

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars under the banner of heaven, 14 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
The book waves together two historical events: the roots of the Mormon Church and the crimes committed by Fundamentalist Mormons today.
Amongst these countless crimes, the attention is mainly focused on the murder committed on July 24th 1984 by two former LDS, Dan and Ron Lafferty, who butchered their 24 year old sister in law, Brenda, and her 15 month old daughter Erica.
The chapters about the founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, are very clear and interesting.
The author writes about Joseph Smith's plural wives and his immoral and illegal actions.
The author describes the similarities between Smith and current Fundamentalist "prophets".
Chapter 11 tells us about the marriage of Joseph Smith to Helen Mar Kimball, who was 14 year old at that time. In page 120 we read Helen's confession: "I was young and they deceived me, by saying that the salvation of our whole family depended on it".
Chapter 4 shows how a FLDS, Mitchell, following Smith's vile tacticts, abducted Elizabeth, an 14 year old LDS girl, and persuaded her to marry him as second wife. This happened in June 2002.
Reading the book, I have noticed that two LDS women, Matilda and Dianna Lafferty, showed abhorrence about plural marriage.
In page 91 we read: "Dan also announced that he intended to engage in spiritual wifery at the earliest opportunity. Matilda said that the first years of her marriage had been extremely happy and hopeful... and then it just disintegrated...".
In page 148 we read: "He [ Ron ] began to talk with growing enthusiasm about polygamy, which make her [Dianna] sick to even contemplate."
I personally find this reaction inconsistent, since LDS people are proud of their polygamous prophet and polygamy is still, according to them, a holy principle.
Even though this book has plenty of historical information and is generally well written, I cannot rank it with the best score.
The author compares Mormonism with Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism ect.
In page xx of the prologue we read: "extremists exist within all religion. Muhammed is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christian, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents." It is dishonest to imply that every the sacred writings of the various religions spread the same message. Mormons and Muslims for example butchered innocent people IN OBEDIENCE to their own sacred texts, while "Christians" butchered innocent people IN DISOBEDIENCE to the Bible.
In page 68 we read "Those who would assail The book of Mormon should bear in mind that its veracity is no more dubious than the veracity of the Bible, say, or the Qur'an, or the sacred text of most other religions".
While faith is indeed personal, we must admit that the Bible and the Qur'an have a solid historical fondation while the Book of Mormon, written in a non existent language (reformed egyptian) does not have historical reality.
In page 313 we read: "If Ron wasnt' insane- or at least no more insane than anyone else who believes in God- what was he?".
In this sentence the author offends God believing people calling them insane.
While atheists may consider believers bizarre zelouts, implying that believers are insane is synonimous of intolerance.
I think that, as the LDS Founder did, Dan and Ron Lafferty took God as an excuse to justify their racism, violence, adultery and greed.
Wheather they are insane or not is irrelevant, they followed wrong teachings: polygamy and blood atonement, among others.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2012 21:33:31 GMT
Thank you for this review. It was extremely thorough. I would, however like to know why YOU, in particular gave this book a 3 star review. I am not saying that doing so was either bad, or good, I am simply curious as to what YOU thought of the book...

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2012 15:05:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2012 15:23:17 GMT
Thanks for commenting my review.

As I wrote above, this book is well written and correctly describes the origin of the LDS Church and what Joseph Smith preached and taught: polygamy, racism and blood atonement.

However I find it dishonest to imply that the sacred writing of the various religions spread the same message and Fundamentalism is the problem in every faith.

It is clear that what Dan and Ron Lafferty did is much more than fanatism.

Rather than criticizing other religions, the author should have explained that in term of theology LDS and FLDS are very similar and, if consistent with their doctrines, they are both racist and polygamist at heart.

In light of that, it is not surprising when someone in the mainstream LDS Church decides to practice what the faith is about and follow their Fundamentalist brothers in Mormonism.
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