Thoughts on: “Under The Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer

The year is off to a good start with a third Krakauer book under my belt!

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Mormonism is not a big thing here in Sweden (The are less than 10 000 Saints residing here) and this is my first close look at the Mormon faith.

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It’s a history of Mormonism told around story the brutal murders of an innocent woman and child that was carried out by fundamentalist after receiving a “death list” from God through a revelation.

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📝 “Common sense is no match for the words of God.”

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📝 The big difference between Mormons and Mormon fundamentalists is that the latter put a strong emphasis on the Divine right for men to take multiple wives.

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📝 Josef Smith (the prophet) had 30-40 wife’s. The youngest was 14 and the proposal sounded like this: “Be my wife or suffer eternal damnation”.

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📝 One of the early unique selling points of early Mormonism was the the followers where encouraged to have their own talks with God directly. This made the follower harder to control and was quickly turned into something exclusive for the profet.

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📝 Education is a big problem for “the work”. Mormons sometimes send the their kids off to get an education and they come back asking uncomfortable questions. Like why is the geology professor saying the world is 4.5 billion year old and not 6 000?

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: For non religious people these people seem very gullible, but don’t forget what a huge comfort religion is.

“It’s It provides all the answer, It makes life simple”.

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Krakauer paints a dark picture of incest, polygamy and blood atonement of fundamentalists branches of the Latter Day Saints but the more mainstream parts get their fair share of criticism too.

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Herein lies my main issue I have with this book. It is demonizing in a way that makes it feel very one-sidedness. Lack of nuance is away a red flag for me. But I still really loved the book and I’m planning to make a similar dive into the Amish way of life. If you have any recommendations for me on that subject, let me know!

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4/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Photo credit: @unklgeorge (Instagram)

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