Thoughts on: Educated by Tara Westover

A memoir. Likely one of the best I’ve read.

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Tara grew up in a pious Mormon family lead by a survivalist father with a fondness for conspiracy theories. His plan was to be fully self-reliant and “off the grid” before the End of Days, an event he was sure to be imminent.

Tara’s story about finding her independence is a powerful one; a narrative so well-crafted I had a hard time putting it down even for my most basic maslowian needs.


📝 Her mother was trained to be a midwife. The idea was that she would deliver the grandchildren ones the family was “off the grid”.

📝 The Protocols on the Elders of Zion: A fabricated document, from 1903, of a secret meeting of powerful Jews planing world domination. Discredited, but it still spread anti-semitism and fueled conspiracy theorists for decades to come.

📝 She read Mormon doctrine in mimicry of a brother that left her for school. “In retrospect I can see that this was my education. The one that would matter.” “The skill I was learning was a crucial one; the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”

📝 Mother was a herbalist and energy worker: “Mother was marketing her product as a spiritual alternative to Obama Care.” Made bank! 💰


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

It is fascinating how the object of concern for the conspiracy theorist change over time as each prophecy fail to deliver the end of days. When Y2K didn’t happened Taras father lost hope for a while, then the events of 9/11 filled that vacuum.


⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we run into trouble. What are we scoring here?! Our goal is to educate ourself about the human condition and learn how to live well in spite of it. The rating system gives and indication on how well a book meets that goal.

For our learning purposes it’s a good book (3). As a “beach book” it’s excellent! (4 or a 5). Pick it up during summer break (if you have the privilege to have one) then get back to your studies! 😉👨‍🎓👩‍🎓


3/5


⁉️ QUESTON:

Are there any books on the psychology of conspiracy theorists? AND What’s your thoughts on vaccines, Illuminati, Rothchilds, Aliens and government brainwashing? 🤔

Photo credit: @thebookunicorns

For more mind boggling read check out my Reading Lists.

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

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Photo credit: @unklgeorge (Instagram)