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July Book of the Month: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. He now shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders, taking readers inside isolated American communities where some 40,000 Mormon Fundamentalists still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

Author: John Krakauer

399 pages

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  • Susanna

    Great meetup! First in a long time that we spent the whole hour discussing the book.

    1 · August 3, 2014

  • Zora G.

    Just got back from vacation and picked up the cat...sorry I missed this one. A disturbing book but very interesting to me as my father was raised as a Latter Day Saint!

    August 3, 2014

  • Debbie D.

    I have to bow out too, not feeling well today. Hopefully will make next one.

    August 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was looking forward to being a part of this conversation... Childcare situation changed so I will not be able to make it. Next time.

    August 3, 2014

  • Carolyn N.

    Almost all of my relatives are Utah Mormons. I lapsed three decades ago. Brigham Young was similar to Vladimir Putin. He was the first mass murderer in America who killed more people than Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. Power corrupts absolutely. This books is terrific, and is probably banned in Utah.

    July 29, 2014

  • Linda K.

    I have the book, haven't finished it, but the 3rd is too busy to come. See ya next month

    July 29, 2014

  • Sandi

    I would love to be able to discuss this book. It is a fascinating look at something close at hand of which I wasn't aware. Unfortunately I am not going to be able to make it to the group on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014

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