An exploration of a murder committed in the FLDS community of polygamists becomes an exploration of the history of Mormonism and the paradox of the many outward virtues of its followers, and the murders and massacres that have marked its development into a major world religion.
This is my second time reading Under the Banner of Heaven, and I got so much out of it this time. The importance of Mormonism on the history of the American West is something that I never learned about, even as an American Studies major in college. It’s just fascinating to me and I want to learn a lot more about it. My one disappointing quibble is that in the last pages of the book, Krakauer calls Mormonism a Christian sect, and it made me wish that he had used his skills as a journalist to engage with the Mormon theology, which bears no resemblance to orthodox Christianity, Protestant or Catholic. There are superficial similarities, but Mormonism really is its own religion.