Typically, there are two conversations that I tend to avoid . . . religion and politics! These are two topics that are oftentimes very close to someone's heart and can cause a range of emotions in many individuals. However, these two hot topics are also two topics that can also be the most enlightening and intriguing to me. What a dilemma! I have decided not to avoid the topic of religion for now because I just finished reading a book on one religion that is growing exponentially here in the United States, and I was so immensely intrigued that I am really curious to know what others think of it!
But first . . . just to touch on the topic of religion from my point of view . . . I personally feel that I am very sensitive to the topic of religion and the importance of different belief systems. I was raised in a unique situation in which I was surrounded by a multitude of religions, many not tending to agree! However, with that said, I also feel that religion is one aspect that I am not that educated in and that I can expand myself on dramatically. I am very interested in learning more about ALL religions, and thus, the reason for reading this book. I remember when the book was first released. I was actually working at a bookstore at the time and I thought, "Hmm . . . that looks interesting!" Since then, I have had multiple people recommend the book to me and I am just now getting around to reading it.
I want to be precise in describing this book, so I have taken the following description from Amazon . . .
In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders. --John MoeI learned a great deal from this book regarding the LDS church as well as about the extremists within the religion. I know that I have many a friend out there both LDS and non-LDS alike that may or may not have an opinion about the book itself. Therefore, I want to put the question to each of you . . . what did you think of this book? Do you feel that it was accurate? What would you say to someone (like myself) who has just finished reading it? I am soooooo curious to know others' thoughts and I want to encourage you to respond. If you do not feel that a reply to the post is the appropriate place, but would like to share your opinion, please feel free to email me a response and I will post it under my name to reveal your identity. Like I said, I am completely aware that religion is a sensitive topic, but I believe that your thoughts and opinions can help to educate me and have a better overall understanding! :)