Monday, August 27, 2012

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty insist they were commanded to kill by God. Krakauer's investigation is a meticulously researched, bone-chilling narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith: an incisive, gripping work of non-fiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behaviour.

My take: 4 looks
I don't usually go for non-fiction. I find it dry and uninteresting; however, I was unable to put this one down. Impeccable research and a warm writing style made this a very engaging book on Mormonism.

For example, Elohim had two sons, Jesus and Lucifer. when Elohim decided to create a new world, Earth, he asked his boys which one wanted to be its savior. They both pitched their ideas, and Jesus won. Satan got mad, along with 1/3 of the spirits and they were cast into Earth's hell. The 1/3 who fought for Jesus were made angels with light skin. The 1/3 who didn't choose a side either way were punished on Earth with dark skin, making the Negros, Hispanics and American Indians. The lighter your skin, the more blessed you are by God. Can you believe that?

Another very disturbing fact in the book is the constant change that Mormonism documents. God makes revelations to his saints in the church, and they are compelled to carry them out, or burn in hell. There are radical revisions to church doctrine, depending on the president at the time. You can imagine the controversy when they started allowing "dark skinned" leaders in the church!

I was distraught at the comparison to my own Christian faith, but came to realize that this is only a thinly veiled attempt to gain a foothold to convert to their faith. If they appeared crazy at the outset, what are the chances of growth?

As I read of the abuse of power, killing apostates to further the faith and the great need to populate like-minded people through plural marriage, I saw my own Old Testament histories enacted over and over again, but this time in modern days.

Mormonism, as presented here, is one of the most intolerant of belief systems, based on the exclusionary ideals of a man who espoused polygamy, murder, and manipulation to a group of uneducated and impoverished people. What is the draw today to this faith, with the possible exception of brainwashing?

Religions inevitably demand a leap of faith at some point, but spiritual growth is about questioning, finding answers, seeking the truth and coming to terms with a personal and living belief in ONE who is greater than I could ever be. God the Father is not offended at my curiosity and certainly not defensive to the point of violence when I move from blind faith to actively seeking my path to Him. I am not the least bit interested in becoming a god or goddess myself, having eternal celestial sex so I can populate the new planet Elohim gives to me when I am deemed worthy. It's too science fiction for me.

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