Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven Summary

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the author of Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, this extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America’s isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities. Now an the acclaimed FX limited series streaming on HULU.

“Fantastic.... Right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song.” —San Francisco Chronicle

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; some 40,000 people still practice polygamy in these communities. 

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.

Book Reviews


Under the Banner of Heaven4 star

WOW, knew very little about the Mormon church. Had a chance to visit Utah a couple of years ago, I will say I have never met a nicer set of people, really to help and in directions, and explained what we were looking at and it’s history.45


Every Religion5 star

Every religion starts as a cult.55


Fascinating Book for a non-Mormon to read4 star

The book struggles to provide continuity but the historical revelations about Mormonism and polygamy are worth the read, in my opinion.45


To refute a comment above5 star

I’m a Mormon, and a historian. Please realize that Heber J. Grant was a polygamist against the Mormon church and the federal government. D&C 132 teaches about how polygamy is “The new and everlasting covenant”. This is still canonized scripture. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints is still a supporter of polygamy today in sealings. I’m not a fundamentalist. I am simply a purveyor of the truth. These offshoots are symptoms of a cancer in salt lake. This religion is a cult and needs extermination. I admit this, still as a member on the inside who attends regularly and cannot get out for fear of losing all of my friends and loved ones. That’s a cults game. A special thanks to the author for having the courage to write and publish this book.55


An eye opener4 star

If there's still any doubt that religion is inherently foolish, this book may finally put such doubts to rest.45


Great, accurate read. Best of author.5 star

Being raised in the LDS church, I found this extremely informative. Great read.55


Wow!5 star

The only thing I could say about this book was it was the most fascinating thing I have ever read. Being in only seventh grade, I devoured this book in only one week. Even though it was a little fist clenching at sometimes, it was impossible to put it down. I have read Krakauer's other books, this one is my all-time favorite.55


The Best Book Ever Written About Mormons.5 star

I have lived in Utah for thirty-five years, and I have been a practicing attorney for twenty-seven years. I was married to a BYU-educated woman, the daughter of a Bishop and Stake Relief Society President, for ten years. I currently represent two woman who are seeking relief from abusive Mormon men, including one case pending in American Fork, where the Lafferty saga climaxed. This is by far the best, and most accurate, book ever written about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it's various schisms. And it is the only book that accurately examines the Mormon church in the wider context of religious experience and motivation. In addition, the book is well written and captivating.55

Mountain max

A captivating read!5 star

I am a huge fan of Krakauer, and I regard a few of his books to be some of my all time favorites. This book gave a great insight into Mormanism. It was unpleasant and disturbing at times, but also incredibly intriguing and fascinating!55


Unfair1 star

I am not sure what the author's issue with this religion is but it is clearly a biased and misrepresented case being presented. Everything I have investigated shows that the polygamist offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is completely unaffiliated with that church. I understand that there are people who don't like the Mormon religion and a LOT of misleading things are said about them. it's unfortunate that the author has used his dislike for religion to attack one by the use of a tragic story of two mentally unstable people. Not quite a legitimate situation to draw broad conclusions from. I think this book is a classic attack, uninformative, and unfair. But if you hate Mormons and aren't looking for legitimate explanation than you might enjoy this literary experience.15

Other Books by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild


Into the Wild
4.5     1396
Into Thin Air


Into Thin Air
4.5     1309


4.5     313

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