Under the Banner of Heaven Book Review


I just finished Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, an important read and yet, not easy to plough through as there are a series of characters, stories and sub-stories to keep up with and he switches back and forth frequently.

In a discussion group, many found it depressing and as Newsweek puts it, ‘the creepiest book anyone has written in a long time,’ meant as praise, and yet, there were times, I just didn’t want to read another page.

The book is essentially about American ‘religious’ fundamentalism, a story of ‘violent faith.’ Krakauer writes about the Mormon Lafferty brothers who insist they received a commandment from God to kill an innocent woman and her baby girl.

He has rigorously researched the history of the murder, the Mormon faith, and the dangers and pitfalls, where such a strong faith and belief system can in fact lead to something as dangerous and irreversable as murder.

He writes, “Mormonism was a faith in which religious truth and ecclesiastical authority were supposed to be derived from a never-ending string of divine revelations.

Personal revelation for everyone?

He also writes: “There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. Many Americans think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of 9/11. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities and extremists exist within all religions.”

And on faith-based violence…..’it was present long before Osama bin Laden, adn it will be with us long after his demise.’

Lastly, another great reference worth noting here: “Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off. Anything can happen. Absolutely anything. Common sense is no match for the voice of God….” as the many actions he writes about in his book.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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