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Book Review of :

Under the Banner of Heaven
By: Jon Krakauers

I have been given the task of reading & writing a review of Jon Krakauers latest book "Under The Banner of Heaven" In short I found "Under The Banner of Heaven" a excellent work of nonfiction, albeit somewhat shocking. Jon Krakauer as always is well researched and takes a very journalistic approach to discussing the somewhat nebulous history of the Mormons.

Under "The Banner Of Heaven" takes us on a historical survey of the origins & changes of the Mormons in America. On the surface it sounds a little boring, but it actually turns out to be quite fascinating. One of the reasons I found it most compelling it attempts to , and successfully shows us the birth of a religion in modern times. Most of the worlds great religions trace their origins thousands of years back. Religions tend to morph and change with social movements and thus it becomes more and more difficult to determine what were the original ideas that first started a religion. Because the Mormon religion is only a few hundred years old there is much data and documentation of how the Mormon religion has come to be.

As it turns out Joseph Smith, who is the founder of the Mormon Religion, was a very charismatic opportunist. He claimed to have found golden tablets at the top of a mountain from the angel Mormon who then gave him special glass for him to decipher what they said . He had them transcribed & printed but then apparently lost the tablets. Nevertheless, he was able to convince many people to believe that he was a chosen prophet who received directions directly from God. At one point after his following had grown quite large, he was caught sleeping with a very young girl form the village. His wife found out as did a number of his top officials and the whole religion was under threat of collapsing. Joseph Smith conveniently received a message from God telling him that he was to take on many more wives. Many of the Mormon leaders did not like this but eventually went along with it. Down the road the Mormon Elders had to change this "divination" to comply with the United States Law and to gain more recruits.

I highly recommend reading "Under The Banner of Heaven" . The Mormon Religion is the worlds fastest growing faith. Some statistics show that the Mormons will decide the US elections in the next 20 to 50 years if their number continue to grow. "Under The Banner Of Heaven " sheds light on Americas very own home spun religion and compels the reader to think about organized religions in a plural sense.

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