I heard about this book almost from the minute it was published back in the day. I live in Boulder Co and the author is a local hero and a highly respected intellectual.
Many friends and family members encouraged me to read Under the Banner of Heaven, but I dismissed as a hateful screed against the church I love and slandered it on my blog as “horrid“.
I like to think of myself as open minded and so I am not in the habit of judging before reading, but in this case I did.
I watched the first two episodes of the Hulu show this past week and decided it was high time to finally read the book. So I bought the Kindle version and have read intently the past few days and finished up this morning.
I was pleased to read what I consider a fair and well written depiction of our history and although perhaps quibbling over certain notions, I believe this book to be a good addition to the many that have been written about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
My testimony is not damaged in any way by reading this book.
I liked how the author described his own faith:
“And if I remain in the dark about our purpose here, and the meaning of eternity, I have nevertheless arrived at an understanding of a few more modest truths: Most of us fear death. Most of us yearn to comprehend how we got here, and why—which is to say, most of us ache to know the love of our creator. And we will no doubt feel that ache, most of us, for as long as we happen to be alive.”
I found the chapters on mental illness to be particularly compelling and how the various doctors described in detail the differences between faith and psychosis.
At the end of the day I believe everyone wants to fit into our society. And non-conformity breeds emotional illness, especially in the posterity of those who step out of the mainstream of current accepted truth.
Human history is littered with the human wreckage of those who bravely stand up and share something new and unorthodox, especially if it cuts into the finances of current business endeavors.
Jenny Marie Hatch