Edward Lai Harner, Edward Harner
Andrea Harner
andreaharnerblog AT gmail
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March 20, 2007

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer


I just finished reading this book and I can't stop recommending it to everyone who is unfortunate enough to cross my path. On the surface, this book is about two brothers who killed their sister in law and her baby in the name of God. However it delves deeper and traces the origins of Mormonism and Mormon Fundamentalism. It is extremely well-written and well-researched - who knew a book about Mormons could be a page-turner?! I certainly didn't! My only issue with this book is the personal problem I now have: I feel complete bewilderment instead of compassion for those that follow the Mormon faith...and almost all other religions. It's simply difficult to understand how people believe in such fantasy (lunacy?). I suppose our desire for answers enables people to go to such great, reason-defying lengths be comforted. Ultimately, this book and the questions I've pondered as a result of reading it have made me realize I don't really want to convert to Judaism anymore. It's funny how it's come full-circle for me: I was raised Atheist (peppered with some cultural Buddhism and Shintoism), kinda-sorta felt it would be nice to belong to a religious community and I now am excited to raise my kids pretty much the same way - Atheist with some cultural Jewish, Buddhist and Shinto traditions sprinkled on top! I'm certain this will make total sense to my poor, unsuspecting offspring!


I read this book last year and I got everyone else I know to read it too. Shocking! I had to read up more on fundamental Mormonism to make sure I had details straight. I also saw the South Park version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIg8itgfi6w
Krakauer is a talented writer and I'm sure you'd enjoy Into the Wild.

Posted by: Jayne at March 20, 2007 11:09 AM

Great book, hard to believe history could be so interesting. I highly recommend both "Into the Wild" and "Into Thin Air" if you have not read them.

Posted by: Jon Bison at March 20, 2007 1:06 PM

While I'd agree that the book was interesting, I can't agree that it was "well researched." In one footnote where he refers to my uncle and grandfather he got three things wrong. That's simply not good research.

Posted by: Alma at March 20, 2007 2:08 PM

I couldn't agree more with you on raising any kid these days as an atheist with some cultural Jewish, Buddhist and Shinto traditions sprinkled on top!! I was raised with the first two of three influences in my house.

This whole Jesus thing is really getting in the way of the natural progression of evolution and human intellect.

On a different note,
I think we crossed paths this past Sunday on Houston and Lafayette as you were sloshing through the snow on your sidekick. Didn't want to seem stalkeresque again like I did over the summer to say hi when I bumped into you and Jonah. I introduced myself as the guy who gave you and Ed those Jay-Z remix tracks, not sure if you recall, any hoot Keep on Bloggin'!! (Hmmm, I wonder if that’s a bumper sticker.)


AH.com response: Hey Mike! I have no doubt it was me that you passed considering the two major data points: Houston & Lafayette plus sidekick = definitely me! :-)

Posted by: Michael at March 20, 2007 3:41 PM

"... raise my kids ...," "... my poor unsuspecting offspring ..." Eh? What? Did I miss an announcement of yours/Jonah's?

AH.com response: Nothing! Just planning for the future! Eyes on the horizon :-)

Posted by: Chief at March 21, 2007 9:59 AM

"This whole Jesus thing is really getting in the way of the natural progression of evolution and human intellect."

WTF? Natural progression of evolution? Show my any way in which there is natural selection in any developed nation!

'Jesus' sucks, though.

Posted by: Jeff at March 27, 2007 2:32 PM
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