[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 16 November 2003]
Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith tells the story of the double-murder of Erica Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter Brenda by two of Brenda’s husband’s brothers. In order to put together the mental framework that lead Ron and Dan Lafferty to commit these murders, Mr. Krakauer provides a history of Mormonism and various fundamentalist Mormon splinter groups.
The book is well-researched and delivered in a calm, journalistic style. As the subject matter is a particularly wild-eyed, frenetic religiosity, this detached style works very well, and if anything makes the subject matter even more chilling. It’s stunning to read about the belief systems that are still thriving in the 21st century in the richest nation on Earth. The brief background of the religion and its tenets is very enlightening. Mr. Krakauer takes great care to separate official Mormonism and the various fundamentalist offshoots, and also to note the areas where they intersect.
Particularly interesting is Ron Lafferty’s insanity defense during his second trial, where the court finds that he is not insane, but that he has a highly unorthodox belief system, and that if the court were to find him insane, they would in fact rule everybody who’s religious insane.
Under the Banner of Heaven is an eminently readable and scary book that puts the spotlight on a lot of aspects of religion in historic and contemporary America. Highly recommended.
We are entertained by feline drama during quarantine.
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
Back once again with the sci-fi and general calamity. Includes The End is Always Near, Eat the Apple, A Memory Called Empire, Gideon the Ninth, Infinite Detail, Permafrost, Fallen, and The October Man.
Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
Is there reason to upgrade from a 3 to a 5?
Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.
Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.
After all these years, Nic still can’t understand the American attitude to healthcare.
The big thieves hang the little ones.
A sci-fi and fantasy heavy installment that includes The Valedictorian of Being Dead, The Mastermind, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy, Tiamat’s Wrath, The Raven Tower, The Liberation, The Light Brigade and Cryptonomicon.
Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
Includes The Incomplete Book of Running, Aching God, The Murderbot Diaries, Lies Sleeping, The Consuming Fire, and Rendezvous with Rama.
Did you know Las Vegas is kind of nutty?
Includes Hollywood Dead, Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, The Court of Broken Knives, and Port of Shadows.
To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
Nic has a retinal tear and has his vision is saved by a laser.
Includes The Storm Before the Storm, White Trash, Calypso, Tell the Machine Goodnight, Prince of Fools, and Provenance.
The Internet tells Nic to install Ubiquiti gear in his house, so he does, and now he has thoughts.
The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.
—Sir William Osler#