Under the Banner of Heaven


#1

I’ve just started a new book titled “Under the Banner of Heaven” that is a study of the fundamentalist branch of the mormon church. Has anyone else out there read the book? I’d love to hear any reviews that you would like to share.

-Peace


#2

Robert I am in the process of reading this book, but I haven’t gotten very far yet.

There is a group of Mormon fundamentalists who have recently started a settlement about 150 miles from my home in Eldorado Texas. According to an article in Texas Monthly they are very secrative, and obtained the land for the settlement through the use of subterfuge.

Please note, these are not the same Mormons as leshornmom and dad, or BJ Colbert.


#3

I recently finished this book. I must say it was excellent. One thing that I really liked about it was it was filled with historical facts and not just anti-mormon thoughts and feelings.

I found it very interesting. It was one that I couldn’t put down once I picked it up. I have to go, I’ll try to comment more later.


#4

[quote=boppysbud]Robert I am in the process of reading this book, but I haven’t gotten very far yet.

There is a group of Mormon fundamentalists who have recently started a settlement about 150 miles from my home in Eldorado Texas. According to an article in Texas Monthly they are very secrative, and obtained the land for the settlement through the use of subterfuge.

Please note, these are not the same Mormons as leshornmom and dad, or BJ Colbert.
[/quote]

The fact is, polygamy (polygyny actually, one husband with more than one wife), was a founding tenant of Mormonism. Utah gave it up in order to become a state. It is “on hold” until such time as Mormonism becomes the dominant religion in America; then it will be “restored.”

These folks in TX are so-called “Fundamentalist Mormons” (actually, they are practitioners of true Mormonism) from Utah and Arizona who are spreading out into other parts of the U.S. and Canada. Polygamy is openly practiced in certain parts of UT and AZ and the law does nothing about it. Girls as young as 14 or 15 become the latest in a long line of “wives” to old men, and the law does not protect them.

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, had numerous wives, and some of them were other men’s wives!

religioustolerance.org/lds_poly2.htm

xmission.com/~plporter/lds/jswives/jswives.htm


#5

If you CAN put the book down you have more power of will than I. It was a page turner. Maybe having lived in Salt Lake City for several years and having dealt with mainstream Mormons it was particularly interesting. Fundamentalist LDS do not have much in common with the mainstream. It is a particularly bizarre lifestyle but as you will learn, one that was fiercely protected both in the past and now.

FWIW there are fundamentalist LDS in other states. There is a group in Oregon eagerly awaiting the results of the marriage amendment. The believe if gay marriage is allowed, it will give them that foot in the door to have recognition of their plural marriages.

An associated book “Red River” (I think) reports on the Mountain Meadow Massacre that was one of the sad epidsodes in Mormon history as the advocates for plural marriage killed a group of innocent settlers. There is some info on this event in Under the Banner of Heaven.

Lisa N


#6

I’m now almost finished with the book and it was very interesting. I can understand now why the mainline LDS Church Hierarchy would be so adamant about protecting monogamous marriage. The motives are not entirely altruistic.

If the door is opened to lawful “plural marriage,” then the LDS church leadership is likely going to be placed in the uncomfortable position of actually having to reinstitute Joe Smith’s revelation on plural marriage for their faithful members, because with the loss of federal laws making the practice illegal, they really have no theological basis for denying the divine ordination of the practice.

In “Under the Banner of Heaven” it appears that the doctrine of plural marriage was dropped only because federal laws prohibited the practice to the point of threatening the destruction of the LDS Church. With the removal of a federal ban on plural marriage, there would be no theological basis for keeping in place the restriction to a monogamous marriage. Indeed, there are strong counterarguments from the LDS “Doctrines and Covenants” against monogamy and in favor of plural marriage, absent the federal ban.

If the LDS Church found itself compelled to reinstitute plural marriage as a mandatory practice, as Smith apparently intended it to become, what kind of a black eye would that be for the LDS Church’s reputation in the United States, and throughout the rest of the world?

Are there any LDS members on the cite that see the issue differently?


#7

[quote=Robert in SD]I’m now almost finished with the book and it was very interesting. I can understand now why the mainline LDS Church Hierarchy would be so adamant about protecting monogamous marriage. The motives are not entirely altruistic.

If the door is opened to lawful “plural marriage,” then the LDS church leadership is likely going to be placed in the uncomfortable position of actually having to reinstitute Joe Smith’s revelation on plural marriage for their faithful members, because with the loss of federal laws making the practice illegal, they really have no theological basis for denying the divine ordination of the practice.

In “Under the Banner of Heaven” it appears that the doctrine of plural marriage was dropped only because federal laws prohibited the practice to the point of threatening the destruction of the LDS Church. With the removal of a federal ban on plural marriage, there would be no theological basis for keeping in place the restriction to a monogamous marriage. Indeed, there are strong counterarguments from the LDS “Doctrines and Covenants” against monogamy and in favor of plural marriage, absent the federal ban.

If the LDS Church found itself compelled to reinstitute plural marriage as a mandatory practice, as Smith apparently intended it to become, what kind of a black eye would that be for the LDS Church’s reputation in the United States, and throughout the rest of the world?

Are there any LDS members on the cite that see the issue differently?
[/quote]

I do not think re-legalizing plural marriages will put the Mormon leadership in any sort of bad position because Mormon theology teaches the words of a living apostle trump those of a dead one. This is how they “insure” their faith answers the continuing challenges of the times. As you can see, it is based on more of a relative view to truth and does not mirror our system of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture at all.

In fact, because of this, I have been wondering if it is possible for a Mormon President to convert to say, Catholicism, and nullify ALL previous teachings and bring the entire flock into a new fold (barring the smaller, more fundamentalist groups, of course). As far as I know, this is a total possibility. It does not have to be all at once, mind you. A series of presidents could, through the course of several generations, continue to change doctrines little by little until the form and shape of the Mormon Church is obstensibly no different from that of any other Protestant Church (a Catholic Conversion would have to be a sudden one because the transfer of apostolic power to the pope would be instant but Protestantizing could is the most feasible outcome of a slow change).

Our own Church has faced the challenge of being swallowed up by the world. And the Protestant churches seem to get engulfed before they can get their feet on the ground. It is interesting (and, admittedly sad) to watch the LDS grapple with this. Kind of like watching a man drown from the safety of your boat. :bigyikes:

I have not, nor do I intend to, read the book.


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