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    Under the Banner of Heaven

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    For the television adaptation, see Under the Banner of Heaven (TV series).

    Under the Banner of Heaven

    Author Jon Krakauer

    Country United States

    Language English Subject FLDS Church Genre Nonfiction

    Publication date July 2003

    Media type Print ISBN 1-4000-3280-6 OCLC 842901458 Preceded by Followed by

    is a nonfiction book by author Jon Krakauer, first published in July 2003. He investigated and juxtaposed two histories: the origin and evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and a modern double murder committed in the name of God by brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who subscribed to a fundamentalist version of Mormonism.

    The Laffertys were formerly members of a very small splinter group called the School of Prophets, led by Robert C. Crossfield (also known by his prophet name Onias). The group accepts many beliefs of the original LDS church at the time when it ceased the practice of polygamy in the 1890s, but it does not identify with those who call themselves fundamentalist Mormons. The book examines the ideologies of both the LDS Church and the fundamentalist Mormons polygamous groups, such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church).

    The book was adapted as a limited series of the same name that started airing in Spring 2022 on FX on Hulu.


    1 Synopsis 1.1 Murders 1.2 Mormon history 1.3 Comparisons

    2 Derivation of the title

    3 Reception

    4 Television adaptation

    5 Related documentary

    6 References 7 External links



    The book opens with news accounts of the 1984 murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter Erica. Brenda was married to Allen Lafferty, the youngest of the Lafferty brothers. His older brothers Dan and Ron disapproved of their sister-in-law Brenda because they believed she was the reason Ron's wife left him (after refusing to allow him to marry a plural/second wife). Both men's extremism reached new heights when they became members of the School of the Prophets, founded and led by Robert C. Crossfield. After joining this group, Ron claimed that God had sent him revelations about Brenda. Communication with God is a core belief of fundamentalist Mormonism, as well as the mainstream LDS Church.[1] Ron showed the members of the School of Prophets a written "removal revelation" that allegedly called for the killing of Brenda and her baby. After other members of the School failed to honor Ron's removal revelation, the brothers quit the School.

    Dan claimed that he slit both of the victims' throats. But, at the 2001 trial, Chip Carnes, who was riding in the getaway car, testified that Ron said that he had killed Brenda,[2] and that Ron had thanked his brother for "doing the baby."

    After the murders, the police found the written "revelation" concerning Brenda and Erica. The press widely reported that Ron had received a revelation to kill the mother and child. Afterward, the Lafferty brothers conducted a recorded press conference at which Ron said that the "revelation" was not addressed to him, but to "Todd" [a drifter whom Ron had befriended while working in Wichita] and that the revelation called only for "removal" of Brenda and her baby, and did not use the word "kill." The jury at Ron's trial was shown these remarks of Ron denying he had received a revelation to kill Brenda and Erica.[3]

    Mormon history[edit]

    After opening with the Lafferty case, Krakauer explores the history of Mormonism, starting with the early life of Joseph Smith, founder and first prophet of the Latter Day Saint movement. He follows his life from a criminal fraud trial to leading the first followers to Jackson County, Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois. While violence seemed to accompany the Mormons, Krakauer notes that they did not necessarily initiate it. Early Mormons faced religious persecution from mainstream Protestant Christians, due to their unorthodox beliefs, including polygamy and ongoing revelation from God through living prophets. In addition they tended to conduct business and personal relations only with other members of their community. There were violent clashes between Mormons and non-Mormons, culminating in Smith's death on June 27, 1844 when a mob shot him after attacking him in Carthage Jail, where he was awaiting trial for inciting a riot after ordering, as Nauvoo’s mayor, in conjunction with the City Council, the destruction of the printing press of the , a local publication which had been declared a public nuisance.[4]

    From Nauvoo, the Mormons trekked westward to modern-day Utah, led by Smith's successor Brigham Young (after some controversy). Arriving in what they called Deseret, many Mormons believed they would be left alone by the United States government, as the territory was then part of Mexico. Soon after their arrival, the Mexican–American War occurred, with Mexico's eventual defeat. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed on February 2, 1848, this land, California and the Southwest were ceded to the United States.

    Smith's highly controversial revelation of plural marriage threatened to split apart followers of the faith. The Utah Territory was a theodemocracy led by Brigham Young as Governor, where polygamy continued to be practiced for 43 years. Finally, on September 23, 1890, Wilford Woodruff, the fourth president of the Church, claimed to have received a revelation from God (known as the 1890 Manifesto) which officially banned polygamy. Six years later, Utah was granted statehood.[5]

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Is 'Under the Banner of Heaven' Based on a True Story? A Closer Look at Brenda Lafferty's Murder

    The FX miniseries on Hulu 'Under the Banner of Heaven' stars Andrew Garfield as Detective Jeb Pyre, who investigates the real-life murder of Brenda Lafferty.

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    Is 'Under the Banner of Heaven' a True Story? A Closer Look at the Death of Brenda Lafferty

    The FX show on Hulu has resurfaced a real-life 1984 case that once rocked Utah.


    May 14, 2022

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    Refresh the page to resume playback.

    Drawn from Jon Krakauer’s 2003 true crime book Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, the FX miniseries of the same name takes a closer look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the Lafferty family.

    The show begins with Detective Jeb Pyre (Andrew Garfield), a character created for the series alone, trying to put the pieces together after Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is found dead in her home alongside her infant daughter, Erica. The attention immediately falls on her husband, Allen Lafferty (Billy Howle), who denies any wrongdoing. A fellow Mormon, he opens up to Jeb about how the LDS community impacted his family and why he thinks Brenda was targeted.

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    Is Under the Banner of Heaven based on a true story?

    Yes, the show is based on real-life events involving the Lafferty family.

    According to Deseret News, Brenda was found dead on July 24, 1984. The 24-year-old was discovered in their Utah home in the small town of American Fork with her throat slashed. Brenda and Allen’s 15-month-old daughter, Erica, was also killed with a knife. After an investigation, it was discovered that Allen’s older brothers Ron and Dan committed the murders after feeling like Brenda was separating them from their sibling.

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    Per reports, Brenda called out Ron and Dan going against Mormon teachings with their fundamentalist views. It was because of this reason that they were excommunicated from the Latter-day Saints Church in 1982. The brothers then joined the School of the Prophets movement, which practiced polygamy. But when Ron’s wife didn’t want to participate in it, she left him. Though Ron and Dan tried to convince Allen to join the group, Brenda stopped him and they believed it was her attempt to split up the family.

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    Ron Lafferty (C) is escorted out of the Utah County Court House by Utah County sheriff deputies.


    In March 1984, Ron claimed that he had received "the removal revelation," which called him to kill Brenda and Erica. He also claimed the revelation mentioned two other members from the LDS Church: one who supported Ron’s wife during the divorce and another who presided over his excommunication. Both Ron and Dan believed they were prophets and were following orders from God.

    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    amazon.com READ NOW

    After killing Brenda and Erica, Ron and Dan couldn’t get ahold of the two other people. The brothers decided to leave Utah for Nevada, where they were later arrested in a casino buffet line. In 1985, Ron was sentenced to death for the capital murders. Although it was later overturned in 1992, he was convicted again, and he chose to be executed by a firing squad. After sitting on death row for 34 years, he died in prison from natural causes at the age of 78 in 2019. Today, Dan is still serving his two life sentences.

    This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven tells three different storylines: Jeb investigating Brenda’s death, Brenda’s life within the Lafferty family and some of the origins of the LDS faith. Unlike the book, the series added in Jeb and his detective partner Bill Taba (Gil Birmingham). But series creator Dustin Lance Black, who was once a Mormon himself, drew from the 2003 book for Brenda’s life onscreen. According to Newsweek, he consulted Brenda’s family in order to portray her in the most accurate way.

    "To tell these three stories that all take place in one man's mind that I hope recreates that very active experience for the viewer in the way that the reader experienced the book," he explained to the outlet.

    The book's author, who wasn’t involved in the miniseries, noted that Dustin painted a real picture of what it was like to be part of the LDS community. Dustin left it decades ago. “That stuff is such a powerful part of the show, and it clearly comes from your personal experience,” Jon told Dustin in a New York Times interview. “I mean, it really informs it.”


    Where Is Candy Montgomery Now? The True Story

    SELENA BARRIENTOS Associate Entertainment and News Editor

    Selena Barrientos is the associate entertainment and news editor for Good Housekeeping — she writes and reports on the latest shows and movies, in addition to spotlighting Latinx celebrities.

    Source : www.goodhousekeeping.com

    Under the Banner of Heaven creator Dustin Lance Black on his decade

    'Under the Banner of Heaven' creator Dustin Lance Black opens up about his 10-year quest to adapt Jon Krakauer's book.

    Under the Banner of Heaven creator Dustin Lance Black on his decade-long journey to adapt the show

    "This wasn’t one that I did for money, that’s for sure. This is one I did for passion."

    By Devan Coggan

    May 02, 2022 at 08:36 PM EDT

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    Dustin Lance Black has been thinking about Under the Banner of Heaven for a very, very long time.

    The Oscar-winning Milk writer first started working to adapt Jon Krakauer's book about a decade ago, with plans to turn it into a feature film. The book chronicles the real-life double murder of Mormon housewife Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter, a horrifying killing that rocked 1980s Utah and made headlines for its ties to fundamentalist Mormonism. Not only does the book recount the crime, but it also explores the very origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, raising questions about the church's history and its most foundational principles.

    Now, Black hopes to do the same with his long-gestating TV miniseries, which stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as Brenda and Andrew Garfield as the fictional detective investigating her murder.

    "It's a bit surreal," Black tells EW of finally bringing Under the Banner of Heaven to TV. "There are many times in the past 10 years that I thought this would never see the light of day. [At the premiere], I was pinching myself quite a bit and literally going, 'Is this happening? Did we find a way to get a story like this to screen? Did we find people courageous enough to participate?'"

    For Black, adapting Krakauer's book presented both creative and personal challenges. The writer himself grew up in an LDS household, and he says that the first time he read the book, he was shaken by how it raised many of the same questions he had as a young boy. Much of Black's work has dealt with themes of faith and gender — he wrote several episodes of the HBO series Big Love, about a fundamentalist Mormon family who practices polygamy — but Under the Banner of Heaven is his most personal work yet, and one he was determined to get right.

    "This wasn't one that I did for the money, that's for sure," he adds. "This is one I did for passion. I did it because I believe it's a necessary message right now."

    With the first two episodes of Under the Banner of Heaven now streaming on Hulu, EW spoke to Black about his long journey to adapt the show.

    Seth Numrich and Andrew Garfield in 'Under the Banner of Heaven'


    ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is a true story, but the show is framed through the eyes of the fictional Detective Jeb Pyre, played by Andrew Garfield. Why did you decide to structure the show through Pyre's eyes?DUSTIN LANCE BLACK: I was taking my cues from my own experience reading the book, which I must have read 20 years ago when it first came out. The book demands that the reader be very, very active to try to put together [the pieces]. How did the past plant the seeds of a crime that would take place in the '80s? The founders of this faith in the 19th century decided on the laws and the rules, and how did that turn to bloodshed later? I wanted the viewer to be as active as the reader had to be. In order to do that, I had to present not just the Lafferty story, but also the history of the Mormon church and how that's pertinent in terms of solving the case in 1984. And I needed one other element, which Jon Krakauer provides in the book as the writer, but we don't have here: a perspective, a point of view, a way in. When I was reading the book, it felt like an investigation, so I thought, well, that's what we ought to do.

    I looked into the actual investigation. The more I looked into it, the more it was clear that there is a true-crime thriller here. This case was not solved overnight. It was 10 days of trying to figure out, who did it? Why did they do it? And where are they? There was a list discovered of more people to be killed, and I thought, well, this has a real classic thriller heartbeat to it.

    I thought if I told those stories, then perhaps I can recreate that experience I had when I read the book. That probably also explains why it took 10 years and why those three, four years of trying to make it as a two-hour feature film were doomed to fail. There just wasn't room to tell all those stories.

    When did you shift from writing this as a feature film to a miniseries?  

    I worked incredibly hard for a very long time to crack it in a two-hour format. People today don't want to see a drama that's over two hours. I kept having to pull stories out in order to get it to fit in two hours, and even then, I was down to only telling the Lafferty story, and it still felt like bullet points. There are so many characters, and there were so many steps in how these brothers went from being admired and respected in the Mormon world to stepping into constitutionalist circles and then stepping into fundamentalist religious circles. It was those steps towards fundamentalism that led to the bloodshed. I needed enough room to tell that story honestly.

    Source : ew.com

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