Jon krakauer in his book ‘Under the banner of Heaven’, attempts to delve in the chronicles of Mormon and brings to light the social malpractices conducted in the name of religion. The author narrates a real-life case of the year 1984 when two brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty who murder their younger brother Allan’s wife and their child. They justify this heinous crime by stating it as God’s own wish carried out by them. They regarded themselves as the Mormon fundamentalists. The Latter Day Saint Movement, a Christian movement took place in the 19th century during the Second Great Awakening. It gave rise to several doctrines and denominations such as the Mormonism as well as the Latter Day Churches. During this time, the notion of revelation held wide significance. The prophets narrated instances of their charismatic visions, communications to angels and even to God. Karkauer by means of his writing has strongly criticized the beliefs of the Latter Day Churches and Mormonism.
However, other contemporary events in America do not depict the kind of narrow mindedness or unreasonable action as shown here. Revolutionary struggle for independence is a historical landmark of America. In this time, the society stood as a single unit against the imperial power and could successfully regain their lost freedom in a relatively short period.
Romantic Movement or the Romanticism in America took place at around 1820, when people realized the value of imagination and emotion over reason and intellect. Furthermore, it was around the same period when market revolution started taking shape and soon grew massively. With this came immense opportunities for growth and expansion both in terms of commerce as well as social. This change occurred as a result of the construction of roads and canals that facilitated locomotion and connected distant communities together. The time is marked by economical expansion and hence brought about many social changes along with it. Both the events hold great significance in shaping the future society of the state as well. These events present a picture of an expansive and growth-oriented culture.
The Second Great Awakening is another distinct historical incident take occurred in the early 19th century. The motive of this awakening that was essentially religious was to re-establish the lost peace and tolerance among the masses. Mormonism evolved from the second great awakening itself. It is a queer fact that women who were the worst sufferers of the new denomination played a major role in its evolution.
The incidents of savage violence as shown in the book seem rare in a changeful society. karkauer describes the mentality and behavior of a particular denomination. As it can be inferred from the story, religion and personal fanaticism turns criminals out of the believers. Besides the practices like polygamy, Mormons also preached against the use of modern appliances such as television. Clearly, it represents a group of extremists with vague beliefs. It is equally evident that they form an exception in the society and thus it is also unfair to generalize their beliefs as common opinions. At the same time, the attempt of the author can surely be considered as bold and courageous. Also, it is a deep and honest visualization of the social venoms taking roots in such religious beliefs that conflict with the liberal laws.
“The Market Revolution.” History. Shmoop.com. n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.
“Under the Banner of Heaven.” Reading Group Guides. readinggroupguides.com. n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.