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Under The Banner Of Heaven Essay

902 words - 4 pages

In his critically acclaimed book, Under The Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer pursues multiple societal issues. The most dominant two is how much freedom of religion should be allowed and how religion affects our growth, both as a nation and as individuals. The amount of freedom of religion is a social issue that largely affects our nation both in its past and in its present. According to Jon Krakauer’s retelling of the events of Ron Lafferty’s retrial, he quotes psychiatrist Noel Gardiner’s testimony of Ron Lafferty’s mental state, “There are many irrational ideas that are shared in the community that are non-psychotic, we all hold to non-reality based ideas” and went on to explain on how his father, a Conservative Protestant, scoffed while visiting Museum of National History at the idea of some artifacts being older than 6,000 years old and even denouncing the evidence as “a deception of Satan.” (Krakauer 302). While this may be scientifically false, people are raised under that banner as Gardner detailed “I learned the earth was 6,000 years old, just like two plus two is four” (Krakauer 303). Earlier in the book, welfare fraud, among other things are justified by polygamist fundamentalist in Colorado City, Arizona, as “bleeding the beast” and is regarded as a virtuous act (Krakauer 13). More than 4 million dollars in government funding goes to the school district alone for the purpose of “enriching school district leaders as they charge their expensive lifestyles on the school district’s credit cards” (Krakauer 12). While the community of 9,000’s leaders is splurging on the government’s money, 78% of the community receives state funded food stamps (Krakauer 13). The residents of Colorado City receive 8 dollars in government services for every dollar they pay in taxes, which is essentially crippling the beast, not bleeding it (Krakauer 13). All these atrocities are committed in the name of religion and ordered from their leaders. That amount of freedom of religion has brought the group to the federal government’s attention both for tax fraud and fraud.
Krakauer further explains how essentially, the Mormon fundamentalist community is a cult and explores that issue’s effect socially in both the members and that of the public. In the fundamentalist group known as the UEP, or United Effort Plan, members believe that: Earth is seven thousands years old and that film clips of the Apollo astronauts are part of an “elaborate hoax extorting the world executed by the American government” (Krakauer 13). Additionally, residents are forbidden of watching television, reading newspapers, “to have contact with the outside world and family members who have left the religion”...

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