Thursday, November 13, 2008

Under the Banner of Heaven - Second Synopsis

I have ventured further into this book. Though I'm not surprised. The first several chapters got me right off the bat and my curiosity got the best of me.

The next hundred or so pages of this book deal with some history to the LDS religion - dating back to the founder, Joseph Smith. The author gives a brief history of how Smith was contacted by an angel, and directed to a location where some gold tablets were buried. Smith unearthed the gold tablets, which were written upon in a different language. Smith was provided with some glasses, which enabled the reader to translate the ancient text. Somehow, the translations were lost and Smith had to come up with a new way to write The Book of Mormon. Smith's new method to writing The Book of Mormon was to put some magical stones, which Smith dug up himself, into a straw hat, bury his face in the hat, receive revelations, and dictate these revelations to someone who was writing it all down. And from that, we have The Book of Mormon. And I don't mean to offend anyone, because I'm just telling it like it is as I'm reading this book, but it's just comical to me how this book was written. I find it very hard to give credit where credit is due in this case.

The author then goes on to explain the travelings of Smith and his followers - venturing from one place to another, being cast out by other American citizens along the way. The brawls that ensued. The wars. The killings. Smith, at one point, even ran for president!

And of course, the author dives into the state of Utah, and the extreme population of Mormons. The religion is taken very seriously in Utah - regulating when and where alcohol can be sold, what can be open for business on Sundays, etc. The LDS church strictly forbids abortion (and gays, as can be currently seen by the $20+ million pumped into California to stop gay marriage rights) frowns on contraception, and teaches that Mormon couples have a sacred duty to give birth to as many children as they can support.

And then, in 1843, Smith had another divine revelation which was canonized in D&C as Section 132, and nearly shattered the church, brought about Smith's death, and has caused friction in American society ever since: the "new and everlasting covenant" of plural marriage - or polygamy.

I will address that subject in my next synopsis.


Michelle said...

Not that I agree with this..and I like to read these strange type of books also.. (they facinate me) but you have to remember.. It was a few generations ago that this happened. About the same time Blacks were slaves by most White Men that had money, and that Indians were being Killed all across the country so that white man could have their land. And Hitler was killing Thousands of Jews.. etc.... and not long ago Catholic Priests were molesting boys... Hopefully we all learn from History. Bad things happen. Don't judge all..

Jenn said...

Oh I'm not judging all. This just happens to be one of many "learning" books that I have read. And the first since starting this blog. The molestation of boys is still an ongoing problem with many churches and the polygamy is still practiced in the FLDS church. That's what strikes me as unbelievable. The fact that people are still carrying on these old, old ways of life.