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Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane-as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout-there may be no more potent force than religion.

I read this shortly after it was first published. (Which was somehow nearly 20 years ago? In the ’90s the ’70s seemed like ancient history, but for some reason the early aughts seem like they were only a few years ago, even though we’ve gone through 2 presidential administrations since then.) I decided to read it again after I finished watching the dramatized series. Which was… fine, although I thought it left Alan Lafferty off the hook too much. He was an abusive piece of shit who didn’t warn his wife that his brothers wanted to kill her.I decided to get it on audio when I saw it was 12 1/2 hours. I have the one credit/month account on Audible, so I like to use it for books that are at least 12 hours long. Honestly, I kind of wish I hadn’t. Hearing Ron and Dan Lafferty’s stupid fucking “revelations”–that just happened to be in accordance with their own fucked up beliefs and desires–spoken aloud was somehow even more infuriating than reading them to myself.
Although there was something darkly hilarious in hearing the overly grandiose, stilted language they used saying phrases like “thy servant Todd”. They no doubt took inspiration from The Book of Mormon, which Mark Twain famously called “chloroform in print”. An old boyfriend’s father who once read it out of curiosity said it was like something Tolkien would have written if he’d dropped out of middle school after suffering a severe head injury.

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