Under the banner of heav.., p.36

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, page 36

 

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
 



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  “That's an awful thing to believe, I know. I feel guilty about it now. But it's the way I was brought up from day one, and when you're brought up to believe something like that, it's not easy to overcome it. Just the other night, when I went to bed I turned on the TV for a minute, and Oprah happened to be on. And I found myself immediately changing the channel—just because she was black. I knew even as I was doing it that it was wrong, but that's what the religion taught me to think, and it's surprisingly hard to shake something that's so deeply ingrained. What's really sad is, children in the religion are still being taught those same exact things today.” Indeed, the FLDS church continues to teach that interracial marriage is a sin so great that “the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot.”*

  “It's amazing how gullible people are,” DeLoy continues. “But you have to remember what a huge comfort the religion is. It provides all the answers. It makes life simple. Nothing makes you feel better than doing what the prophet commands you to do. If you have some controversial issue that you're dealing with—let's say you owe a lot of money to somebody, and you don't have the means to pay them—you go in and talk to the prophet, and he might tell you, ‘You don't have to pay the money back. The Lord says it's Okay.' And if you just do what the prophet says, all the responsibility for your actions is now totally in his hands. You can refuse to pay the guy, or even kill somebody, or whatever, and feel completely good about it. And that's a real big part of what holds this religion together: it's not having to make those critical decisions that many of us have to make, and be responsible for your decisions.”

  DeLoy looks out across the epic sweep of desert. In the distance, on the far side of the Arizona Strip, the dreamy silhouettes of Mount Dellenbaugh and Mount Trumbull hover in midair, suspended above a quivering sheen of mirage. “If you want to know the truth,” he says, squinting against the glare, “I think people within the religion—people who live here in Colorado City—are probably happier, on the whole, than people on the outside.” He looks down at the red sand, scowls, and nudges a rock with the toe of one shoe. “But some things in life are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself.”

  Notes

  The following notes document the most important sources for each chapter, but by no means do they list the source of every quotation and fact. Quotes that appear without citation came from interviews conducted by the author.

  Prologue

  The quotes attributed to Allen Lafferty were taken from the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial. Facts about the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty, as well as the arrest and conviction of Ron and Dan Lafferty, came primarily from interviews and correspondence with Dan Lafferty, trial transcripts, and, to a lesser extent, articles published in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and Provo Daily Herald. My main source for the footnote on Shoko Asahara was an article by Kyle B. Olson, “Aum Shinrikyo: Once and Future Threat?” published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in July 1999.

  One: The City of the Saints

  Many of the facts about the modern LDS Church came from Mormon America: The Power and the Promise by Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling and The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn.

  Two: Short Creek

  My knowledge of Colorado City–Hildale and the UEP comes from several visits to the community and interviews with numerous members and ex-members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I also relied on Ben Bistline's self-published book, The Polygamists: A History of Colorado City; Kidnapped from That Land: The Government Raids on the Short Creek Polygamists by Martha Sonntag Bradley; and articles in the the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, the Kingman Daily Miner, the St. George Spectrum, and the Salt Lake City Weekly. The quote attributed to Apostle Boyd K. Packer about threats faced by the LDS Church was cited in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power.

  Three: Bountiful

  Background for this chapter came primarily from interviews with Debbie Palmer, and a single visit to Bountiful. The 1979 quote from Eldon Tanner in Ensign magazine was cited in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power.

  Four: Elizabeth and Ruby

  Facts about the Elizabeth Smart abduction were drawn from “The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah” by Brian David Mitchell; articles published in the New York Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, Time, and Newsweek; and reports by the Associated Press, ABC News, and NBC News. My sources for the material about Ruby Jessop were Jay Beswick, Flora Jessop, and Lorna Craig.

  Five: The Second Great Awakening

  My main sources were No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie; Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn; By the Hand of Mormon by Terryl L. Givens; Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman; and History of the Church by Joseph Smith Jr.

  Six: Cumorah

  My main sources were The Book of Mormon and By the Hand of Mormon.

  Seven: The Still Small Voice

  I relied on interviews with Robert Crossfield, Bernard Brady, and Debbie Palmer; The First Book of Commandments and The Second Book of Commandments, both by Crossfield; and the LDS Doctrine and Covenants. Facts about the Dream Mine and its history came primarily from John H. Koyle's Relief Mine by Ogden Kraut; and articles in the Salt Lake Tribune.

  Eight: The Peace Maker

  My main sources were Dan Lafferty and The Peace Maker by Udney Hay Jacob. Quotes attributed to Matilda Lafferty came from the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial.

  Nine: Haun's Mill

  My main sources were The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri by Stephen C. LeSueur; Mormonism Unveiled; or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee, edited by William Bishop; and No Man Knows My History. The 1830 review of The Book of Mormon in the Rochester Daily Advertiser was cited in No Man Knows My History, as was the 1838 speech by Joseph Smith in which he compared himself to Muhammad. The corresponding footnote, about parallels between Mormonism and Islam, was based on information from a 1971 article by Arnold H. Green and Lawrence P. Goldup, “Joseph Smith, An American Muhammad? An Essay on the Perils of Historical Analogy,” published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (quotes attributed to Eduard Meyer and George Arbaugh were cited in this article).

  Ten: Nauvoo

  My main sources were Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History, edited by Roger D. Launius and John E. Hallwas; Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois by John E. Hallwas and Roger D. Launius; Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder by Harold Schindler; and No Man Knows My History.

  Eleven: The Principle

  My main sources were No Man Knows My History; In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton; Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner; Mormonism Unveiled; or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee; and An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, edited by George D. Smith. The quotes from Marinda Johnson were cited in In Sacred Loneliness. The quote attributed to Luke Johnson about the attempt to castrate Joseph Smith in Ohio came from the article “History of Luke Johnson,” published in the Deseret News on May 19, 1858. The excerpt from Lucy Walker's memoirs was cited in No Man Knows My History.

  Twelve: Carthage

  My main sources were An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton; No Man Knows My History; Mormon Polygamy: A History; Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History; Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois; Doctrine and Covenants; and Among the Mormons: Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers by William Mulder and A. Russell Mortensen. The letter from William Clayton describing the dictation of Joseph Smith's revelation on plural marriage was cited in An Intimate Chronicle.

  Thirteen: The Lafferty Boys

  My main source was Dan Lafferty.

  Fourteen: Brenda

  I relied on inte
rviews with Betty Wright McEntire, LaRae Wright, Penelope Weiss, and Dan Lafferty, and, to a lesser extent, on the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial.

  Fifteen: The One Mighty and Strong

  My main sources were Robert Crossfield, Bernard Brady, Dan Lafferty, Betty Wright McEntire, and Pamela Coronado. I also relied on The First Book of Commandments, The Second Book of Commandments, The Book of Mormon, and photocopies of Ron Lafferty's revelations.

  Sixteen: Removal

  My main sources were Dan Lafferty, Betty Wright McEntire, and LaRae Wright. I also relied on the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial. Facts in the footnote about marijuana use among Mormons in the early twentieth century were gleaned from Prophet of Blood: The Untold Story of Ervil LeBaron and the Lambs of God by Ben Bradlee Jr. and Dale Van Atta; a 1985 article by D. Michael Quinn, “LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904,” published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; and articles in the Salt Lake Tribune.

  Seventeen: Exodus

  My main sources were The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D. Michael Quinn; Among the Mormons: Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers; Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder; Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois; Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley; The Year of Decision: 1846 by Bernard DeVoto; and Mormonism Unveiled; or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee. The quote attributed to Illinois congressman John Alexander McLernand decrying polygamy was cited in Mormon Polygamy: A History. The quote attributed to Dr. Roberts Bartholow in the corresponding footnote was cited in a 1979 article by Lester E. Bush, Jr., “A Peculiar People: The Physiological Aspects of Mormonism 1850–1975,” published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

  Eighteen: For Water Will Not Do

  My main sources were Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows; The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks; Mormonism Unveiled; or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee; A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848–1876, edited by Robert Glass Cleland and Juanita Brooks; Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder; Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847–1896 by David L. Bigler; and Desert Between the Mountains: Mormons, Miners, Padres, Mountain Men, and the Opening of the Great Basin, 1772–1869 by Michael S. Durham. The vivid descriptions of the attack on the Fancher party attributed to survivors Sarah Frances Baker Mitchell and Nancy Huff were cited in Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows.

  Nineteen: Scapegoats

  My main sources included those listed for Chapter 18 plus a 1993 article by Wesley P. Larsen, “The ‘Letter,' or Were the Powell Men Really Killed by Indians?” published in the journal Canyon Legacy; Colorado River Controversies by Robert Brewster Stanton; Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West by Wallace Stegner; The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons by John Wesley Powell; Indian Depredations by Peter Gottfredson; and The “Tribune” Reports of the Trials of John D. Lee for the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, November 1874–April 1877, edited by Robert Kent Fielding. I also relied on interviews with Wesley P. Larsen and Wynn Isom. The quote attributed to D. Michael Quinn describing how Union troops trained their guns on Brigham Young's home during their Civil War occupation of Salt Lake City was taken from an interview with Quinn by Ken Verdoia.

  Twenty: Under the Banner of Heaven

  My main sources were The Four Hidden Revelations, a compilation of divine commandments revealed to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, published by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Mormon Polygamy: A History; and “LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904.” The prophecy from John D. Lee about the death of Brigham Young was cited in Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. The quote attributed to John Taylor (from which the title of this book was drawn) came from an anonymously authored article, “A Den of Treason: That's What John Taylor Made the Assembly Hall Last Sunday,” published in the Salt Lake Daily Tribune on January 6, 1880.

  Twenty-One: Evangeline

  My main sources were DeLoy Bateman, Craig Chatwin, Debbie Palmer, Lavina Stubbs, Lenora Spencer, Annie Vandeveer Blackmore, Lena Blackmore, and Evangeline Blackmore. I also relied on The Blood Covenant by Rena Chynoweth; and Prophet of Blood: The Untold Story of Ervil LeBaron and the Lambs of God.

  Twenty-Two: Reno

  My main sources were Dan Lafferty, Bernard Brady, and the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial.

  Twenty-Three: Judgment in Provo

  My main source was the transcript of Ron Lafferty's 1996 trial. I also relied on interviews with Betty Wright McEntire, LaRae Wright, Dan Lafferty, Thomas Brunker, Kris C. Leonard, and Michael Wims; and articles in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and the Provo Daily Herald.

  Twenty-Four: The Great and Dreadful Day

  My main source was Dan Lafferty.

  Twenty-Five: The American Religion

  I relied on personal visits to Colorado City and Bountiful and on interviews with Pamela Coronado, Emmylou Coronado, Robert Crossfield, DeLoy Bateman, Craig Chatwin, and Debbie Palmer. Rodney Stark's predictions about the growth of the LDS Church were cited in Mormon America: The Power and the Promise. The excerpted 1945 letter from Dale Morgan to Juanita Brooks was cited in Juanita Brooks: Mormon Woman Historian, by Levi S. Peterson.

  Twenty-Six: Canaan Mountain

  My source was DeLoy Bateman.

  Author's Remarks

  Timothy Egan's essay “The Empire of Clean” was published in his book Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West. The quotes attributed to D. Michael Quinn were drawn from my interviews with him, and from his 1981 lecture “On Being a Mormon Historian.” The quote attributed to Annie Dillard was taken from her book For the Time Being.

  Author's Remarks

  There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: A people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discoloring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time—or even knew selflessness or courage or literature—but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.

  ANNIE DILLARD,

  FOR THE TIME BEING

  The genesis for this book was a desire to grasp the nature of religious belief. Because I've spent most of my life in the West, in the happy company of Latter-day Saints, I decided to narrow my subject to a more manageable scope by examining belief more or less exclusively through the lens of Mormonism. I grew up with Mormons in Corvallis, Oregon, which had (and has) a robust LDS community. Saints were my childhood friends and playmates, my teachers, my athletic coaches. I envied what seemed to be the unfluctuating certainty of the faith professed so enthusiastically by my closest Mormon pals; but I was often baffled by it. I've sought to comprehend the formidable power of such belief ever since.

  I was irresistibly drawn to write about Latter-day Saints not only because I already knew something about their theology, and admired much about their culture, but also because of the utterly unique circumstances in which their religion was born: the Mormon Church was founded a mere 173 years ago, in a literate society, in the age of the printing press. As a consequence, the creation of what became a worldwide faith was abundantly documented in firsthand accounts. Thanks to the Mormons, we have been given an unprecedented opportunity to appreciate—in astonishing detail—how an important religion came to be.

  I must confess that the book you are now reading isn't the book I set out to write. As originally conceived, it
was going to focus on the uneasy, highly charged relationship between the LDS Church and its past. I'd even come up with a title: History and Belief. I intended to explore the inner trials of spiritual thinkers who “walk in the shadows of faith,” as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin described it. How does a critical mind reconcile scientific and historical truth with religious doctrine? How does one sustain belief when confronted with facts that appear to refute it? I was fascinated by the paradoxes that reside at the intersection of doubt and faith, and I had a high regard for congenital skeptics, like Teilhard, who somehow emerged from the fray with their belief intact.

  The research, however, kept pulling me onto a slightly different heading, and after fighting it for many months, I decided to surrender to this unplanned course and see where it might take me. The upshot, for better or worse, is that I wrote Under the Banner of Heaven instead of History and Belief. Who knows, maybe someday I will yet complete the latter.

  I spent approximately a year writing this book, and more than three years doing the research on which the writing is based. I traveled many thousands of miles to visit the Saints' most sacred sites and to interview dozens of individual Mormons, Fundamentalist Mormons, and apostate Mormons face-to-face (I interviewed others over the telephone). Some of these people asked me to protect their privacy, and I have done so by giving them pseudonyms in these pages.

  In the case of Dan Lafferty, I visited him in November 2001 at Point of the Mountain, in the maximum-security unit of the Utah State Prison. After my initial interview, which lasted the better part of an afternoon, he answered countless follow-up questions, with unsettling candor, by writing me many long, detailed letters. Additionally, I reviewed thousands of pages of transcripts from the three trials and numerous hearings that ultimately determined the guilt of Dan and his brother Ron.

 

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