JUST FINISHED JON Krakauer's excellent book, Under The Banner of Heaven. It's about the Mormon church and a double murder in Utah. As usual with Krakauer, it's well-written and researched, and both informative and horrifying.
I was raised to believe my beliefs were one and only. I've changed my mind about that over the years, and there are few things worse in this world than religious fanatics.
When we moved to Quincy 18 years ago, I learned a lot about the Mormon faith. Quincy played a huge role in helping the Mormons get out of Missouri before they settled in Nauvoo. I spent a lot of time in Carthage and visited the jail where Joseph Smith was killed. I was in Salt Lake City some years ago and was mesmerized by its ethereal beauty.
The Mormons I've met have always been friendly and polite. They might have some interesting beliefs, and Joseph Smith was one polarizing person (he said, politely), but I've never been bothered by them. If they want to wear holy underwear and go on two-year mission trips to nowhere, let 'em. And they can waste all the time they want trying to show me the light.
I enjoyed Krakauer's book. Of course it's a bit one-sided and of course he went after the more fundamental Mormon branches. But to explain a double murder committed by psychopaths, it made sense to delve into the often-violent and never boring Mormon history.
Even better was the panicked and indignant response from the Mormon church. Ooops. Sorry. You can't ignore or change history.
It's a good book. It doesn't change my opinion of the many good Mormon people out there.
I recommend you read it.