I like to consider myself a fairly open-minded guy. After all, I am studying history (particularly religious history) as my college major, which has exposed me a plethora of divergent world views. I know what it feels like to be an outsider of a religion looking in, so I often cut people slack when they approach Mormonism from perhaps not the greatest vantage.
That said, I have some serious misgivings when someone begins an article on the history of Mormonism like this:
And how did Mormonism come to be, anyway? Wasn’t it founded only a relatively little while ago by some dude in upstate New York? (Upstate New York?!)
I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions.
So, I’ve begun searching for answers.
My first stop, which which all the information below comes from, was John Krakauer’s 2003 book Under The Banner Of Heaven: A Story Of Violent Faith.
Yikes! There’s a big red flag right there. Allow me to explain. Jon Krakauer has penned a popular, yet highly questionable book on Mormonism. The punchline to Krakauer’s book is something along the lines of: “Mormonism, an inherently violent faith, is a shining example of how religious fundamentalism is dangerous, and will lead to killing people.”
There are so many problems with Krakauer’s book that to enumerate them here would take some considerable time. So instead I would direct the reader to this useful review of Krakauer’s book by Craig Foster. (Also don’t forget the Church’s posted review on the LDS Newsroom website.) [Read more…] about Learning About the Founding of Mormonism from Jon Krakauer (And Other Fallacies)