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Des News Article Re: "Under the Banner of Heaven" Mini Series


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14 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Thanks, that means a great deal. I've been listening to two ladies that run a podcast and this one particularly reminded me of you. They both liked Richard Rohr and mentioned the kingdom being within themselves. They are both active in the church but both aren't super orthodox. Here's the particular episode that made me think of you. They are a breath of fresh air after listening to non faithful podcasts for years. And of course, I take a break with Brene Brown and books on audible and other non religious podcasts. 

https://atlastshesaidit.org/episode-082-holy-discomfort/  Love, love, love the podcast! Each one spoke to me. 

Well thanks so much!!

I have not heard of Richard Rohr, and at first I thought it was a typo and you were referring to Richard Rorty!  ;)

I like Brene Brown- and my wife is really a BIG fan of hers.   My wife might be the smartest person I have actually met- I spend hours on this board trying to explain the Rorty quote below, and she got it instantly the first time I brought it up, with absolutely no previous philosophical training or classes.

I have to check this stuff out- thanks again so much- I am not a podcast person - what I can read in a minute takes a half hour for them to say- but they are great for long drives especially here in the west driving for hours in a straight line, 90 mph through the desert!  Always love new ideas- thanks!!

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Amulek said:

... [T]he story they are trying to tell isn't so much about who committed the murder, but why the murders were committed and what the writers want to say about faith / religion and how that plays a part in what took place.

 

Which is why (while there are exceptions, such as well-done documentaries), seldom, if ever, do I look to television writers to tell me the truth about why something happened.  "But, Ken, they're sharing their truth, which is the highest, holiest thing anybody can do in our society ..."  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Tell your truth to your therapist.*  I want the real thing.**  These guys are playing to an audience, and neither I nor any of my coreligionists are in that audience.  If someone wants to tell a story, that's fine.  I'll decide if I want to read, watch, or listen.  What these guys are doing is blurring the line intentionally between truth and story in the service of an agenda.

*No, I'm not dissing therapy.  Yes, I know it can be helpful.  (Hell, the dark recesses and corners of my psyche have scared [and, probably, for all I know, even have scarred] more than one therapist ...) :blink: :shok: 

**Yes, I know what humans perceive isn't "the truth," and what we see depends entirely upon the vantage point from which we look at something.  Still, I think there are people who, and methods that, are better at getting to the ultimate truth of something than others are. 

Edited by Kenngo1969
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14 hours ago, Amulek said:

I guess that could explain it for the two crazy brothers, but not for Allen. The show is portraying him as the normal one / the one who got out, and he's the one who has been in holding since the opening scene.

But I understand why they have him talking to the police the whole time though. He's not there to actually represent what happened with the real Allen; he's there to provide exposition for the viewers about the deep dark secrets of Mormonism. If Detective Pyre is there to personify your average Mormon and allow the audience to view the events through his eyes as he goes through his faith crisis, then Allen's role is to basically be the personification of exMormon Reddit (bad history lessons and all).

And yes, the show runners are taking significant liberties with the timeline. If I remember right, in real life Allen basically fingered his brothers from the jump; there was none of this 'men with beards' nonsense. But obviously they need to draw things out in order to try and make this into a suspenseful crime drama. Because the story they are trying to tell isn't so much about who committed the murder, but why the murders were committed and what the writers want to say about faith / religion and how that plays a part in what took place.

 

Allen also was a little crazy.  He was part of an attempt with Dan to pay for an automobile registration with a check made it from "Money Account of the United States".  Dan and he filed a lawsuit because the check was denied.  I think by the time of the murder, he had mostly extracted himself from the influence of Dan, though.

I'm not just working on the timeline of after the murder but before.  For instance, I was under the assumption that Dan and Ron had been excommunicated for polygamy.  Dan was actually excommunicated shortly after he was sentenced to prison for two felony charges (stemming from the police evasion at the end of 1982) and both Dan and Ron believe that the sentencing was what triggered the excommunication.  I don't think he was practicing polygamy at that time though he had already read the Peacemaker and had met his future second wife (he met her shortly before the parade in 1982).  Ron says he was excommunicating for arguing in behalf of Dan.  He never practiced polygamy, though he did have another wife after his divorce.

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I came across this quote from Dan in an old Deseret article - https://www.deseret.com/2004/7/27/19841799/ron-lafferty-dan-lafferty-murders-utah-1984-case-still-haunts

Quote

"I held Brenda's hair and did it pretty much the way they did it in the scriptures," he says proudly. "Then I walked in Erica's room. I talked to her for a minute, I said, 'I'm not sure why I'm supposed to do this, but I guess God wants you home.' "

I'm thinking he is talking about Nephi and Laban (since he mentions that story in many other places) but are there other examples from the scriptures where they hold the hair and cut off the head?

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Posted (edited)

My guess is he is just referring to Laban.  Absalom is the only one I remember getting killed with hair holding, but his hair/head was caught in a tree and he wasn’t beheaded. 

There were a number of beheadings.

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Beheading

People use “scriptures” like Bible is used, Bible is from biblia, which is a collection of books. I don’t think his use of “scriptures” requires multiple occasions. 

Edited by Calm
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7 hours ago, Calm said:

My guess is he is just referring to Laban.  Absalom is the only one I remember getting killed with hair holding, but his hair/head was caught in a tree and he wasn’t beheaded. 

There were a number of beheadings.

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Beheading

People use “scriptures” like Bible is used, Bible is from biblia, which is a collection of books. I don’t think his use of “scriptures” requires multiple occasions. 

I gave up on the show halfway through episode 4. Just so poorly written and executed. Tokyo Vice treats Mormonism much more realistically (though it takes a few understandable liberties) and is in general a much better series. 

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On 5/11/2022 at 12:42 PM, smac97 said:

Further, if Mormonism qua Mormonism really is the driving factor here, I think the proponents of that idea would be able to quantify and substantiate it.  These same folks constantly declare the Church to be intolerably "authoritarian," so you would think that they could produce authoritative statements from leaders of the Church.

Instead, what do we get?  We have Pres. Oaks saying stuff like what I just quoted above.  And that is nothing new.  See, e.g., Pres. Oaks' remarks in April 2021:

(Emphases added.)

And this article from 1992:

And this article from 2016:

And these December 2021 changes to the Handbook:

Thanks,

-Smac

I posted the above to show what the Church is teaching relative to violence and extremism.  I now add to this list these remarks made by Pres. Oaks in a speech to Ensign College students on May 17:

Quote

Race

Concerning race, President Oaks said Latter-day Saints must recognize the challenges of racism, condemn racial prejudice and strengthen victims of racism.

“In condemning and working against racism, we encourage our students, our teachers, and all our members to avoid extreme or polarizing positions and teachings that undermine the U.S. Constitution and other core institutions,” President Oaks said. “[The Constitution’s] inspired principles, including the freedoms of speech and religion and its authorized amendments, have allowed subsequent generations to continue to improve and strengthen the rights of all of its citizens.”

President Oaks taught that “a gospel-centered approach to combating racism empowers all parties to support, apply and teach the power and light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

President Oaks quoted recent comments from Rev. Amos C. Brown, a board member with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

...

LGBTQ Issues

President Oaks spoke of the Church’s support of initiatives that support rights for LGBTQ individuals in housing and health care while preserving basic rights of conscience and freedom of religion.

“In seeking common ground, we encourage fair treatment and respect for others, and we ask the same for ourselves,” President Oaks said.

Such respect “does not mean we walk away from our beliefs and fundamental doctrine on the family and its importance to God’s ‘plan for the eternal destiny of His children’ as revealed in the Family Proclamation,” President Oaks said. “Please remember the responsibility we members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must declare the truth as God has revealed it. We are not free to pick and choose which truths we will preach and defend.”

Elder Gilbert said LGBTQ issues require a measured approach rooted in the love and laws of God.

“Individuals or groups who do not treat our LGBTQ members with empathy and charity are not aligned with the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ,” Elder Gilbert said. “At the same time, ignoring God’s laws has never been the Savior’s pattern for showing love. Remember, Jesus asked us to love God first.”

Elder Gilbert praised the commitment of those who do their best to live according to their covenants and respect the Ensign College honor code.

“We recognize your commitment, and we appreciate your example. We welcome you [and] we want you to feel a sense of belonging as we work together to be true to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Good stuff, this.

Thanks,

-Smac

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11 hours ago, webbles said:

I came across this quote from Dan in an old Deseret article - https://www.deseret.com/2004/7/27/19841799/ron-lafferty-dan-lafferty-murders-utah-1984-case-still-haunts

Quote

"I held Brenda's hair and did it pretty much the way they did it in the scriptures," he says proudly. "Then I walked in Erica's room. I talked to her for a minute, I said, 'I'm not sure why I'm supposed to do this, but I guess God wants you home.' "

I'm thinking he is talking about Nephi and Laban (since he mentions that story in many other places) but are there other examples from the scriptures where they hold the hair and cut off the head?

Possibly, though he didn't actually decapitate Brenda; he killed her by slitting her throat, which would be "pretty much the way they did it in the scriptures" for ritual sacrifices. The animals were slaughtered by slitting their throats and allowing them to bleed to death.

So I guess it depends on how you parse the sentence. I read "they way they did it in the scriptures" as referring to the physical act of killing her alone, not necessarily saying that the method used to restrain her (i.e., holding her hair) was part of what was done in the scriptures. But I can see how you can read it the other way as well.

 

Edited by Amulek
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Episode 5.  Ugh.  I thought is was pretty awful.  I assume the Brady fellow is fictional. But the interaction with him and his wife was just awful  and not realistic IMO.  Granted I was a young married man then but I did not interact with my wife like that nor did anyone in my Salem Utah ward that I knew. The conversation between Brenda, the bishop's wife and, if I recall, Ron's wife while at church was pretty awful. The "historical" portrayal of Emma, Joseph, Brigham, John Taylor, Emma's letter to Joseph, the Nauvoo Expositor and Emma cheering it on, Brigham's conspiracy, etc was awful.  I guess there is fringe speculation the BY was behind the murder of JS but it is pretty debunked.  The show portrayed it as truth. Someone said that this was simply portraying what the Laffert's believes.  Well if so it was not clear an Pyree keeps seeing this in his mind.  And what was it with Allan's rant about The School of the Prophets.  And could they have made Brigham Young look any more creepy?

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20 hours ago, Rivers said:

Favorite quote from episode 5:

”I’ll get him back to you before you can say ‘Lamanite’ three times fast.”

:bad:

So I've now seen everything the media had access to prior to the show's release.

If I were a reviewer, there's no way I could in good conscience give it more than a 4-5 on a 10 point scale. Mediocre is the best way to characterize the show up to this point, and I'm doubtful we will see any dramatic improvement over the final two episodes. 

That being said, I can understand why other reviewers have given the show generally positive reviews. Andrew Garfield and some of the other cast have done a great job with their characters. The Mormon angle adds a layer of complexity to the storyline for outsiders which is helpful in a crime drama. Most of the cinematography and other technical work that goes into a production have been solid as well. And, unless the show is just unwatchably bad, nobody is going to go too hard on DLB for this project.

For me, however, the show is just painfully bad. All of the hard work that has gone into the series isn't enough to surpass the glaring problems which exist in every single episode. Thankfully, I only have two more episodes to suffer through. :) 

 

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1 minute ago, Amulek said:

:bad:

So I've now seen everything the media had access to prior to the show's release.

If I were a reviewer, there's no way I could in good conscience give it more than a 4-5 on a 10 point scale. Mediocre is the best way to characterize the show up to this point, and I'm doubtful we will see any dramatic improvement over the final two episodes. 

That being said, I can understand why other reviewers have given the show generally positive reviews. Andrew Garfield and some of the other cast have done a great job with their characters. The Mormon angle adds a layer of complexity to the storyline for outsiders which is helpful in a crime drama. Most of the cinematography and other technical work that goes into a production have been solid as well. And, unless the show is just unwatchably bad, nobody is going to go too hard on DLB for this project.

For me, however, the show is just painfully bad. All of the hard work that has gone into the series isn't enough to surpass the glaring problems which exist in every single episode. Thankfully, I only have two more episodes to suffer through. :) 

 

Thanks for taking one for the team. I can’t bring myself to finish episode 4. 

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11 minutes ago, Teancum said:

And what was it with Allan's rant about The School of the Prophets.

Wait, did you just say Prophets? Plural?!? 

Don't you know that Prophets are just like the immortals from Highlander - there can be only one!

Yeah, that one kind of broke the old credibility matrix for me (on multiple levels). 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Episode 5.  Ugh.  I thought is was pretty awful.  I assume the Brady fellow is fictional. But the interaction with him and his wife was just awful  and not realistic IMO.  Granted I was a young married man then but I did not interact with my wife like that nor did anyone in my Salem Utah ward that I knew. The conversation between Brenda, the bishop's wife and, if I recall, Ron's wife while at church was pretty awful. The "historical" portrayal of Emma, Joseph, Brigham, John Taylor, Emma's letter to Joseph, the Nauvoo Expositor and Emma cheering it on, Brigham's conspiracy, etc was awful.  I guess there is fringe speculation the BY was behind the murder of JS but it is pretty debunked.  The show portrayed it as truth. Someone said that this was simply portraying what the Laffert's believes.  Well if so it was not clear an Pyree keeps seeing this in his mind.  And what was it with Allan's rant about The School of the Prophets.  And could they have made Brigham Young look any more creepy?

I doubt Dan/Ron believed that BY was behind the murder of JS.  I don't see anything in the book about that and nothing in the newspapers give any hint.  They are positive of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  They sound like most fundamentalists where Wilford Woodruff was the reason why the church went astray.

I don't know about what was shown about the interaction, but the interaction between the real Laffertys and their wives was pretty bad.  Dan treated his wife as property and the other brothers followed his example.  When Diana divorced Ron, both her stake president and bishop counseled her that Ron was being abusive.  Ron was angry with them (the stake president and bishop) because they weren't supporting him as the patriarch of the family.  This is probably a part of the reason why the stake president and the bishop's wife were on the removal revelation.  So, even for the time period, the Laffertys were not good husbands.

Edited by webbles
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If you want a great fictional story that portrays 19th century Mormons as whacked out terrible people, yet is totally awesome, check out Hell on Wheels! As a bonus, one of the craziest characters, The Swede, converts to Mormonism in it. He also plays Ammon in this show. I wonder what the actor's view on Mormonism is...

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https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2022/05/19/patrick-gibbs-lds/

The guy's complaint is, I think, pretty nonsensical. The starting point, certainly, for talking about Bruno is not absurdly inaccurate, un/misinformed, and mostly just plain dumb misrepresentations of the history and Church culture.
It may get a few things rightish, but as my pappy used to say (he didn't but, what the heck), even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

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https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/05/22/screenwriter-families/

It talks about the truth and the fiction in the tv show.

Black talks about the reason for the scene where Brenda got a job "for agreeing to keep quiet about a male communication adviser’s suggestive behavior."  Even though that never happened, her journal does mention being hit on by professors and so he was trying to bring in that aspect of her.  I wish he would have shown it in a different manner, though.  Brenda got the job because of her own skills.

Another detail is how Allen, in the show, talked about bearded men and not about his brothers.

Quote

Black reiterates that the style and length of the investigation were mostly created to add suspense to a story whose villains were largely known almost from the beginning.

“I’ll never forget Allen saying to me that he just couldn’t bring himself — though he had all the evidence — to just say, ‘It was my brothers.’”

I can definitely see that being hard for Allen.  He just discovered his wife and daughter killed and he's probably knows who did it.  But that would be a hard thing to actually say it out loud.

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It would have been a much story if they had try to be more historically accurate. The real story has some interesting stuff. The pointless distractions and erroneous conflations are most unfortunate.

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5 hours ago, webbles said:

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/05/22/screenwriter-families/

It talks about the truth and the fiction in the tv show.

Black talks about the reason for the scene where Brenda got a job "for agreeing to keep quiet about a male communication adviser’s suggestive behavior."  Even though that never happened, her journal does mention being hit on by professors and so he was trying to bring in that aspect of her.  I wish he would have shown it in a different manner, though.  Brenda got the job because of her own skills.

Another detail is how Allen, in the show, talked about bearded men and not about his brothers.

I can definitely see that being hard for Allen.  He just discovered his wife and daughter killed and he's probably knows who did it.  But that would be a hard thing to actually say it out loud.

That article had a section that I wasn't sure was accurate.  It says:

Quote

The family did have a farm in suburban Ogden, Black says, where some family members did “live off the grid” for a time before the murders.

That is where the “removal revelation” was found in a shirt of Ron’s as it is shown in Episode 5, Horton says, but there were no polygamists from Canada hanging out there.

Did the show really have the farm in Ogden?  Because it was actually located in Orem.  And it was Dan's place where Ron lived after the divorce.  I don't think any of the other brothers lived there.

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19 hours ago, webbles said:

Did the show really have the farm in Ogden?  Because it was actually located in Orem.  And it was Dan's place where Ron lived after the divorce.  I don't think any of the other brothers lived there.

I don't believe they ever gave a location for the farm. The characters in the show who knew its whereabouts just said they could show the police where it was. I'm pretty confident they never said what city it was in.

Please don't make me go back and rewatch the episode to confirm. :(

 

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On 5/13/2022 at 3:17 PM, jkwilliams said:

According to the script, his construction business was failing, and the bank refused to approve the loan because his brother Dan was making the church look bad. Does stuff like this actually happen? Not in my experience. 

So, I've been going through the real timeline and I doubt that this happened.  Ron didn't own a construction company.  He was employed as a crane operator.  He was building a dream house and a fourplex on his spare time so the loan could be related to that.  But, by the time Dan was making things look bad, Ron was already like Dan.  Ron also quit his job so I would think the loan would be rejected by virtue that Ron has no income or stability.

I also don't think the timing works.  In the middle of 1982, Dan was a fairly typical patriotic member on the outside.  He talked about being true to the constitution, fixing bad unconstitutional laws, etc.  He had a decent number of supporters in the community so I don't see him making the church look bad.  But then he gets arrested in October of 1982.  The arrest, trial, semi-riot, newspaper coverage, etc really does make him look crazy.  He is his own attorney and basically argues that everything is unconstitutional.  His brothers argue that only a priesthood holder can save the constitution.  In December, he is held for 45 days in jail for mental evaluation.  In February, he is convicted of 3rd degree felony escape and sentenced to 30 days.  That brings us to March of 1983.  Between March and May, Dan is excommunicated, Ron is excommunicated, and Diana and Ron are divorced.  After the divorce, Ron moved into a trailer behind Dan's house.  So, the loan would have to happen in between October 1982 and May 1983.

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