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


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1 hour ago, webbles said:

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.

My husband was an ironworker at the time Ron was a crane operator so I can vouch for this. My husband said Ron would bring his BoM and read at lunch with them all there. 

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Posted (edited)

Wow. Sister Riess is really stretching it with this one"
‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ raises the question: Are Mormons dangerous?

Apparently we are "ignoring the dangers of religiously inspired violence."
"We don’t teach members to cast a critical eye on “heroes” like Joshua and Caleb "
We should stop singing "Let us all Press On"
And asks the question: "Do we breed dangerous people? And if we do, how must we change?"

At least she " did not agree that my church is a breeding ground for dangerous people, people who are more prone to violence than others."
But then again it might be.

Edited by JAHS
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Just finished episode 6 where at the end it shows Jeb reading the Tanner's book in his car in the garage, In the Shadow of Mormonism. It's exactly how I reacted to things I'd read online, probably in my vehicle too (podcasts). The heartbreak, the doing it in secret, feeling like a darkness over shadowed me, I understand that was my cog dis now. 

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Posted (edited)

Despite the ongoing inaccuracies, episodes 5 and 6 are far better than the first 4. Andrew Garfield in the car sobbing as his testimony was collapsing, and his interaction with his wife is the most relatable thing I've seen. The feelings of loss I felt when my testimony fell apart came rushing back tonight. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Garfield's performance was extremely accurate. 

Edited by ttribe
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I mentioned earlier that I was building out a timeline using online sources and the book.  I've basically finished it and here's a high level timeline, in case you are wondering:

Prior to 1981, Ron and Diana move around as required by his job (a crane operator).  They lived in Farmington multiple times where he was in the bishopric and she was in the relief society.  By 1976, they had moved to Highland on a 2-acre lot with their 6 children.  He was appointed to the first town council but did not rerun for election in 1980.  He was in the bishopric roughly the same time he was in the bishopric.

Prior to 1981, Dan and Matilda moved to various schools where he gained his chiropractor license.  In California (around 1978), his family started a sandwich shop out of their apartment to make ends meet.  When the Board of Health learned about it, they were shut down (and possibly fined).  That made him start to see the injustice in the current legal system.  In 1980, he had graduated and joined his father's chiropractor business.  They lived in Payson.

While in California, Dan became interested in polygamy because of either a church talk or a church lesson.  After moving back to Utah Valley, he would go through the BYU library looking for things and found The Peacemaker.  After reading and praying about it, he came to believe it was written by Joseph Smith.  He started to implement its teachings in his family life.

In 1981, their parents (Watson Sr and Claudine) left on a mission.  Dan and his brother, Mark, were left in charge of the chiropractor business.  They started to have long talks about the constitution and the church.  Their young brothers (Tim, Allen, and Watson Jr) started to attend.  Dan was the main teacher.

In 1981, Allen met Brenda and they started dating.  She had no idea what Dan was teaching.

By the end of 1981, Dan had returned his driver's license, revoked his marriage license, returned his Social Security card, and stopped paying taxes of any kind.  The Assessor's Office filed a notice of seizure against the chiropractor business for unpaid taxes.  Someone paid the taxes before anything was seized.

In 1982, Brenda and Allen marry.  They live in the Lafferty home while his parents are on a mission.

Dan runs for Sheriff.  His platform is to return back to constitutional laws.  He believes that the only true tender is gold and silver.  Since he doesn't have any, he pays with a "promissory note".  He does this for a few other things that year and Allen joins him in at least one case (after he marries Brenda, she probably was against the idea).  He is taken off the ballot and is not allowed to be at "meet the candidate" events and so files several lawsuits.

In August, Diana had heard her sister-in-laws complaining about their husbands.  She asks Ron to intervene.  He goes to see Dan and the other brothers and when he comes home, he is a changed man.  He started to enact Dan's teachings in his own life.

In October, Dan is arrested for fleeing arrest, hurting an officer, and speeding.  His brothers (Tim is explicitly quoted) says that Dan is saving the constitution and that it is hanging by a thread.  There is a semi-riot when his brothers and supporters try to "citizen arrest" the judge and other court officers.  Dan is said to have told the judge to cease or by struck down in the name of Jesus Christ.

Also, in October, the Assessor's Office files another notice of seizure on the chiropractor business.  An anonymous donor pays the taxes.

In December, Dan is convicted and ordered for 45 day diagnostic evaluation.  Also, Brenda and Allen move to American Fork because his parents have returned home from their mission.  They probably came home early to deal with Dan and save the chiropractor business.

In February 1983, Dan is sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Around March, Dan is excommunicated.  It is mostly because of his politics (per the Stake President) but does include some of his extreme beliefs (such as polygamy).  At some point he abused his daughter and married a second wife.  I believe the abuse was probably before the excommunication and the second wife is after the excommunication but I don't have any exact dates.

Around April, Ron is excommunicated.  He argued that Dan shouldn't have been excommunicated and that the church had gone astray.

In May, Ron and Diana are divorced.  Before the divorce, Ron had talked about marrying of there daughters as plural wives.  Diana also wrote a letter to President Benson (President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at that time).  Ron had a meeting with an assistant of President Benson and argued that he was just following what was taught in "God, Family, Country" (a book written by President Benson).

Around December, the Lafferty boys meet Prophet Onias.  They (excluding Allen) join the School of the Prophets by January 1984.

In March 1984, Ron writes the removal revelation and the instrument consecration revelation.  He shows it to Dan.  They mention it to other brothers (including Allen) over the next few months.

At the end of March, Ron and Watson went shopping for an instrument.  They purchase a "pearl-handled shaving razor" and possibly also a 10-inch cutlery knife (which was the actual murder weapon).  Watson takes it to a School of the Prophets meeting and asks for it to be consecrated.  No one does it and it never gets consecrated.  Ron marries a second wife and goes on a honeymoon with her.

On April 5, 1984, Ron and Dan attempt a take over of the School of the Prophets.  They don't have enough votes as two of their brothers (Tim and Mark) vote against them.  Ron, Dan, and Watson Jr are kicked out of the group.  By this time, the rest of the School of the Prophets (about 6-10 people) had heard about the removal revelation.  One of them (Barry Crowther) gets an affidavit that says that he is worried for the lives of 10 people (those in the revelation and those in the School of the Prophets) and names Ron, Dan, Watson Jr, and Tod (he is the one named in the revelation) as possible culprits.

Between April and July, Brenda calls her sister (Betty) and says she is leaving Allen.  Betty tells her that she needs to stay and work it out (Betty regrets this immensely).  Brenda also calls her mom and says she is going to come home because things aren't working out.  Then she tells her mom that Allen and she worked it out and doesn't come home.  The last time Betty sees her alive, Allen and Brenda had a fight.

Ron and Dan go on a trip at the same time.  They meet Knapp and Carnes.  Dan marries a third time and divorces her a week or two later (she didn't like some of his personal beliefs).

On July 23, 1984, the 4 (Ron, Dan, Knapp, and Carnes) meet at the Lafferty home where Claudine Lafferty is still living (their father died in 1983 from diabetes).  They discuss scripture and Dan (or Knapp/Carnes) ask Ron why can't they just shoot them and Ron says that they throat has to be cut.

On July 24, 1984, the 4 pack their car, along with several guns.  They go to Mark's house to get another gun.  They go target shooting and realize they have the wrong ammo so go back to Mark to get another gun.  Mark tells them that Allen has the gun.  They go to Allen's house and no one answers.  They leave and then Dan has a feeling.  They go back, Brenda answers, and she and her daughter are murdered (Dan confesses to both murders but Knapp/Carnes says that Ron killed Brenda).  They then rob the Low's house (she was in the revelation) and miss a turn to the Stowe's house.  They drive to Wendover and on the way there they get pulled over by the police for a bad taillight.  The officer lets them go with a warning.

Around 8pm, Allen comes home and discovers the murders.  He calls the police using a neighbor's phone.  By that evening, they contact Matilda (Dan's first wife) and she wakes up her kids and are taken to a friends house in another town.  At 2:30am, Dan's former Stake President (the one that presided over his excommunication) is called and warned that his life might be in danger.  The next day, the police raid several houses belonging to the School of the Prophets.  At Barry Crowther's house, they find his affidavit that listed the 10 people and contact all of them to warn them.  They raid Dan's house and discover the removal revelation.

On July 25, they announce a warrant for Ron.  They also want to talk to Dan.  And they are looking for 4 bearded men who look like "mountain men."

In Wendover, Knapp and Carnes don't go to sleep and instead take the car and flee to Wyoming.  They throw out evidence along the way.  When Ron and Dan wake up, they discover they have nothing except the clothes on their back.  So they hitchhike to Reno because they were they earlier in the year and enjoyed it.

On July 30, the police arrest Knapp and Carnes.  They tell the police about throwing out the evidence and the police backtrack the path.  They find the murder weapon (as well as a lot of other evidence) a few miles outside of Wendover.

On August 7, Ron and Dan are arrested in Reno.  They asked for a woman that they had met earlier in the year and she had been under surveillance.

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9 minutes ago, ttribe said:

Despite the ongoing inaccuracies, episodes 5 and 6 are far better than the first 4. Andrew Garfield in the car sobbing as his testimony was collapsing, and his interaction with his wife is the most relatable thing I've seen.

That does sound very relatable but I worry that Black is ignoring those where their testimony actually strengthened up because of the situation.  Lots of people were affected by the murders.  Some left the church and some stayed in the church.  If he is just focusing on the former, then I think he is doing a disservice to the later.

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3 minutes ago, webbles said:

That does sound very relatable but I worry that Black is ignoring those where their testimony actually strengthened up because of the situation.  Lots of people were affected by the murders.  Some left the church and some stayed in the church.  If he is just focusing on the former, then I think he is doing a disservice to the later.

I'm reporting how it affected me. I don't need you to take my statement another direction, please. 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the timeline, very helpful and very interesting.

typo:  I assume you mean he was in the town council the same time he was in the bishopric, you typed bishopric twice.

 

Edited by Calm
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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

Thank you for the timeline, very helpful

I've got sources for basically all of that if you want them.  I've read way too many newspapers in that time period.  I was even trying to find Florida newspapers (for Diana), Scottish newspapers (for Matilda), and Idaho newspapers (for Brenda).  Only found the Idaho ones so far.  The one thing that I've really wanted to find is anything about the Lafferty parent's mission.  Other couples are mentioned in the newspapers so I think it is in there but I haven't found it yet.

I did notice that there are somethings in the book that are incorrect.  They aren't big errors.  One of the weirdest ones is that the book uses "Bernard Brady" as the name for Barry Crowther.  I kept trying to find "Bernard Brady" in the newspapers but never could.  And then I found Barry Crowther's affidavit and it was identical to the one in the book for Bernard Brady except for the name change.  Then I realized that the two people were the same.  I don't know why the book uses "Bernard Brady".  It sounds like Krakauer interviewed him so maybe he changed his name?

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Just finished episode 6 where at the end it shows Jeb reading the Tanner's book in his car in the garage, In the Shadow of Mormonism. It's exactly how I reacted to things I'd read online, probably in my vehicle too (podcasts). The heartbreak, the doing it in secret, feeling like a darkness over shadowed me, I understand that was my cog dis now. 

An interesting coincidence, in Issue 56 of the Tanner's newsletter (it was published in March 1985), they talk about the Laffertys and mention their book "Mormonism -- Shadow or Reality" multiple times.  It really tries to tie together blood atonement with the Laffertys (I don't think blood atonement actually had anything to do with the murders).

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, webbles said:

I've got sources for basically all of that if you want them.  I've read way too many newspapers in that time period.  I was even trying to find Florida newspapers (for Diana), Scottish newspapers (for Matilda), and Idaho newspapers (for Brenda).  Only found the Idaho ones so far.  The one thing that I've really wanted to find is anything about the Lafferty parent's mission.  Other couples are mentioned in the newspapers so I think it is in there but I haven't found it yet.

I did notice that there are somethings in the book that are incorrect.  They aren't big errors.  One of the weirdest ones is that the book uses "Bernard Brady" as the name for Barry Crowther.  I kept trying to find "Bernard Brady" in the newspapers but never could.  And then I found Barry Crowther's affidavit and it was identical to the one in the book for Bernard Brady except for the name change.  Then I realized that the two people were the same.  I don't know why the book uses "Bernard Brady".  It sounds like Krakauer interviewed him so maybe he changed his name?

Sources would be fantastic, just message me.

 

Edited by Calm
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5 hours ago, webbles said:

An interesting coincidence, in Issue 56 of the Tanner's newsletter (it was published in March 1985), they talk about the Laffertys and mention their book "Mormonism -- Shadow or Reality" multiple times.  It really tries to tie together blood atonement with the Laffertys (I don't think blood atonement actually had anything to do with the murders).

I never read anything by the Tanners, but yes, probably didn't. It's just their excuse to use God to do harm. 

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9 hours ago, ttribe said:

Despite the ongoing inaccuracies, episodes 5 and 6 are far better than the first 4. Andrew Garfield in the car sobbing as his testimony was collapsing, and his interaction with his wife is the most relatable thing I've seen. The feelings of loss I felt when my testimony fell apart came rushing back tonight. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Garfield's performance was extremely accurate. 

I related to this, also. I think it was well done.

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11 hours ago, ttribe said:

Despite the ongoing inaccuracies, episodes 5 and 6 are far better than the first 4.

I can only partly agree. I thought episode five was still pretty rough. The fake historical plot line with Brigham Young and John Taylor leading a conspiracy to have Joseph Smith assassinated and take over the church was just fantabulusly redonkulous from start to finish.

I also couldn't get past the scene were they talk about the School of the Prophets and Allen is all like, 'Wait? Did you just say prophets? Plural?!?' and then goes on this exposition about how, just like the Highlander, there can be only one - there's just no such thing as prophets, plural. As I said before, this was one of those scenes that just took me completely out of the show on multiple levels:

For starters, are we really supposed to believe that these guys have been rooting around the untold history of Mormonism and are able to recognize (and rattle off) obscure quotations from John Taylor (sorry, "Prophet Taylor") back in 1857 off the top of their heads, but none of these guys has ever heard the expression "school of the prophets" before? Seriously? Even though the school of the prophets which Joseph Smith founded in Kirtland is literally mentioned in the text of the D&C on multiple occasions? :rolleyes:

Also, even if we are supposed to pretend that Allen and Detective Pyre both slept through church history in seminary and in gospel doctrine every four years up until this point in their lives, why on earth would either of them think there is something sinister about the notion of "prophets, plural?" Both of these guys would have grown up sustaining the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators their entire lives. The whole scene is just silly from an LDS perspective, but at this point in the show I've given up on expecting anything different so I just roll my eyes and do my best to accept it.

I agree that Episode 6 was much more palatable, mostly because the historical scenes were largely missing from the episode - though I do anticipate MMM will finally make its bloody appearance in next week's season finale. Still, it was good to see Brenda finally come back into the story (even though, again, I know it's only as a pretext for killing her off next week).

I thought the car scene at the end was good too...at least until the wife ruins it by having her interaction used to set up what I anticipate will be the final scene of the show: Detective Pyre's farewell testimony. I don't know if that will come about in an actual Fast and Testimony meeting - mostly because there is just so much material to cover in this last episode and I'm not sure if they are going to want to bother spending time explaining what a testimony meeting is - but the signs seem to be pointing to that being the direction they are going with things as we look to wrap up the series. I guess we'll see.

 

Edited by Amulek
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1 hour ago, Amulek said:

I also couldn't get past the scene were they talk about the School of the Prophets and Allen is all like, 'Wait? Did you just say prophets? Plural?!?' and then goes on this exposition about how, just like the Highlander, there can be only one - there's just no such thing as prophets, plural. As I said before, this was one of those scenes that just took me completely out of the show on multiple levels:

The show portrays Allen as not knowing who the School of the Prophets were?  That's crazy.  He wanted to join the group but Brenda kept him away from it.  He would definitely have known about the group.  The police knew about the group within hours of the murder and was already contacting and raiding their homes by the next day.

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47 minutes ago, webbles said:

The show portrays Allen as not knowing who the School of the Prophets were?  That's crazy.  He wanted to join the group but Brenda kept him away from it.  He would definitely have known about the group.  The police knew about the group within hours of the murder and was already contacting and raiding their homes by the next day.

Correct. In the show, he doesn't seem to have knowledge of any School of the Prophets - past or present.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Amulek said:

fake historical plot line with Brigham Young and John Taylor leading a conspiracy to have Joseph Smith assassinated and take over the church was just fantabulusly redonkulous from start to finish.

There are people who believe this.  I wonder if he researched the conspiracy theories at all or just came up with his own version.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Calm said:

There are people who believe this.  I wonder if he researched the conspiracy theories at all or just came up with his own version.

To clarify, I recognize that some people have accepted this conspiracy theory. I just find the notion patently absurd (for multiple reasons). 

 

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On 5/25/2022 at 9:24 PM, JAHS said:

Wow. Sister Riess is really stretching it with this one ...  We should stop singing "Let us all Press On"

Cool! B:)  Another reason for me to have that one among my favorite hymns. ;)  We should probably get rid of the initiatory ordinance, as well: It's too violent.  I mean, it talks about ... [hushed whisper] wielding weapons:huh: :unsure: :unknw: 

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On 5/27/2022 at 9:31 AM, Amulek said:

I do anticipate MMM [Mountain Meadows Massacre] will finally make its bloody appearance in next week's season finale. ...

Wait ... this isn't a limited series, and they're going to produce more entire seasons of this dreck?  I'm ... um ... all aquiver ... with ... um ... 'bated breath ... um ... on the very edge of my seat ... on pins and needles ... just waiting to see what they come up with next! :huh: :unknw: :huh: 

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5 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Wait ... this isn't a limited series, and they're going to produce more entire seasons of this dreck?  I'm ... um ... all aquiver ... with ... um ... 'bated breath ... um ... on the very edge of my seat ... on pins and needles ... just waiting to see what they come up with next! :huh: :unknw: :huh: 

No, it's a limited series, but it is generally appropriate to still refer to the final episode in a miniseries as the season finale.

With only one episode remaining, I've got a pretty good idea of what's coming next. Still, it will be interesting to see how they decide to wrap a couple of things up. 

 

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On 5/26/2022 at 10:10 PM, ttribe said:

Despite the ongoing inaccuracies, episodes 5 and 6 are far better than the first 4.

I intend to take your word for it.  Even if I were inclined to watch something such as this, I would have to wonder how many inaccuracies, mischaracterizations, distortions, caricatures, and so on I should expected to endure in the name of giving it a fair hearing (viewing).  And I would ask the same question if nudity, profanity, crudity, and things of that sort were my "issues" with it.

(By the way, for what it's worth, I might be tempted to watch a straight documentary (or perhaps even a docudrama) that covers the same ground Mr. Black does.  But this?  No disrespect intended to anyone involved or to anyone who has chosen to invest his or her time and other resources in it (as writer, actor, producer, viewer,  et cetera) but it strikes me as less of an attempt to be true to a story (that does deserve to be told: That of Brenda and Erica Lafferty) than it does as a vehicle for Mr. Black to vent his grievances against the Church of Jesus Christ.

On 5/26/2022 at 10:10 PM, ttribe said:

Andrew Garfield in the car sobbing as his testimony was collapsing, and his interaction with his wife is the most relatable thing I've seen. The feelings of loss I felt when my testimony fell apart came rushing back tonight. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Garfield's performance was extremely accurate. 

Truly (though I know you may not believe this) I'm sorry for your loss.  I know you probably won't believe this either, but I'm not sure I'm all that different from you.  My  "issues," though, are far more "micro" than they are "macro": As much as I might look forward, one day, to some firesides with such fascinating titles as, "Brother Joseph, What Were You THINKING?", "Brother Brigham, What Were You THINKING?", and so on, my issues, instead, are more along the lines of "Lord, Why Hast Thou Dealt With Me Thus?"  Perhaps the answers are forthcoming hereafter: Certainly, it does not appear that they will be forthcoming anytime soon HERE.  At any rate, questions notwithstanding, my attitude (to paraphrase Peter), is "Lord, where else should I go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life."

For whatever all of that might be worth.  At any rate, I wish you well.

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