Under the Banner of Heaven, directed by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, is based on the 2003 nonfiction book of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Jon Krakauer. Detective Jeb Pyre, played by Oscar contender Andrew Garfield, is a devoted Mormon who investigates the homicides that shook a small community in Salt Lake Valley, Utah. The idea of Under the Banner of Heaven may pique viewers’ interest in looking for a crime miniseries that focuses on the impact of murder on a religious community. Now you might be wondering Under the Banner of Heaven series based on true events, if the plot has any truth to it. So, here are the specifics.
Is ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ based on a true story?
Yes, ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ is based on true story. The series is based on novelist and journalist Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction true crime novel Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. It was first released in 2003 and has since garnered a lot of positive feedback. The book covers both the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Brenda Lafferty’s violent 1984 murder by her in-laws.
FX’s new miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven was directed by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. He grew up in a Mormon family, is adapting the book for television. He aims to throw light on the horrific atrocities committed in the name of God in this true-crime thriller. He also contributed to multiple episodes of Big Love, a show about a polygamous household, as a writer and co-producer. “Raised in the LDS faith, my hope is that this true-crime thriller might shed light on the horrific brutalities perpetrated in the name of God in our own backyards,” Lance Black stated of Under the Banner of Heaven.
The miniseries, like the book that inspired it, intends to address both the LDS Church’s history and the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. A large portion of the story will be told through the eyes of Detective Jeb Pyre, who is investigating the killings. According to a news release from FX, Pyre
“Uncovers buried truths about the origins of the LDS religion and the violent consequences of unyielding faith. What Pyre, a devout Mormon, unearths leads him to question his own faith.”
According to the book of the same name, the title “Under the Banner of Heaven” is derived from a speech given in 1880 by John Taylor, the president of the LDS church at the time, who said, “God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven against the Government.”
Based on novelist Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction true crime novel Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith.
The book Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer is based primarily on conversations with Dan Lafferty. His book Under the Banner of Heaven was his third nonfiction blockbuster. Some members of the LDS Church criticised it, claiming it included major inaccuracies and was biassed towards religious ideas. In 2003, Mike Otterson, the LDS Church’s director of media relations, stated, “this book is not history, and Krakauer is no historian. He is a storyteller who cuts corners to make the story sound good. His basic thesis appears to be that people who are religious are irrational, and that irrational people do strange things. He does a huge disservice to his readers by promulgating old stereotypes.”
Brenda Lafferty Murder Case: What happened?
Brenda was a beauty queen and college graduate hoping to go into journalism. Instead, she focused on raising her daughter Erica with her husband Allen Lafferty. Brenda Lafferty, 24 and her 15 month old daughter, Erica were brutally murdered by her two brothers-in-law in 1984, making it one of Utah’s most spectacular and memorable cases. Ron and Dan Lafferty were members of a minor branch of the LDS church, and their decision to murder their sister-in-law and niece was influenced by their religious views, with Ron even claiming that he got a heavenly mandate to “remove” Brenda.
Ron Lafferty, a self-proclaimed prophet, and Dan Lafferty cut her throat, beat her, and placed a vacuum line around her neck. Dan then slit their toddler niece’s throat. The killings occurred in American Fork, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. Brenda Lafferty was married to Allen Lafferty, Ron’s younger brother. She disagreed with Ron and Dan’s fundamentalist ideas and refused to acknowledge Ron as a prophet as a dedicated member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the brothers were charged with homicide in August 1984, attorneys Michael Esplin and Gary Weight were appointed as “standby” counsel for them. During the brothers’ competency hearings, they represented them.
The murders were thought to be motivated by Ron Lafferty’s religious beliefs, which led to his expulsion from the LDS Church and his wife’s divorce and relocation to Florida with their six children in early 1984. According to court filings, Ron Lafferty blamed the divorce on four people, including Brenda and Erica, “who he feared would grow up to be just as vile as her mother.” Ron claimed he received a revelation ordering him to murder his sister-in-law and niece, and he told his lawyer that he believed he was convicted of the crime as a result of a conspiracy involving the state, the LDS Church, and “unseen spiritual forces,” including the judge who presided over his trial’s deceased father.
Dan Lafferty was convicted to life in prison and Ron Lafferty was sentenced to death at their subsequent trials. Ron Lafferty attempted suicide in December 1984, while jailed in the Utah County jail, after the competence examinations were completed. This resulted in serious physical and mental harm. Ron was imprisoned at the Utah State Hospital for several months after attempting suicide. Ron Lafferty, 78 died of natural causes at Utah State Prison of Draper in November 11, 2019 despite being sentenced to death. Dan Lafferty is still serving a life term in jail.
FX Networks original, the seven-episode series will premiere on Hulu in the United States on Thursday, April 28, 2022.