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To a former believer, Under the Banner of Heaven is the most accurate TV portrayal of Mormon culture

  • GQ

    "Under the Banner of Heaven is in some ways a milestone for Mormon representation: though none of the main cast members are active or former Mormons, creator Dustin Lance Black was raised in the church and became an industry name as the only writer of Mormon experience in the writer’s room for Big Love, HBO’s notorious series about a polygamous family in Salt Lake City," says Nadine Smith. "Both Big Love and the original Jon Krakauer book about the real-life murder of a Mormon mother and her daughter on which Under the Banner of Heaven is based were highly controversial flashpoints for Mormons around the same point in the mid-2000s. While Under the Banner of Heaven attracted ire for unveiling violent incidents in Mormonism’s past, Big Love caught heat for its focus on polygamy and scenes recreating sacred temple ceremonies. Big Love often strove for cultural fidelity and verisimilitude, but it was ultimately about Mormonism in the same way The Sopranos was about the mafia: a rich setting and context for a larger thematic portrait of tragic masculinity. But the TV adaptation of Under the Banner of Heaven takes the faith of Black’s youth as its direct subject in a way Big Love never did."

    TOPICS: Under the Banner of Heaven, FX, Mormon Church