Is FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven Based on a True Story?

Is Under the Banner of Heaven Based on a True Story

Is Under the Banner of Heaven true story? What is Under the Banner of Heaven based on? Let’s find out.

Yes, Under the Banner of Heaven is based entirely on true events. On July 24, 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the actual Brenda Laffery and her 15-month-old daughter. A stressful ten-day quest ensued to determine who killed the kind and intelligent homemaker and her newborn girl.

The Lafferty brothers’ unexpected interest in early polygamous Mormon church beliefs, which are today despised by the mainstream but kept alive by fundamentalist cults, was indeed linked to their murders.

The series Under the Banner of Heaven, directed by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, is based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book of the same name, published in 2003. Detective Jeb Pyre, played by Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield, is a devout Mormon who investigates a string of homicides in a small Utah village.

Under the Banner of Heaven’s concept may excite viewers’ interest in finding a crime miniseries that focuses on the consequences of murder on a religious group. You might be wondering if the plot of the Under the Banner of Heaven series, which is based on historical events, is accurate. So, let’s get down to business.

Also Read: Under The Banner Of Heaven Episode 3 Recap and Ending Explained

Is Under the Banner of Heaven true story

Is Under the Banner of Heaven true story?

Yes, the narrative behind ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ is factual. The series is based on the nonfiction true crime novel Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by novelist and journalist Jon Krakauer.

It was first launched in 2003 and has received plenty of excellent comments since then. Her in-laws murdered Brenda Lafferty in 1984, and the book covers both the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her death.

Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black directed FX’s new miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven. He is adapting the book for television after growing up in a Mormon family. In this true-crime thriller, he strives to shed light on the awful atrocities done in the name of God. As a writer and co-producer, he also contributed to many episodes of Big Love, a show about a polygamous family.

“As someone who was raised in the LDS faith, my aim is that this true-crime thriller will bring attention on the awful brutalities committed in the name of God right here in our own backyards,” Lance Black said of Under the Banner of Heaven.

Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered their brother Allen Lafferty’s wife Brenda and their 15-month-old daughter Erica on July 24, 1984. According to sources, Ron strangled Brenda and slashed her throat with a vacuum wire, while Dan slit Erica’s throat.

Brenda Lafferty With her daughter and husband
Original photo of Brenda Lafferty With her daughter and husband.

Ron and Dan believed that God had instructed them to murder Brenda and Erica; therefore they did so. “Thus says the Lord to my prophets, my servants.” In order for my job to continue, it is my intention and mandate that the following individuals be removed. “For they have actually become hurdles in my path, and I will not allow my job to be halted,” Ron wrote in response to the alleged divine directive.

“First, Brenda, thy brother’s wife, and her kid, then Chloe Low, and last Richard Stowe.” And it is my wish that they are removed in quick succession,” Ron said in his memo, which became known as “the removal revelation.”

Brenda was a free spirit who questioned Ron and Dan’s faith and values, unlike the pious Lafferty brothers. Brenda, Ron suspected, even urged his ex-wife to file a divorce from him. Ron’s wife was also backed by Chloe, a former president of the LDS Relief Society.

The Highland LDS Stake president at the time, Richard Stowe, excommunicated Ron from the church. The brothers headed to Chloe’s residence after killing Brenda and Erica, only to find her missing. They eventually abandoned their intention to kill Richard. Following that, Ron and Dan were arrested and tried separately. Dan was given two life sentences that would run concurrently.

Ron, on the other hand, received a death sentence. He died of natural causes in 2019 while on execution row, according to reports. Although Dustin Lance Black’s show focuses mostly on the killings and the investigation, it also exposes the two brothers’ complex relationship with religion and other crimes committed in the name of faith.

“As someone who was raised in the LDS church, my hope is that this true-crime thriller will shine a light on the awful brutalities committed in the name of God in our own backyards,” Black said in a statement.

Ron and Dan Lafferty
Ron and Dan Lafferty

Black’s show chronicles the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement, in a parallel storyline to present a full history and background of the LDS faith. Smith produced the Book of Mormon and disseminated the teachings of the Faith of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he saw as a restoration of the early Christian church, as depicted in the series.

In both the dramatisation and real life, the Laffertys carefully adhered to the LDS Church’s rules and beliefs. Dan is said to have broken “man’s laws” by disobeying traffic restrictions and failing to pay taxes.

Despite the fact that the show is based on an actual occurrence, Black included fictional parts in the story, beginning with the fictional protagonist Detective Jeb Pyre. Like the Laffertys, the character, a devout Mormon, questions his religion and tackles the pitfalls of LDS doctrines.

Black created the character to show how the crime affected a regular Mormon, such as himself. ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ is a heartbreaking tale of one of the most heinous crimes committed in the name of religion, as well as a timely analysis of modern faith.

Must Read: Is ‘Andrew Garfield’ a Real-Life Mormon Detective?