Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 475
Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica, are the wife and daughter of Allen Lafferty . Brenda was outspoken and supported her brothers-in-law's wives when they stood up to their husbands. Krakauer says Brenda was warm and outgoing; she was a former television anchor. She was stabbed to death...
(The entire section contains 475 words.)
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Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica, are the wife and daughter of Allen Lafferty. Brenda was outspoken and supported her brothers-in-law's wives when they stood up to their husbands. Krakauer says Brenda was warm and outgoing; she was a former television anchor. She was stabbed to death by her brother-in-law in July 1984.
Dan and Ron Lafferty are two of Allen's brothers. They're tried and convicted for the murders of Brenda and Erica. They say that God told them to kill them. Those around Ron said that in the years before the murders, he became more conservative and held more deeply fundamentalist beliefs. After Ron tries to hang himself in his cell, the judge orders that the two men be tried separately. In later years, in prison, Ron says that God ordered him to kill Dan, and Dan allows him to try. However, he doesn't die, and Ron says that God changed his mind. Later, when he says God told him to kill Dan again, Dan says he doesn't feel that God wants him to submit to that death. Dan is sentenced to life in prison; Ron is sentenced to death and asks to be executed by firing squad rather than by lethal injection.
Joseph Smith is the founder of the Mormon religion and a man that Krakauer studies as a charlatan. He was married to at least 33 women and may have been married to as many as 48. Krakauer says that his youngest wife was 14 and that Joseph said "God had commanded that she marry him or face eternal damnation." He was murdered in 1844.
Brian David Mitchell was a Mormon fundamentalist who says God told him to kidnap Elizabeth Smart to be his second wife. She was with him and his wife Wanda Barzee for months before she was rescued. He did odd jobs at her home before he kidnapped her, stalking her for months prior to the event. Krakauer says Elizabeth's religious upbringing and indoctrination helped Mitchell keep her captive.
Ruby Jessop is a 14-year old who is forced into marriage with an older member of her family because she kissed a boy she liked. She was raped after the ceremony and hemorrhaged blood. Flora Jessop, her sister, runs the group "Help the Child Brides" that fights child marriage and polygamy. She reported what happened to her sister to the police, but the system failed her and didn't see how indoctrinated and intimidated she was.
Three of seven LeBaron Brothers considered themselves modern-day saints comparable to Moses. They were part of a group called the LaBaron Clan that was founded by their father, Dayer LeBaron. Evril LeBaron wrote a book in prison that outlined the people who he felt had betrayed him. The Lambs of God, a group that followed him, murdered several people from his list. Several were sentenced to life in prison.