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Last Reviewed 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 by her brother-in-law in July 1984.

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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...

(The entire section contains 475 words.)

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