152. “Neither Emma’s tears nor her rage were enough to make Joseph monogamous, however; nor were the prevailing mores of the day. He kept falling rapturously in love with women not his wife. And because that rapture was so wholly consuming, and felt so good, it struck him as impossible that God might possibly frown on such a thing.”
154. “I have to admit, the terrorists were following their prophet,” Dan says. “They were willing to do essentially what I did. I see the parallel. But the difference between those guys and me is, they were following a false prophet, and I’m not. “I believe I’m a good person,” Dan insists. “I’ve never done anything intentionally wrong. I never have.”
155. “Using his gift for fundamentalist rhetoric and adroitly manipulating the religious indoctrination Elizabeth had received since she was old enough to talk, Mitchell cowed the girl into becoming an utterly submissive polygamous concubine – buttressing his powers of theological persuasion with threats to kill her and her family.”
159. “Missoula has a culture uniquely its own, however, thanks to the fusion of its gritty frontier heritage with the university’s myriad impacts. UM has nationally distinguished programs in biology and ecology and is perhaps even more renowned for its literary bona fides. The faculty of the university’s Creative Writing Program, founded in 1920, has included such influential authors as Richard Hugo, James Crumley, and William Kittredge.”
160. “He offered a crystal-clear notion of right and wrong, an unambiguous definition of good and evil. And although his perspective was absolutist and unyielding, it presented a kinder, gentler alternative to Calvinism, which had been the ecclesiastical status quo in the early years of the American republic.”
161. “Because it is there.”
162. “In any human endeavor, some fraction of its practitioners will be motivated to pursue that activity with such concentrated focus and unalloyed passion that it will consume them utterly. One has to look no further than individuals who feel compelled to devote their lives to becoming concert pianists, say, or climbing Mount Everest. For some, the province of the extreme holds an allure that’s irresistible. And a certain percentage of such fanatics will inevitably fixate on matters of the spirit.”
167. “Although the far territory of the extreme can exert an intoxicating pull on susceptible individuals of all bents, extremism seems to be especially prevalent among those inclined by temperament or upbringing toward religious pursuits. Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off.”
170. “If the expansion of the LDS faith continues at its current pace, within sixty years governing the United States will become “impossible without Mormon cooperation,” according to the eminent scholar Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University – and an unabashed admirer of Joseph Smith and the Mormons.”
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