I always have avoided writing true crime books about sensational murders because I find many of them of no social value. But I always have been fascinated by the power of religion, partly because my father is a minister.
So when I read about a preacher in Ohio who had murdered a family of five, including three children, because he claimed that God had ordered him to do it, I decided to investigate.
I thought this book would give me a chance to explore the dark side of religious fanaticism.
On the surface, the preacher seemed sincere — a true believer who had simply chosen to focus on the darkest passages in the Bible. However, I soon learned that he was using his “inspired” interpretations as a way to have his followers support him and have sex with their wives.
I probably made a mistake in how I wrote this book. Coming from a journalistic background, I believed in telling a story “like it is,” only in this case that included graphic accounts of disgusting sexual acts.
At the time, I thought these scenes were important because they showed just how much power Jeffrey Don Lundgren held over his family and followers, but I now believe they made readers stop short.
“Prophet of Death” is out-of-print now but it can be found at used book stores and on the web. Replica Books will print one for you — but it is expensive. While this book doesn’t embarrass me, I only recommend it to hard-core, true crime readers.
The stomach churning comes not only from the blood-and-guts, but from the sick sex.