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” was out-of-print now but it can be found online as an ebook and includes an afterword that updates you on all the people mentioned in the book. 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.
Prophet of Death
The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings
An account of the crimes of Jeffrey Lundgren describes how the fanatical preacher used his hypnotic oratory and his twisted interpretations of religious texts to justify the excesses of his church–perversion, sexual slavery, and human sacrifice.