Detectives Pyre and Bill’s investigation into Ron and Dan’s fundamentalist beliefs in FX on Hulu’s crime series ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ leads them to Bernard Brady and Prophet Onias. Through Brady, they realize that Prophet Onias, who established the fundamentalist group named “the School of the Prophets” influenced Ron and Dan significantly, possibly leading them to the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. The sixth episode of the show depicts Prophet Onias AKA Bob’s association with the Lafferty Brothers. If you want to know whether he is based on a real-life figure, let us share our findings!
Is Prophet Onias (Bob) Based on a Real Person?
Yes, Prophet Onias (Bob) is reportedly based on a real person. The character is based on fundamentalist Mormon leader Robert “Bob” Crossfield AKA Prophet Onias. He was born in July 1929 in the province of Alberta. In 1968, he published ‘Book of Onias,’ which comprises the revelations he claimed he received from God. It was followed by ‘The Second Book of Commandments,’ a compilation of 205 revelations. As per Jon Krakauer’s eponymous book, the source material of the show, he was a fundamentalist and polygamist and criticized the modern LDS Church, which reportedly led to his ex-communication in 1972.
According to Jon Krakauer’s book, Crossfield claimed God called him “Onias” and declared him “the true prophet and rightful leader of the LDS Church.” In the early 1980s, Onias moved to a town outside Provo, Utah, which paved the way for his association with the Lafferty brothers. He was drawn to Utah by the Dream Mine, which was set up to provide financial support to the LDS Church. Onias met Bernard Brady when the former was trying to establish the School of the Prophets, a group that aspired to propagate fundamentalist Mormon beliefs that were avoided by the modern LDS Church, including polygamy.
Brady went on to recruit members for Onias’ School and recruited Watson Lafferty Jr., Ron and Dan’s brother. Through Brady and Watson, Onias got acquainted with the other Lafferty brothers as well. Except for Allen, all the Lafferty brothers joined Onias’ group. By early 1984 the newly established School of the Prophets was meeting on a weekly basis, usually at the Provo home of the Laffertys’ mother. Around the same time, as Krakauer’s book states, Onias warned the presidents of stakes and bishops of wards of the LDS Church concerning forsaking the fundamentalist beliefs upon seemingly receiving a revelation from God.
As per Jon Krakauer’s book, Onias guided Ron when the latter apparently started to receive revelations from God. However, gradually, tensions began to arise between Onias and Ron as the latter challenged the former’s authority. According to Krakauer’s book, Onias hadn’t supported Ron to carry out his removal revelation and Brady was worried about Onias’ well-being. In an affidavit conceived by Brady, he expressed that Onias’ life is threatened by Ron and Dan.
Where is Prophet Onias (Bob) Now?
Robert “Bob” Crossfield AKA Prophet Onias died on October 27, 2018, in Newton, Utah. According to reports, Onias claimed he continued to receive revelations from God till 2004. His tenure as the President of the School of the Prophets also came to an end in 2004. At the time of Brenda and Erica’s murders, Onias was close with two new followers, named David and Pamela Coronado. According to Krakauer’s source text of the show, Onias acquired an old farmhouse, possibly in Utah, in the early 2000s. Onias had been seemingly living a life away from the spotlight during his later years.