New book on Mormon-led massacre opens old wounds
On Sept. 11, 1857, Mormon militiamen led the slaughter of 120 men, women and children on a wagon train bound for California in an incident known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Chief among the instigators was Isaac Haight, a local militia and church leader. Several generations later, Karen Maxwell would come to know of him as her grandfather's grandfather.
For years, Mormon church officials downplayed the role Mormons played in the mass killing, first blaming Indians and then finding a scapegoat in church member John D. Lee, the only man executed for his role.
Now, a new book drawing on existing material and documents previously unavailable to scholars lays the blame largely on southern Utah church and militia leaders. They were otherwise good people, the authors say, who were caught up in the frenzy of the times and took up guns to try to cover up terrible mistakes.
The long-awaited release of"Massacre at Mountain Meadows" forces a reexamination of a dark episode for a faith community that puts families first. Mormons believe the family unit lasts for eternity, dutifully practice genealogy and cherish their pioneer past. So for descendants of massacre perpetrators, the book's gritty detail and naming of names can bring a painful reckoning....
The new volume is the work not of Mormon critics but former or current employees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church. Among them is assistant church historian Richard Turley, who said church leaders fully endorsed the"no-holds-barred, let-the-chips-fall as they may" approach.
comments powered by Disqus
- Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group
- Say goodbye to the weirdest border dispute in the world
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- Richard Rothstein says government policy created ghettos
- The Islamic historian who can explain why some states fail and others succeed
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems