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“The Mormon Rebellion: America'S First Civil War, 1857-1858” By David L. Bigler And Will Bagley

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If they're not idiots, they're the next best thing for allowing the marketing people to both rename the Mormon War as the "Mormon Rebellion," which is unprecedented, and call it something it plainly was not.

Referring to the Utah War as "the Mormon Rebellion" was rather commonplace in the nineteenth century, hardly "unprecedented."

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Referring to the Utah War as "the Mormon Rebellion" was rather commonplace in the nineteenth century, hardly "unprecedented."

Among serious historians today it is never referred to that way. The so-called "rebellion" was a whole lot of nothing with folks whittling undesirables out of town . . . a pretty commonplace American phenomenon.

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I haven't read much about the Mountain Meadows Massacre (my only exposure being The Storm Testament IV; heavy reading for a 12 year old!), and now I'm finally reading "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" and really enjoying it. "Enjoying it" meaning it is well written, not the story itself of course.

Obviously, "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" has a lot of detail and information, and the authors had excellent access to the relevant materials. So if Bagley is coming to a starkly different conclusion about Brigham Young's involvement, that would mean he knows something that Ronald Walker doesn't, or Ronald Walker deliberately left out certain evidence to avoid an unpleasant conclusion. Or Bagley is blowing smoke and some people don't realize it (see: the positive review at Amazon).

I understand the argument for Bagley arguing beyond the evidence, so I don't need to hear that again. But can anyone make the argument for Walker being ignorant of certain evidence, or ignoring that evidence in the preparation of his book?

I listened to Will Bagley's interview on Mormon Expression. He stated one of the reasons he believes Young was involved is the rate at which an Indian army was gathered. He claims that an Indian event was planned much longer in advanced because it would take a much longer time for all the Indians to be gathered. At least that's what I remember hearing him say.

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Welcome to the board, Joe and we hope you have a long stay here but this was over the line. Do not insult our posters.

After only making it to the second paragraph of Deane’s review, I wanted him to defend the claim of there being “new research” in "Turley et al"s book. Can Deane identify just five new bits of information found in "Turley et al"s book that cannot be found in Blood of the Prophets, Innocent Blood or Mountain Meadows Massacre? My guess is Deane has not read any of these books.

I am completely shocked that any person with a shred of decency would write such a thing as the following: "then the authors dismiss relative examples of frontier violence that could have provided context for the Mountain Meadows Massacre", but this is found in Deane’s review. What violent act in the west compares to Mountain Meadows? It was not until the Oklahoma City bombing that any like number of civilians were murdered in cold blood in a non-military campaign on U.S. soil.

Deane claims the authors present the Mormons and Young as “witch burners”, “delusional”, “weasels”, “ungrateful guests”, and “dirty and sinister”. If one is willing to give Deane the benefit of the doubt, it could be said he has made at least five errors in a very short review. From my reading of the text he is sighting, I think Deane is being dishonest. For example the authors in describing how heated the reformation of 1856-1857 was, write that “Young ignited the most fearful spiritual upheaval since the 1642 Salem witch hunts.” (94) This is beyond stretching the truth on Deane’s part. Deane’s other words don’t even show up in the text.

And finally, how weak is it when apologists like Deane cry that their side of the story is not being told? What does he think 40,000 to 60,000 copies of Massacre at Mountain Meadows sold means? How many copies of Mormon Rebellion will be sold? Possibly three to four thousand books sold, less than 9 percent of Turley’s book. This apologists is not satisfied with these kinds of odds; no he want to destroy any other voice, call the other voices liars, or not even let the other voice speak, this is his strategy. An apologist like Deane doesn’t take the time to look at the evidence even-handedly, learn about the history or think for himself, he just attacks.

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The ignorance of those two idiots cannot be plumbed: They never heard of the Yankee-Pennamite War or the Kansas-Missouri Border War, I guess. Yet they think the only "other" time we had civil war in this country was during Buchanan's Blunder.

USU "Also remembers a little civil war between Tories and Patriots in places like Nueva York, South Carolina and the Wyoming Valley that post-dates the beginnings of the Yankee-Pennamite War -- But those yutzes don't know much from such obvious history" 78

I am not endorsing Bagley's book or defending it (I haven't read it), but I have experience in the publishing world, and its not uncommon for the publishers to tweak the title or completely rename it if they feel it will ad more zing or sell more books. In most cases the writer relents to the marketing dept. in order to get his/her book published. I am not saying this happened with this book's title, but its possible.

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I am not endorsing Bagley's book or defending it (I haven't read it), but I have experience in the publishing world, and its not uncommon for the publishers to tweak the title or completely rename it if they feel it will ad more zing or sell more books. In most cases the writer relents to the marketing dept. in order to get his/her book published. I am not saying this happened with this book's title, but its possible.

Again we find ourselves in agreement: marketing people are . . . well, uh, it's just, uh . . . yeah

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Mike . . . even you can't defend the indefensible, and calling the Mormon War "America's First Civil War" is indefensible by any standard.

Again... I haven't read the new book. But what specific statement do you think you are contradicting? A full quote would be nice.

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Again... I haven't read the new book. But what specific statement do you think you are contradicting? A full quote would be nice.

The title, ol' Hoss. If'n they can't get the title right, just what are we to think of the innards?

USU "And, no, I'm never reading another Bagley book" 78

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The title, ol' Hoss. If'n they can't get the title right, just what are we to think of the innards?

USU "And, no, I'm never reading another Bagley book" 78

That's all you' got, eh? Judging a book by its cover? (Chuckle) You will have to forgive me thing for laughing at the irony of YOU calling THEM idiots.

Both times I submitted work for publication, titles were not decided by me... but rather my editor. It is my understanding that this is a common practice. What have you published before, USU? Anything? Did you decide the titles?

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That's all you' got, eh? Judging a book by its cover? (Chuckle) You will have to forgive me thing for laughing at the irony of YOU calling THEM idiots.

If Bagley's new book appeared in a vacuum, we could have a different conversation. I've been reading his stuff and listening to his noises for many years now.

He's an obdurate, tendentious fool with a hankering for BY's blood and no amount of lack of evidence for BY's perfidy and bloodlust will ever dissuade him from his idiocy.

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He's an obdurate, tendentious fool with a hankering for BY's blood and no amount of lack of evidence for BY's perfidy and bloodlust will ever dissuade him from his idiocy.

You can't claim to know all of the evidence he has without reading the book. But thank you for demonstrating who at least one idiot/fool is.

Both times I submitted work for publication, titles were not decided by me... but rather my editor/publisher. It is my understanding that this is a rather common practice. What have you published before, USU? Anything? Did you decide the titles?

You're banned from the thread.

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If Bagley's new book appeared in a vacuum, we could have a different conversation. I've been reading his stuff and listening to his noises for many years now.

He's an obdurate, tendentious fool with a hankering for BY's blood and no amount of lack of evidence for BY's perfidy and bloodlust will ever dissuade him from his idiocy.

You are entitled to your opinion, of course. But it is an uninformed opinion. Until you read the work, it will remain so.

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You are entitled to your opinion, of course. But it is an uninformed opinion. Until you read the work, it will remain so.

So far, i think it's fair to say that the only person in this thread that has a valid opinion on the book is Morgan (unless someone else has read it that i'm not aware of).

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Will hates Brigham Young as far as I can tell. On an email list to which I belong e always refers to him sarcastically as "the Old Boss," based on someone referring to BY that way back in the day, from what I gather. Will speaks there of a "growing body of evidence that the Old Boss ordered hits on a variety of characters ranging from Jesse Hartley to the Aiken Party." He's joked(?) that BY had a certain alter built in the SL Temple in order to sacrifice chickens or apostates. As for the new Turley/Walker MMM book, Will said his own volume "provides ten times more analysis and interpretation in five pages [of the conclusion] than the Brethren [referring to the new MMM book] do in 400+ pages. I have said historians should get their facts straight and be more familiar with primary sources than grandiose historigraphical theories, but that's common sense." He's said other stuff about it but I don't feel like looking through all the emails. Here's what I dug up in ten minutes or so:

Does Will think BY ordered the MMM? According to him:

Bigler told me that he'd always had his doubts about the Old Boss ordering the massacre, but my interview put those doubts to rest. Faithful fanatics, eat my dust.

Sort of leaves the door open a crack there. As to why he lacks evidence on this score he also said:

I then believed, and do now, that whatever written communications were sent by Brigham [ordering or directing the massacre] were sent to persons other than Lee and have long since been taken care of by Brigham Young, who, with all the other charges or allegations against him, has not to my knowledge been accused of being either a fool or so indifferent to his own safety as to allow written evidence of his own guilt to remain in the hands of men over whom he as supreme control for all the time since this crime was committed, now about twenty years.

Another email he sent said:

Turley still has agents digging at NARA, but I'm sure they'll still a whale of a lot of NARA correspondence. I know for a fact they missed a devastating item at another archive that is pretty much the whole ballgame. It answers the critical question, what did the Old Boss know and when did he know it? Days after the atrocity, it turns out, not 20 years later.

IIRC I asked him why he thinks BY didn't know about the massacre until days later if he was the one who ordered it and he didn't respond, but now I realize he could consistently think so based on the time it would take to hear that the massacre had been carried out.

His disdain doesn't stop with BY though. He has no love for the "very nasty, powerful and feared Mormon matriarch" named Eliza Snow. He also apparently doesn't like Ezra "Daft Benson," and Pres. Monson is "a fearful midget," "a real spiritual leader. Almost as great as Hosni W. Mubarik." His disdain carries over to contemporary historians, like Paul Reeve at the University of Utah. Another member of the list asked "I wonder if Quinn is beginning to seem passe in the research community--anybody have any thoughts on that?" Will responded:

Maybe to dildos like Reeve and the MoGradStu crowd, but not one of them shows the slightest sign of being as important a researcher as D. Michael Quinn.

As Reeve's dissembling about polygamy and refusing to site the bewst sources makes clear, this isn't a "Historical Encyclopedia." It's dishonest propaganda.

This was in regards to a new book edited by Paul with the help of Ardis Parshall.

http://www.amazon.com/Mormonism-Historical-Encyclopedia-Paul-Reeve/dp/1598841076

Regarding Quinn, it shows me that Will is pretty out of the loop when it comes to the "MoGradStu crowd," since many have plenty of positive things to say about Quinn today.

Frankly, this stuff sort of ticked me off. These are just a few examples of the many emails I've seen. I was originally just looking for his comments about BY's fault in the MMM but got distracted by some of these other quotes.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying that because Will often manifests a lot of disdain for Mormonism that means his history is poor, or that this book in particular is. It can and should be evaluated on its own grounds. But at the same time I do think the difference between his public and semi-private persona is interesting enough to post about here, and it seems to me the disdain sometimes slips into his narratives, though I've only seen Blood of the Prophets and some other articles he's written. I used to argue with him and sometimes acted like a prig in these conversations, but eventually I got fed up and quit responding to him on that list. I wonder if Morgan can tell us if the book includes the "devastating item that is pretty much the whole ballgame" regarding Young's involvement or knowledge of the massacre.

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I wonder if the book addresses the obvious question. Why would “the traitor” Brigham Young begin a civil war in 1857, but remain loyal during the real Civil War, when his chances for success would have seemed to be much greater?

Especially when the South offered Utah statehood if she joined the Confederacy.

Brother Brigham rejected Davis' offer.

When O.P. Rockwell, Abraham O. Smoot, and Judson Stoddard brought the first news of Johnston's advancing army to Brigham, he was standing under a huge USmerican flag. It was 24 July 1857, the ten-year anniversary of his initial arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.

See Deseret News, 29 July 1857 and B.,H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, vol. IV, 237.

Lehi

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@LifeOnaPlate: thank you very much for that contribution. I have been interested in Will Bagley ever since I read BotP. And I remain interested in getting any further information on what B. Young knew and did not know before the fact of the MMM. I already accept that after it, he dissembled and hid the truth in order to protect the perpetrators and the Church's image. I believe that he swung a deal with the Fed Court to hang Lee out as scapegoat so that the "heat" would be taken off himself and the rest of the Church....

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@LifeOnaPlate: thank you very much for that contribution. I have been interested in Will Bagley ever since I read BotP. And I remain interested in getting any further information on what B. Young knew and did not know before the fact of the MMM. I already accept that after it, he dissembled and hid the truth in order to protect the perpetrators and the Church's image. I believe that he swung a deal with the Fed Court to hang Lee out as scapegoat so that the "heat" would be taken off himself and the rest of the Church....

If you think BY "covered up" anything you ought to look at the dates of his tenure as territorial governor. When was he appointed? When was he removed? When did he step down? When did MMM happen? Put those dates in a timeline . . . see if you can see whether he could have been responsible for any decisions regarding the prosecution of anybody for the MMM atrocity. Then tell us whether you still think "he dissembled and hid the truth in order to protect the perpetrators and the Church's image." You are paraphrasing Bagley, who likewise cannot read a timeline.

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To get you going:

BY was elected Governor of Utah Territory and took office on February 3, 1851 (he had previously been governor of the State of Deseret). He left office in favor of Cummings at the end of the Utah War (more or less) on April 12, 1858. MMM took place on September 11, 1857.

Out of secular office, just how was BY supposed to affect prosecutions? Such things were Cummings' call, and he wanted no part of it, having been convinced that the Utah War Amnesty covered those events.

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Will hates Brigham Young as far as I can tell. On an email list to which I belong e always refers to him sarcastically as "the Old Boss," based on someone referring to BY that way back in the day, from what I gather. Will speaks there of a "growing body of evidence that the Old Boss ordered hits on a variety of characters ranging from Jesse Hartley to the Aiken Party." He's joked(?) that BY had a certain alter built in the SL Temple in order to sacrifice chickens or apostates. As for the new Turley/Walker MMM book, Will said his own volume "provides ten times more analysis and interpretation in five pages [of the conclusion] than the Brethren [referring to the new MMM book] do in 400+ pages. I have said historians should get their facts straight and be more familiar with primary sources than grandiose historigraphical theories, but that's common sense." He's said other stuff about it but I don't feel like looking through all the emails. Here's what I dug up in ten minutes or so:

Does Will think BY ordered the MMM? According to him:

Sort of leaves the door open a crack there. As to why he lacks evidence on this score he also said:

Another email he sent said:

IIRC I asked him why he thinks BY didn't know about the massacre until days later if he was the one who ordered it and he didn't respond, but now I realize he could consistently think so based on the time it would take to hear that the massacre had been carried out.

His disdain doesn't stop with BY though. He has no love for the "very nasty, powerful and feared Mormon matriarch" named Eliza Snow. He also apparently doesn't like Ezra "Daft Benson," and Pres. Monson is "a fearful midget," "a real spiritual leader. Almost as great as Hosni W. Mubarik." His disdain carries over to contemporary historians, like Paul Reeve at the University of Utah. Another member of the list asked "I wonder if Quinn is beginning to seem passe in the research community--anybody have any thoughts on that?" Will responded:

This was in regards to a new book edited by Paul with the help of Ardis Parshall.

http://www.amazon.com/Mormonism-Historical-Encyclopedia-Paul-Reeve/dp/1598841076

Regarding Quinn, it shows me that Will is pretty out of the loop when it comes to the "MoGradStu crowd," since many have plenty of positive things to say about Quinn today.

Frankly, this stuff sort of ticked me off. These are just a few examples of the many emails I've seen. I was originally just looking for his comments about BY's fault in the MMM but got distracted by some of these other quotes.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying that because Will often manifests a lot of disdain for Mormonism that means his history is poor, or that this book in particular is. It can and should be evaluated on its own grounds. But at the same time I do think the difference between his public and semi-private persona is interesting enough to post about here, and it seems to me the disdain sometimes slips into his narratives, though I've only seen Blood of the Prophets and some other articles he's written. I used to argue with him and sometimes acted like a prig in these conversations, but eventually I got fed up and quit responding to him on that list. I wonder if Morgan can tell us if the book includes the "devastating item that is pretty much the whole ballgame" regarding Young's involvement or knowledge of the massacre.

Thanks for post. It makes me wonder how much I got thrashed in that email group. Paul Reeve used to teach at my undergraduate alma mater and I have a great deal of respect for him. So I have to wonder what kind of grudge he has against Reeve to call him a "dildo". Frankly I don't know any respectable historian that would use language like that.

As far as the game changer, I don't recall anything in their book so I would have to go look at it again. But if its so obscure that I can't remember it I don't think it was that much a game changer. Sorry I couldn't help more. -Morgan

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@LifeOnaPlate: thank you very much for that contribution. I have been interested in Will Bagley ever since I read BotP. And I remain interested in getting any further information on what B. Young knew and did not know before the fact of the MMM. I already accept that after it, he dissembled and hid the truth in order to protect the perpetrators and the Church's image. I believe that he swung a deal with the Fed Court to hang Lee out as scapegoat so that the "heat" would be taken off himself and the rest of the Church....

Sure, Wilbur. And Usama's still alive. And 9/11 was an inside job. And the moon landings were a hoax.

BTW, you do know what a "scapegoat" is, don't you? A "scapegoat" is an innocent party who is blamed for someone else's misdeeds. Lee planned the attack, was the only white man on the scene of the battle for the first few days, was the one who masterminded the deception by which the settlers were lured out of their camp, personally killed five people and would have killed more had his gun not jammed; and all this by his own admission.

Yeah. A scapegoat. Right.

Do you have any evidence to support your nasty accusation against Brigham Young, or is that accusation merely a reflection of your own character?

Regards,

Pahoran

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That's all you' got, eh? Judging a book by its cover? (Chuckle) You will have to forgive me thing for laughing at the irony of YOU calling THEM idiots.

It's not quite as ironic as your hero calling his opponents "fanatics."

Regards,

Pahoran

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For Blood of the Prophets, the game changer, according to Bagley, was the Dimick Huntingon Journal entry about the Indians raising "allies" which he had reluctantly to admit was a bad misreading on his part, as the original clearly said "grain." A review in BYU Studies offered a photograph of the page in question.

As far as a "deal" to scapegoat Lee, see Crockett's detailed review here:

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=15&num=2&id=509

In this section, we will examine the law, which demonstrates that any deal would have been a worthless nullity. We will then look at the evidence Bagley offers to support his theory of a deal, to show that his evidence lacks proper foundation and is thus not reliable. Lastly, we will see from an overwhelming amount of official correspondence that Howard's later actions were inconsistent with any "deal."

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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@LifeOnaPlate: thank you very much for that contribution. I have been interested in Will Bagley ever since I read BotP. And I remain interested in getting any further information on what B. Young knew and did not know before the fact of the MMM. I already accept that after it, he dissembled and hid the truth in order to protect the perpetrators and the Church's image. I believe that he swung a deal with the Fed Court to hang Lee out as scapegoat so that the "heat" would be taken off himself and the rest of the Church....

That would have been a felony for both the prosecutor, Sumner Howard, and Brigham Young. And unenforceable, as well. Something Howard would have known full well. And such a theory makes no sense, given all the National Archives material showing continued effort by the feds to pin Brigham Young to the crime. If there was such a deal, why would the government have allocated more funds year after year to go after others?

See my unpublished paper on this very topic: http://randomrunner.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-scapegoating-of-john-d-lee-for-the-mountain-meadows-massacre/

This was my conclusion in that paper:

The conclusion to be derived from these facts is that “scapegoating” was Lee’s trial defense, which the prosecution denied and which only the press seemed to really support. How could Lee have been made a scapegoat for other guilty participants when there is no evidence of a deal to thwart justice, and the government’s internal workings show a continued effort to prosecute President Young and others? “Scapegoating” helped sell books and newspapers. Had the Church and the Department of Justice reached a secret deal to make Lee a scapegoat, then one would think that the DoJ would have acted consistently with that deal. But it didn’t; there were years of additional efforts to pin Brigham Young to the crime.

It is unfortunate that Brooks and Bagley swallowed the scapegoating theory hook, line and sinker when there was not any bait hanging on the hook. Brooks’ analysis of this theory seems, a half century later, rather odd, but one must remember that her grandfather, Dudley Leavitt, was a principal in the massacre. When she published her biography of Leavitt, she left out the massacre entirely other than to say that it would be better left alone. Bagley adopted the theory because by the time Bagley wrote his book the theory had become so entrenched as to take on the force of truth, and there is plenty of external evidence to show that Bagley has an unmitigated axe to grind against the Church.

It is inappropriate that Bagley did not mention the National Archives files of the Departments of Justice, War and the Interior, which discuss the government’s continued efforts to prosecute Church officials and which contain denials of the Salt Lake Tribune’s charges of a deal to thwart justice. Bagley doesn’t even cite these materials in his sources, but it is plain that he had had access to the National Archives in his research because there are a few NARA cites in his footnotes.

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You are entitled to your opinion, of course. But it is an uninformed opinion. Until you read the work, it will remain so.

Welcome to the board, Melvin.

Question: are you saying that, until he reads Bagley's latest book, USU will only have an uninformed opinion about Bagley's latest book, about Bagley's writing in general, or about the Mountain Meadow Massacre?

If the first, then I agree with you. However, Bagley's publishing record has been a matter of considerable interest ever since his magnum opus, Smear Blood on the Prophets, came out. Knowing what was in that, and on first hearing that Bagley was working on another book that was covering the same period, several of us predicted that it would include another attempt to libel Brigham. Bagley's conclusions were apparent to us before we saw his arguments and evidence, just as they no doubt were to him.

So our lack of information would appear to extend only to the particulars of how he honed his hatchet.

Speaking only for myself; anyone who, in a discussion of his allegedly scholarly work, jeers at his opponents as "faithful fanatics" has no credibility as a serious scholar at all.

Rather, he looks remarkably like a cheap demagogue.

Regards,

Pahoran

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I listened to Will Bagley's interview on Mormon Expression. He stated one of the reasons he believes Young was involved is the rate at which an Indian army was gathered. He claims that an Indian event was planned much longer in advanced because it would take a much longer time for all the Indians to be gathered. At least that's what I remember hearing him say.

Will knows shockingly little about natives. A few points in my papers I've written:

1. Will did not realize that Paiutes were not horse Indians. They did not travel by horse in them days. He seems to assume that two Indian chiefs traveled 300 miles in three days to get the massacre started.

2. In BOTP he accepts as real a staged photograph of three Paiutes. They were wearing a photographer's wardrobe.

As to the number of Indians assembled, and how quickly so, the natives were very dependent on the Mormons at that time. The Church had assigned a mission president to them (Jacob Hamblin) and several Indian farmers (John D. Lee). It seems that if the Church was really behind the Indians, their mission president would have been there at the time, but he wasn't. Hamblin was north on Church business. The massacre occurred on his property; it is really so odd he wasn't there if Bagley's theory is correct. In any event, it would have been not difficult to assemble some natives to begin the attack.

Further, the natives couldn't do any thing. The Fancher train had them outgunned and were in the midst of breaking loose of the Indian attack when Haight decided to intervene with a bogus call to the priesthood for action.

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