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Richard Turley On Mountain Meadows Massacre At


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Interesting how he contends that it is a typical mass killing situation. He explored the psychology of the Mountain Meadows with mass killings, and the MM isn't nearly as prominant, nor was it considered genocide. I'm typing as he is talking...........so I shall have more. I will detail Bokovoy's presentation later this morning. He looks pretty darn good in a tie!

Everyone has both choice and accountability. How could otherwise good people commit such a horrible crime? No one set out to commit a crime. There is a problem of exaggerated fear about the enemy. This played a significant part in the MMM.......

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He's talking about the rigidity and uniformity of the society in Southern Utah.

Things were really rigid. Those who chafed against this rigidity left the area, with the remaining denizens becoming more entrenched and the society more regimented and monolithic.

A monolithic society had been encouraged and fostered for years: An attempt to unify everyone into a "party of Saints."

Monolithic societies are more prone to group violence. That's what existed in Southern Utah at the MMM.

Another potentially dangerous aspect of monolithic societies is centralization of power in the hands of a few and poor exercise of that power.

The Book of Mormon warns against the misuse of power. Joseph Smith warned against the misuse of power (unrighteous dominion). Isaac Haight had a tremendous power. He was stake president, Mayor of Cedar City, president of the iron company and second in the command in the militia. He had virtually all political, religious, military and economic power in the area. And he was isolated from higher authorities in SLC. And he resented opposing views. Haight conferred with his military superior, Dame, and came away from the meeting with the sense that he was free to use the militia to kill the members of the wagon train.

Misuse of authority and overly compliant followers can lead to real problems.

Authority and obedience thereto are key to Mormonism. Banding together to address civil emergencies is an example of how this can be a good thing. But the MMM is an example of how people were led into doing something wrong, and then later blame their higher-ups for the wrongful conduct.

Nevertheless, everyone has choice and accountability.

Good stuff. He's not pulling any punches.


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How did otherwise good people commit such a horrific act?

Partial Answer: They didn't set out to commit a massacre. Instead, there were incremental steps toward it, with relatively minor wrong acts that were then covered up. This happened again and again, a slipperly slope that eventually culminated in a very harmful act.

This incrementalism facilitates justification/rationalization for the horrific acts.

Another issue: Exaggerated fear of the victims. Stobb says that the power or aims of the victims are often exaggerated. Life problems are projected onto the victims. Exaggerated fear played a significant role in the MMM. When they passed through Cedar City, the immigrants had a few scuffles with the locals. Some of the immigrants were reported to have threatened to join the approaching army. These were probably made in the heat of the moment, and the immigrant leader, Alexander Fancher, rebuked those who made the threats. But in the charged environment of 1857, Cedar City leaders took the immigrants' threats at face value.

Another issue: Displacement of hostility. Cedar City leaders were worried about the approaching army, which anxiety was projected onto the immigrants.

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Nothing the immigrants justified the antagonism and anxiety focused on them.

Another factor: The existence of some sort of military organization that can be used to carry out the act. A machine of destruction has to be created.

The local militia was such an organization. Every male between 18 and 45 were required to be a part of the militia. This system, authorized by Congress, was good, and the forerunner of today's National Guard. However, it was misused repeatedly. It was misused against the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois, and then, later, at Mountain Meadows.

Hey you better come and say hi to me today............or I won't be pullin punches either. :P

Where are you? I'm on the left side of the room, just in front of the digital video camera.


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Another factor: The use of euphemistic language, which masks and disguises the reality of the horrific act. It serves to deny reality and distance the self from responsibility for the horrific act.

Regarding the MMM, some of the militiamen were told they were being sent to the Meadow to bury men who had already been called. But when they got there, they were told they would be doing the killing.

Just before the massacre, the leaders called their plan a "decoy." The women/children would be "dispatched."

Despite those who order mass killings, they cannot succeed without followers who actually carry out the orders.

The relationship between leaders and followers is not about the classic sense of obedience to authority. Rather, the perpetrators join with their superiors.

Nephi Johnson said that most of those who participated in the massacre felt justified in the killing because they (the immigrants) and the approaching army were both a common "enemy."


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I'm on the left side also right BEHIND the camera. Turn around and I shall wave at you.......(If you can't see me, I am the handsome one)...... :P


Turley has found no evidence that BY ordered the massacre. He heard about it happening two days after it happened......... this was a conclusion that I (e=mc2) came to years ago, and its nice to see that no one else has found any evidence of this yet.)

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I (and my professor husband who got his degree in organizational psych while I got it in clinical psych) found his presentation of the social psychological theory as applied to the event to be extremely well developed and accurate. He knows his stuff, not only what happened, but how to do analysis and put it into context.

Very sad and disturbing presentation, but also very satisfying as I think this is the most complete portrayal (as far as explaining as opposed to describing) of it that I've seen.

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