Jump to content

Looking For Help With Tracking Down A Quote Attributed To Brigham Young


smac97

Recommended Posts

In Sally Denton's book, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857, we find the following passage (on page 105):

2003248080087330878_rs.jpg

The notes for these two quotes (listed on page 259 of Denton's book) give a reference:

2003248414892788376_rs.jpg

This book, published in 1910, is available for download from GoogleBooks here and is also available for online viewing here.

Here is page 8 of Gibbs's book:

2002095685502863301_rs.jpg

2002008632525110403_rs.jpg

Denton also uses these quotes in this article posted on AmericanHeritage.com.

I don't see either of the quotes Denton used in her book ("in an orgy of recrimination and rebaptism" and "hewn down").

I'd like a reality check here. Can any of you folks find these two quotes anywhere in Gibbs's book? Please use both the above links (this one to download the original book and this one to view the contents online).

Thanks,

-Smac

P.S. I have found a quote in the Journal of Discourses that is somewhat similar (see this reference (fn 40)):

2004645419420759377_rs.jpg

Link to comment

You should contact Christopher Cain, the director of September Dawn. Last I heard, he is also looking for help with tracking down a quote attributed to Brigham Young.

Actually, I'm in contact with the press agent for Ms. Schutter. Ms. Schutter is claiming that the quote you are referring to ("I am the voice of God...") came from Denton's book. But I don't think that's true. I think that the quote came from an anonymous letter on Sandra Tanner's website.

Ah, heck. Let me lay my cards out:

I have emailed Carole Schutter at two or three different email addresses times asking about this quote. She has not responded to my inquiries.

On August 31 I found out that Ms. Schutter had hired a press agent named Helen, who issued a press release about the movie.

Here's my first email to Helen:

Dear Helen Cook,

I just came across your press release about Carole Whang Schutter and September Dawn.

I have a question about the film. The opening line of dialog the trailer for September Dawn is a statement by Brigham Young:

"I am the voice of God. And anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down."

Christopher Cain has claimed that all of the dialogue in the film attributed to Brigham Young is authentic. In a New York Times article, "With Only God Left as a Witness," by John Anderson (published on January 22, 2006, available online here), Mr. Cain stated (emphasis added):

''And by the way,'' Mr. Cain said,
"I didn't write any of his dialogue,''
explaining that it was all in the depositions that Young gave after the massacre. ''I sat here watching this a couple of weeks ago and I was thinking: 'Maybe I made that up. I don't think he would have said that.' And I went back and pull

Mr. Cain recently repeated this claim in a radio interview (here is a link to the audio) (emphases added):

CALLER: Before I take issue with ya, I want to say that I agree with you folks that it is important to search out the roots of stuff like this when they happen, even if they happen to one of your own. I am a Mormon, and coming to grips with this has been quite a challenge. The issue I want to take, is when you look at the trailer, the scene opens with a Brigham Young comment, something to the tune of "I am the Voice of God, and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down". Where did that quote come from?

HH: Chris Cain?

CC:
I don't have the quote in front of me... I can't tell you exactly... I should have brought the quotes with me, but I didn't bring them.

HH:
But you're certain it's a quote from a published and reputable source?

CC:
Yes.

CALLER: Well, let me tell you where I'm coming from. I participate regularly in an apologetic message board where the critics and the apologists come together, and both 'sides of the aisle' have tried to search the source of this quote, and we can't find anything older than a couple of years. It seems to have not existed until a couple of years ago.

HH: Chris, will you send me what you believe to be the source of that, and I'll make sure I post that at Hughhewitt.com? (CC says yes) I hope that works for you, Rob, because we can't get to the bottom of that now, but I'll look up, and I will follow up on it.

Jon Voight, the star of the film, has made the same claim (emphasis added):

There's a wonderful book by Will Bagley called The Blood of the Prophets. And people can read this stuff, and hopefully they will. They will see the film and they will go and do their own work on it. But
every word that is spoken by Brigham Young in the film was spoken by Brigham Young at the time around the Massacre
. And that itself is quite shocking if you, having been introduced to this story...

I have been unable to track down the source of this quote. The only reference I could find was one of the newsletters from Utah Lighthouse Ministries (an anti-Mormon outfit based in Salt Lake City). Specifically, in the "Letters to the Editor" section, I found this letter from an anonymous author to Sandra Tanner (emphasis added):

Nov. 28, 2004

Sandra, I'm sorry to bother you but I'm having a difficult time finding the reference to this statement by Brigham Young and wondered if you would know off-hand, where it came from so I can look it up. Was it the JOD? If so, when and what pages? Thank you so much. I'm going crazy trying to find it.

"
I am the voice of God and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down
. God has revealed to me that I have the right and power to call down curses on anyone who tries to invade our lands. Therefore, I curse the Gentiles."

The response from Sandra Tanner (the head of this anti-Mormon ministry), was as follows:

Sandra's Note: Sorry, not familiar with the quotes...

Ms. Schutter, as the author of the screenplay, must have the source of the above-referenced quote. Will she produce it?

Sincerely,

Spencer Macdonald

After several emails from Helen saying that she would get back to me, I finally received an answer from Ms. Schutter (through Helen):

Spencer,

Here is the answer to your question and a little added information.

It came from Sally Denton's book "American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows."She is a highly thought of Investigative Reporter who has written many best-selling historical books. I should have kept exactly where that came from but at the time, didn't think I was going to do a book. However, many of his sermons certainly were consistent with that particular phrase.

Joseph Smith also referred to himself as "god on earth," and "the voice of god," he said the prophets were "the voice of god." BY was a blind follower of Joseph and believed it.

Here is a statement one of the investors wrote:

All of the dialogue of Brigham Young in this movie is completely accurate and is taken from LDS documents except for one sentence. Everybody at the time knew he and Joseph Smith before him were the voices of God. The second clause of that sentence . . . â??and anyone who doesnâ??t like it will be hewn downâ? is a shorthand way of combining several statements made in the Blood Atonement sermons which he didnâ??t sugar coat. For example, he said, â??If any miserable scoundrels come here cut their throats.â? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a Sherlock Holmes meets the Mormons story called A Study in Scarlet in which he said , "In the meantime, remember that now and forever you are of our religion. Brigham Young has said it, and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith, which is the voice of God."

I just responded:

Dear Helen:

Thank you for your follow-up.

However, I am confused at this response from Ms. Schutter. She claims that the quote attributed in the movie to Brigham Young ("I am the voice of God, and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down") came from Sally Denton's book, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857.

As far as I can tell, the following is the only instance in Denton's book where Brigham Young is quoted using the words "hewn down." On page 105 we read:

Young's church elders swept through the outlying communities in the winter of 1856-57 "in an orgy of recrimination and rebaptism," as one account put it, followed by the constant scrutiny of those who had been found lacking. Young declared that all backsliders should be "hewn down."

The footnote for these two quotes (fn 105) refers to "Josiah F. Gibbs, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, 8ff." This book, published in 1910, is available for download from GoogleBooks here and is also available for online viewing here.

Three points come to mind after having read these materials:

First, Denton is quoting Gibbs for the "hewn down" language, but that language is nowhere to be found in Gibbs's book.

Second, nothing from the quote save two words ("hewn down") appears in either Denton's book or the reference she uses (Gibbs's book). There is no reference to Brigham Young being the "voice of God." "Hewn down" does appear, but in the context of "backsliding" Mormons, not "anyone who tries to invade our lands." There is also no reference in Denton's or Gibbs's book about Brigham Young having a revelation from God about calling down curses, nor is there any reference to him "curs[ing] the gentiles."

Third, Ms. Schutter claims that the quote we have been discussing "came from Sally Denton's book," and yet it is a virtually verbatim quote from an anti-Mormon website. Specifically, some anonymous person wrote to Sandra Tanner, a prominent anti-Mormon writer from Salt Lake City (who, I understand, was enlisted as an advisor for September Dawn). This anonymous person's letter, posted on Mrs. Tanner's website since November 2004, states:

Nov. 28, 2004

Sandra, I'm sorry to bother you but I'm having a difficult time finding the reference to this statement by Brigham Young and wondered if you would know off-hand, where it came from so I can look it up. Was it the JOD? If so, when and what pages? Thank you so much. I'm going crazy trying to find it.

"I am the voice of God and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down. God has revealed to me that I have the right and power to call down curses on anyone who tries to invade our lands. Therefore, I curse the Gentiles."

Mrs. Tanner responded that she was "not familiar with the quotes."

Compare the above quote with the statement by Brigham Young as it appears in the movie (a clip is available on Yahoo!Movies):

I am the voice of God and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down. God has revealed to me that I have the right and the power to call down curses on anyone who tries to invade our lands. Therefore, I curse the gentiles.

The two statements are identical save for the addition of a single word in the movie version ("I have the right and the power" as compared to "I have the right and power").

To be frank, it appears that Ms. Schutter is not being entirely forthcoming. How does she explain the presence of the movie line on Mrs. Tanner's website back in 2004?

Sincerely,

Spencer Macdonald

So that's where I'm at.

-Smac

Link to comment

Good luck trying to get them to fess up that they used major artistic freedom in the dialouge of this movie. Especially in the case of BY.

I'm actually okay with reasonable use of "artistic freedom." I recognize that dialogue is often spliced together, truncated, or otherwise modified for use in a movie.

But the makers of this movie have been adamant about every line in this movie being historically authentic. Chris Cain has said that this movie is "about as historically authentic as you'd want a movie to be" (he said this in a "making of" clip about September Dawn, I'll see if I can track it down).

So when they claim to be producing a historically authentic and accurate film, they have much less leeway in manipulating quotes. When they claim that "every word that is spoken by Brigham Young in the film was spoken by Brigham Young at the time around the Massacre," they have much less leeway in manipulating quotes.

And when they claim that this quote came from a published historical account (Sally Denton's), when it did not (and when, in fact, they culled it from an anonymous source from an anti-Mormon website), then they should be honest enough to admit that.

-Smac

Link to comment
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a Sherlock Holmes meets the Mormons story called A Study in Scarlet in which he said , "In the meantime, remember that now and forever you are of our religion. Brigham Young has said it, and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith, which is the voice of God."
Citing Doyle's story is supposed to impress us about her historic accuracy?
Link to comment

Citing Doyle's story is supposed to impress us about her historic accuracy?

Yes, well. There you are.

Meanwhile, an anti-Mormon screed that was published 50+ years after the fact is deemed a reliable source by Denton.

Denton then provides "quotes" that do not even appear to be in that screed.

Schutter then uses these apparently non-existent quotes to fabricate a quote and attribute it to Brigham Young in a movie where, it is claimed, "every word that is spoken by Brigham Young in the film was spoken by Brigham Young at the time around the Massacre."

And this fabricated quote becomes perhaps the best-known line from the movie. It's the opening line in the movie's trailer. The clip of the actor speaking the line is available on Yahoo!Movies. It's repeatedly referred to by various news media and others as a legitimate quote of Brigham Young's words (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

Heck, check out this comment from the Production Notes of the movie (published by the production company that made the movie):

â??Youngâ??s words are taken verbatim from his preaching, sermons and writings. I donâ??t think I would have believed the things that were being said at the time, if they hadnâ??t been historically and factually recorded,â? Cain observed. â??But, you can look up the quotes.â?

Citing more research directly from The Churchâ??s archives, Cain noted, â??The other document that was the most damning was Brigham Youngâ??s deposition. If you read his deposition and compare that to what was coming out of his speeches at that time, clearly he was urging this kind of behavior. At the same time Young is saying that he knew nothing about the massacre.â? From what Cain surmised, this was not true, as illustrated in a quote from one of Youngâ??s transcripts where he says, â??I will loose the Indians on them, we will slit their throats from ear to ear.â?

Young also declared himself to be â??the voice of God, and anyone who doesnâ??t like it will be hewn down.â?

And then all of this seems to be turning out to be irrelevant, because the quote didn't come from Denton or her source (Gibbs), but from an anti-Mormon website that lists the quote as one for which the interlocutor was unable to find a source (and with which Sandra Tanner - a career anti-Mormon - was not familiar).

-Smac

Link to comment

I'm actually okay with reasonable use of "artistic freedom."

So when they claim to be producing a historically authentic and accurate film, they have much less leeway in manipulating quotes. When they claim that "every word that is spoken by Brigham Young in the film was spoken by Brigham Young at the time around the Massacre," they have much less leeway in manipulating quotes.

I agree. But I don't think they are going to fess up to this.

Link to comment

I received another email from Helen (in response to the one I posted here earlier):

Dear Spencer,

This is the answer that Ms Schutter provided to me and Iâ??m not going to hound her or ask her to debate you on the issue. I appreciate your inquiry but it is starting to sound as though all you really want to do is rake Ms Schutterâ??s screenplay over the coals.

I donâ??t mean to be rude or abrupt but I have other Clients that I must attend to and cannot devote any more time to your question.

Cordially,

Helen Cook

-Smac

I emailed Helen one last time with an invitation for Ms. Schutter to participate in this thread.

I won't hold my breath, tho.

Link to comment

I received another email from Helen (in response to the one I posted here earlier):

-Smac

I emailed Helen one last time with an invitation for Ms. Schutter to participate in this thread.

I won't hold my breath, tho.

That's pretty much the response I would expect. It's not like they're defending a thesis or something. Their claim to use actual quotes from Brigham Young was likely intended to be a marketing ploy, but I don't think it's something they'll go to the mat for. The marketing phase is over.

Link to comment

I don't think they think this is a big deal at all.

They will just claim it is an combination of many quotes by Brigham Young. They will say it is obvious the Saints believed he was the voice of God and he did say "hewn down" at some point.

The reason she doesn't want to spend time debating is because she knows where it will lead...that the quote isn't accurate. But to her that is trifling when dealing with the bigger picture of portraying the church as a ruthless cult.

Link to comment
...it is starting to sound as though all you really want to do is rake Ms Schutterâ??s screenplay over the coals.

The reviewers of her movie have already "rake[ed]" her "screenplay over the coals." This isn't about her screenplay; it's about what she (and others) have claimed about the dialogue and statements made by BY. If you're going to make such a claim, it would seem that you would be able to back it up fairly easily.

[edited for clarity]

Link to comment

I don't think they think this is a big deal at all.

They will just claim it is an combination of many quotes by Brigham Young. They will say it is obvious the Saints believed he was the voice of God and he did say "hewn down" at some point.

The reason she doesn't want to spend time debating is because she knows where it will lead...that the quote isn't accurate. But to her that is trifling when dealing with the bigger picture of portraying the church as a ruthless cult.

I think you're right. But the "hewn down" quote will be circulating amongst Protestants forever more as a legitimate quote of Brigham Young because of Ms. Schutter's sleight-of-hand. I refuse to let the go unanswered.

-Smac

Link to comment
think you're right. But the "hewn down" quote will be circulating amongst Protestants forever more as a legitimate quote of Brigham Young because of Ms. Schutter's sleight-of-hand. I refuse to let the go unanswered

As we shouldn't. I just believe they will never seriously dialogue with Mormons because they know we are the only ones that will take the time to call them on these spurious claims.

I would love to see a non-mormon, a member of the media or a member of her own faith approach her and call her out on the innacuracies but again, Mormons are the only going to put any time into this so she will have nothing to do with us.

She may even turn your friendly emails into threats from the Mormon church.

Link to comment

As we shouldn't. I just believe they will never seriously dialogue with Mormons because they know we are the only ones that will take the time to call them on these spurious claims.

I'm not so sure. There were plenty of movie critics who weren't willing to let Schutter et al. get away with their wholesale vilification of Brigham Young and the Church.

Hugh Hewitt also showed that he's willing to call critics on specious claims (or, at least, allow Mormons such as myself to rebut these claims).

I would love to see a non-mormon, a member of the media or a member of her own faith approach her and call her out on the innacuracies but again, Mormons are the only going to put any time into this so she will have nothing to do with us.

You're probably right, for the simple reason that most people not directly influenced by what they see as sectarian squabbles don't give a tinker's darn about 'em.

And I don't blame them for this apathy, either. I don't really care about all the inter-Protestant catfights that go on all the time.

She may even turn your friendly emails into threats from the Mormon church.

So she may. But then, that's the value of being friendly and open, innit? I have nothing to hide.

-Smac

Link to comment

Sorry of topic. LoaP how do you change your words that are directly under the avatar? Mine says seasond member separates water. Or something like that. Other people have othere things in there. Can I change that?

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...