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New Evidence Re: B. Young's Complicity in Mountain Meadows Massacre


smac97

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Some of the early Mormon Church's most poignant and embarrassing episodes are recounted in a trove of letters and other original documents sold at auction this week in New York.

...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through a benefactor, bought a number of pieces in the collection, which belonged to a 97-year-old Minnesota man who died in June, leaving behind a massive collection of Americana.

The Floyd E. Risvold Collection, American Expansion & Journey West, grossed a stunning $8.2 million in a three-day auction at the Spink Shreves Galleries in New York and online.

...

LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed that the Utah-based faith was acquiring documents from the auction house, but declined to say how much it spent (records show at least $150,000) or what it will do with the material.

...

Among the items the church won in the auction are documents from a lawsuit brought by Joseph Smith in 1841-42; letters from a non-Mormon who lived near Nauvoo; letters from Army men about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and letters written by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded the Army in Utah.

..

Historian Will Bagley, who wrote Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, said two letters acquired by the church buttress his contention that Young was complicit in the southern Utah massacre of Arkansas immigrants in September 1857.

The letter written by an assistant surgeon at Camp Floyd, Bagley said, indicates that even before the Army or tribal agents went to southern Utah to investigate, Mormons were telling soldiers about the massacre.

In a six-page March 1859 letter to a doctor in Maryland, assistant surgeon Charles Brewer wrote of the massacre as "murders too horrible to be told & perpetrated by the authority of the church."

I'm not sure how either of these items "buttress" Bagley's tainted accusation against Brigham Young. But the details here are sparse, so perhaps additional illumination will clarify things.

-Smac

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Here:

I'm not sure how either of these items "buttress" Bagley's tainted accusation against Brigham Young. But the details here are sparse, so perhaps additional illumination will clarify things.

-Smac

Hopefully transcriptions of these documents were made prior to the purchase.

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Boring.... Sounds like Bagley is simply trying to keep his name in the running, make book sales, and trying to still destroy the Church. All "rumor" and plan slander in his statements there, no "fact" at all. Plus, the evidence already exists which has been shown to be fully legit that completely exonerates Brigham, yet Bagley COMPLETELY IGNORED that evidence glossing over it, cause it didn't support his agenda of slandering the Church for his Evangelical paymasters.

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The only guilty people in the MM are the ones who fired their guns against women and children. They know who they fired against and they know what they did. I'm interested in why they spared those under 8 and how they came to that decision. Everything else is speculation at best. In the worse case scenario, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young was lied to or that lies are involved in order to tarnish his name and calling.

Also, in the worst case scenario, consider all the wars in the Book Of Mormon. How do you know that every person or every tribe killed were not victims of a "mistake" in judgment or misinformation? Or lies amongst warriors?

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The only guilty people in the MM are the ones who fired their guns against women and children. They know who they fired against and they know what they did. I'm interested in why they spared those under 8 and how they came to that decision. Everything else is speculation at best. In the worse case scenario, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young was lied to or that lies are involved in order to tarnish his name and calling.

Also, in the worst case scenario, consider all the wars in the Book Of Mormon. How do you know that every person or every tribe killed were not victims of a "mistake" in judgment or misinformation? Or lies amongst warriors?

In the same vein, and perhaps I'm just playing devil's advocate, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young lied about his role in the MMM.

And I do believe the guilty people will be judged by God for the guns they raised against those men as well, not just the women and children.

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In the same vein, and perhaps I'm just playing devil's advocate, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young lied about his role in the MMM.

And I do believe the guilty people will be judged by God for the guns they raised against those men as well, not just the women and children.

I left the men out on purpose because I know that in those days, women and children wouldn't have fired back. You're right, innocent men and young men too. Unless I've been blinded by idolatry and worship of men, I cannot see Brigham Young lying about the MMM. His character was such that he would own up to what he had done and he would be willing to die for it. If he made a mistake,it would have made him sick to death and put him into an early grave. However, great men have fallen before and Satan would have loved to entrap BY in his old age, for revenge.

As a devil's advocate, for example, wouldn't you rather wait until a great man is old to destroy him instead of destroying him in his prime when his faculties, reasoning skills and cognitive/discerning abilities are at their peak? Sometimes the Devil waits until you're weakest, then he destroys you. It's like the great man that was once a beacon of light to all, a role model who accomplished great works in the world or in religion, helped thousands of people, was well-liked, well-respected, influential, etc., and then one day, out of nowhere, in a moment of weakness, he commits adultery or does something stupid and loses everything. That's partly why the scriptures mention "enduring to the end" or "hold fast to the iron rod" Sometimes, Satan replaces the iron rod and you don't notice it. You think you're holding fast to the right iron rod and you're not. Yes, he's that sneaky. Ask Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan. George P. Lee, Judas and all those who had great witness of the Gospel and yet fell away. Not to mention all those preachers that ended up in adultery after becoming wealthy, etc.

Anyway, my feeling is that Brigham Young was innocent in regards to the MMM but I leave room for the remote possibility that he wasn't. If that's the case, man, what a fall and what a loss! The shedding of innocent blood, if deliberate, would condemn him for the eternities. It's hard to think about that. When Joseph allegedly fired his pistol before he was murdered, I often wonder if he hit anyone in the crowd that was just there watching the commotion, a bystander. You see, Satan tries to ruin a man's life in moments like these. Remember how he asked Christ to jump off a cliff and offered him the entire world despite the fact that Christ Himself had create all that lies therein? OT, I know, but think about it.

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The only guilty people in the MM are the ones who fired their guns against women and children.They know who they fired against and they know what they did.

No true. You are claiming that those who fired their guns point-blank at unarmed men and teens were not guilty also? How can you come to this conclusion? Also, Haight and Dame were not at MM and did not fire a single shot but clearly they bear guilt for the massacre since they ordered it.

I'm interested in why they spared those under 8 and how they came to that decision. Everything else is speculation at best.
We know why they spared the younger ones, and it was not 8--they only spared children young enough to 'not tell of the tale'. The 17 children who were spared were all 6 and under and there were some children and babies that were killed during the massacre.

In the worse case scenario, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young was lied to or that lies are involved in order to tarnish his name and calling.

Brigham Young was 'lied to' about what happened initially, but it didn't take long for him to hear rumors and more info to be able to figure out the truth.

Also, in the worst case scenario, consider all the wars in the Book Of Mormon. How do you know that every person or every tribe killed were not victims of a "mistake" in judgment or misinformation? Or lies amongst warriors?

I don't know what you are getting at with this.

The fact is, you can understand quite well what happened at Mountain Meadows by reading about it. The most recent book "Massacre" is very informative, as well as "Mountain Meadow Massacre" by Juanita Brooks. The authors of "Massacre" were allowed access to some information that is very pertinent. Andrew Jensen was sent down to the area in abt. 1985 to privately interview people about the incident and from this we get a lot of eyewitness information that is corroborated by more than one person.

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I left the men out on purpose because I know that in those days, women and children wouldn't have fired back.

You are wrong on that as well. One of the surviving children remembers seeing her Aunt shooting at their attackers while they were holed up in the corral during the days before they were actually lured out of the corral by the Militia supposedly to be escorted to safety.

I'm certain her Aunt was not the only woman fighting in defense. These were families and they were fighting to save not only themselves but their children as well. Children old enough to shoot would have been firing back as well, if there were enough weapons.

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Not knowing much if anything about MMM or Southern Utah History I wonder what new light this document really sheds on the subject. It was produced in 1859 for an event that happened in 1857 by someone who may or may not have been there and told to him by soldiers who may or may not have been there-like who are these people and how do they know what they know? The other thing is does this letter agree or disagree with other documents produced from around the same time. For example if you have 10 documents that say one thing and now you have one that doesn't-it throws a shadow on the new letter. Did anyone know about it and have been looking for it or was it all of a sudden found and no historian knew about it?

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1. We have no evidence other than bald assertion that a previously unknown document(s) has suddenly burst on the scene that has something to do with MMM.

2. We have no evidence other than bald assertion that the previously unknown document(s)bears on BY's connection with MMM.

IOW: Until there's a transcript that we can read for ourselves, let's not jump to any kind of conclusion.

USU "Bagley's got nada in the credibility dept." 78

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In the same vein, and perhaps I'm just playing devil's advocate, it isn't impossible that Brigham Young lied about his role in the MMM.

And I do believe the guilty people will be judged by God for the guns they raised against those men as well, not just the women and children.

In my opinion, Brigham Young did not lie about his role in Mountain Meadows. He did not order or condone it. He didn't know it had happened until it was over.

He clearly knew more about the incident than he admitted over the years, though it may be that he didn't WANT to know the truth about it, that I don't know. Personally, I believe that within a few months of the incident, he knew who was responsible, but he also had heard all the 'excuses' for why they did it. I think he figured he'd let judgment be carried out on the other side for those involved.

For these people, it had been a frightening time--memories of how the Fed. Govt. had treated them back in the states were only 15 years in the past. Now they heard the Fed. Govt. was sending troops to put down a 'rebellion'--it's no wonder they panicked. I think many of them just wanted to forget about the massacre and bury it from their memories by not talking of it and if forced to, rationalizing it through vilifying the emigrants by making them the aggressors and the Mormons the victims--and continuing the charade that the Indians had done it.

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Here:

I'm not sure how either of these items "buttress" Bagley's tainted accusation against Brigham Young. But the details here are sparse, so perhaps additional illumination will clarify things.

-Smac

Bagley is grasping at straws--he does so because he wants to prove Brigham Young's guilt. What I see here does not add anything, but it's not surprising Bagley would try and use this to further his position. Bagley has shown he is able to extract all kinds of 'evidence' from the most innocuous sources--he proved that with his book.

I read Will Bagley's book-he was unable to convince me that Brigham Young ordered the assault--though he did his best to prove his case. The evidence is just not there and in fact, it is unreasonable to believe in B.Young's guilt in this. The evidence supports the conclusions that Juanita Brooks and Turley et. al. come to--the massacre was planned and carried out without Brigham Young's knowledge.

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Hello,

>>>LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed that the Utah-based faith was acquiring documents from the auction house, but declined to say how much it spent (records show at least $150,000) or what it will do with the material.

...

Among the items the church won in the auction are documents from a lawsuit brought by Joseph Smith in 1841-42; letters from a non-Mormon who lived near Nauvoo; letters from Army men about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and letters written by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded the Army in Utah.<<<

I don't want to derail the thread, but I'm not aware of any biblical instructions with regards to tithing being used to purchase historic documents.

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No true. You are claiming that those who fired their guns point-blank at unarmed men and teens were not guilty also? How can you come to this conclusion? Also, Haight and Dame were not at MM and did not fire a single shot but clearly they bear guilt for the massacre since they ordered it.

We know why they spared the younger ones, and it was not 8--they only spared children young enough to 'not tell of the tale'. The 17 children who were spared were all 6 and under and there were some children and babies that were killed during the massacre.

Brigham Young was 'lied to' about what happened initially, but it didn't take long for him to hear rumors and more info to be able to figure out the truth.

I don't know what you are getting at with this.

The fact is, you can understand quite well what happened at Mountain Meadows by reading about it. The most recent book "Massacre" is very informative, as well as "Mountain Meadow Massacre" by Juanita Brooks. The authors of "Massacre" were allowed access to some information that is very pertinent. Andrew Jensen was sent down to the area in abt. 1985 to privately interview people about the incident and from this we get a lot of eyewitness information that is corroborated by more than one person.

Despite of the fact that nobody here witnessed what really happened and that accounts are subject to scrutiny and questioning and that what people deem as "facts" can also be "questionable assumptions" at best, here's another position on the subject:

From Wikepia: "Scholars debate whether the massacre was caused by any direct involvement by Brigham Young, who was never officially charged and denied any wrongdoing. However, the predominant academic position is that Young and other church leaders helped create the conditions which made the massacre possible."

Academic position translates into: personal opinions, not facts.

What evidence do we have that the children were spared so they wouldn't tell? Whose unquestionable account of this should we trust beyond any doubt? Just because they said that's what and how it happened? Assumptions aren't facts. I think Brigham Young was innocent but I don't think those involved and who planned the killing of innocent people were. Those how fired their guns and shed innocent blood will be held accountable for what they did and what they did is as bad as it gets. They will share their fate with the wicked. Placing the blame on Brigham Young for what happened must be a bitter anti-Mormon's delight.

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Historian Will Bagley, who wrote Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, said two letters acquired by the church buttress his contention that Young was complicit in the southern Utah massacre of Arkansas immigrants in September 1857.

The letter written by an assistant surgeon at Camp Floyd, Bagley said, indicates that even before the Army or tribal agents went to southern Utah to investigate, Mormons were telling soldiers about the massacre.

In a six-page March 1859 letter to a doctor in Maryland, assistant surgeon Charles Brewer wrote of the massacre as "murders too horrible to be told & perpetrated by the authority of the church."

Most likely, Bagley is using the statement 'perpetrated by the authority of the church' to bolster his belief that Brigham Young ordered the massacre, but this doesn't prove anything. Most likely, Charles Brewer is repeating the rumors that were spread-especially among the Non-Mormons, but he doesn't provide any evidence to support what he's saying, so it's nothing to get excited over. The 'authorities' he mentions are not identified-so we don't know which authorities he means. In the Cedar City area, the authorities were the 'perpetrators', so it could be that this is what he's referring to.

And the other statement that Mormons were telling the soldiers about the massacre before Army or Tribal agents went to investigate doesn't prove Brigham Young was involved either. It was a little hard to hide the massacre, and I'm sure it was a horrific thing for the settlers. Even though they buried the bodies, animals dug them up and strewed the evidence all over the area. Word spread quickly I'm sure, but it was talked about as an Indian Massacre. Not everyone was privy to the truth of what happened.

Yep, he's once again taking something completely innocuous and trying to turn it into something that supports his beliefs.

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In my opinion, Brigham Young did not lie about his role in Mountain Meadows. He did not order or condone it. He didn't know it had happened until it was over.

He clearly knew more about the incident than he admitted over the years, though it may be that he didn't WANT to know the truth about it, that I don't know. Personally, I believe that within a few months of the incident, he knew who was responsible, but he also had heard all the 'excuses' for why they did it. I think he figured he'd let judgment be carried out on the other side for those involved.

For these people, it had been a frightening time--memories of how the Fed. Govt. had treated them back in the states were only 15 years in the past. Now they heard the Fed. Govt. was sending troops to put down a 'rebellion'--it's no wonder they panicked. I think many of them just wanted to forget about the massacre and bury it from their memories by not talking of it and if forced to, rationalizing it through vilifying the emigrants by making them the aggressors and the Mormons the victims--and continuing the charade that the Indians had done it.

I agree with you 100%. I don't think Young ordered the Massacre, but I do think his particularly fiery sermons the summer before the Massacre helped set those who were guilty for the act in the right state of mind to carry such an atrocious rampage out. I believe the doctrine of blood atonement to be one of the most damnable things to ever be taught across the pulpit in the Church, and I think those guilty for the crime were just carrying that doctrine out as they saw fit because the Fancher party was supposedly comprised of some of the murderers of the Prophet Joseph.

So while I don't believe that Young ordered the MMM or any such thing, I do think the public teaching of blood atonement and some of the language he used the summer before will implicate him partially in the hereafter.

This is just my opinion on the subject though, and I know it isn't popular amongst many LDS. Ah well.

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Hello,

>>>LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed that the Utah-based faith was acquiring documents from the auction house, but declined to say how much it spent (records show at least $150,000) or what it will do with the material.

...

Among the items the church won in the auction are documents from a lawsuit brought by Joseph Smith in 1841-42; letters from a non-Mormon who lived near Nauvoo; letters from Army men about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and letters written by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded the Army in Utah.<<<

I don't want to derail the thread, but I'm not aware of any biblical instructions with regards to tithing being used to purchase historic documents.

Yes, you're right.

It would be a derailment.

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[T]he predominant academic position is that Young and other church leaders helped create the conditions which made the massacre possible.

Who ordered the expeditionary force without informing the territorial authorities?

What were BY and the rest to think when a largish [for the time and place] army with materiel for a largish [for the time and place] operation was on its way?

Why would they not prepare to defend themselves?

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Despite of the fact that nobody here witnessed what really happened and that accounts are subject to scrutiny and questioning and that what people deem as "facts" can also be "questionable assumptions" at best, here's another position on the subject:

From Wikepia: "Scholars debate whether the massacre was caused by any direct involvement by Brigham Young, who was never officially charged and denied any wrongdoing. However, the predominant academic position is that Young and other church leaders helped create the conditions which made the massacre possible."

Academic position translates into: personal opinions, not facts.

What evidence do we have that the children were spared so they wouldn't tell? Whose unquestionable account of this should we trust beyond any doubt? Just because they said that's what and how it happened? Assumptions aren't facts.

I'm not making assumptions. From the records, "The emigrants were to be decoyed out and destroyed with the exception of the small children" who were "too young to tell tales". pg. 187 "Massacre". Phillip Klingensmith said that these were the orders given to him by John Higbee, two men who were both participants in the massacre.

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So while I don't believe that Young ordered the MMM or any such thing, I do think the public teaching of blood atonement and some of the language he used the summer before will implicate him partially in the hereafter.

He won't be implicated nearly as much as the U.S. government will be for sending the Army. The Mormons were reacting, with their rhetoric, to the forces that had been deployed against them. That rhetoric also had its roots in the collective memory of the persecutions that had been perpetrated upon members of the Church by that same government. USU78 makes a good point.

I don't think that we, in our day, fully understand the perspective that Brigham Young and other Church members had at that time. We live in our society and we get along with our neighbors, for the most part. In their day, society and the government were actively involved in persecuting the Church and its members. I don't think that Church leaders of that time were over-reacting at all to what they were facing, and I suspect strongly that the influences of their times will heavily mitigate any collateral responsibility BY may have had due to what he said.

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I agree with you 100%. I don't think Young ordered the Massacre, but I do think his particularly fiery sermons the summer before the Massacre helped set those who were guilty for the act in the right state of mind to carry such an atrocious rampage out. I believe the doctrine of blood atonement to be one of the most damnable things to ever be taught across the pulpit in the Church, and I think those guilty for the crime were just carrying that doctrine out as they saw fit because the Fancher party was supposedly comprised of some of the murderers of the Prophet Joseph.

So while I don't believe that Young ordered the MMM or any such thing, I do think the public teaching of blood atonement and some of the language he used the summer before will implicate him partially in the hereafter.

This is just my opinion on the subject though, and I know it isn't popular amongst many LDS. Ah well.

Yes, I agree, Blood Atonement and a spirit of vengeance was partially responsible for what happened--fanned by the fiery speeches of the Reformation as well as whipping the people up into a feared frenzy of stockpiling ammunition and supplies and preparing to fight the US Army.

But as USU78 points out, this was not done in a vacuum. The Govt. sending an army to put down a 'rebellion' no doubt put the people into a panic. Memories of Missouri and Illinois were still fresh. People had suffered incredibly and many had lost loved ones.

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He won't be implicated nearly as much as the U.S. government will be for sending the Army. The Mormons were reacting, with their rhetoric, to the forces that had been deployed against them. That rhetoric also had its roots in the collective memory of the persecutions that had been perpetrated upon members of the Church by that same government. USU78 makes a good point.

I don't think that we, in our day, fully understand the perspective that Brigham Young and other Church members had at that time. We live in our society and we get along with our neighbors, for the most part. In their day, society and the government were actively involved in persecuting the Church and its members. I don't think that Church leaders of that time were over-reacting at all to what they were facing, and I suspect strongly that the influences of their times will heavily mitigate any collateral responsibility BY may have had due to what he said.

I agree with this as well...but I still believe the doctrine of blood atonement to be a doctrine of Satan, not of Christ. As I said, I know that won't be popular with many other members of the Church, but it's something I've arrived at through prayer and fasting and a strong testimony of the cleansing blood of Christ for all sins, save blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

I still think Young will gain his exaltation. I have a testimony of that...I just think there are some things he, and other Church leaders, are currently working through in the spirit world as a result of some of the things they said and carried out. Those in the US government at the time are doing the same, if they've accepted the gospel.

But now I believe I'm getting off topic. I apologize for that.

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