Mountain Meadows site designated as national historic landmark


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  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 4, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    @ Tim in MO: I agree with you that it would be appropriate for the site at Mountain Meadows to be managed by the US government. As I understand, the Church has lobbied for that. However, you perpetuate the idea that the Mormons are collectively responsible for the deaths at Mountain Meadows. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not responsible for the deaths there, nor are modern Mormons the murderers of the wagon train any more than modern Missourians responsible for the 19th Century persecutions of Mormons.

    We understand the euphemism "southern in nature" to mean "holders of slaves." The Mormons opposed slavery, Missouri was a compromise/slave state, and that was a volatile mix. For that reason, the Mormons were given "empty" counties to settle in, but they were driven from those, too. The Missourians' retaliation was not considered "appropriate" at the time, however. The rest of the US condemned the Missouri persecutions.

    I suppose I should feel comforted to know that one of the meanings of "exterminate" in the 1830s was "to drive away utterly," not just "eradicate," but I don't. Webster's first 1830 entry on "exterminate," though, is "to destroy utterly."

  • Tim in Mo KANSAS CITY, MO
    July 4, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    The idea behind getting this site as a national monument is a step in getting the LDS church to release rights to the property to the descendants of the murdered. How would you all feel if your family's murders still owned the land where your family's remains are and continue to desecrate the graves. (Mormons accidentilly dug up three bodies and kept articles off their clothing!)

    Next on to Missouri. The Missourians were "southern in nature" and as this was, they didn't take kindly to "northern yanks" (Mormons) especially when they moved in whith the numbers they had and wanted voting rights which would have upset everything the Missourians had. Their retaliation was fitting for the time period and their nature of not being Christian. (This was the farthest west boundary of the US) The Mormons on the other hand were religious and had higher standards, so some of you are right when you say they knew better and still disobeyed. Also you need to understand the term "extermination" did not mean what it does today. Historical context is important. They were to be driven form the state, not killed. If it had, many more would have been killed.

  • Rock Calgary, Alberta
    July 3, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    Right on Jeff, I don't get him either.
    My understanding is that the women were sent to the hills to hide and the men and boys went into the mill and were unarmed and were massacred thru the holes in the walls.

    So, the Missourians tamed the land and the Mormons moved in and tried to take over, huh?
    I think you are missing what every settler in the old west was trying to do. Simply find a place to live and make a living. It was called settling. Every person who came in followed someone. Do we not have the right to move from one place to another without being accused of trying to take over.??

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 3, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    Doctor: What difference can it possibly make if the people slaughtered at Haun's Mill were trying to defend themselves or not?

    I confess, I'm having a very hard time understanding where you're coming from. We all agree that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was a terrible thing; it deserves National Historical Site status.

    What Latter-day Saints often feel is the idea that we are culpable as a people for Mountain Meadows. We are not. Those who perpetrated the massacre were acting in direct contradiction of LDS scriptures and beliefs. Those of us who believe in Mormonism today gaze in horror on what can happen to someone who should know better, and we feel a deep sympathy for the remaining families of both the victims and the perpetrators.

    We feel a certain sensitivity that the nation that recognizes the atrocity at Mountain Meadows seems to overlook the atrocities in Missouri, and there is a (I believe justified) sense of unfairness.

    Then, you write a post that, on its face, seems to suggest that Mormons deserved everything they got in Missouri, and Haun's Mill was just remuneration for Mormon audacity at being alive and in Missour.

    I don't get you.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    July 3, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    Bill, You are saying the men and boys at haun's mill were disarmed and herded into the blacksmith's shop and then murdered? Never heard it described that way. My understanding is when the mob showed up the women and young children fled into the surrounding forest and the men and boys barricaded themselves in the shop. Because the shop had large chinks in the walls they were sitting ducks and were massacred. The young man (boy) you referenced survived and was brutally murdered. I don't understand why mormon's have no sympathy for missourians who tamed a wild land just to have mormons move in and try and take it over. Just read about liquor laws on this site and see the constant spewing of "if you don't like it leave."

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 3, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    To Doctor: I think you need to reread your history about Haun's Mill. When the mob arrived they ordered all of the men to lay down their weapons and to get into the blacksmith shop. It was then that the mob started to open fire. Also, you said the boys were armed. What of Sardis Smith, 9 years old, who had a shotgun shoved in his mouth and the trigger pulled. Did you know that the mob basically killed indiscriminently? LDS Church History goes into great detail into what happened at Haun's Mill. Does this justify Mountain Meadows? No, not in the least in fact the book co-authored by Richard Turley and two others has been recognized as the best book on the massacre itself.

    However, to say that the mob at Haun's Mill were justified to kill men, women and children is ludicrous. It is true, that Joseph Smith ordered John Haun to close the mill and move to Far West is true. What isn't said by any historians is that a wagon train stopped for the night at Haun's Mill on its way to Far West. This wagon train knew nothing of this order from Joseph Smith.

  • Rock Calgary, Alberta
    July 3, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    Sorry boys, some of you are dancing a jig, relying on one book or the other, tusting untrustworthy authors. Fact is that Brigham Young did send an order to the members in southern Utah and ordered them to be peaceful and let the Arkansas wagon train pass. That order arrived too late and most of the men responsible were dealt with, I don't think enough of them were sentenced as severely as they should have and undoubtably some of them were probably never even identified. I find it laughable that anyone could suggest that it had anything to do with Hauns Mill at all, or that it could have in any way been an attack santioned or approved by the church leadership. The renegades responsible acted on their own and left a horrible stain on Utahs history.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    July 3, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Haun's Mill was men and boys armed and fighting back. MMM was men, women, and children murdered in cold blood as ordered by their Stake President. Spin it any way you will.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    July 3, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    The express ride of James Haslam to SLC is documented and discussed by Walker, Turley, and Leonard. The letter from Major (and Stake President) Isaac Haight carried to BY has been lost or destroyed, but it is believed to have stated the emigrants had been acting "verry mean, and that they were surrounded by Paiutes. Apparently, the letter made no mention of the failed attack by John D. Lee on the emigrants, even though Haight learned of that attack before he sent Haslam to SLC (p. 162). The letter asked BY what they should do to solve the situation. The letter giving BY's answer has been preserved and is discussed by Walker, Turley, and Leonard.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 3, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    To Lilljemalm: Are you saying the book that is published by Oxford written by John Turley Jr and two others has been debunked. By who. For one it is my understanding that this book is really the only one that considered both sides of the massacre. The book also put all to rest that Brigham Young had anything to do with the massacre. The problem is that the ones who have debunked it are all critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That means that those who have debunked it were biased and have always tried to put the blame on Brigham Young. John Turley spelled out in a small excerpt of the book the entire situation. Maybe you should really read the book before you state something that isn't factual at all. Dennis is relying on the same critics as you are. Again the book is more factual than any other written. By the way this book was authored in 2007. There is a book later than this then I really want to read that one.

  • Lilljemalm Gilbert, AZ
    July 2, 2011 11:51 p.m.

    To Bill in NE and Dennis:
    Dennis is right. I am familiar with the book Bill refers to. It has been debunked and is not considered a legitimate source of information on Mountain Meadows. The authors took a lot out of context and made some of it up. Other books have since come out that are far more complete and provide better scholarship regarding the matter.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    July 2, 2011 10:38 p.m.

    Both Haun's Mill and Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred because of one thing - disobedience. Haun failed to tell the people around his mill to leave, when the prophet told him to tell them. Mountain Meadows occurred when the council did not wait for the response from Brigham Young.

    Comparing the two tragedies is non-sensical. It just stirs up bad feelings. It's a sad part of LDS history. We need to forgive and move on.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 2, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    I never said it was justified. I stated that some of those who acted in the Mountain Meadows thought it did. Also, Dennis if you care to look you will a book that was written by two individuals who used all of the tools at their disposal both pro LDS and anti-Mormon. That Book by the way is the one where I got all of the information I used to state the above.

    The fact is that it wasn't necessary that there were many who were in on the massacre that ran from the law and were never caught. Lee who was tried and executed did not act alone but was the one who engineered and got the Stake President to back it up. If you care to look you will see there were no telegraph wires in Southern Utah and it is a good three days ride from Cedar City to Salt Lake. Again all you are going with is just the anti-Mormon information and you will not even hold the LDS side at all.

    It was plain out and out murder. Children died at Haun's Mill as well. Boys mainly.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    July 2, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    All I hear is the massacre was justified because of Haun's Mill over and over. Even the murder of kids apparently. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 2, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    To Dennis: You say that "Bill in Nebraska" is "wrong on about every statement [he was] making." I am well aware of some of the sources Bill may have been citing in what he said. Sources that support the fact that Brigham Young sent a note saying to let the train pass are well documented and have been viewed and reviewed many times. I'm not sure why you would feel justified in saying,
    "It's just ludicrous [to] print ... [that] Brigham no more 'allowed to pass' than fly to the moon."

    You then suggest that the murder of Parley Pratt was justified by his behavior, that no one from the wagon train said anything perceived as inflammatory (people in Cedar City believed they did, whether or not they did), that Mormons want to justify the attack at Mountain Meadows (we don't; we're just tired of being blamed as a group for it), and that we make up history to justify murder. The Mountain Meadows Massacre is very well documented--by both Mormons and non-Mormons. What fuels the debate about it is that the Federal inquiry was delayed because Federal troops were marching on Utah.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    July 2, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Many of the actions of early Mormons and non-Mormons were simply wrong. Sometimes we should stop trying to justify things and just try to learn from them. The Mormons were often treated terribly. But they often did terrible things themselves as was illustrated at Mountain Meadows and through the Danites. Even JS felt he had no control over the Danites.

    This was a time in our history in which majority ruled and the government rarely stood up to protect minority groups. The Mormons suffered the brunt of that in Ohio and Missouri and returned the favor at times as the majority in Utah.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    July 2, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    Those were hard times when people were more likely to resort to violence. The Missourians and the Mormons were like oil and water and didn't mix well.

    I tried to post on this issue before but the moderator got his/her knickers in a twist and denied it. I have no idea why, other than I named a name right out of my family history. To wit: The one of John D. Lee's wives that stuck with him.

    Then of course there was the fact that Johnson's Army was sent out the next year and assembled before that. The Mormon's and the US government had a troubled history at that time.

    None of this justifies the massacre. Any more than there was a justification for the Missouri extermination order or Haun's Mill.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 2, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    RE: Bill in Nebraska.
    You're wrong on about every statement you're making. It's just ludicrous that you would print this. Brigham no more "allowed to pass" than fly to the moon.
    Parley Pratt was behaving so poorly he was lucky to have lived as long as he did. Nobody in that wagon train said or mentioned anything about owning the gun that killed Joseph Smith, what, this is an urban legend to justify the attack on the group. Where do you get this stuff? Just because this part of history doesn't portray they early saints as "saints" doesn't mean it you or others can make up your own history to justify the means.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 2, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    To Doctor: Haun's Mill happened three days after the extermination order was issued. Some of those at Haun's Mill that were killed had just arrived the night before from Ohio. They knew nothing hardly of the events. The Battle at Crooked River that got this all started was actually started by the Mob itself. Reports and lies were given to Governor Boggs who then issued the Extermination Order. This order remained in effect for a hundred plus years until Governor Bond rescinded it.

    Did you know that Parley Pratt was killed in Arkansas where the wagon train came from? Did you know that one of the party of the wagon train stated that he had a gun that was used to kill the Prophet Joseph Smith? I'm not saying that what the Saints at Mountain Meadows did was right but to the mind of some of them there it was justified. Did you also know that Brigham Young sent word that the wagon train was to be allowed to pass? The problem is that it arrived a day late. The history is there if one cares to look.

  • Silly Rabbit Small Town, USA, UT
    July 1, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    There was a movie already made called September Dawn back in 2007, it had Jon Voight in it, the movie wasnt well received by anybody. It was kind of a flop.

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    July 1, 2011 10:55 p.m.

    There is a movie being made or waiting release about Mountain Meadows.
    Waite till that hit the theaters.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    July 1, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    What a tragedy that Mountain Meadows massacre! After all these years there should be healing and forgiveness, but there doesn't seem to be any. When you go up to that site, even though the silence of the desert is overwhelming, you could feel the restlessness of the horror which happened there. It's almost as if the dead are crying out, not for vengeance, but for understanding and for peace. What happened there did happen and no one can do anything to change that. All the people concerned are long dead so there is no one who can historically verify what actually happened. Many assumptions and theories fly through the air as some vengeful sprites, but all this means nothing. Those people were murdered, no matter what the cause. They should be remembered with reverence and even sorrow, as they surely will be because their resting place is now a National Park, but then they should be allowed to rest in peace

  • Silly Rabbit Small Town, USA, UT
    July 1, 2011 9:29 p.m.

    This stuff happened long ago; yes it is history and needs to be studied and looked at. But what is done is done. I for one do not like what happened to some of my pioneer ancestors either. But that being said it really has nothing to do with what is going on in my life right now. So I can not dwell on it because it does make me bitter and angry against others and that is not what God wants of me.

    This stuff is history and long gone. All the violence against the Mormons all through the early years and with the people at Mountain Meadows wasnt right in my opinion. I can never judge what any of them did because I was not there in their situations; all we can do is speculate what they were all going through.

    History slowly changes the farther we get away from an event so it becomes different then what we may want to think of it. There were a lot of things done wrong back then just like today, we should learn from the intolerance of our pasts, sadly we sometimes dont.

  • Maggie Saint George, UT
    July 1, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    I agree that this is not an example that LDS should want to glorify,by giving it historical significance. I am not LDS.I moved here from the east.I love history and have enjoyed learning the history of the area I live in .Traveling all over Utah and enyoying the beauty and history,I am in awe of what the LDS have done in so many ways. I knew about Mountain Meadows and its' history,it is just that ,history.Not sure I would want to tour this area and have a present day Mormon try to explain this to a tourist who knows little or nothing about the event or the more extensive LDS history and the courage and good they have exemplified. Might not elicit the same warm fuzzy feeling you get when you tour Pipe Springs, Salt Lake tours or Heritage celebrations all over the state.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    July 1, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    I think, in the end, the Church will regret giving this site "historic" status, and all the attention it has given it. It only feeds the hatred towards the church, and happened so long ago, it can't possibly do anything positive towards those who were killed.

    Writing a complete, accurate and comprehensive history is important, and people can read about it; but national historic site status is a mistake, in my opinion. Things like this (including Haun's Mill) are better forgotten. People need to move on from events like this and not dwell on them.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    July 1, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    Chris & Rifleman, Please don't forget about Crooked River. Two sides to every coin ya know!

  • lovin'_the_wacky_beehive SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 1, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    The Missouri extermination order has nothing to do with a group Utah Mormons slaughtering more than 100 men, women and CHILDREN who were innocently emigrating from ARKANSAS (not Missouri) to California. Just because people have endured persecution doesn't mean they're given license to lash out at innocent families who had nothing to do with it. How would you feel if this was the story of your ancestors? that they had been lined up and gunned down in an aptly named MASSACRE, and that only a handful of children survived to carry on this tragic legacy? It's terrible. Let's all just agree this was a horrific, unnecessary and unprovoked event and not justify it by alluding to Haun's Mill. That's a different story. Unrelated.

  • Gabe LAS VEGAS, NV
    July 1, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    As a long-time convert I am shocked that some are trying to justify Mountain Meadows by what happened at Haun's Mill or anywhere else. Whatever actions were taken against Mormons as part of the effort that ended with the relocation to SLC, there is simply no justification at all for what happened at Mountain Meadows. I am ashamed to read some of the above posts that seem to be along the lines of "they started it." No, the party that was attacked at Mountain Meadows had nothing to do with the Haun's Mill massacre. It is a lie to imply that they did. There is a memorial at Haun's MIll (the site is owned by the Community of Christ - RLDS). Mountain Meadows was added as a national historical landmark in part because of the Church's efforts.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    July 1, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    Jeff, I didn't say I didn't want to use the word "justify", I said the Mormon's behavior did not justify the Missourians actions. 180 degree difference in meaning. Are you also saying mountain meadows was a retaliation? For what? What did the people in that wagon train do?

    If ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.[5]

    Recognize the quote? Joseph Smith's prophecy was a stupid opinion? There is no question the mormon's were the wronged party in Missouri. My post was a response to previous posts linking Haun's Mill to the MMM.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    July 1, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    Doctor, I have and they do not come close to suggesting that Haun's mill was or should be looked at as a retaliation. If you really want to find the truth you need to look at all the facts and Haun's mill was plain, cold, cruel murder. Missourians did not like the LDS because they were anti-slavery. Some of them were over-the-top on their statements about reclaiming the land for Zion, but it did not, and never will justify the murder committed at Haun's mill. I have never read, other than Mountain Meadows, where the LDS members attacked an unprepared group. Please get your facts straight before you make innuendos. Some have tried pinning that on LDS, but when the facts all come out they are made up stories, which have been debunked time and time again.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 1, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    @ Doctor: What Mormon behavior in Missouri justified (you say you don't want to use the word "justify," but you say it, and there is no other word that fits your context) the Haun's Mill Massacre and the extermination order? If, as you say, Haun's Mill was retaliation for an attack, then how is Haun's Mill not comparable to Mountain Meadows? The only way the two are not comparable is in the number dead (Mountain Meadows was worse in that respect). Are you suggesting that the Mormons should have recognized their faults in Missouri in expressing unpopular opinions (including opposition to slavery) or stupid opinions (including public statements that they were going to inherit the land and push the Gentiles out), take the theft of their property and the illegal imprisonment of their leaders without grievance and do what? Move to Utah? Then what? Disbelieve the threats of their own government? I hope you realize how offensive your remark is, not the least in the fact that you assume we don't know our own history.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    July 1, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    You all should read about Mormon behavior in Missouri before the extermination order. Not saying the order was justified, but armed attacks from both parties were ongoing. Haun's Mill was retaliation for one of those attacks. It is incomparable to the Mountain Meadows slaughter.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    However you look at it. The fact is there were extreme hostilities towards the Mormons and there are still hostilities and hatred toward Mormons today.

    With that said, when you persecute, assault, beat, rape, slaughter, burn down homes, steal property, start an extermination order against a group of people. Your just bound to have a few people that get sick and tired of it. Same feeling that Anti-mormon, anti-religious people express on threads everyday. That's how they're perceiving what is happening around them.

    Does that justify murder? No. Can one defend his household and property? Absolutley.

    The sad thing is, that all of this could have been avoided. Had fellow Christians, acted like christians towards the Mormons. Had the Mormons responded differently to the attacks and they were just as guilty with verbal assaults and threats (Not every single one) but there were some who stirred things up. Had people been tolerant and accepting of each other....maybe we can learn a lesson from the past and learn to not be hostile towards religious groups and religious groups be more accepting of those that don't believe.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 1, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    Re: Chris B | 8:29 a.m. July 1, 2011

    Yes, Haun's Mill ... An Inconvenient Truth.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    I'm sure there's one planned for Haun's Mill.