Comments about ‘Book confronts LDS tragedy’

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Published: Sunday, July 20 2008 12:02 a.m. MDT

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My wife and I recently visited the massacre site and were pleased to see the recently dedicated monument. We also went to the hill overlooking the valley where we read the names of those who were the victims and looked through the siting tubes to see both the site of the siege and of the massacre. Later, we went to Lees Ferry and saw where John D. Lee lived in hiding until he was arrested, incarcerated and later shot as the only person ever convicted of any crime in the massacre. I am looking forward to reading the first book and the follow-on volumes.

What happens....

if they find evidence that positively reveals that Brigham Young directly ordered the massacre?

What will the Church do? What will the membership do?

What if they find evidence indicating only a cover-up?

Even if no evidence is found that implicates Brigham Young then the public may think this is all just a modern day cover up sponsored by the church.

Its a no win situation.


As I've looked into this horrible and unjustified event in LDS history, I've contemplated what it would be like at the judgement seat, when we all stand in front of our Maker and give an accounting of our lives. Those involved in this event will have this opportunity just like everyone else. They will answer to the n'th degree, UNLESS they take advantage of the Lord's atonement. There is no escaping justice for mercy cannot rob justice. Repentance is their only hope as it is with us all.

Many who have angst against the church have looked at this event with over-zealous outrage, and have used it to further their goal of humiliating the members. Anyone who would try to sweep this event under the rug for fear of it ruining testimonies or causing people to question the truthfulness of the church are without faith. I fully understand the weakness of men, the influence of satan, and the holes we dig for ourselves. This is the very purpose of the Atonement and it isn't our place to judge. For you conspiracy theorists who want to denigrate the church, I say you are no better than the Mountain Massacre men.

To What happens.... 12:56

If Will Bagley couldn't find a "smoking gun" what makes you think any legitimate historian?

I agree it's a no win situation. But at least the LDS Church is doing what they can to acknowledge what happened.

Of course, I know some people won't be satisfied until President Monson holds a news conference and says, "OK, We admit it! Brigham Young ordered the MMM. Now we will everyone please form a line so we can start handing out the checks."

Again and again

This book will no doubt stir up the exact same debate every previous book on the subject has stirred up before. Some will argue one point, others will argue another point.

Then, in a short time, everyone will move on and get back to other questions of history, such as who really shot JFK, did Elvis really die in 1977, was Monticello just an 18th century version of the Playboy Mansion, and of course, did George Washington really cut down that cherry tree?

Re: What happens...

They've already discovered that there is absolutely no evidence that Brigham Young directly ordered the massacre, and in fact a lot of evidence that points to the idea that he tried to stop it, but didn't reach them in time. There are multiple journal accounts and stories passed down through the generations by the messenger sent to SLC to ask BY whether or not they should go through with the massacre, and BY's reply to the horrified negative, and also similar stories told by BY's maid and others.

The idea that he possibly helped to cover up the crimes is another story. They are still researching that aspect of it, and what they may find may be troubling to some members of the church. I certainly don't know how I'd feel about it, learning that a president of the church helped cover up a massacre. Unfortunately, much of the evidence is not something we, as normal people researching online or in the library, can find. But these professional researchers are finding it, and eventually, we'll know the truth of that part as well, whatever it may be.


As a foreign born missionary called to serve in California, I remember how shocked I was after learning for the first time of this tragedy from my companion from Southern Utah. What I also felt was tragic was the line he took of "They had it coming". He would have pulled the trigger too and followed the line of authority as he saw it. Very sad. The top leadership of the Church may not have been involved before the massacre but logic says they must have got involved with "protection" afterwards with only one person being punished.

What happens

For everyone not dedicated to finding fault with the Church ... life will go right on.
Most will continue to live the best lives they can, repent, forgive, try to follow the Savior.
It's not our place to judge. The Lord knows.
MMM is not a stain on anyone living today, and on only a very few back then.
Like all mistakes made by other mortals, it's not worth obsessing about.

Ron in Texas

Replying to What happens..., it has been known for some time (by fair-minded historians) that Brigham Young did not order the massacre. What this article stated is that his wartime, bellicose language contributed to the environment that led to the decision by local leaders to carry out the massacre. And that's nothing new. And its a timely warning for us all. We know that Brigham said a lot of things during his lifetime that were not inspired. We can't claim he never said them. Truth is what it is. As a lifelong member, and one who loves history, I'm glad the book was written with the cooperation and encouragement of the First Presidency. Being honest about past mistakes is not going to harm us today. No enemy will be persuaded, perhaps, but no friend will be repulsed.


I personally know Rick Turley and have been aware of his involvement on this project for the past five years. This book was supposed to be finished a long time ago, but the authors found more information than they ever anticipated and it kept pushing back the publication date.

I'm very anxious to finally read their book. I know that they have gone to GREAT LENGTHS to research every detail and undoubtably this will be the most comprehensive account ever written.

Did Brigham Young sin? Yes!

What happens,

"if they find evidence that positively reveals that Brigham Young directly ordered the massacre?"

Then they will publish it. It would be good for the Church, its member and the public to know all the facts regardless of who is to blame.

"What will the Church do? What will the membership do?"

We will add one more thing to the list of sins and weaknesses of Brigham Young who is not perfect and who lived in his time. Now, if there is ever proof that God is the one who ordered Young to order the massacre we might have serious doctrinal issues to deal with since we teach that God is perfect and therefore he wouldn't order a massacre of innocent people.

"What if they find evidence indicating only a cover-up?"

Then they will add that to the list instead of an actual ordering of the massacre by general Church leaders.

"Even if no evidence is found that implicates Brigham Young then the public may think this is all just a modern day cover up sponsored by the church."

The public can think whatever it wants but it also needs to meet its burden of proof.


GOD made them do it!!!!

Camp Grant Massacre

The historians say that in the 19th century the MMM was used as a club to try and injure and destroy the church. Nothing has changed.

Watch as the enemies of the church start pouring venom into these comments, as seen already in the second comment. I certainly won't be watching. I will be entirely ignoring the comments. If I want to know more, I'll read the book and not the comments.

There is no excuse for the MMM. An explanation, perhaps, but not an excuse.

There is also no reason to continue using MMM as a club any more than we need to use the Camp Grant Massacre as a club against the government of Tucson, AZ. After all, over 100 innocent women and children were killed by a mob led by a mayor of Tucson. The city government must be trying to cover up its involvement in that massacre.

Let's force the government of Tucson to issue a yearly apology for the Camp Grant Massacre.

Brigham's Culpability

About the issue of Brigham Young's role:
I think that to some people, Brigham Young will always be the ultimate culprit. Others wouldn't want to admit it, no matter what.

I myself think that, although he was a prophet, he also was a human being, and, being far removed from the center, his ability to anticipate what would ensue can be a subject for speculation. We can't know the emotions he had; did they cloud his reasoning or prevent him from paying attention to more or less subtle warnings? We can't know for sure.

I want to read the book and digest it. It's encouraging to me that there is a strong commitment to honesty at the highest levels of the Church.

And, as humans, we must be able to learn to forgive. I live in a country that has been run over by aggressive neighbors, but I don't hold our current neighbors responsible for the acts of their forbears. Bearing grudges and harboring thoughts of revenge never did anybody any good.


Anyone who has studied utah mormon history has learned that BY's hands are not all clean of the MMM. Why all the white wash, why not open the church records to true indepentend researchers for writting of an accurate account of history. The last time the church did so Fawn M. Brodie was able to produce historical information that was helpful in revealing mormon history. It is like the mormon church thinks it can get to heaven on a carpet of lies. They are as bad, or worse than the washington polititions. Where is God in all of this.

Stop the self-flagellation

Enough of the self-flagellation! It's like Mormons are being to write Communist style confessions over and over again about what terrible people we are because our persecuted ancestors finally hit back.

Yes, they tried to cover it up. No, they didn't do it again...unlike the mobs in Illinois and Missouri. It was a mistake, not a sign of the character of the people.

Let it rest.


People can speculate all they want that Brigham Young was involve with the massacre, but the fact is that the evidence just ISN'T THERE! In fact, it is just the opposite.

Of course, it was a terrible tragedy and those involved have a lot to answer for. However, this thing didn't happen in a vaccuum. There were a lot of surrounding circumstances and factors that lead the terrible decision that these pioneers made.

The whole thing is so sad, but I hope the descendants of this groups can finally move on and get over this.

The bottom line is that the Church leadership in Salt Lake, including Brigham Young, had nothing to do with this. It was the actions of a few frightened, misguided individuals in Southern Utah.

I hope we all can move on now.


As objective as this book seems to be, there will never be a full answer. It looks like people who had recently been persecuted perceived a threat and resorted to a preemptive attack before attempting diplomacy. We weren't there, we don't understand what persecution and murder of family and friends can do to our emotions, and we will struggle to understand irrational behavior. I wait to read the comments of those who will impose today's understanding on a 150 year old event, and conclude that a coverup continues.


The devil made them do it!!!!


Seriously...get over it and pop your Mormon bubble. It is insane to me that the LDS spend so much time working out every single detail of their past. It is what it is. It can't be changed. Different authors using different words can't change what happened... so get over it. Scripture tells me that our Heavenly Father could care less about yesterday. His concern is for your today and the plans He has for your tomorrow - to give you a hope and a future.

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