Mountain Meadows Massacre site may become national landmark

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  • c.baker huntsville, al
    Feb. 12, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    (con't) ..Uncle Jack and his family. He grieved throughout his life for the lack of an appropriate burial of his family and for never knowing exactly what had happened. My grandfather, whom we called Dadd-Pete, required each of his grandchildren to read The Mountain Meadow Massacre by Juanita Brooks, which led to many heated family discussions and debates. My grandfather's words were not about revenge, but about tolerance, the search for truth and the universal stuggle of forgiveness. The quiet times I spent with my grandfather and our many talks had an enormous impact on my view of life. Perhaps, as you grow older and acquire more wisdom you too will come to realize how much we all need peaceful, solitary places to visit in nature to contemplate the power of important ideas, ideas like grace and tolerance, and the pwer we have to shape our own unique personal histories.
    The desendants of those buried there want Mountain Meadows to be that place for all the citizens of Utah and the U.S., not just the descendants of the people who died there. We should all grieve the injustices of our collective history and never forget.

  • c.baker huntsville, al
    Feb. 12, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    In response to "Roxy Lynne" from Madison IN who stated, "no one is grieving. Descendants may feel sad, but you have no relationship other than DNA with those who died . . ."

    Today we debate the right of Muslims to erect a Mosque in NYC - Mountain Meadows is a historic landmark to remind all of us of our freedom under the 1st Amendment. Members of the Church of Jesus Chirst of Latter-day Saints perceive the tragedy to be a direct result of their history of persecution and ostracism. This designation will ensure the site remain undisturbed so that guture generations have a place to contemplate the repercussions of threats against people's individual and religious freedoms.
    I descend from the younger brother of Captain John Twitty Baker, co-leader of the wagon train whose members were murdered at Mountain Meadows. My grandfather (1879-1970) is the son of Captain Baker's brother. Yes, it happened over 150 years ago, but the sadness is still generationally close. My grandfather wass born just 22 years after the massacre. He often shared memories of his father, Allison Woodville Baker (1838-1918) and his anguish over the deaths of Uncle Jack (continued)

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Dec. 22, 2010 1:18 p.m.

    I think Ive figured out the mentality of those who would want to make a national monument of the MMM site. Since Im from central Texas, Ill use by way of example the incident of the psycho who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, killing one IRS worker, Vernon Hunter.

    Most of us would say to rebuild the building and remember Mr. Hunter by renaming the building for him or naming a conference room in his honor.

    Then there are those who would advocate tearing the building down and turning the place into some morose, artistic park shaped like a plane with an empty chair on a pole, etc.

    Those sorts of people are the ones who would shrug at the sight of the Statue of Liberty or the Lincoln Memorial but would be deeply moved by the Vietnam Memorial or McVeigh bombing site.


    They feel mankind must be taught a lesson as to how despicable and inhumane we all are.

  • sunnyrainy bellevue, wa
    Dec. 22, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    Excellent and thoughtful response, Pagan. Outstanding. The perfect reply. Thank you for putting my thoughts and feelings -- and those of many, I'm sure -- into your reply. (I'm writing from halfway around the world where the criptic "get over it" would be seen as the ignorant insensitivity it is.)

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Dec. 22, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    The transcript of the trial in which the participants at MMM were tried by the Federal government reads that all the suspects pointed to John D. Lee as responsible for the massacre. He was the only one who was sentenced to death. This was more than 13 years after the massacre.

    No trials were ever held for the massacres/murders committed at Haun's Mill, Far West, Independence, Nauvoo, Carthage, and so on, and no one was ever punished.

    The ruins of the Nauvoo Temple served as a quiet historical marker for 150 years. The new temple there serves as a monument to mark a new era, where love turns "enemies" into friends.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Dec. 21, 2010 1:22 p.m.

    I would guess Geedub's original point about Haun's Mill was not to justify the MMM, rather, it was to illustrate the absurdity of erecting monuments to the darker aspects of our nation's history.

    Why would we do that? So "we never forget"? Why don't we leave that to the history books? There are other ways to recall our history without erecting monuments to slaughtered people.

    I visited the memorial site in Oklahoma City of the Timothy McVeigh bombing. I wondered, who would want to memorialize such an event in such a grandiose way? Why not rebuild a normal office building on the site and have a small plaque in memory of those who lost their lives? And by what lugubrious reasoning should we elevate MMM to the status of a national monument? Just put a historical marker there and leave it at that.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Dec. 21, 2010 10:46 a.m.

    Thanks for the info. I was not aware of that.

    Makes a lot more sense now!

  • Bruce T. Forbes Kearns, UT
    Dec. 21, 2010 5:17 a.m.

    To give Mountain Meadows such a status while Haun's Mill, Far West, and Winter Quarters remain "unknown" in the national eye is one-sided and a slap in the face to those Latter-day Saints whose remains still rest in those places - or were driven out to yet another place of refuge.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 20, 2010 7:58 p.m.


    I take your point that we cannot excuse terrible acts on account of one's faith. Nor should we try to minimize those acts because they were committed by our own.

    That said, I think we do need to be able to move on. You bring up Pearl Harbor. It was a terrible tragedy. Yet, I do not blame the Japanese people and most folks (even of my father's generation who fought that war) do not either - at least not any longer.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were scenes of tremendous death and destruction. But there has been a measure of forgiveness and understanding since. As a result, our nations have moved toward a wonderful relationship with each other.

    9/11 was a terrible tragedy. Though some do wish to blame Islam generally for that deed, it is foolish to do so (and I think you would likely agree with that). The acts of those 19 men certainly do not reflect all Muslims.

    That is what I would hope for here. That people would understand that, whatever the motivation for the Mountain Meadows Massacre, it does not reflect on all (or even most) of our faith.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    We were at the Mountain Meadows Massacre memorial and, in my opinion, there was nothing memorable about that site. True, it was a horrible incident, and yes, the Mormon pioneers were acting, perhaps, vindictively, but it happened such a long time ago. No one really knows what the people on that wagon train did and if they made the Mormons feel threatened. Many religions have murder in their past and no one, as far as I know wants to make a national monument out of those sites or places. Why don't we let the dead take care of the dead and go on with life? The MMM site is a very desolate and unpeaceful place. The dead should be allowed to rest in peace. They will not as long as the memories are kept alive. Let the Lord take care of it. He is in control of the living and the dead. People who want to make an example of the LDS Church because of it should look in their own backyards.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Dec. 20, 2010 4:50 p.m.

    Counterintel, you took the words right out of my mouth, though you probably expressed it more kindly than I would have.
    I have also read where the members of the church who participated in the mm attrocity, were appropriately punished, as far as church action goes, with excommunication.
    It's a shame that the multiple assaults on church members throughout it's early history resulted in little or no punishment that I'm aware of.
    Nor has a religious group stood up and taken responsibility for being a part of those assaults.

  • Big_Ben Centerville, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 4:45 p.m.

    As a lifelong active mormon, I think this is great. I hope that it becomes a landmark. We as a Church can learn a lot from our past. Yes, this happened 150 years ago, but if we seek to understand it and why it happened, we can learn and be better people. We can build bridges.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:47 p.m.

    'People really just want to keep throwing it in the church's face. Get over it!' - RoxyLynne | 3:31 p.m.

    You have no compassion.

    People who actively try to be the victim, in any situation, are being defensive.

    Others, who would try to move foward instead of dwell, would acknowledge any short comming and move on.

    Being indignant to factual crimes of history only means you are being defensive.

    'Get over it', is easy for you.

    You don't seem to care.

    You are more concerned about defending your faith than living it's example.

    Mountian Medows Massacre 400 people died.

    Get over it.

    Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 people died.

    Get over it.

    Hiroshima/Nagasaki 80,000 people died.

    Get over it.

    9/11 3,000 people died.

    Get over it.

    It is my hope you never endure anything of the kind of these types of tragedies, or know anyone who goes through them.

    There is nothing worse than caring for someone who died in a tragedy and having your own words spit back at you...

    get over it.

  • RoxyLynne Madison, IN
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:31 p.m.

    Promote healing??? This happened about 150 years ago. Let's be real here. No one is grieving. Descendants may feel sad, but you have no relationship other than DNA with those who died. People really just want to keep throwing it in the church's face. Get over it! Some bad people did a bad thing. There are bad people in every organized group. Couldn't government money be spent in more constructive ways?

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:03 p.m.

    FairEnough: I've read of plenty of people who justify the murders, rapes, and atrocities at Haun's Mill and other locations against the early LDS. Seems that polygamy, or allegations of adultery with other men's wives, or marrying women younger than allowed by current law, or just differences in religious doctrine are more than enough justification for some. Others simply deny the LDS were ever actually harmed; similar to how some try to deny the Nazi perpetuated Holocaust against the Jews.

    On the flip side, some have tried to justify MMM. However, many others have simply attempted to understand how MMM took place.

    Maybe it is just that the LDS Church continues to exist and so is a nice, large, institutional target. But I don't notice any LDS continuing to blame whatever church or other organization the persecutors of the LDS church (in NY, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois) belonged to for conduct committed 150+ years ago.

    Too many continue to use MMM to attack the LDS Church. Of course, small minded bigots still drag out the Inquisition to beat the Catholics.

    Bigotry is not rational.

  • FairEnough Draper, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 1:59 p.m.


    I'm sure your bringing up Haun's Mill is not a way of justifying the vengeful actions at Mountain Meadows. I have never heard anyone justifying the murders at Haun's Mill, but I have heard many try to justify the murders at Mountain Meadows. Some say the settlers provoked the murderous actions of the Mormons. They even tie Haun's Mill into the MMM as a way to justify the actions of the Mormons in Southern Utah. I'm glad you aren't doing that.

  • hatuletoh Sugarhood, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 12:54 p.m.

    MrsH: I think--and I must stress "think"--that it the original cairn erected by General J.H. Carleton when he inspected the area a couple of years after the massacre. He buried the remains that were strewn about and built the cairn to mark the spot. He also had a wooden cross erected atop it with the inscription "vengence is mine: I will repay saith the Lord". Some time later Brigham Young visited the site and had the cross pulled down.

    If that's not Carleton's original cairn, then it's a reconstruction on about the same spot, and demonstrated by the fact that some human remains were accidentally on the monument. In any case, that's why it's a strange looking pile of rocks.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    Strange-looking monument.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    I believe that such a move, supported by both the LDS Church and the descendants of the victims would do much to promote healing, understanding, and reconciliation.

  • geedub Santee, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Great! I propose that a monument be erected at Haun's Mill in Missouri and that it be proclaimed a National Park too.