Considering September Dawn

September Dawn opened in theaters last Friday. Opinions on the movie vary widely. It seems that, much like reactions to Helen Whitney’s PBS documentary The Mormons, viewers either love or hate September Dawn.

If you have watched the movie, we’d like to know what you thought of it. Please comment here only if you have seen September Dawn.

For those of you unfamiliar with the topic, we recommend a video clip by Living Hope Ministries and an article by Bill McKeever.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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57 Responses to Considering September Dawn

  1. Zak, the list you supply is really a category mistake. Each one of the massacres you cite (as real and tragic as they were) were considered acts of war and involved combatants. Even at Wounded Knee the Indians included hardened warriors (Consider also that Quantrill’s order during the Lawrence Massacre was directed at men who carried guns). That is why historians tend to not place them in the same category as the MMM. I know it is popular to call the tension between the Mormons and the US government the “Utah War,” but that label is really misleading given the fact that there were no actual battles between combatants. The 120 civilian emigrants wanted nothing more than to get to California. At no time did they bring any harm to the Mormons who came in contact with them.

  2. amanda says:

    bill, you make flying leaps in your conclusions.
    it’s hard to take any of your points seriously because you expect me to make those giant leaps with you.

    “People do things based on what they do believe, not on what they don’t believe. Based on their actions,what can we conclude these people believed?”

    so are you suggesting then that all of your actions are completely in line with YOUR beliefs? or do we fall short sometimes? sometimes others fall even shorter, apparently. this is sort of why we need an atonement.

    just because lee was a member does not mean his actions condemn the restored gospel..he was excommunicated, by the way, so clearly the church disagreed strongly with his role in the MMM. in terms of his marriages, well, i’m not sure how this is relevant to MMM, or Brigham Young’s role in that event.

    and you accuse me of not providing resources…yet you provide none…and you assume that i have not researched this topic myself. This site is the one making accusations so the burden of proof lies with you and others posting that make similar accusations. so please, give me more adequate proof that Brigham Young ordered the murder of these people. it’s ridiculous to expect me to just take YOUR word for it. i’m interested, sincerely, in what your sources are–

  3. Zak says:

    A few problems Bill,

    And what about the drunken bar fight by one of the trains leaders?

    Your telling me the Francher Party didn’t carry any guns and didn’t fight back?

    What do you have to say about Bagley miss reading “allies” for “grain” in the Dimmick Journal?

    Kind of lets all the wind out of his and Brooks sails dontcha think?

  4. Zak says:

    oops… now I made a mistake.

    The Francher Party did carry guns and did fight back. At least until they where tricked into giving them up.

    Bagley miss read the word “grain” in the Dimmick Journal and replaced it with the Word “allies” so there is no way the Indian Cheifs where going on the war path when they left and rallyed the warriors on there way down… if they even went Down.

    PS. There are two really good threads going on right now at MA&D board in the MMM section. One is a response to your Movie review, and the other is one Bagleys miss reading of the Journal. Complete with pictures of the actual Journal page in question.

    In Bagleys first version of his book he has the word “allies” in the Dimmick quote. In the new versions that are out on Amazon he has fixed the quote but makes no comments that his earlier version was mistaken. I wonder why?

  5. Zak says:

    Hmmm… my post was deleted.

    Theres a couple intresting threads going on over on MA&D boards right now.

    One is a rebuttle to your move review.

    The second is a review of Bagley making the mistake of grain vs allies.

    You should check them out.

  6. Zak says:

    PS. The Massacres that I listed did include Non-combatants.


    PSS. I also missed some:

    1852 Bridge Gulch massacre c.150 to 300 Hayfork, California, USA A posse from Weaverville attacks an undefended Wintu village.[citation needed]

  7. Stephen says:

    Some say that Mormons don’t acknowledge that the massacre happened, but that doesn’t appear to be true at all. I have a text that is used in an LDS institute class that explains the event. The text even goes far as to say that Lee was certainly not the only one that was responsible, but was the only one punished by the law. The Mormon Church’s official magazine, Ensign, has articles online talk about the massacre as well (I even found one back in ’77 recommending Brooks’ book on the subject, the online version doesn’t go back much farther). So if modern day Mormons didn’t know about this story, they haven’t been paying attention to their own publications. In fact, I think Hinckley dedicated a monument there about a decade ago, and it was a very public event.

    As far as this movie goes. There is no real evidence that Brigham Young knew about the massacre, and much less ordered it. The fairwiki (dot) org website has a very long list of damning criticisms from 30 non-Mormons about the film’s quality and historicity. The most notable problems, aside from laying the blame at Brigham’s feet, were showing the non-Mormons as being perfectly innocent while the Mormons were portrayed as complete wackos. The washing of a nude man by two women in the temple has no historical basis and Mormons didn’t speak of the “blood atonement” as depicted in this film.

    It could have been a good thing, but I think this movie has made things worse. Than they were before. I think, more than anything else, is that this film will simply be used to say that “religion (in general) is a bad thing”.

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