“All the women were prostitutes.”

Tomorrow (September 11, 2008) is another anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the traitorous murders of 120 men, woman and children led by Mormons in southern Utah in 1857. This year a couple of new books about the Massacre have been published. One is House of Mourning: A Biocultural History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre by forensic anthropologist Shannon Novak.

Ms. Novak’s book is quite different from the others I’ve seen. Rather than spend a great deal of time on the Massacre itself, Ms. Novak looks more intently at the greater American context in which the ill-fated wagon train of emigrants left Arkansas for a new life in the west. Having been privileged to study the bones of twenty-eight Massacre victims, bones that were accidentally unearthed in August of 1999, Ms. Novak approaches her understanding of the Mountain Meadows Massacre from an entirely different perspective than that of a literary (non-scientific) historian. Many details from House of Mourning are worthy of mention, and perhaps they will appear here at Mormon Coffee sometime in the future. But for today, I’ll present just one aspect of Ms. Novak’s research.

In the chapter titled “Constitution,” Ms. Novak wrote:

“Many traditional accounts of Mountain Meadows have claimed that the Arkansas emigrants were, in some sense, diseased. Some two weeks after he participated in the massacre, John D. Lee described the victims as syphilitic: ‘Many of the men & women was ro[tten?] with the pox before they were hurt by the Indians’… Soon it was reported in the Los Angeles Star… that William H. Dame, colonel of the [LDS] Iron County militia, had examined the bodies of the Arkansans and determined that all the women were prostitutes. As Bagley… points out, such stories seem to have been transmitted to reporters by William Matthews, a leading Mormon official in California, as part of a ‘systematic defamation of the murdered emigrants.’

“This conclusion is no doubt correct. To understand such defamation, however, we must consider what it meant to be ‘diseased.'” (page 88, source citations in the original replaced here with ellipses)

After explaining multiple types of diseases common in Antebellum America and the health of the Arkansas victims as evidenced by their remains, Ms. Novak turned to a discussion of syphilis and it’s “endemic” status “within any nineteenth-century population center” (107). She wrote:

“The remains at Mountain Meadows, however, tell a different story. In the study sample of at least 28 massacre victims, there was no evidence of lesions that would be consistent with a diagnosis of venereal or congenital syphilis. Once again we are struck by the apparent vigor of this population.

“These findings are in sharp contrast to claims that were made in the immediate aftermath of the massacre… Though the skeletal evidence from the mass grave at Mountain Meadows cannot decisively refute the claims of Lee, Dame, and others, it casts doubt on the image of an emigrant party that was ‘rotten with pox,’ as Lee put it…

“For the sake of argument, however, let us grant the possibility that the victims bodies might have been examined for evidence of the disease and other abnormalities. How would anyone have been able to tell that they were infected with syphilis? Unless the victims were in the advanced stages of the disease, only a close examination of their genitalia would have revealed any symptoms. Needless to say, none of the newspaper accounts or journal entries provides details about how such a procedure was conducted. It is known that the bodies were stripped of their clothing soon after the massacre. So the possibility remains that the perpetrators, under the guise of medical examination, committed a final outrage on the killing field.” (107-108)

To place the charge of “defamation” into a proper context, Ms. Novak continued:

“Perpetrators of the massacre seem to have been justifying an especially ‘bad outcome’ for the Arkansas emigrants. In their version of events the emigrants themselves bore responsibility for their deaths. Such reasoning allowed even children to be viewed as morally corrupt…

“Thus, in the case of Mountain Meadows, to insinuate that parents were afflicted with disease—especially one such as syphilis—was to comment on the character, or future character, of their offspring. It was especially offensive to claim, as Dame was purported to do, that ‘all the women were prostitutes.’ Because an infant was ‘dependent upon the state of the mother’s blood from the moment of conception till weaned from the breast,’ emotional states such as anger, sexual desire, or envy ‘could potentially injure the nursling by contaminating its milk’… Such logic allowed the perpetrators of the massacre to deny the innocence even of the surviving children [aged 9 months to 6 years). Thus, on September 29, 1857, Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal… ‘Brother [John D.] Lee said that He did not think there was a drop of innocent Blood in their Camp for he had too of their Children in his house & he Could not get but one to kneel down in prayer time & the other would laugh at her for doing it & they would sware like pirat[e]s.'” (108-109)

So it went, in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, that the Mormon leadership, who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime, justified the brutal murders of 40 men, 30 women, and 53 children passing through Mormon country on their hopeful way to a new life.

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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42 Responses to “All the women were prostitutes.”

  1. falcon says:

    So what’s new, blame the victims. In order to justify this brutality the victims had to be degraded. This is the result of a mentality that says “follow the leaders, they’ll never steer you wrong” and “once the prophet speaks, the thinking is done.” Has anything been lerned from this episode? Has anything changed regarding absoulte loyalty to the prophet? The question I would ask is, how far would a member of the organization go in obeying a command. Joseph Smith got women to “marry” him who already had husbands. At least one women, when asked, told the prophet to take a hike. What’s the difference? Here it is for me. In the five points of Mormonism i.e. JS was a prophet, BoM is true, LDS is the only way, living prophet is God’s spokesmen,…….coming in fifth (?) Jesus. In Biblical Christianity our loyalty is to Jesus….period. When someone puts their faith in men and organizations they are on the path either to disappointment, disolusionment, or corruption.

  2. Jeffrey says:

    Hmm, I never realized this but my wife and I signed up for netflix and I put September Dawn on there, not even realizing that the anniversary is almost here.

    It just goes to show you how far one must go to justify murder.

    Sometime ago I think it was Aaron who quoted from a resource that Brigham Young ordered the crosses put on the gravesites of many of these victims to be torn down? Anyone have that resource handy?

    This type of religious fanaticism isn’t exclusive to just the LDS so we have to be fair.

    But since this is the topic of discussion and not the crusades, I will stick to it.

    This thread runs parallel for me alongside LDS “courts of love” in regards to rape, and teaching from LDS authority on losing your virture, etc. I have heard stories (of course not verified, but there seem to be multiple accounts) of people saying that when they were questioned by LDS authority about rape, they were asked “Did you enjoy it?” – if these accounts are true, that is some sick line of questioning. Could you imagine Christ asking that of a woman who was just brutally victimized?

    I can see why people may get offended by the LDS church authority.

  3. Rick B says:

    GRLuff said under the topic of A biblical definition of “Christian”

    Apparently, killing is not murder when God COMMANDS a prophet to do it. Moses was a prophet, and he was just following a commandment from God.

    So since God commanded the people to Murder, Ahem, I mean Kill in the name of God, all these women and Children it was ok? In mormonism, the one sin that cannot be forgiven is Murder, So does that mean Moses cannot be forgiven? What about King David? What about the Prophets and Presidents in Mormonism that said to Murder, Ahem I mean Kill in the name Of God all these People? What About Joseph Smith, he shot 3 people, 2 of who Died. Rick B (LDS priesthood holder)

  4. germit says:

    Sharon and friends (LDS included): this is a delicate thread, and the slaughter of 120 innocent lives is a touchy subject. Kudos to Sharon for broaching a tough subject. I don’t have any strong words on this one (yet) but I’d recommend reading the Ensign article by Richard Turley, which was surprisingly honest AND the final words of John Lee on the Mountain Meadows Association website. Lee’s words are a MUST read, and I would have copied and pasted if it were possible (disabled due to copyright rules).
    I have yet to study this thing out, but among the many tragic sub-stories to this event is the fact that ONLY Lee was punished in an atrocity that involved well over 100 criminals. That is sad. It would be very interesting to get a take on all this from the victims’ descendants. GERMIT

  5. Ralph says:

    Many ‘bad/evil’ things that have been done are justified by the perpetrator so they can affirm to themselves that what they did was ‘correct’. We see that with child molesters when they say “She led me on” and things like that. So its not just because they are LDS church members that they are justifying their actions by blaming the victims if that’s the point of this article – its human nature. We see this with the way the LDS were treated when they were driven from their homes and raped and murdered. The justification given was things like “they started it”, “they declared war so war it is”, “they are barbarians for practising polygamy and deserved what they got”, and so on. Germit made the comment …but among the many tragic sub-stories to this event is the fact that ONLY Lee was punished in an atrocity that involved well over 100 criminals. That is sad.” As far as I know NONE of the people who did this to the LDS were punished, so what’s more ‘tragic’? If I am wrong with this statement then I am wrong, I just have not heard of anyone being prosecuted for the atrocities on the LDS.

    What I’d really like to point out is the statement in the last paragraph “…that the Mormon leadership, who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime…” This is an abiguous statement in that it does not specify which leadership – local or global (ie bishop, stake president or prophet). I know most of you wish to blame BY but just remember, there is no evidence whatsoever of him or the apostles ordering this attack, so please specify which ‘Mormon leadership’ you are talking about, and if its controversial (ie BY) then give your ‘irrefutable’ evidence, else state that it is your opinion, but do not mar the facts.

  6. I’m going to paste a comment from “observer”, who we haven’t otherwise “approved” in the comment system because of his pattern of personal attacks. This one seemed postable.

    Sharon wrote:

    “So it went, in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, that the Mormon leadership, who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime, justified the brutal murders of 40 men, 30 women, and 53 children passing through Mormon country on their hopeful way to a new life.”

    This is exactly the type of “spin” that is “[filtered profanity or slur].” Facts mixed with unfair and untrue analysis, leaving out facts that don’t support your bias.

    Who exactly was the “leadership” you refer to? Of course falcon and those who don’t know anything about it and don’t look any deeper assume the prophet Brigham Young ordered the attack. What was the prophet’s instruction to the local leaders who perpetrated the murder?

    “In regard to emigration trains passing through our settlements, we must not interfere with them untill they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of[.] [I]f those who are there will leave let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert, on hand and always ready we should also possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves and property ever remembering that God rules.”

    Those who conspired and carried out the attack were told by the prophet and those immediately superior to them in the regional militia to leave the emigrants alone. They broke rank and commited that horrendous crime. This was not the LDS church. These were stupid, local hot-heads who, yes, were mormons and who were subsequently excommunicated for their crimes. Please provide a balanced perspective instead of your cliche “anti-LDS church” spin.

    Of course, “observer” misread Sharon. She never even mentioned Young, and specifically referred to leaders she had already mentioned.

  7. observer says:

    Although Sharon never mentioned Young, the connection to him was made by at least one person who read the article. Falcon’s post after reading the article described the terrible results when members blindly follow the prophet. I read the article the same way the first time. “The mormon leadership” is a phrase used most often on this site to refer to the prophet and apostles. Was this not a subtle attempt to generalize the horrible crimes of a few to the church and its leaders? Why else post this article on a website that aims to look critically upon LDS doctrine, history, and leadership? Honest question.

    In fact, this atrocity happened because people didn’t follow their leaders, including the prophet.

  8. 4givn says:


    If I was in your shoes, I would probably feel the same way. I would be denying the fact that the man that was supposedly sent to you by God couldn’t have made this happen. I can see that you have those doubts. On the other hand, if you see that these men are also human and have evil desires, as all men have(unless you are in denial), which may not portray the proper way to address situations that may arise. The fact that these people were not told that war means love. If the declaration of war is made, than it is of utmost importance to ensure your troops have been briefed. I beleive that they where told to defend “theirs”, for soon afterwords, justifications were put forth, not apologies. They finished with washing their hands in the blood bath. The church owning up to it didn’t come until much later. Which I can’t speak for the ones actually involved, but the church took it’s time in repenting. Which was to put up a memorial for the world to see. No matter whether it’s a team, infantry, class, or even a congregation. The finger will usually get pointed to the one in charge of them, whether it is good or bad. It is a reflection on the leadership, because bad trees produce bad fruit. W/LOVE

  9. observer says:


    For beginners, I also recommend the article by Turley in the Sept. issue of Ensign. Please look a little deeper into the facts before placing blame for such an atrocity. Brigham Young didn’t having anything to do with this group of mormons going after the emigrants. Those involved were acting against instructions from both church and regional militia superiors. Those involved covered their crimes pretty well for some time, and it was not until later that all the details surfaced. When they finally did surface, the criminals were excommunicated from the church. Please use a little more discretion before judging others when you don’t know the details.

    Thanks to germit for being sensible about this and recommending the Ensign article.

  10. 4givn says:


    I am sorry that i my blog is judgemental. My heart is full of all kinds of things that get in the way sometimes. I will remember that when I kneel down tonight. What drives so many of those thoughts is that your church seems to hold your prophets in such high esteem, that they are portrayed to be perfect, even though we all know differant. Discusions of their faults seem to be swept under the rug in hopes that none of your members don’t look. That is sad in my opinion.

    ” God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.


  11. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Observer, would you be willing to provide more information on the criminals that were excommunicated (i.e., who/how many of the 54 Latter-day Saints involved in the Massacre were disciplined by your church, when and under what sort of circumstances)? Thanks!

  12. observer says:


    A year and a half after the massacre, Isaac Haight and John Lee were released from their church callings as were other local church leaders who were involved. It was 11 years later that Haight and Lee were excommunicated for conspiring to carry out the event.

    In 1874, a territorial grand jury indicted nine men for the crime, ultimately executing just Lee. Many of those indicted spent their remaining lives running from the law. This is from Turley’s article in the Ensign.

    Aaron was adamant that I had misread your article, and that your reference to the “mormon leadership” related to local leaders. Is he right? I am guessing you know the answer to the question you ask me. And in this question do you also seek to place responsibility upon Brigham Young and the Quorum of the twelve?

    Truth be known, their world was a little different than ours. No phone, radio, internet, TV. Those seeking to conceal their misdeeds and crimes had advantages us moderns don’t enjoy. I stand by the idea that attempts by us to level judgement on those people (Brigham Young, et al) are naive and irresponsible.

    Thanks for the response.

  13. germit says:

    Observer: you seem to be up on this chapter of LDS history, and I am not. A little help, did Br igham give publicly recorded messages that echoed the sentiments in the letter sent to Lee PRIOR to Sept.11?? In other words did that letter reflect something that BY had said openly to others before the letter was sent out? What were BY’s comments AFTER the massacre? His comments at the killing site don’t sound that compassionate to me (from Woodruff’s diary) and the destruction of the rock pile, do you have a comment on that? These actions don’t “prove” anything, but are they not disturbing nonetheless? You are right about using caution in affixing blame in such a tragic and sobering chapter in U.S. history. I don’t think Coke Newell gave all this even a mention in “Latter Days”. Hmmmmm. GERMIT

  14. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Observer, thank you for responding to my question. Twice above you made the statement that those who participated in the Massacre were excommunicated for their crimes (I’m assuming you were referring specifically to the Massacre murders). I knew of two (possibly three); I was merely asking for you to substantiate your own assertion and perhaps educate me on additional excommunications that I was unaware of.

    As for my use of the phrase “Mormon leadership,” Aaron was correct. It might have been clearer that I was referring to the local leaders had I left out a comma. Perhaps it should have read, “So it went, in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, that the Mormon leadership who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime, justified the brutal murders of 40 men, 30 women, and 53 children passing through Mormon country on their hopeful way to a new life.” Sorry for your confusion.

  15. Berean says:

    I wonder if Observer is aware of some other historical facts that played into the Mountain Meadows Massacre. First, U.S. President James Buchanan had dispatched Union soldiers to Utah to remove Brigham Young as governor because of Young’s ruling of Utah as a theocracy. The Mormons had been in Utah about ten years but were still sensitive to their getting pushed from one place to another (New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois and then to Utah). Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders had made it clear that they weren’t going to be moved around anymore and nobody was going to bully them. Mormons were living an isolated life in Utah and outsiders were looked at suspiciously.

    Second, Mormon Apostle Parley Pratt had gone on a mission to Arkansas. While there he decided to enact what Joseph Smith had taught him about plural marriage and Pratt stole the wife and children of Hector McLean. McLean shot Pratt right off his horse because of this. This didn’t sit well with the Mormons in Utah.

    When the Fancher/Baker party (from Arkansas) showed up in Utah they looked at these people as being responsible for the death of Pratt and also Joseph Smith indirectly. Mormonism at that time taught that the blood of the prophets must be avenged (Young’s teaching of “blood atonement”). Historians agree that nothing could have taken place in Utah to the magnitude of MM Massacre without Young’s approval. Utah was run by Young and it was a theocracy.

    Observer should see the documentary “Burying the Past” done by Brian Patrick of the University of Utah. The LDS Church won’t apologzie for the event, but paid out the money in full for the memorial site. When the work began for this memorial bones were accidently dug up. The skulls had large holes in their heads from the bullets put there obviously from point-blank range. John Lee, Young’s nephew, was the “sacrificial lamb” for the rest of the Mormon leadership. Mormons today need to “connect the dots”.

  16. Andrea says:

    I’ll just add to Berean’s posts with these:

    “The Indians acknowledged having participated in the massacre of the emigrants, but said that the Mormons persuaded them into it. (Senate Executive Document 42, 36 Cong., 1 sess., 94-95)”

    “But there is another side to this story. It is said that some two years since Bishop Parley Pratt was shot in Cherokee Nation near Arkansas by the husband of a woman who had run off with that saintly prelate. The Mormons swore vengeance on the people of Arkansas”

    Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and The Massacre at Mountain Meadows was released on October 1, 2002, (and) it gives ample evidence that Brigham Young gave the order for the attack.”
    -all quotes taken from http://www.exmormon.org/journey/journey_h.htm

  17. Rick B says:

    For all the LDS who feel their Leadership could never do or allow this because they claim to be “Men of God” here is something to think about.

    King David had a man Killed so he could get His wife. Would a man of God Really do that?

    LDS view Joseph Smith as a man of God, yet he killed at least 2 people. maybe 3 while trying to escape out a window from Jail.

    Brigham Young said that he would kill a man and women by putting a javlin through their hearts. Even though I’m not aware of him doing it, I do not believe when He said that, He was only Joking about it.

    Would a Man/Prophet of God really say that? Since we know all of this Happend, and LDS view both BY and JS as men of God and Prophets, even though I do not, it is rather possible, LDS prophets or leaders could have called for or allowed these deaths to happen. Rick B (LDS priesthood holder)

  18. 4givn says:

    B Y declared martial law on Aug.5th. It was printed and they were around, but there is claim that it wasn’t widely circulated. The thought that someone would declare it and have it printed, seems that it was “official”. All it takes is just saying something to one, and those words will travel. On Aug 29th they were drawing up another one. Wonder what the purpose of that was, to make it even more official?

  19. observer says:

    Ample evidence that Brigham Young gave the order for the attack? Where? Temple endowments? Serious? You have sited absolutely no evidence that the attack was “ordered by” the church leadership in SLC.

    I will repeat Brigham Young’s own words in response to the initial report of the emigrants from Lee: “In regard to emigration trains passing through our settlements, we must not interfere with them untill they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of[.] [I]f those who are there will leave let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert, on hand and always ready we should also possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves and property ever remembering that God rules.”

    Pretty straight forward. But you again demonstrate the conspiracy-theory tendancies inherent to this group.

    I am sorry, but John Lee is not the most credible source of information since he spent a great deal of time trying to hide his crimes.

    “Historians agree that nothing could have taken place in Utah to the magnitude of MM Massacre without Young’s approval.” Pretty weak Berean. “Connect the dots?” They are so far apart, only somebody who really, really wanted them to connect would make that jump.

    I know you guys are anxious to defame any leader of the church, but your eagerness to call Brigham Young a murderer is disgraceful. Declaring martial law is a world away from ordering the slaughtering of 120 people.

  20. Ralph says:

    I love it when people say things like “Historians agree that nothing could have taken place in Utah … without Young’s approval.”; or as I have read on other threads that BY knew everything that was happening in Utah and nothing happened without his consent. I would love to see the proof of this, not just conjecture about how he ran the state. In those days the fastest form of long distance communication was smoke signals, then horse back. It took a long period of time for communications to get to where they were meant and anything could happen within that time period. So BY did not have and could not have complete control as people making these statements try to assert, even if they were/are historians.

    David was trying to cover-up another sin and he was a king, not a man of God (ie prophet).

    JS was at the door, not the window, when he fired those shots and he did it after his brother was shot and mortally wounded so it was in self defence and to defend the lives of the 2 other men in the room. Besides 3 shots against how many rifles? Give me a break.

    The statement from BY you are referencing was misrepresented – he said if he caught any man or woman committing adultery he would think nothing of putting a javelin through their heart. This is entirely different to the context you have made in your sentence – even the Bible says that adulterers and murderers are worthy of death (OT and Romans 1). The way you were/are trying to represent this statement is again false witness as is your self given title (Rev 21:8).

  21. Rick B says:

    When you said David was not a man of God, IE a prophet, you do not need to be a prophet to be a man of God. God said about David, David was a man after Gods own heart. And David spoke with God. So if he was not/ is not a man of God then something is wrong.

    Then what about Moses? He killed a man, God did not command it.

    JS Shot the people in the door, but then tried jumping out the window.

    Romans does not teach that it is our place to kill some one, even if guilty of adultry.

    Then you say my “self given title”, How do you figure. LDS teach that they are Christian, if we believe the same thing, then that means I am a mormon. So are you saying we do not teach the same thing? Be careful, LDS keep saying we believe the same thing, now it seems we no longer do. Rick B (LDS priesthood holder).

  22. lillym says:

    Can I just ask for a clarification here? since I don’t know the Meadow massacre history as well as people here…

    From my reading of the post it appears that after the Mormons murdered all of these people, they then took the surviving children into their homes?

    (Unless Woodruff was talking about some other person named Lee?)

    I just can’t quite get my head around this. Why would they go to the trouble of taking in some of the kids if they killed the rest of them? Maybe I don’t want to know all the details…

  23. Andrea says:

    Hi lillym,
    I believe all of the surviving children were under the age of 7 and therefore considered “too young to tell”. This is purely conjecture on my behalf, just regurgitating things I’ve read elsewhere.

  24. Berean says:

    There were 17 small children that were spared in the massacre. “Too young to tell” is thought by some, but another factor fell into the Mormon’s view of the “age of accountability” for children which is the age of 8 years-old. Those that were very young were not subject to the blood atonement being carried out on them since they were sinless in the Mormon’s view (Articles of Faith #2).

    Mormon families took in these very small children. U.S. President James Buchanan did eventually get the Union soldiers in there and they got the kids back to their original families in Arkansas. The descendents of the Fancher’s and Baker’s are still around today in Arkansas and they are interviewed on the documentary entitled “Burying the Past”. Needless to say, many of them are not happy with the LDS Church. For some all would be better if the LDS Church would just take responsibility for what happened. Instead the Church refuses to apologize or take the blame for it in anyway. When the Church gladly volunteers to pay for a memorial site it only appears as an outward token by the Church for an inward guilt. When the bones were accidently dug up not too long ago and it showed the large bullet holes in their skulls it opened up that old scar with the Fancher/Baker descendents in Arkansas.

  25. GRCluff says:

    Personally, I would prefer to discuss the doctrinal differnces between Mormons and Christians, but since this is the only topic open at the time, and my Great, great Grandpa settled in Cedar City, maybe someone will care about my opinion.

    Before you get all excited thinking this is one of the perpetrators, know that this particular ancestor was in St. Louis for the summer of 1858, having just made the journey from England to join the saints. BY asked him to settle in Cedar City because he was an Iron worker by trade. He would have attended church with some of the perpetrators, and would have known some of the children “rescued” from the indians.

    Here goes:
    Given the abuse and excessive use of fatal force that was exercised in Kirtland, Jackson County, and Nauvoo, I am surprised that ANY wagon train made it through Utah intact. They INTENDED to leave the United States to escape a failed government. The rule of law failed to protect them from mobs, in fact, the rule of law encouraged the abuse that occured. I would be pissed too!

    Some of my ancestors actually took the next step a generation later to leave the US entirely. Mexico was not prosecuting Mormons for practicing polygamy. Have you heard of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico? That is where Mitt Romney’s family is from as well.

    The indians have always been territorial, and killed people in 100’s of wagon trains. Why is it that they are decorated in today’s film industry as the victim of the white man’s greed?

    A double standard is in play?

    The Mormons killed one wagon train, because BY failed to command them to relax. 120 people died?

    Contrast that with Gov Boggs. He issued and order to kill Mormons on site, and a lot more that 120 Mormons died.

    Not long ago this blog published an article to defend him. Once again. A double standard.

    Every double standard carries inherent hypocrisy.

    Lets put this discussion in its proper light.

  26. 4givn says:

    Are you trying to justify what they did? Can you tell me why you claim that the extermination order caused many more deaths than “one wagon train”. The order was used to move them out of the state, not kill’em all. You need to read the actual order, not what one of your scholars typed up. If in fact the order was what you claim, then there would of been an “open season” on Mormons until 1976. Exterminate means to get rid of completely. W/LOVE

  27. Jeffrey says:

    Cluff, 4givn is right. I did some reading into it and it stands to reason that by extermination, he meant to rid them from the territory, not a free for all Mormon hunt.

    That being said, I am sure some people took it as they wont be held accountable if they kill some Mormons, but with reading into it, I came to the conlusion that Gov. Boggs didn’t have murder on his mind.

    There was great turmoil between the government and the Mormons, and I’m sure neither side was completely innocent. Gov. Boggs should have been a little more clear, just like you admit BY should have. I have no problem with that.

  28. GRCluff says:

    4givn asked:
    “Are you trying to justify what they did?”

    No more so than this site has tried to justify what Gov. Boggs did.

    BY didn’t endorse murder any more that Gov Boggs did, but his action had the same result.

    If you value life, and avoid bigotry, then all life has the same value. In that case, you can’t blame the victims. The Mormons were wrong to blame the victims of MM, but THIS SITE is equally wrong to blame the Mormons in Jackson County for the abuse and death that they suffered at the hands of a mob armed with an extermination order. I am just pointing out the hypocrisy and bigotry that we endorse here at the expense of the Mormons.

    I want a complete rewrite of the article published on Gov Boggs, with a sincere apology. Since when do we call bigotry and hypocrisy the sounding board for true Christianity? I think this site has finally shown its true colors.

  29. Berean says:


    Just curious, you talk a lot about your relatives from Nauvoo and other Mormon places…wondering if any of them were Danites? You said none of your kin had nothing to do with MM. Would they have anything to do with what the Danites did in other places?

    On May 6, 1842 Gov. Boggs was the victim of an assassination attempt. Joseph’s bodyguard from the Washington trip in 1839, Orrin Porter Rockwell, was fingered as the likely culprit. Rockwell shot at the back of Boggs’ head while he was reading the paper. He lived, but I imagined that ruined his day. Because of this Joseph Smith spent much of the summer of 1842 running, ducking and hiding from the law as to avoid arrest for this assassination attempt.

    I imagine the family descendents of Lilburn Boggs are still waiting for an apology from the Mormon Church just like the Fancher/Baker family descendents still are waiting for one today in Arkansas.

  30. 4givn says:

    Sharon and all,
    The post that I put up was to show that the claim that “to kill them on site” was in error. Sensing that someone was trying to justify the M.M.M. by misrepresenting what the “Extermination order” stated, I took it upon myself to point out the error. I am sorry for any harm that I have caused on your work here, or showing anyones “true colors”. I take all the blame for what I posted and ask for forgivness.

    I am sorry that you took offence to my post. I wasn’t justifying Boggs’ order. If you think that I,or anyone on this site, is justifying bigotry towards any people, you are mistaken. You had posted an error and I addressed it. W/LOVE

  31. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    4givn, no harm done. Pointing out a factual error is well within the guidelines for conversation on this site. As for the accusations made against Mormon Coffee and the blog article on Governor Boggs and the extermination order, readers can make up their own minds. But please refrain from discussing “Governor Boggs vs. the Mormons” here on this thread. Discussion of how Governor Boggs’ actions might relate to the Mountains Meadows Massacre, though, are entirely appropriate.

  32. Ralph says:

    I don’t know what its like in America with the descendents of the Nauvoo LDS and pioneers, but as far as I know the LDS church is not officially requesting/demanding/waiting for an apology from the US government nor the descendents of the perpetrators of the atrocitites towards the LDS church – its a ‘forgive and forget’ type policy. It’s in the past, leave it. We do teach those things happened but for us we focus on the ‘faith promoting’ side of it. Why can’t the descendents of the MMM and the others who were not involved do the same, especially if they are Christian, because isn’t that what Jesus taught?

    Also why should the LDS church officially apologise when there is no evidence it had anything to do with it? It was a group of renegades who took it upon themselves to sanction, against the call of the prophet as someone has shown earlier. To apologise would mean that the LDS church is taking responsibility, when if it had nothing to do with the atrocity then it should not need to take any responsibility. I am not down-playing what happened, I am just saying that the only ones who need to apologise are the ones who were responsible and involved in what happened.

    For instance, my son died in utero. It was ‘natural’, it was his time to go. There were many who gave condolances, a few said ‘sorry’ – I actually made the comment that it wasn’t their fault they did not need to apologise. Same thing here – its not the LDS church fault, so no need for it to apologise. It has recognised that an atrocity happened by the hands of a few renegades, isn’t that enough?

  33. Andrea says:

    First rule of customer service is “the customer wants to hear sorry, even if it’s not your fault” Sorry doesn’t always mean “I take responsibility and apologize for it”. When those people said ‘sorry’ about your son they meant “I feel for you, and I regret that you are going/have gone through this”. That’s the kind of “sorry” that the Fancher/Baker descendents (and the Mormons blacks pre-1978) are looking for.

  34. Ralph says:


    On an online dictionary there are a number of meanings for the word sorry, here is one of them “Feeling or expressing sympathy, pity, or regret”. If you go into the MMM archives and look at the article “When regret is not a synonym with apology” on September 17 2007 it quotes Elder Eyring at a MMM memorial service. Here is part of what the article states –

    [Carrie A] Moore wrote that Mormon Apostle Henry B. Eyring issued “a long-awaited apology today for the massacre of an immigrant wagon train by local church members 150 years ago in southwestern Utah.” Ravitz echoed a similar conclusion when she wrote, that a Mormon Apostle, “apologized for the church’s role.”…Instead, we heard Mr. Eyring “express profound regret” for the “undue and untold suffering experienced by the victims and their relatives.” We heard Mr. Eyring offer a “separate expression of regret” to the Paiute people “who have unjustly borne for too long the principal blame for what occurred during the massacre.”

    (emphasis mine)

    An Apostle of the LDS church expressed his regret for what had happened. From the dictionary meaning above regret = sorry. The whole idea of the MMM discussion on this site is to get the LDS church to accept responsibility for what happened as the owners of this site blame BY for the massacre. That is the kind of ‘sorry’ they want, not the kind of ‘sorry’ you are talking about or that the people said when my son died. If you don’t believe me read the other articles under the MMM archives. That is why I asked the question why should the LDS church apologise for something (thus claiming responsibility) it did not do. It has recognised that an atrocity has taken place and expressed its regret/condolences/etc, is that not enough?

  35. GRCluff says:

    Jeffery said:
    “That being said, I am sure some people took it as they wont be held accountable if they kill some Mormons, but with reading into it, I came to the conlusion that Gov. Boggs didn’t have murder on his mind.”

    The same could be said of the Mormon leadership. While it is unclear what they said in private, it IS clear that they made NO PUBLIC annoucement or instruction to “exterminate the wagon train”.

    Compare that to the very public pronouncement that Gov Bogg made, fully intending to do harm to any Mormon that failed to give up his home and property.

    The conclusion of this article was:

    So it went, in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, that the Mormon leadership, who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime, justified the brutal murders of 40 men, 30 women, and 53 children passing through Mormon country on their hopeful way to a new life.

    To be fair, and to avoid a glaring double standard, we should have the same type of conclusion to the Gov Boggs article. Sharon was kind enough to provide the link above.

    Here is how it would go:

    So it went, in the aftermath of the Hawn’s Mill massacre, that Gov Boggs, who ordered and carried out this horrendous crime by engaging State Malitia, justified the brutal murders of 17 men, and stuffed their bodies in a well. Their ONLY crime? Being Mormon in the wrong state.

    Compare that with the conclusion offered in the link above. See a double standard now?

    [Cluff, please stop baiting people and attempting to divert the discussion on this thread. Feel free to offer comments regarding the topic – i.e., the false statements made by the perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre in an effort to justify the murders they committed – but refrain from discussing your perception of a double standard regarding another article on Mormon Coffee. Any future comments on this thread related to the article “Governor Boggs vs. the Mormons” will be deleted. -Mod.]

  36. GRCluff says:

    A quote by Orson Hyde on the MMM puts focus on the double standard in same way that I have above. Great minds think alike?

    Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1854-1886], 20: 97 – 98

    “Great effort has been made to ferret out the guilty parties and bring them to punishment who were engaged in the horrid Mountain Meadow massacre. Had this been done in the spirit of justice and truth, free from that animus and extreme desire to criminate the whole Mormon Church that effort would have been praiseworthy and highly commendable; but conducted as it has been thus far, it will go down to the shades, covering with odium the conductors of that campaign.

    In contrast with the foregoing, I will now refer to the horrid massacre at Hawn’s Mill, in Missouri, wherein seventeen peaceable, quiet, and unoffending citizens, were shot down, in cold blood, and their bodies thrown into an old well; and for what? I am at the defiance of the whole world to show that it was for anything, except for the crime of being “Mormons.” I would here ask this government how much military and judicial investigation was had to ferret out and bring to punishment the perpetrators of that bloody deed, to say nothing of the wholesale banishment of an entire community by force of arms, and the sequestration of their property and inheritances? How does this compare with the claims of the government to justice and equal rights?”

    The point of this article is clear, ALL MORMONS should be punished by the acts of a few who may have sought revenge. And can easily be justified for doing so, I might add.

    To be fair, can all Missourians now be punished by what happened at Hawn’s Mill? If we instist on finding and procecuting the first, we should, with EQUAL vigor find an prosecute the perpetrators of the second.

    The LDS church has chosen to forgive and forget. That is very Christian of them. The same cannot be said of this article. Christian is as Christian does.

  37. GRCluff says:


    Sorry, no relation to any Danites. All Ephriamites, the whole lot of us. Going back that far doubles with every generation, only 5 of my 8 great grandparents lived in Nauvoo, and only one actually lived in Kirtland. He joined the Church in 1831, the same year it was organized. Met JS before he joined. He actually had the honor to take food to JS while he was in jail at Carthage.

    They were moving from Kirtland to Jackson county when the extermination order was issued. They held up in Springfield, ILL, because they were all sick. They missed all the hostilities there, but got to be one of the first families in Nauvoo.

    If Mormon leadership should be held accountable for MMM, then Gov Boggs should be held accountable for all the death and destruction he caused for Mormons in Missouri. He ordered the state militia to kill any Mormon who would not leave. BY made no such public order.

  38. Berean says:


    Thanks for clearing that up. Glad none of your kin was a Danite. So you’re all Ephraimites – from the tribe of Ephraim as most Mormons say they are from (even though not Jewish)? Thanks for making that official. I’d like to talk to you more about that, but on another thread so as to not be off topic.

    Just curious…does the Mormon Church taking any responsibility for the hostility in Missouri going back to 1835 with Sidney Rigdon’s famous “salt sermon”? This got him in quite a bit of trouble with JS. You can’t blame the locals in Missouri for getting “froggy” after Sidney starts his “saber rattling” with war overtones. I don’t excuse the actions of anyone when they are doing something wrong. If I saw a Mormon missionary being bullied here where I lived I’d be the first to jump in and fight off his attackers.

    The next time I go to Temple Square I’ll have to head over to the geneaology center and do a search on Lilburn Boggs and see what comes up. I’d be very curious to also find out if temple ordinances have been done for him. Would that upset you to find out that baptism for the dead, endowments, eternal marriage and sealings were done for him and that Boggs will become a god one day just like you according to Mormon teachings? Would it upset you if he gets his planet with his plural wives right next to your planet? After all, why not? The LDS Church had no problem doing all the same temple work for Adolf Hitler at the London Temple in 1993.

  39. 2bowdown says:

    There is no doubt that the Mormons involved in the massacre made bad decisions. I don’t think anyone would argue that. My question is why do people keep using this incident to paint the LDS church??? Was there an order from President Young? No! We understand that they were Mormon but please don’t skew what is truly known of this incident to defame the church. That would be like using the inquisition to paint modern Catholics or using the KKK to paint modern day Baptists. People make bad/evil decisions, but that does not portray what that persons church teach.

  40. germit says:

    Ralph,2BDn,others: We won’t hit anywhere near 100 posts on this thread,and maybe that’s for the best, it’s problematic to know who did what to whom in this case, so getting at the ‘truth’ of the situation is tough. Thank the FAther that HE sees and knows and judges justly.
    Ralph: it’s a gross overstatement to say there is NO evidence that BY was involved, what is more accurate is to say that the evidence that some find credible, you do not (and maybe for good reason, maybe the evidence is crummy) I haven’t read Juanita Brook’s book (hope I spelled that right), but I think she offers what is to her ‘evidence’ of BY’s involvment. I’m not saying she makes a good or bad case, but she’s probably not alone in her claims (strong or weak). We ev’s make the same overstatemnt error when we say: “there is no evidence for the BoM”, that’s just not true, we just don’t find credible what FAIR and FARMS find credible.
    2bow: what reflects badly on your church is what we DO know about BY’s response to this tragedy, and clean this up if I have it wrong, his statement at the grave site: “vengeance is mine, I got a little” and then having the rocks scattered (yes, I know he never SAID, scatter the rocks, he made a motion with his hand to have it done, does making the command wordlessly make it any better??) This may not seem like a big deal to you, how would this come across to the relatives of those callously shot in the head at point blank range? The remorse of your current leaders helps, but there is still a ‘smell’ to the whole event. I repeat: it’s tough to know what BY did or didn’t do, in private as well as public, but as the head of God’s church on earth, he does not represent your cause well, and I’m open to recosidering if any of the above descriptions are inaccurate.
    CLUFF: the cruelty done to Mormons by others is not really an argument that flies: you would never let that go with your kid’s, “Johnny did this, so I can do that..” Apply the same wisdom here GERMIT

  41. 2bowdown says:

    Germit: According to Dudley Leavitt’s diary, there was a monumet of stones and a wooden cross that read “Vengeance is mine;and I will repay, saith the Lord.” Dudley than notes that Brigham Young said,”It should read…Vengeance is mine and I have taken some”. Is it really clear what BY was talking about and should we really try to read into that statement. Note that BY was making a direct comment about the words on the cross. Maybe with more context, we would have a better idea of what he was thinking. If you know where I could find what was said before and after that statement I would appreciate it. As for a cover up, I do think that BY had a part in that. We should remember, however, the tough position BY was in. An army was already in Utah and mobs from CA had been threatening to wipe the Mormons out for some time. If news that Mormons had killed innocent settlers (and yes it was cold blooded murder)what would come of it but more bloodshed. Was it the right decision… I really don’t know, but what I do know is that no more lives were lost. I agree whole-heartedly with your first statement…Thank the Father that He sees,knows, and judges justly….

  42. uriahcho says:

    Sharon, would you be interested in writing a little bit on your blog about this book I read recently called “Destroying Angel”? It is a historical fiction novel depicting moments before, during and after the massacre, intertwined with a modern murder mystery. Written for the mainstream public, there are glimpses into Mormon, LDS church, polygamy, and Utah culture that are informative and presented to the reader in an unbiased way, while also presenting a good mystery to read.

    As Jeff Needle from the Association for Mormon Letters said:

    “Interspersed within the chapters describing the murders, Larson offers up an unimaginably brutal account of Mountain Meadows. These were the hardest chapters to read: one can hardly imagine human beings acting in such a callous and vicious way. He collates many of the accounts currently available and produces a bloody, terrifying glimpse of what it must have been like for the Fancher party to have been gunned down in cold blood. And we even see the event through the eyes of the surviving children.

    It is in the accounts of the Massacre that Larson is best at presenting a nuanced, multi-layered view of the victims and the perpetrators. Pure good and pure evil don’t exist in this world; we enter into the lives of real people, and cry out for justice as the account proceeds.”

    You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Destroying-Angel-Charles-M-Larson/dp/1933990155/ref=sr_11_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1222188268&sr=11-1

    Thank you in advance.

    Uriah Cho
    Zyrus Press
    [email protected]

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