On page 363 Bagley writes, "A historian's professional and personal conclusions often differ, as was the case with Brooks' final assignment of responsibility for the massacre at Mountain Meadows. In the last revision of her book, she stressed the importance of Young's manipulation of the Indian leaders and the military orders placing `each man where he was to do his duty.' She retained her original conclusion that the existing evidence did not prove that Brigham Young and George A. Smith specifically order the massacre, but it showed they `set up social conditions that made it possible.' In a private letter to Roger B. Mathison of the University of Utah Library, she went much further: she had `come to feel that Brigham Young was directly responsible for the tragedy.' John D. Lee, she believed, would make it to heaven before Brigham Young."
Bagley states, "Claiming that Brigham Young had nothing to do with Mountain Meadows is akin to arguing that Abraham Lincoln had nothing to do with the Civil War" (p. 379). He discounts the vilification of the Arkansas immigrants/victims as nothing but lies perpetrated by the murderers themselves. Bagley recognizes the complicated events leading up to the tragic event, but he makes it clear that one cannot overlook the fact that this was an act to avenge the blood of Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt who was killed in May of 1857 by the legal husband of his 12th wife, Eleanor McLean, in Arkansas. Bagley's "smoking gun" (?) is the journal of Dimick Huntington, a source never seen by Brooks. Huntington recorded a meeting that Young had with local Indians on September 1, 1857 where he agreed to give the emigrants' cattle to the Indians. Says Bagley, "He [Young] encouraged his Indian allies to attack the Fancher party to make clear to the nation the cost of war with the Mormons" (p. 379).
Bagley's book is a must read for anyone who wants to get beyond the LDS Church spin on this very thorny issue. Mormon Church historian Richard Turley and his loyal band of researchers will be coming out next year with what will certainly look like a rebuttal to Bagley's conclusions. Regardless, "Blood of the Prophets" is sure to shake up many Mormons who for the first time will realize that it is quite possible their second president was responsible for the murders of 120 innocent men, women, and children.
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Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Hardcover)
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