We are looking forward to supporting your foundations' efforts to secure Federal Stewardship for the MMM site. I am soliciting friend's and local church's support in Bakersfield in that endeavor. Additionally, I am checking on those interested in attending the Sept. 10 and 11 meetings. I have been in contact with Dr. Burr by phone several times and with Ron Wright via e-mail in order to obtain petitions. I am wondering if there is a legal way in which we can allow folks to sign the petition via e-mail or the internet. You could obtain many more signatures this way, if it is considered viable.
I am a 6th generation (former) Mormon with a large LDS family from St. George to SLC to Rexburg, Idaho. So far, I am the only one in my family who has found truth and peace in the real Jesus, but I maintain close ties with all my Mormon family. My husband and I help teach classes occasionally in our local church (Valley Baptist) on sharing the Biblical Jesus with Mormons. I became a Christian 21 years ago and until then, I never realized the deception, cover-up and denial that exists in the church which I served and loved for the first 35 years of my life. We held a support group for ex-Mormons for several years, because the de-briefing is so necessary when they come out of the Mormon cult. Unfortunately your family has seen the dark side of Mormonism which I never knew existed. I grew up hearing all the tall tales about the evil wagon trains who used to "poison the water, curse the locals, and who were supporters of the anti-Mormon killers of the Prophet Joseph and the Haun's Mill massacre". In my mind, most of my adult leaders justified any retaliation by Mormon militias because we were such a hounded and persecuted bunch. The glaring exception was my Grandmother Lulu Mae Cook, born in 1899. She said that if our Mormon ancestors had been more hospitable and quiet when they marched through exiting communities, they wouldn't have invited all the trouble they always brought with them clear to Utah!
All this to say that I understand the demonic stranglehold that is on the LDS leaders to preserve their version of "the truth" and to continue their desperate efforts to hide evidence deep in their archival vaults and silly public denials. They haven't learned their lesson yet in their losing P.R. battle to whitewash their history: They always come up with some revelation from God to change their former embarrassing doctrines. I feel that when the older generation of men die off, the younger Mitt Romney types will step up to the plate in a grand public relations effort to apologize and rectify past wrongs. That day is on the horizon for your family for sure, because God and Truth will win. In the meantime, justice needs to be served and wrongs righted... which means consciences need to be probed.
My grandmother was always very critical of Brigham Young's iron fist, his polygamy "excesses", and the whole MMM fiasco. She didn't approve of all the secrecy and denial surrounding the incident and had nothing nice to say about John D. Lee, except she felt he should never have been the lone scape goat. She was always out-spoken about the tragic raising of the surviving children by the church members in Parowan (her designation). She heard first-hand stories of the raising of those children, but would never speak of those details, even at my urging. I remember being careful not to anger her with too many questions. I was 12 years old the last time she ever spoke to me about it. She was kneading bread and worked herself into quite a fuss as she talked about it. I recall her finally silencing me by saying that "God Almighty knows the perpetrators of the shameful incident and He will surely punish all of those liars and cowards too afraid to own up to their evil deeds. That's all I have to say on this subject. Brigham Young will face the Lord on Judgment Day like all the rest of us." And we never spoke of the subject again!
The good news is that the Lord is using their duplicity and shameful actions to convict the consciences of those inside the church whom He wishes to rescue out of their man-made religion. And that is my motive, simply evangelistic efforts and nothing retributive. This e-mail became much longer than I intended, but my husband and I and our believing friends and pastors are bathing these efforts in prayer. We are bringing a small group to the Cedar City meeting & auction. I am joining the foundation today. My mother lives in St. George and is still very active in the church. I need to be tactful with her obviously, but she has also been very interested in the MMM and just visited the site again last month. She was retired from teaching, but resumed substituting; as a history major, she still retains an avid interest in all things historical. I am hoping to incur her help and not her wrath. But either way, I am bringing some of our local missions pastors to St. George with me next Tuesday, July 17, to hook up with any Christian churches in St. George who will be supporting your efforts. If you know of any who you feel have the right attitude and want us to contact, please feel free to give them my contact information and vice-versa.
Your site says: "Col. William H. Dame, president of the Parowan Ward and the military commander who ordered the Massacre."
I question the title of "president of the Parowan Ward" since the leader of a Mormon ward is normally a Bishop.
There is a possibility that Dame was actually the "Stake President" at Parowan which is a higher ecclesiastical authority that a ward Bishop. (Usually a "Stake" is presided over by a Pres. and 2 counselors, and often the Stake consists of 2 or more "Wards" meaning there are usually 2 or more bishops that he is in charge of.)
A good example is Issac Haight who was the Stake President at Cedar City, and Bishop P. Klingensmith, (sometimes called Bishop Phillip K. Smith) the Bishop of the Cedar ward. Haight was Klingensmith's ecclesiastical superior.
If Dame was a Stake President, then ecclesiastically he would have been Haight's equal.
In the Iron county militia hierarchy, however, it was well documented that Dame was the top commander (living) in Southern Utah.
(George A. Smith was Dame's superior both ecclesiastically and in the Military Organization)
So you understand where I am coming from, I want you to know my interest in MMM. My GGG-Grandfather was Joseph Walker that ground the grain for the Fancher party in Cedar City. You may remember the small incident, as it is told in Josiah Gibb's account, as well as Will Bagley's and Sally Denton's books.
Joseph Walker, owned the Gristmill in Cedar City and was the man who ground the wheat which the Fancher party obtained at Parowan. Bishop Klingensmith sent an elder to Joseph Walker and ordered him not to grind the wheat. The sturdy and blunt 44 year-old Englishman said to the bishop's agent: "Tell the bishop that I have six grown sons, and that we will sell our lives at the price of death to others before I will obey his order."
Joseph Walker did believe his life was put in danger my disobeying Bishop Philip Klingensmith. "During many weeks after the incident the emissaries of the bishop hounded Walker, and one night while at work in the smutting room of the mill he saved his life by blowing out the candle, thus thwarting the assassins ("or Avenging Angels") who were lurking near the window of the room.”
"Mormonism Unveiled: The Life and Confession of John D. Lee" describes in detail the beatings, robberies, castrations, assassinations (murders) and attempted assassinations, of both Gentiles (non-Mormons) and Saints ordered by Mormon Church leaders. Included is the story of the willing "blood-atonement" of Rasmos Anderson for adultery under the judgment of Bishop Philip Klingensmith, and by Lee's account at the hands of Bishop Klingensmith. (In Lee's account, Bishop Klingensmith had expressed interest in taking the woman as a polygamous wife, prior to the adultery.) Lee also gives other stories of murder or “blood atonement” by Mormon “Avenging Angels.” There appears to be some truth in these accounts as other men have mentioned these incidents in their writings. Bishop Klingensmith was questioned under oath at Lee's first trial about the “blood atonement” of Ramos Anderson, and though he denied any involvement, it is obvious that the mysterious dead and disappearance of Ramos Anderson was well known in Cedar City and Bishop Klingensmith played a major part. And it was with this knowledge, that Joseph Walker made his statement directed to Bishop Klingensmith: "Tell the bishop that I have six grown sons, and that we will sell our lives at the price of death to others before I will obey his order"
I disagree completely with your contentions that the MMM was motivated primarily by plain and simple greed (and robbery.) Greed entered in after the fact, but the primary motive was that the Mormon Church was at war with the government of the United States, and Brigham Young wanted to show the Federal government who was "boss" in Utah. (George A. Smith often referred to Brigham as "the old boss.") By showing that he (Brigham) could control the Indians and disrupt and control the travel on the overland trails to California, he could show the U.S. Government that they needed him, more that he need them. Some of the attackers dressing as Indians was part of the ruse to prove that Brigham controlled the Indians and could stop all immigration to California. (Remember that President Buchanan was sending a new Territorial Governor with Johnston's Army to replace Brigham as the Territorial Governor of Utah and Brigham had put Utah under "Martial Law." Up till this time, Utah was a Theocracy with Brigham Young in COMPLETE control of everyone temporally and spiritually. The MMM was an "offensive first strike attack" on people that supported the U.S. government and it was done to make a point with the U.S. Government. The Mormon Church controlled every aspect of the people's lives in Utah at that time, and it was only under the order of the leaders of the Church that the MMM was carried out. The people sincerely believed they were doing what their God demanded.
The following 2 teachings in the 1850's theology of the Mormon Church were major contributors to this mindset that caused the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Brigham Young taught that there were certain sins not covered by the Atonement of Christ. In a speech given in 1856 he told the Latter-day Saints, "It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit . . . they must be atoned for by the blood of the man." (JD, Vol. 4, pages 53-54)
Within a year he encouraged faithful church members to assist in this process: "All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?.... This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it...." (JD, Vol. 4, pages 219-220)
Oath of Vengeance
Following Joseph Smith's martyrdom, Brigham Young introduced an oath in the Temple endowment which required members to swear vengeance “upon this nation.”
"You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children's children unto the third and fourth generation. All bow your heads and say yes." (The Reed Smoot Case, vol. 4, pp. 495-496)
The oath remained a part of the Mormon temple rituals until February 15, 1927.
Under the date of Dec. 6, 1889, Apostle Abraham Cannon recorded the following in his diary:
"...Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in the massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs." (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, page 205)
These teaching were well known in Southern Utah in the 1850's and were practiced by zealous church leaders and followers. In 1856-1858, what is called the Mormon reformation was in full swing in Utah. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Reformation ) Mormon Apostle George A. Smith made a speaking tour of Southern Utah just before the MMM and told the people they must stand up for their God (their religion) and be prepared for war. The "Oath of Vengeance" and "Blood Atonement" was part of his message. The people knew exactly what George A. Smith and Brigham Young expected of them and most were willing to do whatever they were commanded to do. (see also Utah War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_War (Even today, there is a extreme "culture of obedience" to church leaders that is taught by Mormons in Utah.)
In hindsight, I would like to suggest that the horrendous massacre at Mountain Meadows may have kept Brigham Young from a full blown attack on Johnston's Army and the huge loss of life that would have resulted on both sides. Brigham's rhetoric certainly changed after the Mountains Meadow Massacre, he turned over the Territorial Governorship to Buchanan's Non-Mormon appointee, Alfred Cumming, and he undertook a major cover-up to distance himself and the Mormon Church from the massacre, even though he knew exactly what had happened and why. (Whether or not he gave the direct order for the massacre will probably never be know, but he very well could have. In my opinion he tried to make it happen primarily with only the Indians, but when the Indian attacks failed to wipe out the Fancher party, the Mormon Iron County Militia was the backup. I believe they did exactly as Brigham expected.)