One question at a time 13 Mountain Meadow Massacre

Picture taken by Larry in Guatemala

Black mark on the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons/LDS) when a group of LDS People attacked an innocent wagon train heading to california passing through Southern Utah.

Brigham Young who was the leader of the LDS Church after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith sent people throughout Utah and even into other states to start colonies. You will find small towns about every 50 miles which is how far you could ride on a horse per day back then.

One of these small towns was called Mountain Meadows and the people that went down had been through much persecution back East when they had lost their homes and been kicked out of different towns because they were Mormons. The basic account is that the people of Mountain Meadows heard that a group of persecutors were headed towards them and they got together and decided they were not going to take it any more. They did send word to the Prophet Brigham Young and they got his reply a day late that said to let them pass in peace. The Mormons of Mountain Meadows dressed up like Indians and painted their faces and attacked the wagon train killing almost everyone. Some of the children were later adopted by the Mormons and raised as their own. This horrible tragedy cannot be excused although we may be able to understand why it happened after we study what the Mormons had been through. Much research has been done on this and some stories claim the people knew they were a peaceful wagon train headed for california and they attacked them anyway. Other stories say that they really thought the wagon train was a violent mob that was coming to continue persecuting them.

I don't excuse their behavior yet if I were to be taken back in time and if I had suffered the same things they had suffered and if indeed I really believed that a mob was coming to kill my family and others I can't say that I would not have done the same exact thing to protect them. It is very difficult to judge anyone without having the entire story and without having all the facts. As a rule the Mormon people are non-violent.

You will hear of Mormons that secretly got together to take revenge on those that had participated in persecutions against those in the Church. This similar thing was occurring during the time of Jesus when the zealots, a radical jewish group was taking matters into their own hands to go against the Romans to get justice. Jesus when he came did not condone violence and nor did the leaders of the Mormon church except when in defence of yourself or your family.

For more details on the massacre you can read the information off the LDS Church web site below. There are also other accounts although I would read all of them rather than just one side or the other. When I was researching anti-mormon material I found that much of it was fabricated and that was disappointing. Many of their references were made up or non-existent. Many of the authors quoted other anti-mormon authors rather than historical records and such. Reading through the accounts of anti-mormon doctrine I found that quite a bit of it started in England and there is even printed material saying that Mormons would take your women or young girls and kidnap them and then later throw them off the top of the temple into the Great Salt Lake. This material was made to discourage people from even investigating the mormon church but when you lie many times that same material makes people want to know the truth and they investigate only to find that the Great Salt Lake is many miles from the LDS Temple and the kidnapping was simply not happening. There are negative things that have occurred in the Mormon Church and like any group Mormons have good people and bad people inside their group. Mormonism has become a culture not just a religion. There are Mormons that strive to live the commandments and Mormon rules and there are Mormons that do not live those rules. Some of them that do not live the rules actually believe the church is true while others do not believe it. Being raised in the LDS Faith can have a great impact on your life, your idea of what is right and wrong and your values. This is the same in any culture. There very positive aspects to being raised Mormon and there can also be some negative ones as well. Many Mormons feel they need to be perfect so they feel extremely guilty when they don't meet the requirement of being perfect so they get depressed. Obviously this is not Mormon doctrine although it can be the perception which becomes your reality even when it is not how it should be. Mormons are taught a strong work ethic and a strong service ethic.

LDS site with information on the Massacre