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November 15, 2020 8:44 pm
.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism. What were some of the events leading to what is known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book Saints. No unhallowed hand. This is a history book that was published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2020 and covers the years 1846 to 1893 in last week's shows we were talking about what was known as the Mormon Reformation. It was a call for the latter-day St. people to get back in line and living lives righteously, which would eventually allow them to be exalted into the celestial kingdom of God. There are a lot of fiery sermons that were being preached even to the extreme of the preaching of a doctrine known as blood atonement where the sinner himself was to shed his own blood in order to atone for various sins. Now we move into the book on page 246 that talks about this season of Reformation eventually winding down were still in the year 1857 it says on page 246 that the saints once again grew frustrated with the federally appointed officials in the territorial government. Now let's recap this, the Mormons have moved out west.
They settled in the Salt Lake Valley and really Eric I guess what it would be improper to say that their form of government was more like a theocracy, maybe a modified theocracy at best. Brigham Young still claims that he has respect for the Constitution of the United States. But the book certainly doesn't seem to hide the fact that they had their own set of laws in the territory. The territory they the Mormons called the territory of desert rat. So when it says here that early in 1857 Utah's legislature petitioned James Buchanan, the newly elected president of the United States to grant them greater freedom to appoint their own government leaders, but then what is it saying the Quote we will resist any attempt of government officials to set at not our territorial laws or to impose upon us, those which are inapplicable, and of right not enforcing this territory." Now notice the language here Eric, we will resist any attempt of government officials to set it not our territorial laws. That's pretty telling. It seems because there is admitting in this block that Brigham Young had his own rules in the territory, and no doubt this is going to cause a conflict with the government in Washington DC. Because remember, this is a territory of the United States now and the territory has to comply with the laws of the United States. The Mormons think that they can have their own laws here in this admits our territorial laws. What is it going on to say, though, in the next paragraph that begins on page 247 the local government officials, meanwhile, were equally frustrated with the saints, disdain toward outsiders intimidation.
The federally appointed leaders and lack of separation of church and state in the territorial government in March. Some officials resigned their appointments and returned East with stories of the saints plural marriages and seemingly on democratic government. Now it seems to be admitting to us again this is this honesty that we get from this book. It's not a complete honesty and at least when it comes to a lot of details, but they are admitting here that these appointed government leaders were finding it frustrating to try to deal with the Latter Day Saints because of I have to assume that we read in the previous paragraph there territorial laws they were not complying with the laws of the United States. And so what happens is these federally appointed leaders find themselves being intimidated by the locals. You can imagine that this is probably going to happen. The locals are not going to like the leaders being appointed from Washington and the leaders being appointed from Washington are not going to like other being treated by the locals in this territory so it says that in March.
This would have to be March 1857. Some officials resigned their appointments and returned East with stories of the saints plural marriages and seemingly on democratic government. Keep in mind folks that in 1852 the Mormon church had a session of conference in which Orson Pratt Mormon apostle was given the quote unquote honor of announcing plural marriage publicly. It was no longer going to be a secret that the Mormons had been practicing plural marriage up until 1852 when it was announced publicly, but now it was no secret at all and you can imagine these appointed government leaders coming into the territory from Washington DC are now seeing polygamy actually being flaunted by the Latter Day Saints it's illegal in the United States to have more than one wife. Brigham Young doesn't care he's ruling his own territory. The way he wants to rule you can understand why this is going to bring some conflict between the Latter Day Saints and Washington DC but it's interesting how the use the phrase the seemingly undemocratic government seemingly undemocratic government. Brigham Young has the iron fist right in the territory here so I think the word seemingly maybe they should put that in quotation marks. I don't know but it seems like that's kind of a stretch certainly, it was an undemocratic type of government and this theocracy is not going to be able to be combined with a constitutional republic which our government actually does, so you can see why conflicts are going to eventually take place.
It goes on and says early that summer, after the snowy plains thought and mail routes reopened. The saints learned that their strongly worded petition and reports of their treatment of former territorial officers had deeply alarmed and angered Pres. Buchanan and his advisors.
The president viewed the saints action as rebellious any appointed new man to the vacant offices in Utah Eastern newspapers and politicians meanwhile demanded that he use military action to oust Brigham as governor while the saints rumored rebelliousness and see that the new federal officials were seated and protected only ask Eric based on what you just read how do you think that's going to settle with the locals in Utah at this time. They really do want to get away from anything having any control from from government officials and so they really wanted. As you mentioned earlier in the show the theocracy that would come through Brigham Young and they would be able to do things the way that they thought were best. It should be said, though, in my opinion for what I've read on the subject. I am not doubting at all, that some of the complaints of these officials who left Utah to go back and complain about Brigham Young and the Mormons were probably exaggerated in some areas are not doubting that. Certainly when you feel offended you have a tendency to embellish the story to make your opponent look worse than they really are, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same when it came to Brigham Young describing the federal government so you probably got hyperbole going both ways. And that's going to cause problems. Now it says on page 247 that Buchanan saw as his duty to establish federal authority in Utah at the time the United States was experiencing significant tensions over the matter of slavery. And that's true. Buchanan is got enough on his plate without having to worry about a bunch of guys over and the territory. Out west he's got a Civil War that's brewing on his hands here and certainly in the next election. Buchanan is going to lose and the twin relics of barbarism is going to come into effect. That is slavery and polygamy. So you can see that there's a lot of tension that's growing but then on page 248, there's this telling paragraph about a month after Brigham heard the rumors of Buchanan's intentions. He learned that apostle Parley Pratt had been murdered, his murderer Hector McLean was a strange husband of Eleanor McLean one of Parley's plural wives. Eleanor had joined the church in California. After years of suffering from Hector's abuse and alcoholism.
Hector had blamed Parley. When Eleanor left him and he sent their children to live with relatives in the southern United States. Eleanor attempted to reunite with her children and Parley followed soon after to assist her in May 1857. However, Hector hunted Parley down and brutally killed him. And that's true, but what you don't really learn from all this are all the details behind this Hector McLean understandably was upset with what Parley Pratt had done regarding his wife. He ends up marrying his wife Eleanor as a plural wife not blow it says it here that his murderer Hector McLean was the estranged husband of Eleanor McLean one of Parley's plural wives. You have to really read that sentence carefully to understand what's going on is not divorced from Eleanor.
She is not divorced from Hector.
She is still the lawful wife of Hector McLean, but yet Parley Pratt Mormon apostle marries her as one of his plural wives you can understand why Hector might be upset about this. Now I'm not trying to defend Hector at all. It sounds like from what I've read about the guy. He was a jerk. He was an alcoholic and abuser. No doubt, but still you have laws that you have to attend to in our constitutional Republic and maybe Parley is just trying to help her and the children out but do you have to marry the woman and and take her as a plural wife to be able to help her. Well, that's what I've been told when visiting the Brigham Young home. The beehive house in downtown Salt Lake City. I that's that very question because I was told that the reason why Brigham Young practice plural marriage was he needed to take care of wives who had lost their husbands during the persecution. And I think you raise a good question, yes, to marry them in order to cure these women. That sounds a bit extreme, but the next sentence. I think we need to address it says that Parley's murder shocked Brigham and the saints, though I have no doubt it, probably shocked many Latter Day Saints. I tend to say that I don't think it really shocked Brigham Young. In fact, there seems to be some evidence to show that Brigham probably wasn't surprised at all. There was a book written by a historian by the name of John Turner and in this book he relates some information regarding Parley Pratt's behavior. What did Turner say this is about call Brigham Young Pioneer profit and this is page 272 71.
In late May Eleanor's husband Hector contract Pratt from St. Louis to Arkansas pulled him into a thicket of trees stabbed him three times and shot him in the neck.
Although young acknowledge Pratt as a new martyr alongside Joseph and Hiram Smith.
His response was somewhat muted.
He and Pratt had clashed repeatedly during the early years of Young's leadership of the church. Though Pratt had since proven his loyalty and shown a sacrificial willingness to undertake missions.
Young later suggested that Pratt had deserved his fate, alluding to Pratt having taken additional plural wives without authorization. In the mid-1840s, Young explained that quote brother Parley's blood was spilt glad of it before it paid the debt he owed for he hoard" for he hoard and it sounds like Brigham Young was not at all surprised. So when the book saints says on page 248 that Parley's murder shocked Brigham. I don't think the facts actually support that statement. Thank you for listening.
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