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Saints Mountain Meadows Massacre Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2020 8:57 pm

Saints Mountain Meadows Massacre Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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November 22, 2020 8:57 pm

This is the final show (of 6) describing the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as depicted in the latest history book.

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on 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. Stay with us for this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. We continue looking at the book Saints, No Unhallowed Hand, a book that was released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in early 2020, and it covers the dates from 1846 to 1893. Last week, we were talking about a tragic event in LDS history known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and as I mentioned, I'm pleased to a certain extent that the Mormon Church included that story in this book. I think the Church does owe somewhat of an explanation as to what took place.

However, as I mentioned last week, the Mormon Church has never really apologized for this event. Now, on Friday's show, we were talking about what had actually happened on September 11, 1857, but the book goes on to explain what happens after that time. But let me turn to page 267 to read to you what it has to say about John Higbee's responsibility in this massacre and the aftermath following the massacre.

The men are going out in single file, as are some of the women. The wounded are in a wagon. And then there's a point where John Higbee says, halt. Some accounts say that he also said, do your duty. And at that point, the men who had the guns walking along the column of immigrants open fires on them and kills them. It says in the book, on page 267, that John D. Lee, now remember, I said last week, John D. Lee would be the only one who would be executed for this crime. He really was the scapegoat in this horrible atrocity. But John D. Lee, it says, saw to it that no one survived who could tell the tale. Afterward, the stench of blood and gunpowder hung over Mountain Meadows. More than 120 immigrants had been killed since the first attack four days earlier. That would be on Monday, September 7th.

But then you turn the page. On 268, it talks about a visit to the site by Isaac Haight, who was a stake president in Cedar City. He was also the mayor of Cedar City and a man named William Dame. William Dame was a commander in the Nauvoo Legion, which was a Mormon militia, but he was also the stake president of Parawan, a town north of Cedar City.

He was also the mayor of Parawan. So what we have here are two local Mormon leaders, and this is how they were affected by the site at Mountain Meadows on the next morning. Early the next morning, Isaac Haight and William Dame arrived at the Hamelin Ranch.

It was the first time either of them had visited Mountain Meadows since the siege began. When he learned how many people had been killed, William was shocked. Quote, I must report this matter to the authorities, end quote. And implicate yourself with the rest, said Isaac.

Nothing has been done except by your orders. Let me stop you there, Eric, because here's how it unfolds. The Mormons decide after the immigrants leave Cedar City after this encounter with a miller. This is Philip Klingensmith, who is a local bishop. Remember, I was explaining that there was an altercation that took place because in order to grind some grain that the settlers had, he wanted to charge them a whole cow, which of course insulted the immigrants, angered the immigrants, because they felt that that was totally exorbitant. We are led to believe by the book written by the three Mormon historians, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, that this was really the cause for the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Now, I find that very hard to believe, but that's the answer that the Mormon historians give us. We get to this part where William Dame sees what had actually happened as a result of an order that he gave to Isaac Haight, and Isaac Haight passed on to the militia members, the Mormons who were involved in the killing. And notice what's happening now.

They are starting to bicker and point fingers at each other, knowing that if anybody talks, everyone is going to go down. And that's where we are on this page 268, where Isaac says to William Dame that if he reports this matter to the authorities, he would implicate himself with the rest. And then Isaac says, nothing has been done except by your orders, meaning William Dame's orders. It continues later, John D. Lee led both men to the massacre site.

Signs of the carnage were everywhere, and some men were burying the bodies in shallow graves. Quote, I did not think that there were so many women and children, end quote, William said, his face pale. Colonel Dame counseled and ordered me to do this thing, and now he wants to back out and go back on me. Isaac said to John, his voice filling with rage, he has got to stand up to what he did like a little man. Isaac, William said, I did not know there were so many of them. That makes no difference, Isaac said.

Okay, let me stop you there. Are we really to believe that William Dame did not know how many people were involved in this? We know that when they stopped in Cedar City, they camped right outside the Fort Walls at that time. He had to have known that this was a large wagon train. It was discussed by the locals. So I have a real hard time with this statement that William says, and he probably really said it, but I don't think it's true. He had to have known it was a large wagon train of many, many people. But whether it was one family or whether it was 30 families, does it really matter? And that's exactly what Isaac Haidt says.

That makes no difference. The book goes on and says, later after the dead were buried, Philip Klingensmith and Isaac told the militia men to keep their role in the massacre a secret. Now let me ask you, Eric, do you really think with so many people involved, and let's not forget, they also involved the local Native Americans, the local Paiutes.

They were the first to attack. When it became apparent that the Indians would not be able to wipe out this wagon train, the Mormons knew they had to get involved. Some of them dressed up as Indians in order to disguise themselves.

We know this from the testimony of some of the children that survived, some of the smaller children. One young child said that the Indians had killed his father, but when he washed his face, he became a white man. And remember, the whole plot, folks, was to blame the local Indians for this atrocity. And that was the story that many of those involved stuck to. And we know that there's no way when that many people are involved, and some estimate there were probably about 100 Mormons involved in the massacre, and we don't know how many Indians were involved in the massacre. Do you think the Indians would keep their mouths shut if they knew that they were blamed for the entire atrocity?

Of course not. And some of the Indians did say that they were involved, but so were the white men or the Mormons were involved in this as well. On last Friday's show, I introduced the name of James Henry Carleton. He was a major in the army. He was stationed in California. Major Carleton is going to go to Southern Utah and do an investigation on the Mountain Meadows.

When he gets there, he is met by a Dr. Brewer from the United States Army with Captain Campbell's command. Now, Captain Campbell is coming south from Camp Floyd. After the contingent of soldiers arrives in the Salt Lake Valley, they set up a camp known as Camp Floyd. That name would be changed after the Civil War begins to Camp Crittenden because Floyd would later join the Confederate Army.

But these two groups meet. In fact, Captain Campbell gets to the area a week before Carleton arrives. Carleton is told that he has to do an investigation, so he starts interviewing a lot of the locals. And he's noticing that a lot of the Mormons are sticking pretty much with the same story, that it's the Indians' fault.

But he doesn't buy this story. He gives a detailed account of what he sees when he arrives on the scene. And what's terrible about this is he's writing this report on May 25, 1859.

Folks, that's about a year and a half after the massacre takes place. I should mention, you can find this report on the internet. All you need do is type in your search box, Major James Carleton, and that's spelled C-A-R-L-E-T-O-N, and then the word report, and you will see several links to this report that we are citing here today. If you're interested in this subject, I would strongly encourage you to read what Major Carleton said based on what he saw.

Very quickly, Eric, let's just talk about what he saw when he finally gets to the site. And remember, this is in 1859 when he is writing this report. I took a wagon and a party of men and made a thorough search for others amongst the sage brushes. It goes on and says, I gathered many of the disjointed bones of 34 persons.

The number could easily be told by the number of pairs of shoulder blades and by lower jaws, skulls, and parts of skulls, etc. These, with the remains of two others, gotten in a ravine to the east of the spring where they had been interred at but little depth, 34 and all. I buried in a grave on the northern side of the ditch. Around and above this grave I caused to be built of loose granite stones hauled from the neighboring hills, a rude monument, conical in form and 50 feet in circumference at the base and 12 feet in height. This is surmounted by a cross hewn from red cedar wood.

From the ground to the top of cross is 24 feet. On the transverse part of the cross, facing toward the north, is an inscription carved in the wood, quote, vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord, end quote, and that comes from Deuteronomy 32 35. And on a rude slab of granite set in the earth and leaning against the northern base of the monument, there are cut the following words, quote, here 120 men, women, and children were massacred in cold blood early in September 1857. They were from Arkansas, end quote. This is a description of the rock cairn that Major Carlton had set up to honor those who were murdered. As I mentioned on Friday, when Brigham Young goes to the area after this, he sees this rock cairn, he sees that Bible verse, and he has the men that were with him tear down the monument.

Why would he do that? But Carlton goes on to explain, I observed that nearly every skull I saw had been shot through with rifle or revolver bullets. I did not see one that had been, quote, broken in with stones.

Dr. Brewer showed me one that probably of a boy of 18 which had been fractured and slit, doubtless by two blows of a bowie knife or other instrument of that character. This is the gruesome sight that Dr. Carlton saw after the massacre took place.

To keep it a secret was impossible. And now we have evidence to show that the story was hardly an attack by an Indian tribe on a group of immigrants. This is why theology matters. Bad theology can lead to bad actions, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre is certainly a case like that. I'm Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-25 19:54:50 / 2024-01-25 19:59:55 / 5

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