Reality-based shows like Big Love and Sister Wives have exposed modern plural marriage to be as ostensibly “normal” as any other domestic arrangement for the most part. One might be tempted in a moment of fairness to concede that they’re all consenting adults, they’re all happy with the lifestyle, so what’s the big deal? But some 150 years ago, it was a big deal. Such a big deal that the US Army was sent on a secret mission to overthrow the Utah Territorial government, and destroy the Mormon Church once and for all because of this one, single proven, resistance to submit to the will and religious preferences of America’s Christian orthodoxy. America was a Christian Nation–and the Religious Right still claims so. Mormons took multiple wives and had a modern-day prophet. That wasn’t “Christian.” That was “disloyal” to the American, exclusively “Christian,” way of life. Even today, the Religious Right will tell you the Constitution was based upon the Bible and Biblical, “Christian” principles. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Founding Fathers in fact expressed a determined argument directly against America ever being a “Christian Nation,” or ever having any branch of “Christianity” incorporated into the Constitution. Here are a few related essays on the subject from earlier in my blogging efforts:
Even though the modern state of the culture has been radically compromised concerning what a “family” or a “valid lifestyle” may or may not be, you still have to remember that the anti-bigamy/polygamy/cohabitation laws are still in effect. In these cases of modern polygamist-televangelists, keep in mind that they are only enjoying fake marriages. Those people are not “married” legally. They are simply cohabitating. No state actually allows plural marriage by law yet. Utah was specifically forced to adopt an anti-polygamy clause in its constitution in order to be granted statehood, as was Idaho. These so-called “Fundamentalist Mormons” on today’s “reality” shows, may marry exactly one wife legally. If she consents to allowing her husband to cohabitate with what amount to concubines for religious purposes, and they want to call that a marriage, then any laws they may be breaking are against co-habitation, not bigamy or polygamy. If they really were married to multiple partners, the men (yes, only the men) would be in prison. All anti-bigamy, anti-polygamy laws were drafted specifically to imprison the early Mormon patriarchs, because they were all in truth designed to capture LDS church leadership, not really “save” the helpless women and children “enslaved” by this vile Mormon practice. The women and children were in fact, thrown into poverty and often the streets by removing the breadwinner from the household and seizing all his property, and then eventually all LDS church property simply for believing that polygamy was a Biblically valid practice and teaching it—not practicing it, just teaching or believing it was valid and Biblical. Loyalty oaths were forced upon Utah and Idaho, and all the territories governed by the Congress, disenfranchising anyone who would not sign papers denouncing plural marriage, whether they practiced it or not. (That’s what Orwell called a “thought crime.”) Today, all US states specifically prohibit a man taking more than one wife, and exact on paper at least, heavy penalties of fines and prison time for undertaking it. This vehement reaction to Mormon polygamy should sound a note of irony given that relatively easy way American “Christians” have been coaxed to embrace the notion these days that men who want to marry men or women who want to marry women is a Constitutionally protected right. Most “Good Christian Patriots” on the Right will reluctantly confess that plural marriage is indeed a respectable Biblical concept, but then go on to produce some obtuse rationale explaining that it was done away with and is now a “bad” thing. And though the Religious Right will eagerly agree that homosexuality is an abomination, is, was, and ever will be, and that sanctioning homosexual marriage by the State is just one big nail in America’s spiritual coffin, the Religious Left will vehemently support gay marriage, while agreeing with the Right, that polygamy is a revolting and barbaric practice.
More on Christian America’s campaign against Mormonism via polygamy here:
Having said this, one Utah federal judge, based upon a Utah State lawsuit arising out of one of these “reality” shows has ruled that anti-polygamy and anti-bigamy laws should stand, but that anti-cohabitation laws are Unconstitutional. That case is fully expected to be referred to the Supreme Court. But it says something about changing times and the failing grip of raging, “Historical” Christianity on American culture when the Salt Lake Tribune, the newspaper organized by Utah’s most staunch anti-Mormon instigators, the very people who replaced local Mormon government with governors and judges and marshals and administrators appointed by Congress directly, who disenfranchised the entire Mormon church and confiscated it’s land and property and rented meetinghouses back to them because of their singular disloyalty over the polygamy issue alone, comes out with this observation from the very federal judges they appointed:
On Sunday, the Salt Lake Tribune’s polygamy blog published a helpful Q&A that breaks down some of the most significant aspects of the decision:
• What about the claims polygamy is harmful to women and children? This was a big part of the state’s argument, but Waddoups didn’t buy it. He said the state presented no evidence of a correlation between polygamy and such crimes as child abuse, domestic abuse and failure to pay child support.
• What impact did this year’s gay marriage rulings have? It appears none. Neither of the U.S. Supreme Court cases received citations in Waddoups’ ruling. Waddoups did cite the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas that struck down sodomy laws for gay sex, quoting a passage affirming a right to freedom from “unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places.”
And I want to emphasize for the moment, that in the actual historical record, there is one single issue, one single law, one single offense that Mormonism has been ultimately “convicted” of in either any state or federal court. And that is taking more than one wife. Period. All the rest is legend, hyperbole, and bullshite for the dime novels. Not a partisan statement, just the facts of the case. The Mormons have won every case against Joseph Smith and subsequent leaders of riot, treason, rebellion, and all the other salacious fantasy charges thrown at them over the generations with the single exception of one: Yes. Mormons believed in taking more than one wife.
And of course, they believed they had a living prophet leading their church, and that they were the one true religion. Unfortunately, heresy wasn’t ostensibly illegal, so the Christian Nation had to go with the polygamy angle. And that one did the trick. But to get it to work, they had to take marriage out of the hands of religion, and make it a political and civil union that could be regulated by legislation and enforced by the courts. That move has come back to bite them in the ass in the form of the various courts and legislatures legalizing gay marriage.
Now, if you want to believe in Mormon boogie men there’s nothing I can do about it. If you want to believe in Mormon Danite death squads, and the Mormon connection to the Illuminati, or the Mormon plan to take over America and build a Latter-day Empire on the blood of poor Christian settlers, I can’t stop you. Mormons are not unique in Calvin’s America when it comes to being relegated to the part of evil conspirators. Before the Mormons you had the Catholics. And for a while the Baptists. The Jews are always handy. But, you’ll certainly find all sorts of scintillating rumors and innuendoes to confirm all your worst nightmares about the Mormons if you read accounts from the “Christian” press and commentary of the era. Even today, in the “communications era,” a large segment of the population believes “911 was an inside job,” and there’s nothing I can do about that either. You’d think some of the most notably bigoted anti-Mormon fables would have dissipated by now. And I suppose, many of them have. But unfortunately, because “weird” religious orders are in vogue, many other so-called reality-based shows have swooped opportunistically in to continue to cloud the image of America’s “Mormon” experience. Though it’s petty defamation by historical anti-Mormon standards, popular media have now equated Mormonism with pretty much any small-time cult dominated by men with its female component dressed in pastel prairie bonnets, polygamist or not. One such effort is Breaking the Faith, highlighting the truly cultic operation of the now imprisoned Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS compound of fools, which pretends to document his prophetic empire as it slowly unravels down in Texas.
While these typically awkward media efforts to “explore” what the public assumes to be “fundamentalist” Mormonism, might in many ways soften the public attitudes toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they in fact don’t often actually depict the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at all, but something else entirely. The FLDS, or Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is not a break-off or fallback to earlier “LDS” or “Mormon” beliefs at all. It’s just a case of contemporary, opportunist wankers, Warren Jeffs, and his dead old man Rulon Jeffs, making it up as they go along. They’re hanging their own personal religious inventions onto some vague allusion to the polygamist leanings of the early LDS church, or as most of these cults do, to some familial connection to its early leadership. Likewise, the Apostolic United Brethren Church, of Sister Wives fame, which claims also to be a “fundamentalist” offshoot of the LDS church, can’t be an “offshoot” of Mormonism, any more than Martin Luther’s fans can claim they’re an “offshoot” of the Roman Church. They’re heretics and excommunicants.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a legal entity with a legal and ecclesiastical structure and chain of command with a provenance going all the way back continuously to its “founder” if you will, Joseph Smith. At no point was this structure abandoned, altered, or broken. Now, the Latter-day Saint would say, their organization goes all the way back to Jesus Christ. But I’m not asking you to take a position on that for the purposes of this argument. Joseph Smith didn’t “reform,” or “branch off,” of the Roman, Eastern, or any of the Protestant branches of the Church. Smith’s claim was that the “primitive” Christian Church fell entirely into apostasy and its authority and doctrine had become null and void. Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ personally visited him and entrusted him with the job of “restoring” the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth after a total apostasy and break in the chain of custody. Take that boast as you will. I’m not making a religious argument here. I’m making a Constitutional and legal one.
In any case, Joseph Smith thereafter legally established a clear order of church government with ruling bodies and very specific priesthood structures. It’s commonly misunderstood in and out of the LDS church that the current “Prophet” pretty much says and does what he wants, and anything he babbles on about, is as good as scripture or the direct word of the Lord. Not so. That’s not my point here, but here’s a reference you can look into:
My point is, if you leave the Amish, you cease to be Amish. They literally blot your name out of their books. If you call yourself a Mormon “prophet,” and make claims that supersede the LDS organizational structure and authority, if you recruit modern polygamists even out of the ostensibly bona fide LDS population, you do not have an “offshoot” of the Mormon church. You have a group of excommunicated Mormons. Or soon-to-be excommunicated Mormons. That’s the LDS church structure, a structure made up of rules, governing bodies, and procedures that demand instant excommunication of those who do anything even slightly like try to start their own “offshoot.” If I decide God’s called me to “fix” the LDS church, and I take a bunch of fellow actual Mormons with me as I go about it, if I proselytize and recruit off the streets from the general population of the world, and they all accept me as their leader, that does not make me an alternative LDS “prophet.” That makes me an LDS heretic. That makes me an excommunicated Mormon. That makes me and anyone who follows me not LDS in any way shape or form. That makes me anathema to the LDS church from an LDS standpoint.
I advise you of this as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing. Every six months the body of the church convenes and sustains structure and leadership. It’s like the AGM of any non-profit community theatre company or charity. You do not get to rent a storefront in the local strip-mall and call yourself the Salvation Army “Light” because you imagine Jesus has told you to wing it on your own and you look good in uniform, can blow a trumpet, or ring a bell with the best of them.
The media, the entertainment media in particular, who usually have a liberal “Bohemian” bent, and who often today gleefully choose religious-types to humiliate and defame, to depict as the heels and foils and the twisted, bad bastards of their presentations, clearly have no idea at all how the LDS mind or the religion itself is even organized, much less how it works or ever did work as a community on a practical basis. And like the “reality” based pretenders to some quasi-LDS patriarchy, who’s entire religious innovation consists of humping multiple “wives” while living on their female partners’ income and/or welfare checks, the so-called “documentary” producers pretending to explore this lifestyle invariably seek out and develop a presentation that depicts something entirely other than “Mormonism,” even though the real thing is easily available. The primary motivation for this is the same reason Mitt Romney lost the election.
Real Mormons are boring. Real Mormonism is boring.
In the history of real Mormonism, the one single petty bitch the United States of America ever proved “legally” against the religion is that it believed in the Biblical soundness of plural marriage. When it came down to proving a legal case against Joe Smith or Brigham Young and the entire Mormon movement, all the US government had was polygamy. I say this because that’s the verdict even by the US government’s own estimation. I’m not making a Mormon case here. I’m talking about what the federal government actually coughed up in the way of “Constitutional” excuses in its attempts to exterminate Mormonism.
But the rumor, the innuendo, the fantasy, the specters of Mormon boogie men is just too popular an image for the truly ignorant and clueless of America, of the world, to let go of.
Case in point:
Hell on Wheels, which is produced by Edemol—and you might immediately wonder, whoever they are, in the third-rate, multi-national, co-Canadienne world of cut-rate production houses. But, Edemol is a truly multi-national media conspiracy dedicated to specifically making money off the uninformed masses, and little else. It’s an Italian firm based in the Netherlands. However, to limit it’s significance to so simple a description would insult it’s stature as a world media presence. It’s a cheap entertainment house dedicated to schlockmeistering at its best for the world’s unwashed. They’re working hard at it and making tremendous progress. They shouldn’t be taken lightly. They’re the “Madrigal” of “reality” shows. (Breaking Bad fans take note.)
Hell on Wheels is currently aired on AMC. Its ratings aren’t great, American critical review hasn’t been very good, and thus many in the LDS world suggest it’s best to ignore it, because much of the US population has never seen it and never will. It is however, in syndication and popular release already on Netflix, Hulu, and countless other digital distribution systems. It seems to be making good headway in the UK and European, Eastern-European distribution streams. Edemol is in fact a huge producer and distributor of “reality” shows like “Big Brother,” and “Fear Factor,” all around the globe and Hell on Wheels is its first “scripted” production to become an international hit. Deny it all you want, Hell on Wheels is how much of the world, whatever becomes of it in America, is going to be seeing “Mormonism” for many years to come.
If the producers and writers of Hell on Wheels had depicted Jews in the same way it has depicted Mormons, the Anti-Defamation League would have had the show closed overnight and everyone’s guild cards pulled. The ACLU would be picketing its American and Canadian production offices. However, it’s obviously just fine with AMC to make a hero out of a Johnny-Reb, slave-owning redneck, a Civil War criminal terrorist and cold-blooded killer, while having this great “hero” ironically refer to innocent Mormon settlers as “treacherous,” and “disloyal,” negro-hating scum.
The lead character in this gritty, low-budget farce is the entirely fictional figure, Cullen Bohannon, a southern plantation owner who fought a bloody civil war to keep his slaves in bondage. He rules a railroad crew led by a load of bog-Paddy Irish hicks. His hillbilly cohorts, have been shooting and beating and hanging “niggers” since the first episode. So, to add to the ironic mirth of this asinine, backwards, revisionist world, Bohannon repeatedly shares cautionary anti-Mormon exchanges with his new-found negro buddy and his lesser negro grunt-workers, who add their own testimonies against the evil, racist Mormons. Clearly, in Bohannon’s European re-creation of the American West, both the enslaved black man and the caring white Christian master share their fear and distrust of these alien Mormon creatures.
Actor Anson Mount plays the character of Bohannon, and he says he took the part because it portrayed a southerner in a positive light. No kidding. So did Birth of a Nation. I guess if you don’t know that Bohannon and his brethren are actually the same creatures who founded the KKK it doesn’t seem as bizarre and hypocritical to you.
Hell on Wheels’ anti-Mormonism is not just one or two ignorant references. It’s a campaign. It’s a clearly developed theme: There are repeated discussions about Mormon evilness. Bohannon frequently exchanges sad observations about how the Mormons repress and oppress women and children, and how disloyal they are, and how they fought the US government and are traitorous. In the last shots of series 3, Bohannon explores this theme at length in mournful, woe-filled tones as he comforts a deflowered daughter of the railroad camp’s Christian preacher who has been enjoying a little “red fever” with the Native American protégé of her daddy. Mind you, at this point in the storyline, her father went nuts, gave guns to the Indians, took hostages on a train carrying the wounded railway president, and in general met a very bad end. Not seeing the irony? Then you’re a fool and stop reading this. You’re hopeless.
I can’t help it. I know stuff. It would be easier to enjoy the farce if I were stupid. If Edemol and company had even a hint of historical, doctrinal, or social insight on period Mormonism, I’d just let the silliness of Hell on Wheels go. But it’s not ultimately silly. It’s Blood Libel. And I can’t just shut up and ignore it. I can’t even shut up about the only slightly less blatant attitude of this would-be cable-epic toward “Yankees” and the Union in general. I know more about this BS than the guys writing it certainly do. And it’s clear, the writers and producers of this stream of episodic bigotry have a definite thing against northern, white, pro-Union (US) Christian Abolitionists, on top of all their anti-Mormonism. Perhaps it’s the Roman connection of the producers that tends to take it out not just on Mormons, but American frontier Evangelicals as well, the latter of which were foamingly anti-Catholic in their day and still are.
But it’s probably worse than that. This crew of theatrical retardates probably just hates any version of American Born Again Christians, and thus while denigrating the show’s local zealous Christian preacher on that count, they have no idea that these “Born Again” types at least from the north, were the leading force in freeing the very slaves that the writers and producers ironically champion in the series. The hero they chose, ironically, was the cream of the very KKK scum the writers and producers clearly despise. The nemeses these blockheads chose, the Mormons, were not only pro-Abolition, but they were pro-Union and on top of that, they were the only “white” friends of the Native Americans who this production also clearly adores. The Abolitionist minister they debauch, again, was a hero in the battle to free American slaves. And again, by choosing a northern, pro-law-and-order “Swede” and Union veteran, as a major foil in their plotting, this production team clearly establish their bigotry against what they see to be in their revisionist minds as, “Religious Conservatives,” and do so utterly without any conception of the relative merits of period religious or political arguments.
The schizophrenic writers of this railroad fable tell us the camp’s insane preacher was a violent Abolitionist who rode with John Brown’s ilk during Bloody Kansas. This means he literally chopped slave-state political opponents and their families into pieces and stacked them up like kindling in the driveway as a warning to others. They show us that his daughter is a fornicator who has a lust-driven affair with a native American who meets the “Little Joe” sentence of death conveniently. (Dating myself there.) Then, in the finale scenes of season #3, this horny frontier preacher’s daughter has a brooding exchange with Bohannon about the immorality of taking multiple wives and the Biblical and Constitutional disloyalty of it all. But Bohannon however, is a cold-blooded killer and war-criminal who’s entire region seceded from the Union, started a bloody civil war, and again, ironically imprisoned the other crazy bastard of the show, called Mr. Swede, (though he’s Norwegian and from Minnesota I believe,) in a little Dixie hell hole called Andersonville Prison until he almost starved to death.
When Hitler’s NAZI bastards were herding Jews into the poison-gas showers at Aushwitz it was humane charity compared to Bohannon’s Andersonville. Bohannon’s Confederate compatriots starved tens of thousands of Union prisoners in the open rain and snow until most of them died an extended, painful, withering death, because Bohannon and his fellow rebels were fighting to preserve their right to enslave fellow human beings, and couldn’t be bothered to shell out the money and time for food and shelter for Yankee bastards, and shooting them all was a waste of powder and bullets.
Hurray for Dixie!
Now, this anti-Mormonism, anti-Unionism, anti-religionism, isn’t just a scene or two. This is a theme the series has openly and very knowingly explored, expanded, and promoted certainly over it’s entire third season. This deviation from what seemed to be the logical theme of building the transcontinental railway, came as a complete surprise to me because I actually liked the show with all its faults–the fake train, the rails laid without any ballast, the use of the same damned location over and over again because the railroad camp obviously doesn’t really move and the same creek bed or dry wash or meadow or forest is always having to double and triple and quadruple for every similar location over and over again by changing angles and re-dressing it.
I certainly realize you can’t crap on Indians any more. Next to the “Negro” they’re the minority of choice for the discriminating “Progressive.” They have to be respectfully portrayed as noble savages and good family folk. On this score, I’m not sure just how well Hell on Wheels actually comes out, but it’s not my main message. (I’m sure my Native American brothers and sisters will still have a few criticisms to add…) But in a “western,” you still need a villain. I can suspend my disbelief when these apparently very liberal writers and producers try to switch all the villainy over to Northern, Abolitionist preachers, Union war heroes, (and inexplicably, Norwegians) and Union Army officers. I mean, I’ve ridiculed most of them at times in this very blog for years regarding their treatment particularly of Native Americans, Mormons, and other minority populations. The Norwegians, well, I just don’t follow that bit of bigotry. In this context the Hell on Wheels stab at Mr. Swede seems entirely unmotivated and historically aberrant. The Leftist writers and producers of this show however, decided to piss on the US treatment of the Natives, but bought the whole line of anti-Mormon propaganda written by the same bastards against the Mormons. But then, these theatrical imbeciles are Canadians and Europeans, and bi-coastal “Progressives.” They are producing this soap-opera in good part for that market. What foreigners and Europhiles like about, or how they see America is always a bit convoluted and tangential compared to the reality we think we understand here in “real” America. For instance, if truth were told, the bog-Paddy Irish immigrants on the show were the very first obvious ethnic group to be dumped upon. This is both in the context of Lincoln’s Union Army rabble, who were made up in good part of Irish conscripts and volunteers from New York and parts east, as well as the itinerant Irish railroad workers. They have been and remain throughout the show, drunken cheaters, back-stabbers, conspirators, and nigger-beating scalawags. It probably plays well in Montreal. Or, as noted by one of the Irish hicks in the series, the Irish were the “niggers” of the Old World and these Old World producers don’t see any problem portraying them in that light.
The show is shot in Alberta by a lot of Canadians in particular, so Albertoids and regional Canadians may also still bear a lot of weird personal ill-will dating back to Mormonism’s early incursion into that isolated province in particular. But seriously, I can’t tell if this animus against Mormons and all things Yankee is deliberate or just ignorant, arbitrary, and coincidental.
Not surprisingly, the newly freed slaves on the rail gang are portrayed as longsuffering, noble, and stalwart human beings. They’re smart too. Oh yes, smarter than their Irish overlords. That angle’s a little over-played in spots, but popular with the kids these days. At least Common don’t bust into no rap while swingin’ no hammer or nothin’.
Just don’t get me started on “Common” or his openly Django Unchained character. I’ll just suspend disbelief on the whole black man/white-former-Indian captive-former-prostitute hooking up and living together with an Irish baby by her dead husband thing. OK, guess I’ll have to explain that better: In one story line, an Indianified white whore keeps a black lover named Elam, who’s played by rapper Common, but she ultimately marries an Irish gang boss on the railroad to become respectable. (And not marry a negro.) She gets pregnant by her husband, and when the Irish father is killed, Elam moves back in and lays claim to the very white baby. When the father’s brother comes from back east to take the baby out of the arms of his tattooed whore of a mother, rescue the child from a hellish swamp of a railroad camp, and take the child back to civilization amongst relatives, well, the notion that anyone in that period would take two seconds to think about whether or not this is going to go down the way the baby’s well-heeled, proper Irish uncle has determined it to go down, is just revisionist nonsense. But moreover, assuming, as in this plot line, the black friends of black Elam, kidnap and beat up this white Irish uncle trying to get him to surrender the child, or even that Elam himself stood up and made some claim to fatherhood of that very white child, in real-life period terms, there would simply be a lot of dead “niggers” at the end of the episode. 150 years ago, in an Irish railroad camp, to paraphrase Michael Richards, “them niggas would be hanging upside-down from a tree with a fork up their asses.” Just sayin’. Michael Richards can’t even say that today. Doing so all but ended his career. Today’s audience can’t even think it. But that’s the truth about what it was like building the transcontinental railway. That’s the way it really was back in Cullen Bohannon’s fictionalized era. That’s reality.
The truth about Cullen Bohannon and his cohorts on the railway, especially his southern good-ol’ boys, is that a black man’s life wasn’t worth the price of a bullet to them. There’s a very appropriate line in Sam Clemens’ Tom Sawyer that lays it out quite clearly:
“It warn’t the grounding — that didn’t keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head.”
“Good gracious! anybody hurt?”
“No’m. Killed a nigger.”
The reality about Mormonism and the “negro,” however, is that Joseph Smith was persecuted and driven out of Missouri for daring to encourage his people to vote against slavery, to invite free negroes into their community, and live and work with them more or less as equals. Smith was ultimately murdered by a mob attempting to suppress his right to vote and run for presidential office on an Abolitionist ticket. The truth about Cullen Bohannon is that he and his friends and kinfolk routinely beat, raped, tortured, lynched, shot and brutalized “negroes” before, during, and after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and the Civil War was fought and lost by them. The writers and producers of Hell on Wheels seem to forget that Cullen Bohannan was on the losing side of a Civil War dedicated to the progression of mankind. Cullen Bohannon’s kinfolk instituted and defended American slavery to their dying breaths. And then his posterity continued the persecution and oppression of black America for generations afterward to this very day. Mormonism was repeatedly and specifically listed by the KKK as the single greatest threat to its takeover of American politics and society.
Cullen Bohannon’s kinfolk invented the KKK. Have I mentioned the presumption and insult and irony of having this southern redneck lecture me and my Mormon community about racism?
Many of the members of the anti-Mormon mob that murder the first President of the Church, Joseph Smith, are members of a secret racist society called the “Knights of the Golden Circle.” After the Civil War the organization is outlawed. A few members of the Knights of the Golden Circle found a new organization called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.—1844
Soon after its formation, an LDS apostle writes that the KKK will prove a “curse” upon America.—1868
The KKK holds anti-Mormon meetings and, in the south, kills and in some cases tortures Mormon missionaries.—1870s-1890s
(See Blazing Crosses, pp.11ff)
J. Golden Kimball receives a telegram indicating that the Ku Klux Klan again plans to torture Mormon missionaries in the South if they don’t leave immediately.—1891
When a nation-wide tour of the stage version of “The Clansman,” a story that insults blacks and glorifies the KKK as white heroes, arrives in Utah, the anti-Mormon “Salt Lake Tribune” praises the production. The Church-owned “Deseret News,” however, while recognizing that the play is well done in technical terms, states that the Klan is not to be praised, for it “rode about the country at night killing or torturing negroes and their sympathizers…[and] became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.”—1908
(See Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1908)
The “Salt Lake Tribute” [the official organ of Christian anti-Mormon reformers] accepts KKK advertising and notices, but the “Deseret News” refuses and only writes of the KKK to condemn it in editorials.—1920s
“So far as its operations are known–its secrecy, its mummery, its terrorism, its lawlessness–it is condemned…These mountain communities of ours have no place whatever for it in their social scheme of things…[he who tries to establish it among us] should be made emphatically to understand that his local endeavors will be worse than wasted, and his objects [goals] are detested, and his [absence] is preferred to his company. The people of Utah have no taste or patience for such criminal nonsense…”—1921
(See Deseret News, July 23, 1921)
Because of the Church’s condemnation of the KKK, the KKK “Grand Wizard” of Wyoming considers the Church it’s “greatest enemy.” “In the Realm of Utah and scattered over the West in general, we have another enemy, which is more subtle and far more cunning [than other anti-KKK groups] in carrying its efforts against this organization…the Latter-day Saint Religion!”—1923
(See Papers Read at the Meetings of Grand Dragons, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1923, pp.112-3)
Mormonism is certainly guilty of being out of touch with racial or at least, social progression during the 60’s. Mormonism was institutionally slow to hop on the Civil Rights wagon. Fair enough. But even the biggest so-called bigots in Mormon leadership never once suggested that black Americans should not enjoy all the same rights and privileges guaranteed by the US Constitution as any “white” man. After Brigham Young, Mormons were not keen on negroes having the priesthood. Can’t argue with that. They were however, entirely for black American citizens having all the civil rights that white citizens enjoy. Not having the priesthood in mortal life, as goofy as the doctrine may have been, was never in Mormon theology a condemnation to hellfire and damnation. The Southern Baptist Convention was founded on the premis that the negro had no soul and was incapable of being “saved.” They didn’t retract that till the mid-1990’s. Cullen Bohannan’s hillbilly rabble can just shut the hell up as far as I’m concerned in criticizing me and mine for being tardy in removing some very minor, and strictly ecclesiastical policies regarding the “negro.” As far as women go, well until the federal government invaded Utah and denied women the right, Mormon women had the vote from day-one as well. None of that may seem “progressive enough” for beatniks, proto-hippies and protesters in 1965, but it was plenty damned “progressive” in 1844. The best read on Mormonism and the “black” issue can be found below and freely distributed:
The best current statement on the LDS position on “race” in general is found here:
Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.23
True, in Hell on Wheel’s fictional era, Brigham Young had decided not to give the priesthood to negroes. In all other ways they were equal to the “white” man, and their lack of priesthood authority in this life was never seen as impediment from eventual “eternal” reward and equality in the next life. Granted, this has all been retracted and disavowed as speculation and errant social and political perversion by the current LDS leadership, but all things considered, no Mormons ever whipped, beat, tortured killed, raped, enslave, brutally worked to death any “negroes.” At worst, they just didn’t get the prieshood, which was a lay-ministry anyway. On the other hand, Cullen Bohannon’s people after generations of inhuman enslavement and debasement of the “negro” down south in same era, spent the War for Civil Rights lynching niggas just to keep them in their place. They set police dogs on niggas. They were all about shooting, bombing, and fire-hosing niggas. Some of them still look back on those days with fondness. Some of them still hate niggas. Same way they still hate Mormons, Catholics, Jews, and other Godless heathens. Hundreds and hundreds of journals, stories, and posters tell us what Cullen Bohannon’s people were all about when it came to “negroes.” Hundreds of photographs show Cullen Bohannon’s good Christian people posing happily in their white sheets under a freshly-hung nigga only a generation ago.
But the reality you really need to get your head around, is that there were never any Mormons in those crowds grinning around the lynched niggers. That’s Cullen Bohannon’s people. That’s the people who drove the Mormons out of the midwest. That’s the people who sent an army to exterminate them from the Wasatch Front. That’s the hillbilly rednecks who piss and moan about the “Mountain Meadows Massacre,” where the nigger-lynchers and rednecked Mormon-burners finally got a small taste of their own medicine. In spades.
OK, too much thinking for the target demo of Hell on Wheels. Suffice it to say, after trying to be Django Unchained for a season or two, this quirky depiction of the American west called felt it had dried up that thematic well, and went off exploring an entirely different theme of wild-west villainy in the alternate reality they had created. The unification of the United States via building a coast-to-coast railway system, became a obfuscatory backdrop for focusing very viciously, very deliberately, and very openly upon portraying Mormons as treacherous, racist, murderous traitors, who’s leaders live to exploit their captive flock, debase women, and shoot it out with the railroad, the army, or any other government authorities just for sheer spite. I can only suppose that since Indians were out of vogue, they just pulled Mormons out of their magical arse and wrote them in to fulfill the role of untamed savages as needed, or to play the part of foaming fundamentalist rubes with guns standing in the way of progress, without the slightest amount of historical or any other research.
The writers and producers of Hell on Wheels have no idea obviously, that the one legitimate Mormon “outrage” against “America,” that they seem to subtextually reference, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, had taken place a decade earlier, hundreds of miles south of this quasi-fictional railway, in the middle of a US force of extermination attempting to seize control of the territory in contradiction to both Constitutional and territorial law and protocol. They’ve no idea that the president of the United States had long before they take up their narrative, issued a full pardon to any Mormon actors for any action taken during this “Utah War,” and specifically Brigham Young and LDS leadership. They have no notion that the first message to come from Brigham Young when the telegraph was linked up was confirmation that Utah was loyal to the Union. And even so, Brigham Young spent the Civil War and a considerable time afterward with cannon trained on his house from Fort Douglas on the bench above him. They have no conception of the irony involved in scripting the rebel guerrilla secessionist, Cullen Bohannon, to be calling Mormons disloyal and treacherous.
That’s something you really can’t, or shouldn’t be able to, miss. Not in an “historical” series costing millions of dollars an episode that decides to explore the whole Mormon frontier experience. Hey, Edemol: Pay some writers. Pay an historian. Crack open Google and have a read. Make some effort. You know you’ve missed the mark when the Salt Lake Tribune, the newspaper founded back in the day to plague Brigham Young and counter the Church’s Deseret News, calls you out:
The “Trib” as they call her, got it exactly right. Hell on Wheels is a “big, lazy slap at Mormonism.” It’s not just a slap. It’s not just that it’s a big slap. It’s that it’s such a big and lazy slap. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. Shamefully lazy. Embarrassingly Lazy. You couldn’t get any lazier if you just scripted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and had Bohannon out rescuing captured Christian babies from blood-drinking Jews, and the writers’ only “historical” adjustment was that they put Amish hats on them and called them “Mormons.”
Apart from the historical absurdities, ironies, and paradoxes related not just to their revisionist notions about Mormons, but Native Americans, Christian missionaries, negroes, and a host of other allegedly period political and social concerns, the effectors of this whopping load of anti-Mormon tripe they call Hell on Wheels, write scenes with so-called Mormon bishops performing baptisms with made-up gibberish as if it was Mormon scripture or part of Mormon baptism ceremonies, when the scripted religious sanctimony being spouted has absolutely no relationship to any current or past Mormon idioms, vernacular, or litanies. (Season 3, episode 5, #25 in series.) All you’d have to do is sit in on a Mormon baptism over at the local meetinghouse on a Saturday morning to figure out how to write dialogue for a convincing Mormon dunking. They couldn’t be bothered it seems.
In one multi-episodic storyline, one “Mr. Swede” or “The Swede,” begins his part in the series as a security chief who runs the railroad town like a clock, with total discipline and order. He is soon driven out of favor with the owner, and eventually entirely out of the camp by our “hero,” Bohannon. The Swede fixates on proving the true identity of our “hero,” who is actually mostly just hiding out on the rail line, and lives to systematically find and murder former Union soldiers he believes to be responsible for killing his wife and family. And he doesn’t care much about getting the wrong guy as it happens in one episode.
Mr. Swede is eventually completely disgraced for what is portrayed as an unhealthy, and mentally unstable fixation on law-and-order. The outlaw Bohannon gets the better of him and assumes his job as camp enforcer. The Swede subsequently leads an Indian rebellion in the guise of some sort of spirit-possessed shaman, cohorts with a similarly mentally ill former Christian minister in various plots against the railroad and humanity, and a host of other unmotivated lunatic nonsense. Just when you think he’s completely gone off the deep end, just when you think he’s got no where to go and nothing to do but die, our Mr. Swede falls in with a passing Mormon family, the Dutsons, travelling to the “Mormon Fort” in a lone wagon. After a lot of weird foreshadowing that’s more annoying than suspenseful, The Swede kills the man and his wife. The Dutson patriarch is supposedly the new bishop being sent to the oft noted Mormon “fort” as if to tend a flock lost in the wilderness. Mr. Swede threatens the surviving little boy as he runs away in horror. The kid just sort of disappears and The Swede presents himself to the Mormon community when he arrives, as their new bishop. (Season 3 episode 7, #26 in series.)
The Mormons out there reading this are laughing their asses off right now. Any male in that fort could have been called to be the next bishop. Any one of them of any adult age. There is not now and there has never been any Mormon conception of some central authority or seminary that has to send out ministers to take over “flocks” of Mormons. That’s what Lutherans do. That’s what Protestants do in general. That’s entirely what Roman Catholics do. But Mormons have no need to do this unless there are no Mormon males alive above the age of about 19-20. And had any Mormon bishop needed to be sent anywhere, he would have arrived from Salt Lake City or close quarters, with certificates. But more importantly, every single Mormon in this silly “fort” they have invented, would immediately spot the Lutheran posing as a Mormon Bishop, simply by the way he used the Bible, or his choice of Biblical vernacular. Easily. And that doesn’t get into the four other standard works or several generations of Mormonized religious traditions, colloquialisms, customs and conceptualization of Christian principles that Mr. Swede and his writers don’t even come close to approximating in his depiction.
Cullen Buchannan, in the final episode to date (Season 3) has gone looking for deserting miners out in the hinterlands, and fresh water and whatever else. (Cholera, plague, bla bla bla…somewhere in there the Dutson kid saves Cullen by leading him to good water but is still hanging like a thread there over Mr. Swede’s head as far as identifying his fakery, and eventually they’ll connect and, uh…yawn…….snore……..Mexican Sopa Opera…) Cullen gets rounded up by a marauding band of Mormon hooligans and captured. This band is led by Aaron Hatch, the dirty coward father who had just previously made his own son hang in his place in an eminent domain dispute between Bohannon, the railroad, and the Hatch family of Mormon settlers. Cullen is taken to the “Mormon fort” where Mormons live behind stockades and pickets and patrol the walls with guns. The Latter-day marauders who bushwhacked him want to hang him and make an example out of him. Also at the fort, Bohannon finds some of his disaffected miners who also end up hiding out or defecting to the Mormons or whatever. It’s never really clear to me what’s going on in most of these episodes. It’s as if the writers are hoping they can just make vague allusions and if we fill in all the missing assumptions with our imaginations, then they can’t be held accountable for the stupid gaps in continuity, logic, and all the missing or loose ends. So far I’ve had neither the patience or foresight to DVR the stream and roll back any of these episodes to figure it out.
At any rate…
In the “Mormon Fort, Buchannan meets his old nemeses The Swede, who is presented to him as their bishop. (In a completely predictable moment of melodrama that made me snort cider out my nose, because I was so obviously supposed to be stunned by its cleverness and unexpectedness.) Yes, Brother Swede, against all odds, has been embraced by the Mormon community and he rules it with a creepy, sinister, and clearly demented sense of perverted righteousness. Just like he ruled the railroad camp. Law and order. And creepiness. And corruption.
Well, I guess that’s what Mormonism is all about and all you have to do is be schizophrenic and self-righteous and you’re in. The more insane you are the more you qualify for leadership.
Backtracking a moment, somewhere in there in previous episodes, Bohannon has managed to discretely knock up Aaron’s Hatch’s daughter—alternately making out with her and threatening her family with eviction due to the railroad’s right of eminent domain. (Season 3, episode 2 #22 in series.) Though we don’t know the girl has a bun in the oven at the time, Bohannon eventually has a shootout with her old man and ostensibly her brothers, when he gives up on sweet-talking and reasoning, and approaches the homestead with an armed escort to seize it and evict them. The sheriff accompanying Bohannon is killed during a hail of gunfire coming through closed shutters while the girl’s family and father defend the farm from seizure. Bohannon calls a truce and demands the surrender of the party guilty of firing the fatal shot at the sheriff. We are all clearly supposed to be expecting the father to give himself up, and in return allow his family to leave the standoff unharmed and paid off for their land. Instead, this Mormon father turns his oldest, teenaged son over to be hung on the spot, claiming his family would die without the priesthood of their patriarch. When questioned, clearly the boy seems troubled and compelled by an ominous form of occultic bondage to confess firing the fatal shot. He is thus summarily hung by the mean Army soldiers enforcing the railroad’s demand, as the heroic and sensitive Cullen Bohannon, war criminal, rebel, cold-blooded killer and longtime slave-master, watches helpless and in horror.
OK, any pre-law students see a problem there?
Following this at all still? Anyway, that was earlier. So Cullen is captured and meets up again with this rotten Mormon patriarch’s daughter in the “Mormon Fort.” In a convoluted babble of idiocy having nothing whatsoever to do with law and order, religion or philosophy, Mormon or otherwise, Bishop Swede interrogates him about his many offenses, like being a murdering southern asshole in general, but mostly about knocking up the Mormon chick. The “Born Again” Brother Swede agrees to forgive and spare him if he’ll marry the girl. (I guess as opposed to castrating him or hanging him or something like the Mormon “law” usually demands since this “Mormon Fort” is a city-state at the beck and call of Mr. Swede.) Cullen agrees to marry this sexy, young, pregnant single girl who is carrying his child, and become some sort of permanent prisoner of the Mormon community there. (Season 3 episode 10, #30 in series.)
I don’t know how they’re going to top this whole perverted and obtuse storyline with anything else more bigoted and asinine from anything like an historical perspective. But I’m sure they’ll give it a try. Bohannon, who has spent the series copulating with anything in a skirt, has already lectured a young church lady in the railroad camp at length about the evils of plural marriage. I’m just waiting for the scene where this emotionally crippled “Gentleman Farmer” mourning the loss of his wife and family in a horrible war, continues to argue against the queue of sexy young, husbandless Mormon women who come pleading to join him in his bed as “sister wives.” Oh no–anything but that you Godless Mormon sireenz! Sex with young fertile women who want to help me rebuild my legacy and restore my wealth and property! Off! Off with you I say!
In the history of American entertainment, Hell on Wheels’ whole approach makes perfect sense. When the lower classes and uneducated in particular feel the “Man” needs a stickin’-to, the entertainment industry is all-too eager to turn populist villains noted for giving the rich and powerful a kick in the ass, into outlaw heroes. If you make Mitt Romney and his Mormon bigwig buddies out to be “The Man,” I guess it works on some level with the truly clueless. I just wonder if everyone watching this show really is all that stupid. Or at least ignorant.
For example, Jesse James robbed trains and banks and was quite popular down south in his day, roughly the same period as depicted in Hell on Wheels, where the Yankee bastards (in local southern opinion) like railroad barons, industrialists, and manufacturers, had started a civil war that exploited the local populace and resources and left the common folk destitute. The Yankees, so the south believed, sent political minders to aid in their continued pilfering of the south via Yankee carpetbaggers after the war. That all played well down south. It’s just that when the James and Younger gangs rode up to Northfield Minnesota thinking the “square heads” as they called them, (Norwegians and Swedes mostly) would be a bunch of foreign, Yankee pushovers, Jesse James and company not only failed to rob the bank, but they were told to piss off by a host of burly Scandinavian males who happened to be in town loading up after a good harvest, for hunting season. The hardware store opened the cases and handed out guns and ammo, and the James and Younger gangs got shot all to hell. It started literally with a teller who refused their demand to open the safe, and instead shot them out of the bank doors into the street. The remaining menfolk immediately got the message that the bank was being robbed and stormed out of the shops and stores up and down the street shooting away at the would-be robbers.
The James/Younger gangs weren’t in Kansas any more. Or Missouri for that matter. They weren’t folk heroes in Minnesota, and the money they were stealing didn’t come from the railroad or some rich banker. It came from uncle Oscar’s Northfield farm. He’d just had a great crop harvested and you damned well weren’t going to steal the proceeds. So Mr. “Swede” of the actual period, in reality told the real Jesse James and Cole Younger to, “Eat lead you Southern, bastard, rednecked criminals.”
Coming not just from a “Mormon” perspective, but a “Yankee,” upper-Midwestern, Scandinavian background, where we still refer to Jesse James’ botched bank heist as the “Great Northfield Minnesota Ass-Kicking,” you can see where I’d have problems from the first frame of any show attempting to make any anti-hero, Jesse-James-analogue, out to be its central protagonist. Clearly, Hell on Wheels’ Cullen Bohannon is essentially trying to be Jesse James. And I’m supposed to empathise with that rebel bastard for some reason. That might play well south of the Mason-Dixon line, but in Minnesota they still figuratively have Bohannon’s battle flag from Gettysburg framed and mounted up at the Minnesota State Capitol. The Minnesota 1st Volunteers aren’t going to give it back until he and his rebel scum come up and take it from them by force of arms in a hail of lead and gore, the same way they got it. (It’s literally from the 28th Virginia Infantry but the point is made.)
If you’re going to make the Southern Rebel the hero of the piece, it stands to reason you make the damned Yankees the villains. And so, in Hell on Wheels, they do. Quite unashamedly. Bohannon’s cause for revenge and murderous pursuits stem from the quasi-accidental murder of his wife by pillaging Yankee hoards. The first lunatic villain to appear in the series is an Abolitionist preacher, tormented by his own horrible butchery in the name of his cause (a Biblical injunction against slavery) back in his former home in Kansas during the fight to admit Kansas to the Union as a “free” state. Next we find out that Mr. Swede, the Norwegian from Minnesota, fought in the civil war on the side of the Union. No doubt he did so in the 1st Minnesota volunteers with his fellow Norwegians. And while early, seemingly sympathetic excuses are made for his obsession with the rebel Bohannon’s suspicious past and later discovery of our hero’s criminal status, which is motivated in large part by the Swede’s imprisonment in the Confederate death-camp at Andersonville, The Swede soon devolves into a rambling idiot concerned only with harassing Bohannon, who everyone loves for some inexplicable reason. The Swede is then revealed to be corrupt as hell, cheating both the railroad and extracting protection money from the entire mobile city. Not content with that, The Swede is ultimately written to be consorting with Indians, providing them with rifles and weaponry, manipulating the loony Abolitionist preacher into staging kidnapping, hostage-taking, and an Indian uprising. The writers and producers eventually debase the Swede’s character through insanity down to the status of a full-scale false prophet and manipulative sociopath who seizes power over a heavily armed Mormon “fort” where he dominates and represses his flock of mindlessly obedient captives.
I can’t help but think that somebody in this production company very keenly wants to take a very deliberate shit on both the 1st Minnesota Volunteers, and the Mormons. And it’s no coincidence that the same hillbilly rednecks who drove the Mormons out of Missouri and Illinois in the name of their precious, allegedly “Biblical” Jesus Christ, were the same hillbilly rednecks who are still out to avenge the loss of the Bohannonites of the Fancher party at Mountain Meadows in the Utah War, and who, after sending an army to subdue the “disloyal” Utah Mormons, because they were too clannish, voted in blocks, and took too many wives, a few years later ironically lead the southern rebellion in a full-out secession from the United States of America that caused the Civil War, largely because they wanted to continue to enslave and abuse an entire race of fellow human beings at will. Of course, I’d argue that their aim with the Mormons was the same. And of course the Native Americans.
Somewhere in this Edemol production company there dwells a deeply imbedded love for all things hillbilly and an even deeper hatred of all things Mormon. They just have no idea what Mormons were all about and even less idea what hillbillies are all about—certainly in that period of a dark American histor they pretend to depict in Hell on Wheels. About the only thing they seem to grasp is that the people they are writing about were laying rails across the intermountain west. And they don’t know anything about laying rails either. Or perhaps, this production is channeling the ghosts of the ill-fated Fancher Party of Mountain Meadows fame. Either that or is being run by it’s literal, ideological or religious descendants. The only characters in the series portrayed to be possibly as villainous, debased and insanely evil as the Mormons, and the eventually Mormonized and wholly demonic Mr. Swede, are the Union troops and particularly their commander.
What a coincidence. If Johnny Reb is going to be the hero–well, his enemies are going to be the villains.
There’s almost no point even debunking this show. Like most of the Left, who get their news from the Daily Show, or the Right, who hang on every word coming out of Fox News or Glenn Beck, there are two, maybe three fixed and unshakeable world-views involved in this little melodrama. None of them are interested in the facts. First there’s the idiots who on either side of any given political question just want to see a shoot’em-up and they don’t care who the Mormons were, or are, or what the actual social and political dynamics of the era and region were. Then there’s the Left, who hate Mormons because they’re bigoted, homophobic oppressors of women. And then there’s the Right, who hate Mormons because they’re polygamist heretics worshipping a false Jesus through a false prophet, who won’t surrender to the demands of the True Christian Nation.
Putting aside the genuine simpletons in either the Left or Right who just want to watch the show, any show, as long as they’re entertained, and who are fundamentally incapable of things like learning or rudimentary discernment or insight, this leaves us exactly where the Mormons were back in 1857. That year, after ten years of Mormon prosperity in Utah, the US Government sent a secret army to destroy them. President James Buchanan made good on his campaign promise to clean out the Mormons once and for all. The Democrats agree with the Republicans that as bad as they thought of each other, the Mormons were in everyone’s road out there in the new corridor that connected the coasts. As far as the writers and producers of Hell on Wheels are concerned, the Mormons are still the common enemy of all. They believe it’s common practice to crap all over Mormons, their faith, their lifestyle, and their personal lives, and it simply isn’t important what the details or issues or assertions being made are by anyone doing the crapping. If one pile of crap doesn’t stick, well, some other pile of crap will no doubt suffice, so just keep crapping. You’ll smother them with crap eventually and then the Mormon problem will be solved.
Among other things, I’m not sure where this production gets it’s wholly-invented “Mormon fort” ideas from. The only Fort Smith I know of is in Arkansas, in the Bible Belt, and the first Mormon stake wasn’t organized there until 1978. In the era depicted by Hell on Wheels, there was a huge garrison of Union troops stationed in Salt Lake City. There was another in Cedar Valley to the south who’s biggest feature was a large brothel complex called “Frog Town.” In Salt Lake City, Fort Douglas looked down upon Brigham Young’s personal residence downtown with loaded cannon at the ready. Salt Lake City was a major metropolis and the Saints had gathered to it and all around it, with the exception of highly organized supply stations. Telegraph and mail services connected the territory to the world, and it was all governed directly out of the US Congress by appointed Governors, judges, magistrates and Federal Marshals. Mormons were concentrated in Salt Lake City, Provo, and had well-developed, highly organized settlements all up and down the Wasatch Front. They didn’t hang out in “forts.” The LDS Church and its leaders more importantly, had no interest whatsoever in impeding the railroad from either direction, in fact Brigham Young wanted the golden spike to be hammered home in Salt Lake City, but the railroads, by right of conquest, “owned” all of their own “created” towns invented to serve along the railway. Like true crony capitalists, they chose to link east and west railways at a spot near Ogden instead of Salt Lake City, thinking that would become the major city and they could then pilfer it at will like all the other towns they built and owned along the right-of-way.
So just like in the early Mormon struggles in Utah, today in retelling that story, we find “Progressive” Leftists in the media, with creative and editorial positions, ironically producing a major feature series on an award-winning cable network, all too eager to side with a slave-owning, southern redneck who openly warred with the US Government, as long as he’s just killing and defaming Mormons. These are the same “Hollywood” types (actually Canadio-European-types who are ironically even more socialist and “politically correct”) who cheer for “Occupy Wall Street” and yet for the sake of a good yarn, and a cheap shot at the Mormons, creatively side with railroad barons and Godless Capitalists as they rape the American wilderness, led by a racist war criminal. Mormonism is the bigger problem to them it seems.
The Left of the media in particular, has made a career of combatting free-choice and controlling thought crimes through the distortion, suppression, and obfuscation of information. Intellectually, ideologically, the Left is very much against this notion, but in practice, the Left is only interested these days in freeing the minds and uplifting the souls of those who agree with Leftist thinking.
The company cobbling together Hell on Wheels has available to it going on 200 years of popular bullshite making Mormonism out to be anything from a sex-slave cult to a communist guerrilla movement fighting American liberty and Constitutional government. Take your pick, it’s easy enough to find some historically recorded libel to use against the Mormons. But these lazy bastards at Hell on Wheels couldn’t even be bothered to do that. They’re just pulling it out of their asses. If anything, they’ve read the period dime novels and embraced it as gospel. And of course, the period dime novels were pulling it out of their asses as well.
Hell on Wheels has “Mormons” (apparently all of them) holed up in some imaginary “Fort Smith” out in the boonies, walking stockaded walls with guns. Is there any point arguing that anything even vaguely like this entire scenario ended for the Mormons a good decade or more previously when they first entered Utah? In all fairness, to see armed Mormon pickets you’d have to go back to Nauvoo Illinois around 1840 when the mobs who had killed Joseph Smith were surrounding the Mormon’s main city swearing to exterminate them. Is there any point noting that in Nauvoo, the state’s Governor and whatever state troops still loyal to the state and national constitutions were actually fighting on the side of the Mormons against these mobs?
Cullen Bohannon is indeed the very Born Again, Bible-toting, “Southern Gentleman” who as he does in Hell on Wheels, bossed and organized the rabble of his society and encouraged the selfsame hick, ignorant, redneck mobs who in Missouri and Illinois, only a few generations ago had openly murdered innocent Mormon women and children, who had raped and pillaged their way through Missouri and Illinois in the name of Jesus Christ under oath of their sacred, personal honor, to “free” America of the Mormon pestilence. (And mostly to steal all their lands, property, and any Mormon claim to democratic rule itself by denying them the right of franchise, or in modern terms: the vote.)
True, Hell on Wheels changed hands in the middle of it all. For whatever reasons however, the writers and producers of this last season apparently decided just to write pure fiction.
Hell on Wheels is an American Western television series created and produced by Joe and Tony Gayton. Set in 1865 in Season One, 1866 in Season Two, and 1867 in Season Three, the series centers on the settlement that accompanied the construction of First Transcontinental Railroad, referred to as “Hell on Wheels” by the Union Pacific company men, surveyors, support workers, laborers, prostitutes, mercenaries, and others who make the mobile encampment their home. It stars Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier who worked as a foreman on the railroad while attempting to track down the Union soldiers who murdered his wife and young son. He later becomes the chief engineer.
The series is broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable channel AMC and premiered on November 6, 2011. It was developed by Endemol USA, under the stewardship of senior vice-president of scripted programming Jeremy Gold, and is produced by Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures.
The series’ creators, Joe and Tony Gayton, no longer are involved in the day to day production. On December 12, 2012, AMC announced that John Wirth, a writer for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, would take over as showrunner for the third season.
On November 14, 2013, AMC renewed Hell on Wheels for a fourth season consisting of 13 episodes to premiere in 2014.