Troubling Doctrines Part 1: Underpants and Polygamy

At the moment the 2012 US presidential campaign has begun in full swing. The Republican National Convention just nominated Mitt Romney, sinister and robotic, woman and minority-hating Mormon that he is, as their official candidate. They balanced the ticket with some flaming young Irish Catholic from Wisconsin who used to drive the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile. Well, the world is surely coming to an end if these two get into office: One guy who’s made a ton of his own money and is known as a "fixer" of bankrupt operations, and another guy from the working classes known for crafting very clear, concise and effective budgets. I guess the Leftist, Democrat fight is going to eventually have to center around claims of the Romney/Ryan ticket’s combined religious intolerance and backwardness.  Waiting for the October surprise…

In light of this development I thought it wise to review or peruse or re-peruse a number of alleged and actual LDS doctrines the media, the public, and particularly the Leftist media and the Rightist public, seem to be just fixated upon. On with it then.

Mormon Underpants

First up: Magic Underwear.

Now, some jackass indeed staged a one-dickweed protest at the RNC by standing outside waving around some Mormon underpants. The man was clearly a Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist determined to shock his fellow Republicans into not voting for Mitt, based primarily upon the style of his drawers. And yes, official Mormon "garments" are for the most part droopy and frumpy looking. But then again, underclothes are worn under your clothes. So basically, you’d never see them. Mormons therefore, ought to be free to choose whatever drawers they find comfortable and appropriate. The fact that this "garment" is a vestment religiously representing the clothing God fabricated for Adam and Eve when they discovered themselves naked in the garden, is pretty much irrelevant to how well a Mormon digs ditches, paints houses, or runs the Oval Office. The exception to that however, is that invariably, and in essentially all styles, Mormon underwear stretches out, gets floppy, starts creeping up the crack of your backside, or in some styles, splits in two and the pants head for the knees while the top blooms out of the trousers and hangs out from behind or out from under your belly. It is rather unlikely on the other hand, that a Mormon president would find himself irresistibly yanking a wad of his Union Suit-like, bunched-up LDS long johns out of his arse in such a way as to significantly prevent his response to a sudden alert of foreign invasion.

The only shocking thing about the particular example shown above, revealing a half-naked Brother and Sister Romney in the more “modern” two-piece LDS garments, is Mitt’s apparent use of a dance-belt, nut-cup, codpiece or some other form of enhancement in the groinal regions. Either that are these photo-shop craftsmen are simply paying him a great complement.

Utahns are a simple and superstitious people. (And never very fashionable or stylish obviously.) Unfortunately Mormonism developed in Utah and in its history Utah Mormons have embellished the "protective" properties of the "garment" into actual physical protection from bullets, bombs, fire and sword. In actual fact, the "garment" is only officially billed as a spiritual protector inasmuch as it is a constant reminder that it is God who clothed and protected us from our own ignorance and nakedness after we fell from innocence in the Garden of Eden. It is a reminder that God covers and protects us from the harsh environs of His Creation and the hopelessly inadequate covering of fig leaves we fashioned for ourselves is pathetic in comparison to the protection of God. Now, there will come in response a thousand anecdotal tales of WWII sailors burnt to  a crisp in fuel explosions–burnt everywhere but where covered by their "garments." Rather than debate each and every one, it should suffice to say that no Latter-day Saint is obliged to believe any of them. And no Latter-day Saint is specifically promised any sort of physical or "magical" protection from said garment. It’s a symbolic, purely religious vestment not unlike any of the other “Christian” vestments worn by “Christian” clergy all over the globe.

There are "Born Again" Christians all over the globe, Roman Catholics and others, sporting crucifixes around their necks, Saint Christopher medallions and a multitude of other "Christian" good-luck and protection charms. They all believe in the “protection” of such tokens of their faith in God’s guiding hand. Why then, does both the Christian and Godless-Leftist world, so vapidly obsess over Mormon underwear? You don’t even see that. After all, there is nothing fashionable or "magical" about the average gang-banger’s underpants, but for some reason the “Liberals” and other “Enlightened Ones” who constantly criticize Mormon underwear, on the Right and Left alike, seem far less curious about the symbolic prison and gang origins of saggy-assed trousers. They seem far less obssessive about the whole look of banger-chic for stylistic reasons–even given the fact that their shorts are constantly on public display.


Next on the list of troubling Mormon doctrines, would be Plural Marriage. I’ll match your two Gays and raise you three or four additional wives. The truth is, the US Constitution doesn’t really support the notion of allowing the State to define the nature of marriage. The Christian anti-Mormon crusaders who spun a patriarchy clearly outlined by ancient prophets in a book they consider the Word of God into a vile sexual orgy of craven Mormon lust, found they could not do so based upon appeals to either the Holy Bible or the Constitution, because both leaned entirely in the direction of leaving Mormons alone to marry whom they felt God had ordained them to marry. Christian America chose to exploit popular suspicion and often the disgust of highly ranked but sexually repressed Christian zealots into a mandate for Mormon eradication anyway. Now they’re paying for their eagerness to throttle the Mormons by having thus removed from their arsenal, any legal or Constitutional rationale for denying Gay Marriage. If the State has a compelling interest in maintaining a "social order" merely based upon tradition and public opinion, as the Supreme Court reasoned in Reynolds v US, the case that legalized the persecution and near dissolution of the LDS church based upon their belief in a Biblically sound basis for taking more than one wife just as the Old Testament prophets all clearly did, then all the modern Leftist or radical Gay activist has to do is show that denying Gay Marriage will create a massive public outcry and the breakdown of civil order. Or more simply put, the Christian controlled Supreme Court, in order to skewer Mormons, ruled that a Darwinian Democracy, basically a cultural lynch mob, could simply define Marriage any way it saw fit, and persecute, limit, regulate, or disincorporation anyone or any institution that said otherwise. Christian America, to get Mormonism, handed the entire matter of regulating Holy Matrimony over to the State. Because this reasoning was so selfish, so myopic and egocentric, while it hounded Mormonism out of the polygamy business more or less permanently, it also set the stage for any combination of gay, lesbian, bi-Sexual, transgendered, cross-gendered, or bi-gendered, in any number or arrangement, to appeal to the same precedent and civil government and judiciary in these more “enlightened” times, and grant themselves by popular acclaim, the right to define or re-define Marriage as they see fit. It’s just a question now of compelling cultural force of numbers and social pressure.

Mormonism on the other hand, has so stigmatized itself over the generations because of an abusive and violently repressive beating it has been given by Christian American the practice of, even just the sanction of, or even just the suspicion of polygamy, that the LDS church today is probably the most active anti-polygamist organization on the face of the earth. It’s a bit like "Stockholm Syndrome," where the kidnapped and abused begin to identify with their captors. The LDS church today doesn’t allow plural marriage even in countries and cultures in which this is the standard arrangement. The church has moved full-speed into the isles of the Pacific and other foreign, exotic cultures, where plural marriage has always been the normal social arrangement. Yet, even in these places, modern Mormon leadership demands that investigators in such countries cast off a few wives and narrow it down to one as a contingency for baptism. Apart from being a pretty asinine, Utah-culture-based policy–in a church rife with similarly Utah-culture-based asinine policies–it puts the church in a position of denying both the Bible and the pronouncements of previous modern prophets at a time and place and under conditions where there is no reason whatsoever to compromise what it still openly acknowledges as the "New and Everlasting Covenant."

The LDS church issued an official “policy” statement in 1995 it called a “Proclamation to the World.” It’s also known as the LDS “Proclamation” or “Statement” on the family. It arrived at the moment the church first began to make a serious effort to become a world religion and crawl out of hiding along the canyons and valleys of the Wastach Front. It came after the GI/Big Blue fashionistas in Salt Lake discovered that they’d uniformed and groomed their sexy young elders of the missionary effort in San Francisco’s official togs and butch-hairdoes of the rising young Gay professional community. It sought to explain the church’s position on gender roles and marriage at least to its own—as there was a growing internal, closeted Gay Mormon lobby foolish enough to think they could win out that argument against the Brethren if they just made their case well enough in the scriptures. They failed of course, as had the feminist movement of the previous two decades failed to make any dent in the notion that Mormonism was a patriarchy and a male priesthood was a permanent fixture.

All these several internal movements did was encourage the elderly leadership of the church to so soften the look and feel of the patriarchal nature of the priesthood, with its Divine Right to lead, administer, and preside not only over church organizations but the basic family unit, that presently the modern, caring LDS male is so empathic with the womenfolk of the church, so in touch with his nurturing side, that he in many cases might just as well be Gay. But that’s another doctrine to explore later.

The culmination of this “Proclamation” put Mormonism at the forefront of California’s Proposition 8, Gay marriage battle. Mormonism essentially kicked off the entire “Defense of Marriage Act” movement:

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve
Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a
woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to
the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the
image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of
heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and
destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual
premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose….

images (1)In the process of clarifying its gender role and same-sex policies however, the LDS church practically precluded itself from ever defending its previous support of a plural-marriage patriarchy on any rational grounds by seeming to be deferring to the Christian social consensus that one man and one wife is God’s specific formula. The wording of the “Proclamation” one might suppose, is sufficiently lenient to have not specified one single union of one single couple. I wouldn’t read anything into that however. And apparently the church has not taken a clear stance upon how many times you get to re-article-1383567-0BE8131200000578-634_306x423do and re-try this current model of “marriage for time and all eternity” in the “new and everlasting covenant.”

The LDS church was correct both Biblically and Constitutionally in professing the right to both believe and practice plural marriage. A modern argument that plural marriage as practiced by early Mormons is barbaric and misogynist, would of necessity also make the same charges against the Holy Bible and its authors. No Bible-believing Christian however, can truthfully say that plural marriage, or the general principle of ecclesiastical and familial patriarchy that practiced it both in New and Old Testament times, was condemned or proscribed anywhere within its pages. Since neither can the Mormon hierarchy, it seems almost cowardly that the LDS church would withhold "blessings" from new members not held captive in Utah and Idaho–the two states that at used to have federally mandated test oaths that disenfranchised anyone who is a member of an organization that teaches plural marriage to be a correct Biblical principle, (these oaths are now incorporated into their state constitutions via specific provisions banning plural marriage) and laws with the power to seize all the property and funds of any organization that promotes it–whether it is actually practiced or not. In that context, no doubt, the fear is that the church would be crucified in Utah and Idaho, for what its members do or preach in Africa, Eastern Europe, or the Middle East.

Nevertheless, what the Church, Historic Christianity, Roman tradition or social custom has to say about Biblical marriage practices, the US Constitution pretty much grants any religious order 1st Amendment rights to interpret the Bible or any other Holy writ or tradition, and decide what God sanctions and what He doesn’t in their own terms, barring a “compelling” national or at least public interest in restricting it. The only “compelling” national or public interest the Supreme Court ever produced in its meddling with Mormon plural marriage ordinances, was a vague allusion to "civilized," meaning "Christian" tradition and the fear that allowing Mormons to breed like rats in the desert would allow them to home-grow a political base of voters that would prevent the Christian movers and shakers that ran America in the day, move in as usual, after the Mormons had done all the hard work of trailblazing the wilderness, and through one more new pretext, take all the Mormons’ stuff away again. But more to the point, when the federal government was oppressing Mormonism and writing Orthodox Christian dogma into federal law in its attempt to take control over Mormon occupied Mexican territory now called "Utah," the whore-mongering US Senators, Congressmen, army officers, judicial appointees, and other invading and then occupying forces that crafted and refined these anti-Mormon statutes and eventual state constitutional demands, took great care to insure that the anti-bigamy, anti-co-habitation laws were written in such a way as to allow the occupiers, the army, the federally appointed judiciary, governors and administrators, the ability to hump their brains out with whomever and however they wanted to, as long as they did not legitimize it by setting up housekeeping, gathered up their things, and buggered off later in the evening, after having their way with the woman in question. Now, I say these federally mandated legal requirements were anti-Mormon more so than anti-polygamy, since the goal was the elimination of Mormonism rather than rescuing women from the horrors of being well-kept by Brigham Young and company. When the "liberating" forces of the US limped into the Utah Valley, they were actually quite pissed off that there were damned few women interested at all in being liberated. They did their best however to solicit Mormon wives and daughters to desert their husbands and fathers, and under the guise of "liberation" take up with the camp-following hordes or the randy buggers of the US Army, or the conniving bastards sent from Washington DC to suppress the civil rights of the local Mormon population. Whores and trollops and whiskey for the most part had to be imported, which only added to the outrage of the American "liberators" of the Mormon desert empire.

When forced by continued Mormon legal fighting to rationalize the nation’s Christian crusade against Mormonism via plural marriage, the reasoning of the High Court of all the land was this: If we protect plural marriage under the 1st Amendment because of a religious belief, then somebody else will demand that we let them practice human sacrifice because of a religious belief. To the truly stupid this may actually seem reasonable, and since I’m writing this for idiots of every religious and political stripe, I’ll just point out the fundamental difference between protecting the Constitutional right of any single, or group of consenting adults, who want to play with themselves however they may behind closed doors, or allowing a man and any number of women–or vice-versa for that matter–to cohabitate and share income, chores or sex as they see fit, and the prospect of forcibly seizing one’s fellow citizens and laying them dead on an altar against their will. In the one case, even Roe v Wade should teach us that the Constitution implies a fundamental right to privacy. There isn’t a single anti-sodomy law in the nation that has withstood even a lower-court challenge under the reasoning that it’s just so outrageous that the public and national peace is at stake. In the other case, you’re just killing people. Are you bright enough to see the difference? If not, I for one don’t want you in the church anyway.

Let’s try it this way for you "enlightened" so-called "liberals" or "progressives": If we were to suggest today that catching two gay men cohabitating should be a criminal act worthy of five years in prison at hard labor, and for every additional man found cohabitating with them an additional five years should be added to the sentence, we can begin to approach a more contemporary vision of the idiocy, cruelty, and bigotry of these Christian anti-bigamy laws directed and executed directly against the early Mormons. And if the only "compelling" national, state or public interest in stamping out early Mormonism’s multiple wives is some imagined concern for what happens to the children in these relationships, the answer is almost invariably that they go on to be very happy and well adjusted citizens and many of them now hold high LDS church offices, and many many more of the products of these relationships are in highly placed social, political, business and entrepreneurial enterprises. This overwhelming success occurred mind you, in spite of the federal anti-polygamy witch hunts that stole many of the breadwinners from these families, threw these often elderly patriarchs in jail, and attempted to break apart their families while the Mormon women and children were left essentially to die in a nearly helpless condition.

When it proved essentially impossible to enforce their anti-bigamy legislation without a willing wife to confess and rat out her husband and fellow wives and insure a conviction, the Edmunds Tucker Act used the Supreme Court’s ruling in Reynolds v US to craft laws that disincorporated and seized the church’s property for merely teaching that plural marriage was a correct Biblical principle–it was not required to prove anyone was even actually practicing it. Test oaths were drafted in Utah and Idaho that required these constituencies to swear that they were not a member of any organization that espoused the belief in or practice of plural marriage. The entire Mormon population was enslaved and governed by federal appointees who rented back their own church buildings to them and denied them the right to vote or hold any civic office.

Having made the case for early Mormon plural marriage, if you’re wondering whether LDS or Utah-based folk-fable or doctrine or ideology, is going to be a problem in the governance of the United States of America relative to its past promotion of plural marriage, the answer is NO. If the Lefties have already decided Gay marriage is de rigueur, the Libertarians don’t give a shite what anyone does behind closed doors, and the Anarchists are too busy occupying McDonald’s to know the difference, that just leaves the hard core of the Tea Party and the once-called "Conservative," or more pointedly, "Religious Right" fanatics to piss and moan about images (4)Mormons, their secret death squads, satanic symbolism, and multiple wives. The problem this waning segment of the American social landscape is having of course, is that so many of their sainted leaders are turning out to be serial monogamists, fornicators, adulterers, or in the case of a certain unnamed, traditionally very Conservative World Power and religious sect: boy-buggering child molesters and enablers of same. Some of these loosely united Christian pals are out pissing on the funerals of homecoming war heroes, and screaming at their parents, wives, family and loved ones about what a great thing it is that God is killing so many US servicemen and women. I can’t even follow that one intellectually or otherwise. And naturally, all the Religious Right can do is shut about them and keep a low profile. You can’t defend that sort of thing within the Body of Christ in the public, social or political spheres. Internally, of course, those sinners will go to Heaven because they are saved as Christians no matter what. And Mitt Romney’s burning in hell no matter what, be cause he’s neither saved nor a Christian. In the old days, these same nut-cases, these cheating, stealing, lying lecherous hypocrites, would find no trouble contriving an excuse to send him there through fire and sword. Plural marriage was just the most universally convenient issue to beat Mormonism to death with at a national level.

Posted in 34 Troubling Doctrines Part 1: Magic Underpants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brief Update on Willard Cleon Skousen

6a00d8341bf80c53ef014e60fde47f970c-800wiI’ve been responding a bit to several other blogs centered around W Cleon Skousen’s sophomoric ramblings about the "Atonement," and other "deep" or "advanced" folk-doctrines still being hailed as his masterworks. I’ll just summarize my response to these claims briefly:

First of all, we have his highly exaggerated FBI "experience," which consisted almost exclusively of shuffling papers in the outback with no security access to anything of world or national importance. The fact that he was a rabid anti-Communist and J Edgar may have given him a short offhand nod according to Skousen’s camp or that at his death somebody somewhere asked him to give a speech commemorating Hoover’s service to the country, amounts to nothing. In the world of mindless, foaming anti-Communists, there are enough loons to go around that somebody connected somehow to Hoover would end up looking like, or would be made to look like they endorsed W Cleon Skousen. The fact remains that the FBI officially condemned and divorced themselves from his efforts, his ramblings, his writings, his speechmaking, and the official FBI position on Willy Skousen was that he was doing more harm than good, and actually obfuscated, confused, and inhibited the serious work of sorting out credible risks to national security.

As for the recurring claims of Skousen’s devotees that he was fired as chief of police by a lawless Salt Lake mayor who hated the way he enforced the law equally and fairly, and wouldn’t look the other way when the bigwigs had a game of cards–the overwhelming assessment of his stint as Top Cop in Salt Lake City was that his approach to law enforcement was a combination of Barney Fife and Joe Stalin. It is often assumed or even proposed by Cleon’s faithful, that the mayor who fired him was some sort of liberal, or corrupt and lazy, and only resented Skousen’s equal application of the law, even when high city officials were the victims of his zeal. The truth is, J Bracken Lee was a hard-core conservative, every bit as active in the anti-Commie craze as was Skousen, and every bit as straight-laced in his personal morals and habits:

Mayor Lee’s firing of Skousen caused a major shock within conservative political circles – both in Utah and nationally. [For a detailed discussion of the Lee-Skousen feud, see “Political Feud in Salt Lake City: J. Bracken Lee and the Firing of W. Cleon Skousen”, by Dennis L. Lythgoe, Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1974, or see Lythgoe’s subsequent book, Let ‘Em Holler: A Political Biography of J. Bracken Lee – Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1982.]

In August 1960, Mayor Lee wrote a letter to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine of Arcadia, CA in which he made the following comments:

“To further explain my position, let me say this, that while Mr. Skousen has written a book and talks against Communism, actually he conducted his office as Chief of Police in exactly the same manner in which the Communists operate their government.  The man is also a master of half-truths.  In at least three instances I have proved him to be a liar before the City Commissioners and the newspaper reporters.  To me, he is a very dangerous man because he preaches one thing, practices another, does not tell the truth, and cannot be relied upon.  He also was one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government.”  [HQ 67-69602, #286; 8/8/60 letter from J. Bracken Lee to Mrs. Elizabeth Laine, Arcadia CA]

When the Educational News Service of Fullerton, CA ran a favorable article about Skousen in its March 31, 1960 issue, Mayor Lee sent them a blistering 3-page response (with copies to 13 other individuals who served on the Board of Directors of the News Service).  Among the accusations made by Lee are the following comments concerning Skousen’s 1958 book, The Naked Communist:

“Your article further states that my charge that Mr. Skousen had been using City Police secretarial assistance in the writing of this book was without foundation.  The records will show to the satisfaction of anyone that he did use City Policemen and secretaries both to compile, typewrite, and assemble his notes on this book.  While I certainly do not object to the writing of a book in opposition to Communism, I do not think it is right that City funds and personnel be used to write a book which resulted in personal gain to that writer.”   [HQ 67-69602, #290; 8/16/60 letter by J. Bracken Lee to Mr. Edward T. Price, President, Education Information Inc of Fullerton CA.]

After termination as Police Chief, Skousen then ran for the Republican nomination for Governor of Utah and his campaign literature included the phrase, “Served his country in the FBI 16 years, 4 of them as Administrative Assistant to J. Edgar Hoover during World War II, a top assignment.” [HQ 67-69602, #287; Bureau file copy notation on outgoing 1/12/61 letter to Mrs. Norman Hartnett, Bakersfield CA mentions his campaign literature.]

J. Edgar Hoover received numerous inquiries about Skousen’s description of himself. His replies declared that: “For your information, Mr. Skousen did not have the title ‘Administrative Assistant’ while in the FBI” and “In response to your inquiry, I wish to advise that there is no such position in the FBI entitled Administrative Assistant to the Director”. [See for example, Hoover’s 4/19/61 reply to Rev. Harry C. Carlson of La Habra CA which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #28 and his 11/1/61 reply to David A. Moynan Jr., Chairman of Operation Americanism, Jefferson Parish Junior Chamber of Commerce, which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #37 and his April 10, 1962 reply to inquiry by Mrs. A.M. Donaldson of Cardiff CA which is HQ file 94-47468, serial #46.]

While on a general level there’s nothing unusual about somebody puffing up a resume to get a job, the fact is,skousen_postum Willard Skousen was a consummate BS artist on every level of his personal, political, religious, and "academic" pursuits. Like Lucifer, master of the half-truth and the credible lie, Cleon Skousen never gained any official sanction from anyone of any legal, political, academic or religious authority and had to rely on bold assertion and vague allusion. He never, for example, and to the possible surprise of most of his fans, published a scrap of anything about anything, political or religious through BYU or any other authoritative LDS institution, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was flat out rejected by the First Presidency, shunned at BYU, and eventually kicked off campus and banished from recruiting through LDS connections of any sort by both BYU Administration and the First Presidency in concerted movement.

The problem I have with making an effort at diluting the tendency toward invective in my examination of Skousen and his cultic following, comes from attempting to make a person who should according to all objective criteria, already be overtly silly-looking on his face, look even sillier just to make the point. This situation exists because Cleon Skousen is not an individual to be examined on his singular intellectual or "spiritual" merits. Skousen can only be examined in the context of a multi-generational cloud of gaseous, ignorant postulation and self-promotion, lapped up for decades now by a devout, well-meant, if ignorant cult of personality.

Willy Skousen’s purely "Mormon" minions universally dismiss his clearly paranoid and delusional political hysteria with the oft-used phrase: "I don’t care what his political beliefs are, I’m only interested in his great "gospel" insights." The problem with a "neutral" examination of Willy Skousen on a theological level, however, is that he is the object of adoration of an international fan-base of Mormon worshippers, yet is a non-entity within the ecclesiastical and therefore doctrinal structure of the LDS Church. Any "insights" he may or may not have are meaningless, and he has no particular right or permission much less authority to preach his personal "gospel" to anyone, particularly so vast a gullible and receptive audience teeming adoringly after his every scrap of wisdom, within the ranks of the LDS faith. Willy Skousen isn’t merely a nice old geezer harmlessly weaving Utah folk-doctrine into clever little books he gets you to pay for. He’s a sub-culture. He’s a very dedicated, self-promoting "wisdom" industry. And yet, I am invited to refrain from invective when examining the notion that his often bizarre perspective should be given great credence simply because his followers think he’s a nice guy. Oh yes, he’s not a General Authority, they contend as if it actually makes sense to them, but he had friends who were, and he makes all sorts of allusions to secret insight he got from them that these original sources for "obvious" reasons–nudge nudge–don’t of course ever publish or endorse. He’s rubbed elbows with all the "greats," and gee, he’s such a kindly, spiritual old figure he really ranks up there with Brigham Young and Joseph Smith anyway for all practical purposes. In fact, he’s got such a great insight into what all those scribbled old journals and doctrinal rumor mills have been parsing out for generations, he’s actually more accurate and reliable than any of the "official" Church authorities.

"I’m only trying to give the best answers I can," he softly apologizes to his critics, in an affected tone of humility. "If you can come up with a better answer, I’d be glad to hear it…"

How about this Willard? Shut the hell up. You are not the Answer Man. If the First Presidency doesn’t think it’s important to provide the answers you’re trying guess and fabricate and pull out of your spiritual arse, who are you to second guess both the canon and the living prophets? And who is this other guy that you’re encouraging to make even bigger and better guesses at these, secret, convoluted, cosmic "Truths" you like to make up out of fairy dust and some nebulous comment you overheard in the hall from some GA or the other? This other guy is a good-intentioned patsy you’re perverting, contaminating and corrupting, and dragging down to speculative hell along with you. That’s who this other guy is.

And while you’re getting all offended out there, let me tell you up-front I think that other guy could be you!

Cleon Skousen is a creature of mythology. Cleon Skousen was spreading myth, not doctrine. And now, W Cleon Skousen has become a myth himself. And instead of his presumptuous, spiritual theorizing having the good grace to die with him, his devoted coven of friends and defenders continue to perpetuate his entirely unauthoritative rambling as if his power to seduce the Mormon mind was controlling them from beyond the grave. Why? Because Skousen was one of the first to capitalize on the nearly universally held Utah myth that LDS general authorities are all walking around the temple talking directly to Jesus all day, and are possessed of volumes of great, deep, secret knowledge and wisdom gained in these conversations. And Skousen was one of the first, after William Bennett or say, Sampson Avard, to successfully convince masses of the LDS faithful that there is something so special about himself that all of these great LDS authorities are just begging to have him as their confidant.

"Modern" LDS authorities it is held in Utah Mormon culture, are constrained by the Almighty to "water down" all the "hard doctrines" Skousen likes to allude to, in order to make a mass-appeal more palatable to the ignorant, spiritually retarded masses from which the missionary program has to recruit new membership. After all, those prophets and apostles can’t really tell us all they know about these "higher doctrines," so we’re just lucky to have old Willy on hand to discretely let us in on all the inner secrets. This is not invective, this is not vitriol, this is the premise upon which one has to hinge any acceptance of anything Cleon Skousen has promoted his entire life, spiritually, doctrinally, or for that matter politically. His bogus political claim to have been the personal assistant of J Edgar Hoover is exactly the same gambit he used his entire life in alluding to some vague, but apparently very close and official connection to the First Presidency, various General Authorities, and of course the crowning LDS institute of higher education, BYU. But, as Hoover repeatedly found himself correcting: there never was any such relationship to any of these props of intellectual, moral, mental, or patriotic credibility. Cleon Skousen, simply put, is not a credible person on any level or in any fashion imaginable.

Boudreau-841019_bNice guy maybe–deep thinker, but no credibility. He made a good living spending his whole life pulling Commies and Mormon folk doctrine out of his arse. And God bless him. If people were and still are gullible enough or stupid enough to think he’s some sort of spiritual or political genius that they’re willing to cough up the dough to indulge and support him in his little fantasy world, guess he has the last laugh. Many’s a time I thought of taking up the banner and making a few bucks off the religion, but I just kept coming back to that notion of “priestcraft,” and could never quite separate the concept from what guys like Glenn Beck and Cleon Skousen always end up doing. There’s still hope for Beck I guess, but his facilitation of Skousen’s rebirth as one of the greatest thinkers and patriots ever to come out of an American womb unfortunately puts him in the “more harm than good” category on a dangerous level.

Skousen’s book The First 2,000 Years, published in 1953, included a section on God that can only be described as blasphemous.

Under the subtitle “The Source of God’s Power,” he wrote,

“Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such…His glory and power is something which He slowly acquired until today, ‘all things bow in humble reverence.’ But since God ‘acquired’ the honor and sustaining influence of ‘all things’ it follows as a corellary (sic) that if He should do anything to violate the confidence or ‘sense of justice’ of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the ‘power’ of God would disintegrate. This is what Mormon and Alma meant when they specifically stated that if God should change or act contrary to truth and justice ‘He would cease to be God.’ Our Heavenly Father can do only those things which the intelligences under Him are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing” (pp.355-356).

The short explanation of the above sophomoric drivel is this: Heresy. We did not all get together and vote God into office, and God is not dependent upon our approval to remain God. There is nothing in the canon that suggests this apart from one crackpot named Willard, who strung a few out-of context scriptures together and then injected his “corellary” as if it had anything to do with the actual content of the scriptures in question. There is no modern revelation that spells out that God’s power is based entirely upon our honor and intellectual sustaining of His position. There is no scripture or modern “revelation” that even suggests that the first time we think God isn’t living up to His bargain He’s out of the job. Skousen is a liar and a heretic.

Even by zany, Utah folk-doctrine standards.

Yes, if God stopped acting like God he would cease to be God, but since it’s not in God’s nature to stop being God it’s not possible. Mormons may not believe God created everything out of nothing, and is therefore more the Great Architect of the Universe than the mythical, Platonist’s immaterial God who speaks everything into being out of immaterial matter, but there’s nothing in Mormon canon or “revelation” that defines the source of God’s power to organize or “create” and command the elements, as the result of some parliamentary procedure through which every other intelligent entity cedes to Him their magical thought energy.

And the really funny thing, in a pathetic sort of “funny” way…a sad, desperate sort of way…is that Willard Skousen is in his own estimation, so allegedly loved and chummy with all these LDS prophets and apostles, that these men of God, according to Skousen, feel they just have to compulsively reveal to our man Willy, bits and hints and pieces of all the restricted information God has commanded them to withhold from mankind, because Willard is such a spiritual and personal buddy with them that they know he’s the only one outside their circle who can handle the Whole Truth. Yes, in Willy’s world, God actually compels these prophets to sneak these cosmic tidbits from God’s lips to Willy Skousen randomly, casually on the sly, possibly over a can of soda while talking about the weather.

The fact remains however, that these great and Godly crumbs of wisdom Skousen has allegedly picked up during these exchanges, are no more real than the fantasy narrative he created while shuffling generic, unclassified, functionary papers with the FBI in various crapholes of the Midwest, until by the time he was applying for the job of chief cop in SLC, his imaginary portfolio had evolved into a hefty tome that promoted him to the ignorant hicks of the Wasatch Front as Hoover’s Right-Hand Man and seasoned champion of numerous World Commie Hunting adventures. The irony here is that, well, if anyone of normal intelligence and an ounce of healthy skepticism thought about it for more than a second, they would realize that, while Cleon is so allegedly chummy and beloved by the apostles and prophets that they can’t resist spilling their eternal guts to him every chance they get, somehow neither the LDS leadership nor God Almighty ever once thought to extend a call that would put him officially and legitimately amongst their company where he could openly talk with Jesus and receive the whole enchilada of universal knowledge. What was God thinking about when he overlooked that?

Furthermore, it should be equally obvious that whatever casual side-commentary apostle "Mormon Q. Mormon" passed on to one Willard Cleon Skousen in the hallway of the Church Offices or inadvertently at some speech or outing or devotional gathering, is likewise as irrelevant as anything Skousen himself had to expound upon these mythical, covert insights. No single LDS authority has any calling or authority to expound, expand, or invent "doctrine" above and beyond the Standard Works, and the official, correlated materials authorized by the First Presidency.

End of debate Cleon. There are no "higher" doctrines. There are only "doctrines," and stuff neither we nor the Brethren have any right or authority to comment upon. Doctrine is defined by the First Presidency and officially published. And they get it from God only if God wants it gotten. You aren’t and never have been invited into that inner circle of authority. Sorry. But you know that now because you’re dead as a doornail. Unfortunately you can’t come back and tell Glenn Beck and your new fan base just how full of shite you were.

As I’ve said before, Hitler was a nice guy if you were one of his crowd. This isn’t a personal attack, this is a sociological examination of the Skousen phenomenon. Popularity is no indication of correctness or "inspiration." The NAZI’s were incredibly popular–if you were a German recovering from a really crappy treaty that destroyed your economy after WWI. That indeed, Adolph Hitler or Cleon Skousen had a few bright things to say is true, but on balance, less important to me or the history of the LDS Church than the fact that no matter what Skousen had to say, or how "bright" it seemed to appear to either you, me, or friends in the ecclesiastical structure at times, the bottom line is, he remains a nobody in the LDS theological scheme. In that context, Cleon Skousen had no more "authority" to delineate the Lord’s Word than Adolph Hitler. It matters not in an LDS context, what either had to say therefore.

But the comparisons to Hitler don’t end there. Skousen actually embraced many of the cultural myths the NAZIS employed to win the favor of the German population and seize power, including the notion of an Anglo-Saxon chosen Master Race who stemmed from the ancient lost tribes of Israel, guided to the British Isles and finally on to found the United States of America. That remains to this day the chief article of faith for America’s Neo-NAZI’s and the KKK. Those are not good ideas any church would want associated with any of its members even casually, unofficially.

Naturally, any time a Glenn Beck or Mitt Romney pops up in the public face, there also, pops up old uncle Cleon with his big nose, bigger head, and very small white-supremist ideas—permanently connect to the LDS church for time and all eternity. Cleon Skousen’s notions about religion and politics are like rank, spiritual, intellectual, philosophical farts that linger vaguely in the air for generations, contaminating and fouling the clear air of both political and religious reason. Wherever a noted LDS figure make progress in the public eye in any given field of endeavor, you will eventually catch a whiff of Willy Skousen’s permeating stench and find the public nostrils forced to contend with it first, recoiling and sniffing through the fumes of Skousen’s gibberish to get at the actual topic in current relevance.

Like this recent Romney article from Mother Jones, featuring an interview from the last election:

If Romney hasn’t read Skousen’s political philosophy, that’s probably for the best. His professor’smitt_skousen grand theory of American history was founded on a set of beliefs that had little to no basis in reality. He believed that the Founding Fathers were directly direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, whom he said had migrated to the British Isles—and that by extension, the Constitution was the direct descendant of the ruling system of the ancient Israelites. In Making of America, the textbook that Mickelson referenced in his conversation with Romney, Skousen quotes from an essay which argues that "one of the blessings of slavery" was that slaves’ marriages were fleeting, and suggests that being bought at auction improved slaves’ self worth. The real victims of slavery, the author suggested, were the white owners. The book also referred to black children as "pickaninnies"—which prompted lawmakers in California to block the text from being used in classrooms. In Skousen’s book, the model Supreme Court decision was Dred Scott, which correctly demarcated the limits of federal power; Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in that case, was the model Supreme Court justice.

Although he didn’t seem familiar with Making of America, Romney was almost certainly aware of his ex-professor’s reputation. Skousen’s academic colleagues began to push back against his teachings while Romney was still a student at BYU. As Alexander Zaitchik reported forSalon, some of Skousen’s colleagues at BYU insisted on teaching his economic treatise, Naked Capitalism, which theorized that a global cabal of bankers was quietly controlling the world from behind the scenes. (Naked Capitalism was a sequel to Naked Communism, which argued that the Soviet Union was just a pawn in larger effort by the United Nations to control the world).

Skousen’s crackpot theories eventually drew the attention of the leaders of the Mormon church, who were determined to distance themselves from Skousen’s sermonizing. The church, Zaitchik reported, issued a formal order instructing clergy not to promote Skousen’s work (he had started an anti-Communist civics group called the Freeman Institute) from the pulpit, lest anyone get the wrong impression about the church’s beliefs. Romney, a former Mormon bishop, would have had to have been living under a rock not to know about Skousen’s conspiratorial reputation.

After his heyday in the 1980s, Skousen faded into irrelevance, only to be resurrected at the dawn of the tea party era. Glenn Beck, who called Skousen’s Five Thousand Year Leap "years ahead of its time," made its ideas the centerpiece of his 9/12 movement and wrote the foreword to a new edition of the book. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Skousen "shares his views" on the founding of the country and touted him in speeches to evangelical audiences. Constitutional seminars based on Skousen’s theories of an Anglo-Saxon chosen people popped up across the country.

Cleon Skousen was and remains a crackpot. That’s not a personal attack, that’s just a fact. Willy Skousen had not, has not, and will never have, any more authority to babble about "doctrine" or the makeup of the universe than I have. Or any of you have. The only difference between you or me and Willard Cleon Skousen is a few buddies who ended up in the LDS hierarchy, and a shameless knack for self-promotion. Why anyone would defer to Skousen in any doctrinal matter baffles me, and why so many feel their own spiritual or intellectual discernment is so humble in comparison to Skousen’s inflated estimate of his own entirely unauthorized speculations, is just plain insulting to the general LDS membership.

And particularly, why anyone discerning enough, or honest enough to confess that Cleon Skousen evidences some very befuddled, even bigoted and ignorant thought processes and personal beliefs in his political novels, and yet would be unwilling to concede therefore that his religious literary efforts cannot be any more reliable given that they are the product of the same twisted and demonstrably limited mental capacity, is baffling.

My invective is not directed at Willard Skousen so much as those who worship him. Unfortunately, I can’t say that he didn’t deliberately and very actively recruit his following. No, he wasn’t excommunicated or preaching overt heresy and rebellion. He remained "liked" by most LDS General Authorities. But he simply couldn’t shut up and let certain questions go unanswered. Like many Latter-day Saints, Cleon felt his personal intelligence or “inspiration” entitled him to insight into any subject in the universe, literally any subject in the universe, and God would provide the answer. Anywhere there was a gap or an opening in LDS dogma where Willard Skousen could stick his intellectual crowbar in and wedge himself inside, there he would be–for time and all eternity.

MakingAmericaThe only thing worse than a vicious tyrant and self-promoter like Hitler, is a kindly, lovable, well-meaning old codger like Cleon Skousen. It’s easy to see the faults and the damage an Adolph Hitler is doing to God’s Creation. It’s not so easy to identify and condemn the damage a chummy Uncle Cleon" is doing to God’s organization on this planet. In fact, it’s easy and credible to internalize and incorporate his postulations into your daily "belief system." And then you’re no longer a Latter-day Saint, not even a "Mormon." Then you’re just a Skousenite.

And that’s the way Satan really works. Through a kindly, mild-mannered, Cleon Skousen. That’s the true Satanic genius–not force and oppression, but a carefully administered and reasoned program of distraction and dilution and corruption. You don’t go through the Aryan Master Race and by force destroy the work of God. You lay the seeds of perversion and corruption and sophistry, through a kindly old Uncle Cleon.

In the latter days even God’s elect will be deceived. That’s God’s Word talking about us. That’s you and me. That’s perhaps particularly addressed to the LDS Church and its leadership, and even more so, the likes of Willy Skousen or any of those who would make his LDS mystical subculture their primary source of information and inspiration.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22

22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.

Posted in 33 Skousen Update | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

WTF? (What the Fudge?) Deseret News

The Deseret News has been the official organ of the LDS church since its foundation in 1850. (I know it’s strange and antiquated nomenclature. I know it sounds a bit naughty–but’s it is indeed the proper use of the word folks.) That’s barely three years after Brigham Young dragged his sick and tired guts over the pass, sat up and leaned from the back of the wagon and said “This is far enough.” (Yes, that’s what he actually said friends.) It inherited a grand tradition of being the only publication pretty much in the nation to stick up for the Mormons when the whole world was all too eager to slap them down with or without any justification at all. I suppose it still fulfills that mission, and times have not changed all that much for Mormonism, politically and socially speaking. Consequently, like all other historical Mormon tabloids, the Times and Seasons, or Millennial Star for instance, this “news” paper is essentially edited by the LDS Correlation Committee like any Latter-day Saint textbook, teaching manual, or conference talk would be. Even though it strains for “objective” journalism, to be “fair and balanced,” this is functionally impossible given that it is owned and managed directly by the Corporation of the First Presidency.images (1)

When the Deseret News prints an article, particularly online, and then invites its readers to give commentary, like most public presses, its editorial team urges a “civil” exchange of ideas. But at the Deseret News, in a practical sense, what “civil” really means is hard to say. The online robot filter is clearly programmed to reject comments based upon trigger words or phrases, including punctuation marks–in a very mysterious fashion, both intentionally, and as I have seen, arbitrarily. I have repeatedly attempted to post even highly pro-LDS rebuttals to anti-LDS articles the Deseret News has presented, and found them rejected. On the other hand, I’ve had comments I was convinced would never get through immediately approved. And I constantly compare my verbiage with that of those often imbecilic louts who have made it onto the page. I have routinely been rejected for “inflammatory” rhetoric and so forth, and yet found scores of contributors approved to post seething articles of hatred and bitterness laced with the most profoundly aggressive and offensive language and claims against their ideological foes, those damned “Mormons.”

But then, you have to take into account that these “letters to the editor” are being filtered by a Mormon. This is either a virtual Mormon or a human Mormon. Mormons are easily confused and frightened by arguments constructed with logic, clarity, and a good vocabulary. Some day I will test the Deseret News auto-screener by inserting “KKK” or “Nazi” into some otherwise pleasant comment, because I’m willing to bet there is a long litany of individual trigger words that automatically kick out the contribution however correctly or pertinent to the point being made the challenged word may be. The question is, how much of my life do I have left to waste on this fool’s errand?

For instance, you probably couldn’t say, “Yes, this Southern Baptist preacher calls Mormons racist, but his great grandfather owned slaves and his old man was a Grand Wizard in the KKK, and his Christian peers fought a bloody Civil War trying to impose the institution of slavery nationwide by virtue of its boasted Biblical sanction by God.” Even if all this were true, and you had the pictures of the guy in Klan robes hanging some unlucky black hobo from his church’s front gable as the highlight of a Sunday school picnic, that would likely be rejected simply for tone. Or because its not a pleasant reality. Truth and validity of the argument is not the prime indicator to whoever, or whatever is weeding out this “semi-public” access to the official Mormon public journal. The “Truth” may set you free, but not here in our newspaper please. Too much naked honesty is unseemly. Not if anyone might be upset by it. And that’s one more thing that’s wrong with Mormonism. For the past hundred years of so, Mormonism has been attempting to harmonize and spit-polish its wild, radical, roughhewn image, and tone-down the crazy rhetoric. The Modern LDS church wants to mellow out both past and present, the train of  historically heated in-house debates over doctrine, policy, and social direction. However well-meant these tempering movements have been, or in some cases, however these several personally instigated, ignorant attempts at editorial  randomness, what it has done over the generations, and continues to do in an exaggerated fashion, is stifle creativity on a broad basis amongst the membership, actively repel the best and brightest from joining the church in the first place, and utterly frustrate a free exchange of ideas concerning all things Mormon, both in and out of the church.

That’s today’s Mormonism in a nutshell.

images (8)It is only fair to note that the Deseret News’ rabid anti-Mormon competitor, the Salt Lake Tribune, who’s masthead touts it to be “Utah’s Independent Voice Since 1871,” has approved every single thing I’ve ever contributed. And by that I mean, for and against the LDS church. Having said this, I must also say that It’s masthead of course, is a huge lie. The “Trib” was founded by embittered, professional Mormon haters who wanted to stick it to Brigham Young any and every way they could. They wanted to evoke a national hatred of the LDS religion, and invite drunkards, freeloaders, filthy capitalists and exploitation artists to come from all corners of the nation, of the world, to fill up the Mormon’s sheltered valley with Gentile customers for the Gentile merchants, tradesmen, and laborers that made up the Trib’s constituency. They wanted to drive the Mormons out, so the Gentiles could do business as usual amongst themselves, without a load of sanctimonious, proprietary Mormon socialists fouling their dreams of a capitalist empire in the desert.

The founders of the Tribune obviously had a case against the Deseret News being the editorial puppet of the LDS church back in the days of Brother Brigham. And the Tribune was clearly the propaganda press for everyone else. But the Tribune has radically mellowed its anti-Mormon stance over the generations, and evolved into a fairly generic journalistic effort serving the entire population of the “Valley.” However, little has changed with the Deseret News in its editorial policies and goals since its introduction. At the Deseret News, today as ever, every jot and tittle is subjected to committee action. At the Tribune, when you submit a comment online, there is almost no wait for moderation, no nagging about going over 200 words. No rejecting my inclusion of links to my blog. It’s type type type, “send” and there it is essentially instantly. Granted, I’m sure there’s an F-bomb filer always engaged and whatnot, but the point is, when constructing a rebuttal or counterpoint, I make the best case in my own words and short of calling somebody a sh**head or something, I know it’s going to be published. The Deseret News on the other hand, though it contains a higher percentage of articles I’d like to comment upon, and by that I mean I would be posting nearly always in favor of the LDS point of view, forces me to guess each and every word, each and every sentence and phrase, actively backseat-driving my work, nagging me over my shoulder. I’m always wondering if this word or that sentence is going to randomly set off some virtual, cyborg-editorial policy, or some “moderator” is going to get snotty an high-handed over it.

Now, most people just crank out some mouthy punch line and that’s that. Those seem to get through fine most of the time even for me. If on the other hand, you care to take the time, thought and energy to refine and then condense into their tiny word limit, something truly insightful, well, what’s the point? Literally half the time at the end of a session I click off an attempt to upload pure genius to the Mormon masses, only to wait sometimes for an hour or more, for the emailed rejectionimages (6) notice, which really gives no sense of what to do to correct the commentary and make it acceptable. After sometimes a half hour or more of comparing my language and style with those comments that did get published, I still have no sense of why mine shouldn’t have been published as well. What a waste of my time and brainpower. So basically, why bother?

And that’s why Mitt Romney is such a crap campaigner. Mormons don’t know how to argue, to connect the logical dots of a related family of concepts and principles, and then construct a meaningful debate with an elegant vocabulary that challenges the mind. What Mormons learn how to do is find out who’s in charge, learn the “right” answer, and then conversation revolves around who can agree with each other the most. You don’t flex much in the way of either polemic, rhetorical, or forensic gray cells in that environment.

You can’t even be sure at the Deseret News if you really are being rejected for editorial reasons, or if it’s just the Mormon attraction to pathetically inadequate software that would have been clunky and disfunctional twenty years ago–because every scrap of technology from the MLS to seems to be written by half-trained BYU grad-monkeys who’s chief qualification for the job was a current temple recommend and a basic understanding of how to plug in the computer. And you can’t even be sure that Mormon software isn’t really meant to be that un-intuitive because to a geriarchy still suspicious of FM radio it may actually make sense to them for a search engine to not be able to return a single reference in the LDS canon relating to “Jezus” because of a one-letter miss-spell IE:

Did you mean jetsJewsfez’sgenusjeans?
      Sorry, your search returned no results.

I’m just saying, a search engine that can’t guess “Jesus” when given “Jezus” is pretty frigging stupid. But not half as stupid as the team of  little Mormon hacks writing code on the project. And not even fractionally as stupid as the invariably long chain of Mormon supervisors and managers, and the attendant ecclesiastical leadership that never seems to catch out the thousands and thousands of other bugs and inadequacies in the basic design and function of LDS software and website layout. When you close the circle of acceptable input to those inbred and raised in that tiny mountain hideout called “Utah,” you do not get the best and brightest. You get active Mormons who only know what they have been told their whole lives, and can only judge by what they’ve seen around them. That is a universal fault with Mormon leadership and organization. Mormonism puts loyalty and ideology ahead of talent and knowledge or worse yet, ahead of basic intelligence.

Mormonism is frightened by intelligence. Mormonism thus, avoids, dodges, circumvents, or if need be, crushes it whenever it becomes too apparent anywhere in the system, be it embodied in person, place, or thing.

For purposes of illustration, I’m going to give you this link to a recent Deseret News article:

This is a case-in-point exercise. I’m sure if somebody at the Deseret News gets uptight over it they’ll be screaming about “fair use,” and “intellectual property,” but all the communications law classes I took at BYU suggest my arse is covered on a number of grounds including using their intellectual product for the purposes of criticism, or education. I don’t know however, how educational it will be, because even I don’t know what it is possible to learn from the obtuse and asinine process used by the Deseret News to determine what they consider to be acceptable, publishable, reader commentary and discourse. If for some reason they take that link down or you can’t get there, here’s essentially the complete article. It was so well written when I tried to clip it for brevity I found that every single paragraph was doing a necessary job and to lose anything from it would be an insult to its author. But I did truncate it a bit anyway for legal reasons:


Related: MormonVoices calls for Santorum to disavow pastor

Claiming “the Mormon religion is prejudiced against blacks, Jews and native Americans,” Rev. O’Neal Dozier, a Florida pastor, held a press conference Monday morning to call upon presidential candidate Mitt Romney to renounce what Dozier characterized as “his racist Mormon religion.”

According to Anthony Man of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Rev. Dozier said “the purpose of this request is to foster and maintain good race relations here in America,” adding that “the Mormon religion is prejudiced against blacks, Jews and native Americans.”

Officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn’t offer a specific response to Rev. Dozier’s claims, although Man referenced previous LDS statements on racism, which indicate that “people of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the church since its beginning” and “the church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the church.”

Man reported “Dozier, who is black, said the purpose of his event, at which he was joined by three other Broward ministers, was to highlight the past racism of the Mormon Church.

“But it’s impossible to separate Dozier from politics,” Man continued. “He’s a Republican Party committeeman and is the honorary Florida chairman for Rick Santorum, who is Romney’s principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination.”

Among Dozier’s claims is that the Book of Mormon says that God made “the black African people (to be) disgusting, detestable to white people … [and] further degrades black, African people by saying they are uncultured, unattractive, unpleasant, lowlife, wild and unintelligent.”

“This is not true,” said MormonVoices, a website sponsored by the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, in an unsigned commentary posted Sunday:

“The Book of Mormon’s most direct teaching on the status of different races in God’s sight is in 2 Nephi 26: 33: “(The Lord) inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

Writing for Mediaite about the Dozier press conference, reporter Alex Alvarez said “this will likely prove a difficult battle for Rev. Dozier given that 1) past attempts at getting people to renounce their belief systems have, for the most part, been rather difficult, and 2) the pastor’s own faith and interpretation of scripture have been marked by controversy and allegations of prejudice as well. Those who live in glass houses, as they say, should be careful of casting the first stone. Or something like that, no?”

Dozier was described in a Mother Jones story as a “Bush-connected Islamophobic pastor who says gays ‘make God want to vomit.'” His bio on his church’s website says he is a Vietnam vet who played in the NFL in 1974 and who worked on the campaigns of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush, including making radio ads for the president, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

A New York Magazine story about Dozier’s press conference where he made his remarks said that Santorum touted Dozier’s endorsement of Santorum yesterday.

About the Author

Joseph Walker

Joseph Walker began his professional writing career in 1980 as a staff writer for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, eventually becoming the newspaper’s television and live theater critic. He left professional journalism for 20 years to work in more …

So, I’m all inspired by this guy’s excellent article, and I scroll down, read some inane comments, and then I’m compelled to put my own two-cents worth into the argument. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work—right? Here’s what I tried first:

I think the “black” pastor here has a lot of hutzpah to criticize a church for racism against “Negroes and Jews,” who’s founder, for one thing sent one of his first missionaries, a converted Jew, to the Holy Land (not Utah, the other one…) to dedicate “Palestine” to the gathering of Israel. Joseph Smith was assassinated for among other things, running for US president on an abolitionist ticket, and was murdered by a mob to the urging and applause of this “Christian” pastor’s southern peers of the day, for inviting “free Negroes” into his fold. Joseph Smith personally ordained several “Negroes” in period vernacular, to the priesthood, and died at the hands of the pre-cursors of the KKK, the “Regulator” or “Militia” movement–southern, Jew-hating, “Christian” white-supremists who were afraid of the growing Mormon social and political influence over the mounting issue of slavery. Two-hundred words doesn’t even allow me to touch upon just how ignorant this pastor’s pretensions are regarding LDS doctrines. If I were allowed to add a link I would, because I’ve blogged hundreds of pages dealing with this sort of ignorant prejudice against Mormonism, and I mean that in a dictionary sense.

imagesThat got rejected initially, because it was over 200 words, so what you see here is the second draft, minus only about ten words, ten very excellent words that added a lot, but it came in at 195 words in this form, and clearly should have passed that filter requirement. This was not cut and pasted, it was composed in real time in the little dialogue box on their own web site so there could have been no formatting problems. So I read it and read it, and tried to figure out what was triggering the filter—keeping in mind that the whole point was about the KKK and slavery, and the rebuttal would be pointless if I was not going to be allowed to talk about the KKK or the Christians who founded it. After another try or two, this is what came back:

Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on Florida pastor calls for Romney to ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ on

Unfortunately, your comment was not approved for one of the following reasons:

* Comment was off topic or disruptive.
* Comment included obscenities or vulgarities.
* Comment included name-calling, epithets, racial slurs or other derogatory statements.
* Comment included personal attacks.
* Comment included advertising or other promotion.
* Comment included copyright infringement or plagiarism.
* Comment included web links, excessive ALL-CAPS or punctuation, excessive length or violated other formatting rules.
* Comment included personal information.

We would invite you to edit and resubmit your comment using the following guidelines:

* Comments should be thoughtful and helpful to your fellow readers with additional insight or counterpoints to the article.
* Avoid personal attacks and other inappropriate responses to fellow readers.
* Treat other readers as you would if you were speaking to them from a microphone, looking them in the eyes, then passing the microphone cordially to the next contributor.

If you would like to revise the following comment to comply with policy you may resubmit it by logging in and commenting directly from the story again.


I think the “black” pastor here has a lot of hutzpah to criticize a church for racism against “Negroes and Jews,” who’s founder, for one thing sent one of his first missionaries, a converted Jew, to the Holy Land (not Utah, the other one…) to dedicate “Palestine” to the gathering of Israel. Joseph Smith was assassinated for among other things, running for US president on an abolitionist ticket, and was murdered by a mob to the urging and applause of this “Christian” pastor’s southern peers of the day, for inviting “free Negroes” into his fold.


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Deseret News Editorial Team

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You can see from the quote they returned that I’d already pared down my enthusiasm quite a bit, but the above version only made the Deseret News’ autobot madder at me. My comment was indeed on topic, it was not inflammatory, it was not obscene, or vulgar, did not employ racial or other epithets, it was not riddled with quotations, even though I used quotation marks, any one of which the jackass computer probably challenges as possible plagiarism or copyright violation because it is as stupid as its Mormon programmers and site managers. People who steal copy don’t put it in quotes. Morons.

This matter had by now become a point of honor. So I persisted in attempting to thwart whatever human or droid agent was acting against me at the Deseret News:

images (5)Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on Florida pastor calls for Romney to ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ on

Unfortunately, your comment was not approved for the following reason:

* Comment included web links, excessive ALL-CAPS or punctuation, excessive length or violated other formatting rules.

We would invite you to edit and resubmit your comment using the following guidelines:

* Comments should be thoughtful and helpful to your fellow readers with additional insight or counterpoints to the article.
* Avoid personal attacks and other inappropriate responses to fellow readers.
* Treat other readers as you would if you were speaking to them from a microphone, looking them in the eyes, then passing the microphone cordially to the next contributor.

If you would like to revise the following comment to comply with policy you may resubmit it by logging in and commenting directly from the story again.


I think the pastor has a lot of hutzpah to criticize a church for racism against “Negroes and Jews,” who’s founder, for one thing sent one of his first missionaries, a converted Jew, to the Holy Land to dedicate “Palestine” to the gathering of Israel. Joseph Smith was assassinated for among other things, running for US president on an abolitionist ticket, and was murdered by a mob instigated by an organized movement by southern, “Christian” pastors for inviting “free Negroes” into his fold, a proposition they claimed would weaken and corrupt the institution of slavery, which they held to be a proper American practice that was Biblically ordained.


I can’t tell you why the Deseret News emails turned all my quotation marks into these characters: [ ] when displayed in Windows Mail or Windows Live Writer.  What you see there at the end of the last sentence displays as a quotation mark, not the string of goofy, random characters I typed in. Obviously, if I type in those random characters, something like #@$^&*, and post them into this blog they display as quotation marks, so I can’t actually show you the exact characters I mean. But my point is that one problem has to do with those characters and the use of quotation marks.

In fairness, before this game is over I’ll try deleting all quotation marks in that submission, and see if that gets through. In fact, I’ll do that right now. In the meantime, here’s another troubled submission I tried to make on a related topic, again, in real time, typing directly into the Deseret News’ contributor’s box. I’ve just submitted this commentary to that other thread again, removing the quotation marks over “Christendom”:

Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on It’s unjust to say LDS Church is anti-Semitic on

Unfortunately, your comment was not approved for one of the following reasons:

* Comment was off topic or disruptive.
* Comment included obscenities or vulgarities.
* Comment included name-calling, epithets, racial slurs or other derogatory statements.
* Comment included personal attacks.
* Comment included advertising or other promotion.
* Comment included copyright infringement or plagiarism.
* Comment included web links, excessive ALL-CAPS or punctuation, excessive length or violated other formatting rules.
* Comment included personal information.

images (4)We would invite you to edit and resubmit your comment using the following guidelines:

* Comments should be thoughtful and helpful to your fellow readers with additional insight or counterpoints to the article.
* Avoid personal attacks and other inappropriate responses to fellow readers.
* Treat other readers as you would if you were speaking to them from a microphone, looking them in the eyes, then passing the microphone cordially to the next contributor.

If you would like to revise the following comment to comply with policy you may resubmit it by logging in and commenting directly from the story again.


The Bible is far more anti-Semitic than the Book of Mormon. And the source of this criticism is directly form the greatest prophets of “Christendom” and the Jewish tradition alike. The difference is, Mormonism never in its history called the Jews anything other than God’s chosen people, however they messed it up, and has always maintained that the covenants the House of Israel made with God are still intact and will be fulfilled in the Latter Days. Baptism for the dead has to be understood as an act of leaving a set of tickets in the box office for the departed. If they want to come in and see the show all they have to do is pick them up on their way in. If not, well, no harm or insult is either intended or possible in this arrangement. Worst case: Mormons are idiots who eventually will see that their good intentions were misplaced, and their energy was wasted for nothing, and they’re the ones left out of the production in the end. If that’s insulting, whatever should we say about the harsh words of Calvin and Luther and the various Eastern and Roman Christian leaders through the ages?


You can see that the above comment triggered a far more lengthy list of reasons for rejection, again, none of which seemed to relate to anything I wrote. I could for instance, remove the word “idiot,” because that may be a trigger. But I don’t know that. It could be that the editorial fool engaged to make the decision, human or artificial, thinks I’m calling Mormons “idiots.” But I don’t know that. I’d have to try removing that allusion, which is actually a pro-Mormon statement, a left-handed complement, but it’s obvious at this point that what this inane filter system does–a system you can’t simply avoid by phoning or PM’ing or emailing the “moderator” and asking what you’d have to drop to avoid triggering rejection—is discourage anyone with a brain and the motivation to share it from bothering themselves with the Deseret News. You are then left, as in Mormonism itself, with a lot of people with no brains who want to share what they have to offer anyway. And they are eagerly urged and allowed to do so by the equally brainless Deseret News moderator.

And now brothers and sisters, I am electronically interrupted by some fresh and curious new information coming into my email box. I should withhold it dramatically for a big close to this spiel, but I’m going to reveal something that probably makes this whole effort moot, and makes me look a bit foolish to the techno-geeks out there, but my goal here is honesty. Here’s what I just got back in my email from the Deseret News:

Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on It’s unjust to say LDS Church is anti-Semitic on

This message is to inform you that your comment on It’s unjust to say LDS Church is anti-Semitic was approved. Thank you for your participation in keeping our dialogue civil and enlightening. We hope you’ll continue to engage in the online conversations on and look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

Deseret News Editorial Team

Well well well… What then, you now ask, did I change to get my comment through? As I said, I took “Christendom” out of quotations and not a thing else. It’s there on the Deseret News site exactly as printed above, complete now I see, with the typo “form” instead of “from.” Here’s the link:

This development only confuses me more, and now that I made it past the filters, the Deseret News still pissesimages (7) me off, because the Deseret News doesn’t allow you to edit comments. I can’t fix that damned typo and now I’ve called everyone’s attention to it so I’m going to be the persecuted subject of spellcheck Nazis everywhere for as long as the web holds up and the Deseret News manages to keep their article online.

Oh well. Foiled again. But, back to Mormons hating Jews and Negroes… Here’s about the fourth try I had at getting into the commentary about the Florida pastor and his call for Mormon racial repentance:

Joseph Smith for one thing sent one of his first missionaries, a converted Jew, to the Holy Land to dedicate “Palestine” to the gathering of Israel. Joseph Smith was later assassinated for among other things, running for US president on an abolitionist ticket, and for inviting “free Negroes” into his fold, a proposition his local Christian pastors claimed would weaken and corrupt the institution of slavery, which they held to be a proper American practice that was Biblically ordained.

I defy anyone to rationally explain why that should be rejected, even by the nebulous and silly criteria cranked out by the Deseret News robot responder system. You could say I was critical of Christians or Christian pastors, but frankly, it was the early LDS era pro-slave local Christian pastors who produced this albeit black, modern-day anti-Mormon whiner. They’ve been out there for generations, openly killing Mormons, Indians, Negroes and claiming it was their right to do so out of the Bible. They’ve just historically been beaten away from the slave argument is all. I thought I was being rather diplomatic about it. But I don’t have to guess here folks. I don’t have to blindly assume I’m being cheated out of my God-given right to input my wisdom into the Deseret News. Here, have a read of these following charmers. All these bone-heads made the cut and said far more inflammatory and far less intelligent or informative things, a few of which I’ve highlighted so you don’t miss them:

Pullman, WA
Oh my word. Get a clue. Sounds like some congregations need to denounce their pastors. Why can’t these men do a little research before they make such remarks. Please.

12:31 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (29)

Lehi, UT
As a Christian I try not to judge others. …The United Nations has determined that the racism of mainstream Christianity led to the enslavement and genocide of maybe a hundred million people. And, anti-Semitism was much more a mainstream Christian and Muslim thing, than LDS….

1:58 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (18)

Roanoke, VA
I truly get embarrassed for people who pontificate on subjects about which they know nothing. If one absolutely must criticize the Church, one should at least come up with something new. With allegations of racism, they are not only kicking a dead horse, but they’re spreading the ashes of its decayed bones. Read Church material or visit a ward meeting; that should dispel any myth about racism. The pastor says we discriminate against black people, Jews and native Americans. He forgot to mention women and, probably, left-handed people like me. Any self-respecting critic would have included those.

7:02 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (11)

Layton, UT
So this guy’s not only a pastor of a church that clearly would benefit by giving Mormons a smack-down, he’s also a republican leader representing Santorum… Can’t imagine why he’d want to make ridiculous inflammatory remarks about Mormons and Mitt.

13, 2012Like (7)

Charlotte, NC
How conveniently he forgets that those good ole southern Christians used to enslave blacks and even murder them. That sounds far more racist to me than anything the LDS have done. This guy is about as uninformed as they come and is an embarrassment to the Santorum campaign. I would think that Santorum would back away from him immediately.

7:24 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (28)

Orem, UT
I think that we only need to look at racism among Southern evangelicals in our history to see how disingenuous these remarks really are. Perhaps the good pastor should look at his own church before he spouts these over-the-top epithets toward the Mormon Church. We certainly did not participate in the gross injustices during the Jim Crow era nor did we don white robes and burn crosses.

8:08 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (6)

Draper, UT
It’s all a matter of market share for these mega-churches. You won’t find any of these so-called Christian preachers having anything good to say about the Mormons because of LDS proselytizing efforts. Mormons take members from the churches and dollars from the collection plates.

8:24 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (7)

BYU Papa
Cedar Hills, ut
I think that Santorum and Doziar are just trying to do President Obama’s job for him. Are they secretly really Democrats. Their ridiculously stupid comments which they know are not true just serve the weaken the Republican Cause.

8:30 a.m. March 13, 2012Like (12)

Manti, UT
This minister is fueled by high emotions based on inaccurate and contrived information. This ranting is a pro-Santorum, anti-Romney soliloquy and nothing else. He wants to sway the populous, especially the ignorant, toward his candidate and away from Romney. There are those who believe everything which comes forth from the mouths of their lying ministers without ever questioning or doing research on anything they say.

8:37 a.m. March 13, 2012

Make of that what you will.

images (10)And finally, I leave you with a mystery. My penultimate attempt at commenting about Romney’s racist religion was basically my original try, with all the quotation marks  deleted, but without the apostrophes removed. Since both of those seem to garble into random code symbols that may be interpreted by the censorbot as figurative cursing–!!@@##$%^!!!!, I should probably try it again without the apostrophes. But I have no more will to live at this point. I have just completed that attempt and received another rejection. It was the exact same text. Though both were rejected, if you look at the previous attempt above, and compare the list of offenses the Deseret News found in that, you’ll see that here, by virtue of simply taking the quotation marks out of the piece, they dropped nearly all of their objections.

Yes, quotation marks have something to do with the AU involved here. (Artificial Unintelligence) What we also see, however, is that it’s not just the apostrophes and quotes. And ironically we see, that reverting to the most contentious version I tried, provided me with the mildest criticism from the Deseret Newsbot. This essentially unedited version, he/she/it concluded, was only off-topic (still a lie) and/or disruptive—the latter being highly subjective in light of the scores of far more inflammatory comments he/she/it allowed into the thread:

Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on Florida pastor calls for Romney to ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ on

Unfortunately, your comment was not approved for the following reason:

* Comment was off topic or disruptive.

We would invite you to edit and resubmit your comment using the following guidelines:

* Comments should be thoughtful and helpful to your fellow readers with additional insight or counterpoints to the article.
* Avoid personal attacks and other inappropriate responses to fellow readers.
* Treat other readers as you would if you were speaking to them from a microphone, looking them in the eyes, then passing the microphone cordially to the next contributor.

If you would like to revise the following comment to comply with policy you may resubmit it by logging in and commenting directly from the story again.


I think the black pastor here has a lot of hutzpah to criticize a church for racism against Negroes and Jews, who’s founder, for one thing sent one of his first missionaries, a converted Jew, to the Holy Land (not Utah, the other one…) to dedicate Palestine to the gathering of Israel. Joseph Smith was assassinated for among other things, running for US president on an abolitionist ticket, and was murdered by a mob to the urging and applause of this Christian pastor’s southern peers of the day, for inviting free Negroes into his fold. Joseph Smith personally ordained several Negroes, in period vernacular, to the priesthood, and died at the hands of the pre-cursors of the KKK, the Regulator or Militia movement–southern, Jew-hating, Christian white-supremists who were afraid of the growing Mormon social and political influence over the mounting issue of slavery. Two-hundred words doesn’t even allow me to touch upon just how ignorant this pastor’s pretensions are regarding LDS doctrines. If I were allowed to add a link I would, because I’ve blogged hundreds of pages dealing with this sort of ignorant prejudice against Mormonism, and I mean that in a dictionary sense.


Like many other things in Mormonism, I will quietly sit here and patiently take it from this Divinely inspiredeeeSDFA institution, and pray the Brethren get it figured out for me some day. It has been fecked up for a decade and more, and it will no doubt continue to be fecked up for another decade and more. The Deseret News comment censor will continue to piss off earnest investigators and critics and faithful Mormons alike until sometime in the distant eternity (like the issue of the Negro and the priesthood) some aged ecclesiastical functionary born and raised in the computer generations has been called to enough positions in the church to make his way to the upper floors of  Church Headquarters, and points out to his fellow “Brethren” just how embarrassing the Deseret News filterbot, and all other LDS software and web interfaces really are. By then of course, the Lord’s chosen computer hero’s technological skills and sensibilities will unfortunately have fallen twenty or thirty years into obsolescence just like his predecessors.

Meanwhile, thousands like me are being shunned by the Deseret News for no particular reason. The fictional “Editorial Team” obviously don’t even know, want to know, or care. They may have actually designed a random commentary rejecter system on purpose. It just randomly finds an excuse to filter heartfelt, passionate insight, slaved into print by a readership that really cares about the article they wish to address. Why? Letters to the Editor are a nuisance. Reason enough. They take up space and bandwidth leaving no room for ads. Randomly rejecting a certain number of them would only be “fair.”

And yes, in my final attempt, I did discover how to get my comment printed in the Deseret News. Oh yes, I achieved victory. It was a victory I new I would eventually come to from the very start. But it was only a victory…of a sort:

Dear LeRoy Whitney,

Thank you for commenting on Florida pastor calls for Romney to ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ on

This message is to inform you that your comment on Florida pastor calls for Romney to ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ was approved. Thank you for your participation in keeping our dialogue civil and enlightening. We hope you’ll continue to engage in the online conversations on and look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

Deseret News Editorial Team

And so I made it into print at the Deseret News. There was an editorial price to pay however:

LR Whitney

I think this pastor has his wires crossed. Mormonism has never been racist. Why can’t we all get along?

10:13 p.m. March 16, 2012

Posted in 32 WTF? (What the Fudge?) Deseret News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mormon Wars Part 7: The Coming of Civilization

220px-ChiefLittleCrowThe Civil War interrupted all investigations of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. There was never any federal impetus to pursue the matter from Washington for many reasons. Rudely put, there were settlers getting hacked up by Indians and Bushwhackers all over the opening states and territories before, during, and long after the Mountain Meadows incident. 618,000 Americans on both sides died in the war. There were battles, skirmishes, wars and fights and ambushes, death, dying and massacres all over, under, around and through this era. The “Battling Parson” John images (9)Chittenden was wiping out the Cheyenne at Sand Creek, there was a railroad coming through and immigrants were killing each other off or dying from the workload from one coast to the other. The Dakota were being hung by the score in Minnesota for slaughtering settlers and taking their stuff, which is only fair since the settlers shot at them a lot and took all their stuff first. Custer was getting a little taste of the same at Little Big Horn. Before, after, and during the war, it was Bloody Kansas. It never really stopped being Bloody Kansas. And then you had the rise of the James and Younger gangs, as former rebel militiamen, former “Regulators” dragged on their vendetta for decades against the Yankees and the Union Mr. Lincoln tried to preserve. In the middle of all that horror and upheaval, the 120 members of the Fancher and Baker train were of limited importance. Their horrendous fate seemed not all that horrendous by comparison.

images (12)

Locally however, in Utah terms, Mountain Meadows did become rapidly and widely known. Anti-Mormonists circulated it as widely as possible as proof that the Mormons were inherent killers and would never be loyal to the federal government. When the transcontinental railway connected in 1869 at Promontory Point in Utah Territory, the attendant telegraph line wired back the first message from the region, a greeting from Brigham Young telling new president Ulysses S Grant that Utah was stalwart and loyal to the Union. This was probably because Lincoln had moved the small residual force of the Utah Expedition to the new Fort Douglas, just up the bench from temple square, and kept a ddddadafcannon trained on Brigham Young’s house all through the war just in case. Brigham probably wanted to reassure the new president that this was no longer necessary. And, after the war, even that sort of overt military intimidation faded. A presidential pardon issued in 1858 had already exempted Brigham Young from any role in the Utah War, which included Mountain Meadows. Had Young maintained that Mountain Meadows had been the action of territorial militia in the course of the Utah War, the entire incident would have been federally pardoned. Brigham however, consistently maintained after the Mormon involvement had been confirmed, that it was not executed by his or any other territorial or church edict and was a civil crime down to those who committed it. And the fact remains that nobody ever involved in the massacre ever claimed to have been under orders from Brigham Young.

Some years later, in light of Brigham Young’s standing invitation to investigate the crime, and after the extent of the massacre had become more well known, an assistant federal judge named John Cradlebaugh of the territory’s Southern District, decided he had to have a go at somebody. Cradlebaugh primarily wanted to nail Brigham Young for the crime of course. Or any crime. As an avowed Christian, federal “reformer,” he was basing his vendetta principally on just hating Mormons and Brigham Young in particular, but ostensibly upon a more legal premise, the “smoking gun” of the much touted “threat” from Brigham Young’s own lips warning that just such a massacre would result from attempting to take Utah by force. If he could not indict Brigham Young, he set his sights at proving it had been his doing, and set about trying to convict as many high LDS officials as he could in the matter, hoping to extort a confession out of one or more of them that they had been acting as Brigham Young’s obedient minions, under his express instructions. The object of the Christian reformers who ran the federal courts in the issue over the many years it was engaged there, was never to find out who did it or why, but rather, to bring down Brigham Young, cow the LDS population, and set an example for others:

The threat uttered by Brigham Young during his interview with Captain Van Vliet, on the 9th of September, 1857, was speedily fulfilled — so speedily that, at first sight, its execution would appear to have been predetermined. “If, he declared, the government dare to force the issue, I shall not hold the Indians by the wrist any longer.” “If the issue comes, you may tell the government to stop all emigration across the continent, for the Indians will kill all who attempt it.” Two days later occurred the Mountain Meadows Massacre, at a point about three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City.

The threat and the deed came so near together as to lead many to believe that one was the result of the other. But a moment’s reflection will show that they were too nearly simultaneous for this to be the case; that in the absence of telegraph and railroad, it would be impossible to execute such a deed three hundred miles away in two days.

Cradlebaugh took a contingent of the army from Camp Floyd, personally commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston Himself, and began to round up a small number of accused Mormons and attempted to impanel a Grand Jury to use against them. Brigham Young might well have been given a pardon, but that didn’t mean his complicity couldn’t be exposed in the process of convicting his lackeys and accomplices

yy…It was not until March 1859 that Judge Cradlebaugh held a session of court at Provo. At this date only six or eight, persons had been committed for trial, and were now in the guard-house at Camp Floyd, some of them being accused of taking part in the massacre and some of other charges.

Accompanied by a military guard, as there was no jail within his district and no other means of securing the prisoners, the judge opened court on the 8th. In his address to the grand jury he specified a number of crimes that had been committed in southern Utah, including the massacre. “To allow these things to pass over,” he observed, “gives a color as if they were done by authority. The very fact of such a case as the Mountain Meadows shows that there was some person high in the estimation of the people, and it was done by that authority…You can know no law but the laws of the United States and the laws you have here. No person can commit crimes and say they are authorized by higher authorities, and if they have any such notions they will have to dispel them.” The grandJudgeCradlebaugh jury refused to find bills against any of the accused, and, after remaining in session for a fortnight, were discharged by Cradlebaugh as “a useless appendage to a court of justice,” the judge remarking: “If this court cannot bring you to a proper sense of your duty, it can at least turn the savages held in custody loose upon you.” [He then released a couple of violent felons, two convicted rapists from his incarceration out into the community to teach them a lesson.]

Judge Cradlebaugh’s address was ill advised. The higher authority of which he spoke could mean only the authority of the church, or in other words, of the first presidency; and to condemn and threaten to impeach that authority before a Mormon grand jury was a gross judicial blunder. Though there may have been cause for suspicion, there was no fair color of testimony, and there is none yet, that Brigham or his colleagues were implicated in the massacre.

A lack of testimony or evidence did not deter Judge Cradlebaugh from trying to nail Brigham Young with something—anything.

“I fear, and I regret to say it,” remarked the superintendent of Indian affairs, in August 1859, “that with certain parties here there is a greater anxiety to connect Brigham Young and other church dignitaries with every criminal offence than diligent endeavor to punish the actual perpetrators of crime.”

The judge’s remarks served no purpose, except to draw forth from the mayor of Provo a protest against the presence of the troops, as an infringement of the rights of American citizens. [Cradlebaugh was also rounding up witnesses and holding them under guard of federal troops.] The judge replied that good American citizens need have no fear of American troops, whereupon the citizens of Provo petitioned Governor Cumming to order their removal. Cumming, who was then at Provo, was officially informed by the mayor that the civil authorities were prepared and ready to keep in safe custody all prisoners arrested for trial, and others whose presence might be necessary. He therefore requested General Johnston to withdraw the force which was then encamped at the court-house, stating that its presence was unnecessary.

1846exodThe general refused to comply, being sustained in his action by the judges; and on the 27th of March Cumming issued a proclamation protesting against all movements of troops except such as accorded with his own instructions as chief executive magistrate. A few days later the detachment was withdrawn.

Notwithstanding the contumacy of the grand jury, Cradlebaugh continued the sessions of his court, still resolved to bring to justice the parties concerned in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and in crimes committed elsewhere in the territory. Bench-warrants, based on sworn information, were issued against a number of persons, and the United States marshal, aided by a military escort, succeeded in making a few arrests.

…All the efforts of Judge Cradlebaugh availed nothing, and soon afterward he discharged the prisoners and adjourned his court sine die, entering on his docket the following minute: “The whole community presents a united and organized opposition to the proper administration of justice.”

When Judge Cradlebaugh first set about bringing down Mormonism with his show-trials and military escort, there wasn’t even a jail in Provo to hold the prisoners from whom he hoped to extort enough evidence to hang Brigham Young. But worse yet than this sort of “official” harassment and usurpation of Constitutional liberty, was the mere presence of the soldiery, camp followers, and similar ilk, brought in by the federal government’s Christian “reform societies.”

With the coming Of the army and the civil officers for Utah, there had been assembled those “reforming agencies” from which so much was expected in the moral regeneration of the Latter-day Saints. The New York Tribune, when the “Expedition” was forming for its journey, remarked, in a vein of irony, perhaps, but representing truly the ideas that obtained in some quarters respecting the “Expedition:

“The impending `Expedition’ against them [the `Mormons’] is enthusiastically regarded as holy war, undertaken in the interest of morality and religion, intended to convert the Mormons to more correct ideas on the subject of matrimonial relations and religious truth; to break up their polygamous households; * * * or should they not be brought to reason as to these matters by the precept and example of the new civil officers, seconded by the officers and soldiers of the army, then to resort to the remedy of dispersing them by fire and sword.”

–Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, pg 456

Some of the blessed and wonderful societal improvements brought from Washington’s Christian ministers include many of the local Indians becoming alcoholics who’d trade sex with their women for whiskey, many of the other Indian tribes becoming so pissed off at white men of any sort they began to attack Mormons or Gentiles alike, and a stream of dashing and seemingly gallant army officers leading naïve young Mormon girls into extended visits to Camp Floyd for nefarious purposes, and of course the street riots, riots with the police, public intoxication, lewdness, that president George Albert Smith sums up fairly well:

“Christianity continues to progress with the arrival of its most able expounders and defenders whoimages (17) preach by precept and example; but much to our gratification, at present, they are practising on each other. Several murders have been committed, two of which have occurred in this city; the mayor of our city has to hold a court every day. Street fights prove rather expensive, but are of frequent occurrence. Our brethren, however, keep out of the way and they [the non- `Mormons’] have the fun all to themselves. Although the annoyance to the people, and drunken sights are disgraceful to the community, they are unavoidable as long as the United States treasury pays the expenses.”

“For want of space we omit the details of rapidly increasing profanity and drunkenness, of the progress of gambling, whoredoms, etc., and for the present merely note the fights as yet most prominent. … As there is a fair prospect for a weekly crop of the thrilling and exciting incidents so common in the world, it is but fair to presume that news from this isolated portion of our country will no longer be quoted as `unimportant.'”

“Police riots,” or “rows with the police,” said an editorial in the Deseret News, “are getting to be of weekly occurrence in our city.” … “It is a matter of regret,” said the editorial account of the affair, “that the professors of civilization (!) and claiming to be the very essence of modern refinement, should be found among those whose orgies make night hideous and our streets dangerous….”

“The miserable howling and demoniac yells of the mid- night brawlers, maddened by theimages (16) intoxicating draught,” wrote John L. Smith, chief clerk of the territorial legislature, in a letter to Stenhouse, “contrasts strangely with the peace which has ever before reigned in `Deseret’.” As a result of the lawlessness the police force of Salt Lake City was increased by the addition of two hundred members four-fold what if had previously been. Out of the number seven special guards of twenty men in each, were organized; and each guard-group was to furnish men for duty through twenty-four hours– covering the week. “…The expense that has accrued in consequence of their presence and acts, to the corporation and to the county, has been more than double the amount that has been required to suppress and punish crime and support pauperism from the first settlement in the valley in 1847 to July, 1858; and there have been more murders committed and more blood shed in the county within the last eight months, than before, since its organization;” and the county was organized by the general assembly of the “State of Deseret” in December, 1849 -nine years before.

–Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 4, pgs 460-462 [emphasis mine]

The negative social influence of the “reforming” agents of the federal government was not lost on the newly installed Christian governor Cumming. He found himself surprised to be siding with the very Mormons he’d assumed needed civilizing.

“Mormon” annals do not stand alone in describing this perilous state of community life in Utah during this Camp Floyd period. “The unruly crowd of camp followers which is the inseparable attendant of an army,” wrote Albert G. Brown, Jr., to the Atlantic Monthly, “has concentrated in Salt Lake City, and is in constant contact and conflict with the Mormon population. An apprehension prevails, day after day, that the presence of the army [i.e. in the city] may be demanded there to prevent bloodshed. The governor [Cumming] is alien in his disposition to most of the federal officers; and the judges are probably on their way to the states to resign their commissions.”

–Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 4, pg 463

“There has been,” wrote Elder John Taylor, of the council of the twelve,”a very riotous, obstreperous and vindictive spirit manifested by our missionary civilizers; who, while they are utterly regardless of common decency themselves, seek to embroil us in difficulties and trouble; and provoke us if possible to commit some overt act to reopen the wounds that have so far been healed, and cause a images (15)renewal of hostilities in the diabolical hope of fattening themselves upon the prey of their victims.”

Relative to the purpose of those who sought to bring about the “renewal of hostilities” that they might “prey upon their victims,” it can be said that at the very height of Judge Cradlebaugh’s effort to incriminate Brigham Young in the Springville homicides, this passage was written of the non “Mormon” merchants: “The merchants of Salt Lake City say that if they cannot get up a collision between the `Mormons’ and the army at this time they will all be `broke’ [fail in business-be ruined] which is equivalent to acknowledging that they are at the bottom of this outrage upon this people.” This at first sight might seem paradoxical; but a collision between the “Mormons” and the army meant reinforcements to the army, an influx of more people, more government contracts, more business hereabouts in Utah-hence the preying upon the “Mormons’ as victims.

—Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 4, pgs 467-468

And under later gubernatorial appointments, to effect even greater “civilization” of the Mormon populace, the military was moved directly into contact with the Mormon city centers, both in Salt Lake via Camp Douglas, and and Provo, via Camp Rawlins. One of the most notable incidents of this civilizing force was the Provo Riots of 1870:

The next event in Governor Shaffer’s administration following this militia incident is what is known as the “Provo Riots.” Carrying out the plans formulated at Washington for the suppression of “Mormon influence” in Utah, an additional military encampment was made near Provo, known as images (18)Camp Rawlins, named after the late secretary of war in the Grant cabinet. On the night of the 22nd of September, a party of about forty soldiers between the hours of twelve and two o’clock in the night made a raid upon the city of Provo. Before the rioters could be stayed they broke into the residence of City Alderman, William Miller, firing several shots into his bedroom, smashed in doors, and windows and took him prisoner. They broke in the doors and windows and tore down the signs of some of the stores on the principal business street of the town. They surrounded the residence of City Councilman A. F. McDonald, who was absent from home, and demolished every outside door and window of the first floor, sacked the house, scattering the furniture and bedding over the yards and sidewalks. Alderman E. F. Sheets’ house received about the same treatment, and an effort was made to burn the church in the central portion of the town. “The raiders,” said Mayor A. O. Smoot’s telegraphic report to the Salt Lake press, “were armed with United States needle guns, with bayonets and revolvers, and during their rioting they captured several citizens, parading them through the streets, some of whom were severely beaten and bayoneted before they could make their escape.” The rioters were quelled by the assembling of a number of citizens and the firing of a few shots, after which the soldiers fled in the direction of Camp Rawlins.


There was no justification for this procedure on the part of the rioters except the refusal of Alderman Miller to rent to the soldiers a hall for the purpose of holding a party; that some of the bishops of images (19)Provo had counseled their young men and young women not to associate with the soldiers of the camp; also that Councilman A. F. McDonald had refused to sell them whiskey. The spirit of the affair may be judged by the shouting and declarations made in the progress of the riot, preserved in the depositions of the citizens made at the time before the proper authorities. The rioters swore “they would use up the four `white houses’–viz. McDonald’s, Sheets’, Mayor Smoot’s, and Brigham Young’s”; that they had come “to run this town”–Provo. “They shouted as they went along the streets `come out you G–d d–d Mormons and Mountain Meadow Massacre-ers,” and further using indecent language and threatening to kill the “Mormons” and take their women from them. They said the `Mormons’ had run this territory long enough, “that they [the “Mormons”] had not got volunteers in the territory now, but had Uncle Sam’s men, who were going to run this town as they G–d d–d pleased. This had been Utah territory, but now it was Uncle Sam’s territory, and they were going to run it, as they had men to back them.” There was some shooting in the streets by the soldiers, and one of their number, by the name of Haws, during the evening, was shot in the shoulder.

–Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 5 pg 342

Eventually national and regional public outcry moved the events at Mountain Meadows to the fore of all federal judicial priorities in Utah. Washington’s appointed Christian reform agents tried another go or two at old Brother Brigham.

images (21)This antagonism between the federal and territorial authorities continued until 1874, at which date an act was passed by congress “in relation to courts and judicial officers in the territory of Utah,” and commonly known as the Poland bill, whereby the summoning of grand and petit juries was regulated, and provision made for the better administration of justice. The first grand jury impanelled under this law was instructed by Jacob S. Boreman, then in charge of the second judicial district, to investigate the Mountain Meadows Massacre and find bills of indictment against the parties implicated. A joint indictment for conspiracy and murder was found against John D. Lee, William H. Dame, Isaac C. Haight, John M. Higbee, Philip Klingensmith, and others. Warrants were issued for their arrest, and after a vigorous search Lee and Dame were captured, the former being found concealed in a hog-pen at a small settlement named Panguitch, on the Sevier River.images (25)

118px-Isaac_HaightAfter some delay, caused by the difficu118px-John_H._Higbeelty in procuring 118px-Philip_Klingensmithevidence, the 12th of July, 1875, was appointed for the trial at Beaver City in southern Utah. At eleven o’clock on this day the court was opened, Judge Boreman presiding, but further delay was caused by the absence of witnesses, and the fact that Lee had promised to make a full confession, and thus turn state’s evidence. In his statement the prisoner detailed minutely the plan and circumstances of the tragedy, from the day when the emigrants left Cedar City until the butchery at Mountain Meadows. He avowed that Higbee and Haight played a prominent part in the massacre, which, he declared, was committed in obedience to military orders, but said nothing as to the complicity of the higher dignitaries of the church, by whom it was believed that these orders were issued. The last was the very point that the prosecution desired to establish, its object, compared with which the conviction of the accused was but a minor consideration, being to get at the inner facts of the case. The district attorney refused, therefore, to accept the confession, on the ground that it was not made in good faith. Finally the case was brought to trial on the 23d of July, and the result was that the jury, of whom eight were Mormons, failed to agree, after remaining out of court for three days. Lee was then remanded for a second trial, which was held before the district court at Beaver City between the 13th and 20th of September, 1876, Judge Boreman again presiding.

images (22)The court-room was crowded with spectators, who cared little for the accused, but listened with rapt attention to the evidence, which, as they supposed, would certainly implicate the dignitaries of the church. They listened in vain. In opening the case to the jury, the district attorney stated that he came there to try John D. Lee, and not Brigham Young and the Mormon church.

He proposed to prove that Lee had acted in direct opposition to the feelings and wishes of the officers of the Mormon church; that by means of a flag of truce Lee had induced the emigrants to give up their arms; that with his own hands the prisoner had shot two women, and brained a third with the but-end of his rifle; that he had cut the throat of a wounded man, whom he dragged forth from one of the wagons; and that he had gathered up the property of the emigrants and used it or sold it for his own benefit.

These charges, and others relating to incidents that have already been mentioned, were in the main substantiated….

Brigham Young however, came out looking pretty good in the whole legal mess, much to the chagrin of those sponsoring the witch hunt.

The first witness examined was Daniel H. Wells, who merely stated that Lee was a man of influence among the Indians, and understood their language sufficiently to converse with them. James Haslem testified that between five and six o’clock on Monday, September 7, 1857, he was ordered by Isaac C. Haight to start for Salt Lake City and with all speed deliver a letter or message to Brigham Young. He arrived at 11 A. M. on the following Thursday, and four hours later was on his way back with the answer. As he set forth, Brigham said to him: “Go with all speed, spare no horse-flesh. The emigrants must not be meddled with, if it takes all Iron county to prevent it. They must go free and unmolested.”

images (13)Samuel McMurdy testified that he saw Lee shoot one of the women, and two or three of the sick and wounded who were in the wagons. Jacob Hamblin alleged that soon after the massacre he met Lee within a few miles of Fillmore, when the latter stated that two young girls, who had been hiding in the underbrush at Mountain Meadows, were brought into his presence by a Utah chief. The Indian asked what should be done with them. “They must be shot,” answered Lee; “they are too old to be spared.”

“They are too pretty to be killed,” answered the chief. “Such are my orders,” rejoined Lee; whereupon the Indian shot one of them, and Lee dragged the other to the ground and cut her throat.

On the testimony which we have now before us I will make but one comment. If Haslem’s statement was true, Brigham was clearly no accomplice; if it was false, and his errand to Salt Lake City was a mere trick of the first presidency, it is extremely improbable that Brigham would have betrayed his intention to Van Vliet by using the remarks that he made only two days before the event. Moreover, apart from other considerations, it is impossible to reconcile the latter theory with the shrewd and far-sighted policy of this able leader, who well knew that his militia were no match for the army of Utah, and who would have been the last one to rouse the vengeance of a great nation against his handful of followers.

When all was said and done, all of this Christian prosecutory zeal only found the satisfaction of heaping itselfimages upon John Doyle Lee. Lee apparently hadn’t heard the maxim: Nobody talks, everybody walks. From the beginning, he began to talk. He did not learn his lesson in his first trial, which ended in a hung jury thanks to some extent to Brigham Young’s hindrance and objection to the particularly biased judges originally staging the hearings—an odd tactic for somebody looking for a scapegoat I must say. But Lee’s mouth kept running, witnesses kept finking on him from out of the woodwork, and ultimately his second trial brought to him a conviction of masterminding the dirty deed. He was executed by firing squad at Mountain Meadows, twenty years after the crime, on 28 March, 1877 at the scene of his atrocity.

You can just go right to Lee himself for the details:

What really singled out John Lee was self-incrimination, not some conspiracy by Brigham Young to pin the crime on him and him alone. Haight and Dane were ranking ecclesiastical officers and they initiated the whole course of action. But it was John Doyle Lee that spilled his guts, and it was John Doyle Lee who all the little surviving victims pointed fingers at as the man who killed their mommies and daddies. It was John Doyle Lee who invited every Indian and white Mormon co-conspirator to point to him as the patsy, because by then, it was the US army, not Brigham Young they knew they had to appease, and not one of them was going to take any part of the blame if Lee was just blabbing away asking for it. As Cradlebaugh records it:

I recollect of one of them, “John Calvin Sorrow,” after he found he was safe, and before he was brought away from Salt Lake City, although not yet nine years of age, sitting in a contemplative mood, no doubt thinking of the extermination of his family, saying: “Oh, I wish I was a man; I know what I would do; I would shoot John D. Lee; I saw him shoot my mother.”

And well, it was exploiting the theater of traumatized children who were two, three, four, maybe one of them six years old tops, and too young to really be reliable at the time, and then further removed by several years passing, and then only after having been thoroughly contaminated by rumor and fable and self-interested coaching by very biased folks overtly trying to convict the Mormons, any or all of them, of this crime, but for the purposes of a witch hunt, it was quite effective. And by his own admission, John D Lee was a witch.

Because of the tragedy of it all, few care to see the Massacre at Mountain Meadows as essentially comical. The whole episode was very much like a movie made back in the height of the Cold War called, The Russians areimages (22) Coming, the Russians are Coming. In that little classic, a Soviet submarine runs aground offshore of a small island community in the Northeast US, when the captain wants to have a closer look at the US just out of curiosity. As the Russian crew sneaks ashore to try to steal a large boat to pull them off the shoals, Ruskie sightings run rampant until the entire village is fully armed and insane, convinced they are the victims of a Soviet invasion force. Sadly, it’s only in Hollywood movies that such scenarios end with everyone sharing a hug, finding new friends, and all concerned heading safely home in the end.

Unlike the “nudge-and-wink” community approval of the Christian KKK, the Taliban, Al-Qaida, or the Irish Republican Army through the years, there was no subtle, brotherly LDS backslapping of the culprits of this immoral crime in gatherings around the fellowship hall and community functions in Mormon circles.John Lee and his fellow Mountain Meadows conspirators were instantly despised in Mormon circles. Mormons wrote nasty folk songs about them.

Sure, John D Lee and his guerrilla terrorists expressed resentment that Brigham Young did not cover their arses in the deal. But they also never alleged that he actually told them to do it. Indeed, not the Indians, not the turncoat Mormon informers, not the apostate Mormon informers, nobody in the deal, while they were spilling their tormented hearts out to the court, could honestly say they had any orders from Brigham Young or anyone he had sent on his behalf, nor had anyone actually seen a written order proposed to be from Brigham Young. As close as they came to it was one written preliminary report that claimed an Indian said that Lee showed him a paper that Lee said was from Brigham Young ordering the Indians to attack the Fancher Party. But Lee denied that ever happened, or that he ever had any such paper nor had he ever heard of any such orders directly from Young. And the Indian never showed in court. It was only years later that Lee concluded that Young must have known all about what they were doing, but this he concluded from allusionsSmith by the two stake presidents Dame and Haight who set him up for the job. And in spite of it being in his best interest to produce such testimony and such papers, Lee did not nor could he. Nor could any of the others. What they all did instead was say they inferred that their course of action is what Brigham Young expected from various sermons they thought they remembered. No one really had any communication with Brigham Young about it at all until after it was over. Many later claimed that Mormon apostle George A Smith, had been travelling ahead of the Fanchers, warning the Saints to stockpile grain because of the oncoming army, and was also telling the Saints, other Saints that nobody ever produced that is, to kill all the passing emigrants–but none of them ever talked to him personally and so that was something they just assumed he was saying or other people had said he was saying. It was a rumor and nothing more. And the fact is, the GA Smith theory was really developed after-the-fact by anti-Mormonists, not the central witnesses.

My Born-Again readers may be disappointed to find out that Brigham Young was not in the business of killing young1851passing Christian settlers for vengeance or blood sport. That’s a very titillating fantasy for subsequent generations of foaming evangelicals to indulge while they sit around flattering themselves in Christian coffee houses perpetually waiting for the Rapture to come, and listening to Michael W Smith. But Christianity by comparison, has a two-millennia-long history of overt, highly organized, completely naked, violent aggression against both the non-Christian, and against fellow Christians that any given ruling Christian sect or faction doesn’t think measures up to it. Mountain Meadows is entirely consistent with Christian tradition, not Mormonism. Perhaps John Lee and his brethren momentarily back-slid into Calvinism in the heat of battle. Maybe they were thinking about that other “Reformation,” the one with Calvin and Henry VIII and the Spanish Inquisition and all. There was more than a little blood spilt in that one.

In Mormonism, you have to account for your works before God, and even if “salvation” is assured, your Eternal Reward is based in part upon performance: Your words, your thoughts, and your deeds. It’s doctrines like that which Christians say proves Mormons are not Christians. True. Christians are not required to perform. They are forgiven universally for every sin they have committed, are committing, and will commit. In Christianity, the “saved” pay no consequence for their actions. Not in Mormonism.

Mountain Meadows was a very bad performance. Particularly, by Mormon standards. No Mormon involved could ever have listened to or read very closely the lectures and proclamations of Brigham Young or Joseph Smith about the Constitution’s fundamental, Godly principles, and believe they would escape God’s judgment for their actions at Mountain Meadows. In the words of the era’s official LDS historian, BH Roberts:

images (23)The conception was diabolical; the execution of it horrible; and the responsibility for both must rest upon those men who conceived and executed it; for whatever of initiative may or may not have been taken by the Indians in the first assault upon these emigrants, responsibility for this deliberately planned massacre rests not with them.

I’m not asking you to believe Brigham Young was a prophet of God. Even as a believer, I happily concede that half the gibberish he was postulating about during the Utah War period in particular was sloppy, convoluted, and easily misread or misheard, and begging to be misunderstood. It was classic, “Can no one rid me of this troublesome priest,” material.

In the words of Horace Greely, concerning Brigham Young’s many unprepared public speeches and sermons:

… “Let him only be sure to talk good sense,” said the great editor of the Tribune, “and I will excuse some bad grammar.” Then the censure:

“But when a preacher is to address a congregation of one to three thousand persons, like that which assembles twice each Sabbath in the greeley_horaceSalt Lake City tabernacle, I insist that a due regard for the economy of time requires that he should prepare himself, by study and reflection, if not by writing, to speak directly to the point. This mortal life is too short and precious to be wasted in listening to rambling, loose-jointed harangues, or even to those which severally consume an hour in the utterance, when they might be boiled down and clarified until they were brought within the compass of half an hour each. A thousand half hours, reverend sir! Have you ever pondered their value? Suppose your time to be worth ten times that of an average hearer; still, to take an extra half hour from a thousand hearers in order to save yourself ten or fifteen hours’ labor in the due and careful preparation of a sermon, is a scandalous waste, which I see not how to justify. Be entreated to repent and amend!” (Overland Journey, p. 220)

–Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 4, pg 524

As disorganized as the sermons of Brigham Young may have been, the bottom line is that John Doyle Lee was the only man convicted of masterminding and executing the bloodiest massacre in the history of Utahlee1 Territory, and this by his own admission. The chuckleheads who extrapolated the Mountain Meadows Massacre out of anything Brigham Young ever said of wrote, are the same kind of “Mormons” currently on forums and blogs all over the net still parsing out what Cleon Skousen said about the secret nod he got from John A Widtsoe about the “Atonement.” That class of “Mormon” is the very worst-case scenario that Bruce R McConkie was alluding to when he slapped around Eugene England about not sticking to the canon. Lee and his collection of Mormon shite-heads around the Meadows seem to be the 1857 versions of “911Truthers.” They, most of the press of the day, the Christian America Movement that drove them all, were “conspiracy nuts” before the term was coined. Mormon and Christian alike, they all believed Brigham Young and the Mormon church was running the entire world or wanted to:

You have read that I have had an agent in China to mix poison in the tea, to kill all the nation; that I was at the head of the Vigilance Committee in California; that I managed the troubles in Kansas from the beginning to the end; that there is not a liquor-shop or distillery but what Brigham Young dictates it: so state the newspapers. In these and all other accusations of evil-doing, I defy them to produce the first show of evidence against me. It is also asserted that President Buchanan and myself images (39)concocted the plan for the army to come here, with a view to make money…All the army, with its teamsters, hangers-on, and followers, with the judges, and nearly all the rest of the civil officers, amounting to some seventeen thousand men, have been searching diligently for three years to bring one act to light that would criminate me; but they have not been able to trace out one thread or one particle of evidence that would criminate me. Do you know why? Because I walk humbly with my God and do right, so far as I know how. I do no evil to anyone; and as long as I can have faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to hinder the wolves from tearing the sheep and devouring them, without putting forth my hand, I shall do so. I can say honestly and truly, before God, and the holy angels, and all men, that not one act of murder or disorder has occurred in this city or territory that I had any knowledge of, any more than a babe a week old, until after the event has transpired. That is the reason they cannot trace any crime to me.98

–Brigham Young, August 12, 1860. Journal of Discourses 8:143

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Mormon Wars Part 6: A Perilous Quirk and a Blunder

If the pro-Fancher witnesses, if even the confessions of the masterminds of the Mountain Meadows Massacdsssadadre are reliable at all, it only illustrates that John D Lee, Isaac C Haight, and their assassinating fellows, rather than acting as the instruments of God under the command of His living prophet, were instead tragically engaged in playing out a scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian called the “Blessed are the Cheesemakers” sketch.

The entire sequence of actions taken by the Mormon contingent at Mountain Meadows was what previous military generations would call, “FUBAR,” or a whopping “SNAFU,” or in current military parlance, an epic “Clusterf–k.”

You can read all you want about “Blood Atonement,” in the Journal of Discourses, and to paraphrase Bruce R McConkie, you’ll find that Brigham Young contradicts Brigham Young rather a lot during this period. You can also never assume the scribblers who jotted it down got it entirely right-something noted LDS historian BH Roberts cautions against repeatedly, in even the material he quotes as Trapped-by-the-Mormonsreasonably authoritative. The bold assertion that Brigham Young ordered the Fancher Party destroyed however, based upon “Blood Atonement,” is farcical. For one thing, “Blood Atonement,” even as it existed in the form of smoke billowing out the doctrinal hind-end of Brigham Young, could have only ever applied to temple-endowed members who had committed some crime worthy of the death penalty, and then only in some future, imminent Second Coming scenario. It wouldn’t have applied to anyone in the Fancher Party. And for another, without the treacherous butchery at Mountain Meadows, contemporary journalists and eternal historians would have recorded that Brigham Young stood down the combined might of the US military and political machines, won a bloodless war, and pulled off a public relations coup of epic proportions. Mountain Meadows only ruined that boast for Brigham Young. It put his church at greater risk and plagues it to this day.

A few rather critical qualifiers are always omitted in anti-Mormonists’ fanciful claims about widespread, roving “Blood Atoners” in the early Utah period of Mormonism. First of these, is that Joseph Smith only posed the doctrine to the extent that he claimed that the willful shedding of innocent blood was essentially the same as denying the Holy Ghost—the “Unpardonable Sin” in Mormon theology—and thus the universal atonement and resurrection Graced upon all mankind by the shed blood of Christ was not sufficient to compensate for the overtly willful and deliberately evil nature of that particular sin. Joseph Smith’s conception of the principle can also be related to the notion of knowingly participating in the crucifixion of Chrimages (3)ist, the ultimate symbol of innocence. Smith’s implication suggested no guarantee of resurrection without some other additional judgment and penance in the hereafter. Secondly, Brigham Young took this concept a step farther, and proposed that willfully surrendering yourself to the justice of the law in mortality, and laying your own life down as penance, was essentially the only true proof of repentance for such a crime. This of course precludes any possibility of some “Danite” revenge squad slitting your throat involuntarily, by force or coercion, having any connection whatsoever to Brigham Young’s concept of “Blood Atonement.” And lastly, while many inflammatory but entirely out-of-context quotes are invariably cited where Brigham Young warns his sinful congregation that it would be better that their blood be spilt than they be allowed to apostatize and turn against the Saints to destroy them, it is never maintained that apostasy is worthy of death in the here-and-now. In fact, omitted from these scandalous harangues in every case, are the sections where Brigham Young qualifies all references to either apostasy, or heinous sex sins, or “Blood Atonement” by clearly explaining that the penalty of death under these “laws” was once practiced in ancient Biblical times (and he cites many specific examples directly from Old Testament Scripture) and at some future date the Lord will return to reinstate these laws and hold the Saints accountable for their immoral conduct.

Young’s point was: Shape up now or pay later. The Lord is a’comin’. Young’s point was not: Shape up now or I’ll have somebody sneak up, hold you down, and cut your balls off or slit your throat.

On the other hand, Brigham Young’s rhetoric was often highly over-stated and figurative for purposes of emphasis and drama. His ramblings were usually stream-of-consciousness and if you were not there in the moment a mere transcript accurate though it may or may not be, hardly represents the original effect of delivery to a live audience. Anti-Mormonists and general journalistic idiots deliberately highlight only the most foaming of these statements. But it isn’t the anti-Mormonists and journalistic fools who created the fundamental problem of Brigham Young’s fanatical tone, nor that of his fellow LDS authorities in the heat of the day. But bias and yellow journalism, creative editing and ignorant or deliberately misleading commentary easily exacerbated it. Of course, half of my blushing Utah Mormon readers right there are thinking I’m talking about playing with yourself…which is the other part of the problem. Brigham Young far too often gave the Saints credit for more basic intelligence and discernment than many of them actually possessed. And unlike Joseph Smith, Brigham Young had serious trouble just shutting up and leaving any given topic in its original, pure, simple form:

John Tc62112de-c7a7-550a-b514-03f997c37279.imageaylor, the third President of the Church, reported: “Some years ago, in Nauvoo, a gentleman in my hearing, a member of the Legislature, asked Joseph Smith how it was that he was enabled to govern so many people, and to preserve such perfect order; remarking at the same time that it was impossible for them to do it anywhere else. Mr. Smith remarked that it was very easy to do that. ‘How?’ responded the gentleman; ‘to us it is very difficult.’ Mr. Smith replied, ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’ ”3

Brigham Young, the second President of the Church, reported: “The question was asked a great many times of Joseph Smith, by gentlemen who came to see him and his people, ‘How is it that you can control your people so easily? It appears that they do nothing but what you say; how is it that you can govern them so easily?’ Said he, ‘I do not govern them at all. The Lord has revealed certain principles from the heavens by which we are to live in these latter days. The time is drawing near when the Lord is going to gather out His people from the wicked, and He is going to cut short His work in righteousness, and the principles which He has revealed I have taught to the people and they are trying to live according to them, and they control themselves.’ ”4

Joseph Smith’s answer was a single, witty, concise sentence. Brigham Young babbles his way through a foreboding sermon about the End Times and impending doom before he eventually answers the question. But that’s the way Brigham’s mind worked. At any rate, not so witty, not so concise, and a bit foreboding.

But on another occasion Brigham Young did give his short answer to the question of leading the Saints:

“I have had some people ask me how I manage and control the people,” he once remarked. “I do it by telling them the truth and letting them do just as they have a mind to.”…


Concise, yes, but again with a slightly risky spin: Sometimes letting people do just as they have a mind to do is a dangerous proposition. More so, when the “truth” is delivered during perilous times, in a bombastic, frightening rhetorical thunderstorm, that could easily be taken out of context and executed far too immediately and literally than intended. In this respect, Mountain Meadows represents just the sort of total cock-up that arises from Mormonism’s schizophrenic approach to divining what actual Mormon doctrine is or isn’t particularly since the murder of Joseph Smith. The problem at Mountain Meadows was not as often claimed, that the Saints are mind-numbed robots and slaves. Rather, that they really are by-and-large free to do whatever it is they feel the Lord would have them do. Most of the time this leads to moving in big, cumbersome, benign clusters of warm and fuzzy do-gooders. Sometimes, however, individually, or in smaller groups, they simply aren’t singing off the same page as either God or the Brethren.

As Brigham Young put it, regarding his alleged involvement in Mountain Meadows:

There is a gentleman here this afternoon who has said that he knows all about it. If he does, why does he not tell of it; and privately he places the murder upon President Brigham Young? Why do you not testify to what you know before the Courts? If President Young is guilty of any such crime, trace it to him. There are some things that Brigham has said he would do; but has never happened to do them; and that is not all, he prays fervently, to his Father and God that he may never be brought into circumstances to be obliged to shed human blood. He never has yet been brought into such a position. Still, let me find a dog in my bedroom, I would not say that he would be very safe; I hope he will never get there….

I do not care about the outsiders hearing this, as their opinion is neither here nor there to me; the Saints, however, are welcome to my views upon this matter. If the outsiders think that I am guilty of the crime, let them trace it to me and prove it on me. If any man, woman or child that ever lived has said that Brigham Young ever counseled them to commit crime of any description, they are liars in the face of heaven. If I am guilty of any such thing, let it be proved on me, and not go sneaking around insinuating that Brigham knows all about it.16

Or you can read what Brigham Young argued directly, during the peace summit between the incoming Governor Cumming, the Army, and the Saints:

young1851I am a man of peace, and not of war…. But friends, should we throw ourselves in the attitude of defense against the advancing columns of the army, it brings hostilities and bloodshed immediately. Let us drop upon this army and crush it in pieces, and it will not end there…. I was in favor of stopping the army last fall, we gained by that means a winter’s quiet…. And again our religion forbids the shedding of blood, and inspires dread of the consequences; and above all things the shedding of innocent blood. We are informed, upon reliable authority, that there are many in that army that do not thirst for out blood—a portion of the soldiers do not want to kill us, and some of the officers do not desire our destruction; so that in coming in contact with those soldiers we would be compelled to put to death those who do not want to kill us, and in this way we might be brought into a position to shed innocent blood, though in justifiable self-defense. Had the administration sent volunteers, who in their hearts desired to murder us, and who enlisted expressly for that purpose, it would have been far different. Should we be compelled to kill them, we would kill those only, who in their hearts had desired to shed out blood, and voluntarily walked twelve hundred miles to accomplish it.”

Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, pg 430

The Mountain Meadows travesty was perpetrated by loyal, well-meaning, devout Latter-day Saints, every one of whom claimed he thought he was doing the Lord’s work according to what they understood of the ramblings of their president, prophet and Governor, Brigham Young. Then again, I guess, you can’t put all of thimagesat down to Brigham Young’s poorly organized, extemporaneous sermonizing habits. In fairness, you don’t have to look very hard in the Bible to find God telling Moses to utterly obliterate whole tribes and societies, man, woman, child, dog, cat and livestock. The catch is, did God tell Brigham Young to wipe out the Fanchers, and in Mosaic fashion, did Brigham Young pass on God’s revealed demands to Isaac C Haight, John D Lee and the other Mormon hit-men at Mountain Meadows? No. Not a shred of solid, legal evidence suggests that. Though John Lee is the only man convicted in the crime, not even he claims he was given any orders of any sort from Brigham Young. Lee says that Isaac Haight told him that it was yet another local Mormon stake president, William Dame, who passed on the authorization to kill off the Fanchers. Dame however, said it was down to Haight. It was in fact, Haight and Dame both who instigated the pissing and moaning session that turned into an assassination squad, not either Lee or Brigham Young.

The alleged Mormon “Danite” bands of Mormon “Avenging Angels,” such as they were, amounted to small-time versions of the Warsaw Regulators or any of the other spontaneous, grass-roots American Regulator Movement so-called “folk heroes.” In fact, the whole model of Brigham Young as an omnipotent, omniscient, cultic master is a failed notion. The existence of Mormon “Regulators” only proves this, because both he and Joseph Smith were outspokenly against mob justice or revenge. Brigham Young war notably on record against the entire concept. Just a few years before Mountain Meadows, there was a little feud between the same Utah Saints and the Utes kicked off by a Mormon settler nosing into an Indian domestic dispute, called the “Walker War.”

Instead of following a conciliatory policy as Young had directed, Mormon settlers responded in brutal kind. A militia unit in Utah County assaulted a Ute camp near Goshen, killing four or five people. At Nephi, on October 2, 1853, after eight or nine Utes came to the fort seeking protection, a group of townspeople slaughtered them “like so many dogs” and then reported the murders as deaths during a skirmish.

Undoubtedly, the murders with the greatest long-range consequence occurred on the early morning of October 26, 1853, when Capt. John W. Gunnison of the Corps of Topographical Engineers and a party of seven had camped on the lower Sevier River in Pahvant territory. The murder of Gunnison and his party by the Pahvants may have come in retaliation for the death of a Pahvant killed by members of a passing wagon train. Alternatively, the deaths–like those of settlers working outside in small parties–may have resulted from their distance because of fortified settlements. More seriously for the Utah settlers, however, anti-Mormons attributed the death to Mormons acting under Brigham Young’s instructions.

Brigham Young sitting on his allegedly god-like butt in Salt Lake City clearly did not wield absolute control over his flock. His Saints obviously did not always heed even direct orders. And he certainly had no omnipotent control over the Native Americans. And before there ever was a Utah War or a Massacre at Mountain Meadows, anti-Mormonists were wild and eager to blame even the most unrelated and pointless murders, by Indians or anyone else, upon Brigham Young. It fit their narrative. Young was already billed as a murdering tyrant and there had to be examples to “prove” it. It made no difference to the rabid, popular, politically-aligned press if slaughtering Gunnison’s mapping party was entirely counter-productive to Brigham Young’s interest. It was more important to “prove” the Mormons to be wicked savages.

But, yes, of course the Danites existed brother and sister Mormon! They weren’t much to brag about, were hit-and-miss, didn’t last long, and neither Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young ever had any particular involvement in these clandestine vigilante operations because they both preferred to organize avenging squads of Mormon defenders out in the open with horses, hafen-joseph-on-horse_MD1grand hats, ceremonial swords and nifty uniforms. When the mostly hyperbolic, mostly mythical Mormon “Danites” ever really were out avenging the blood of the Saints, there was nothing very clandestine about them at all. The were shooting at mobs in full view, telling the bastards just who was doing the shooting and why.

Every settlement of any size all across the United States of America in the early Mormon era had some group of lunk-heads who tagged themselves with some dangerous-sounding gang name, put flour-bags on their heads or dressed like Indians or snuck around and took revenge or put down whatever social ills their local clergy or elected officials told them was threatening their little world. Jackasses in every society inevitably do that sort of thing all on their own. Mountain Meadows was just a variation of the theme, and though the culprits in that vile butchery may have all thought they were doing the Lord’s work, Haight and Lee and Dame and company, were just wingin’ it on the spur of the moment.

The simple, self-interested truth is, Mountain Meadows is a debacle entirely uncharacteristic of Brigham Young’s machinations. If Mountain Meadows had been a Brigham Young operation, and the point was to keep it a secret, I wouldn’t be writing about it today because none of us would have ever heard of Mountain Meadows.

Mountain who? What?

Perry Brocchus, a comrade of the later infamous liar and detested whoremonger, Judge WW Drummond, was a partner with the several “run away officials” who returned to Washington in 1851 to complain about their treatment in Utah Territory. Brocchus in particular, claimed Brigham Young had ordered his assassination. Somehow, in spite of Brigham Young’s orders to kill him, he, and then a few years later Drummond, along with the celebrated fired mail contractor William MF Magraw, and many others in-between, all eluded the allegedly bloodthirsty Mormons surrounding them all the way back to the East to make their protests. Brigham Young referenced Brocchus’ charge, in speaking about press accounts of the judge’s “escape” to the East:

It is true, as it is said in the Report of these officers, if I had crooked my little finger, he would have been used up, but I did not bend it. If I had, the sisters alone felt indignant enough to have chopped him in pieces. I did not, however, do it, but suffered him to fill up the measure of his shame and iniquity until his cup is running over. He was not hurt in the least.19

–Brigham Young, June 19, 1853. Journal of Discourses 1:186-187.

Brigham Young probably had a twinkle in his eye that was returned with a grin from his immediate congregation, all knowing full well he was merely poking fun of his marveled omnipotence as boasted by the Eastern press. But you don’t see that in the transcript. It doesn’t read so whimsically years later in naked print. Many other innocent but highly sarcastic comments have come back to haunt his church over the years.

For instance, it is claimed that Young warned Utah Expedition representatives that if it sent an Army to repress his people he would cease to hold back the hand of the Native population, and Mountain Meadows was the execution of this threat. That’s a preposterous interpretation. Rather, Brigham Young had fought for years to establish a peaceful coexistence with the Indians6a00d8341bf80c53ef0147e2ecb7ed970b-500wi and all he meant by this warning was that belligerent emigrant trains and an inflammatory army presence would make it impossible for him to continue to justify and defend hostile American Christian incursions into Indian territory. To do so would be endangering his own people. He made this warning two days before the slaughter at Mountain Meadows. The conflict by then had already been engaged for days. Mountain Meadows is over three-hundred miles down the trail from Brigham Young’s office. It is in the middle of nowhere even today. There were no cell towers in 1857. It was a three-day ride one-way with a fast horse and mount-changing stations. Yet reading Young’s warning in 20/20 hindsight, unaware of timelines and distances, it may seem incriminating. He couldn’t however, have possibly known what was going on with the Fancher Party the local Indians or his Mormon satellites in southern Utah, or even that the Fanchers were still in the territory.

The rider who had been dispatched to Brigham Young for specific instructions about the Fanchers, returned two days after the atrocity with this:

President Young’s express message of reply to Haight, dated September 10, arrived in Cedar City two days after the massacre. His letter reported recent news that no U.S. troops would be able to reach the territory before winter. “So you see that the Lord has answered our prayers and again averted the blow designed for our heads,” he wrote.

“In regard to emigration trains passing through our settlements,” Young continued, “we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of[.] [I]f those who are there will leave let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert, on hand and always ready we should also possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves and property ever remembering that God rules.”6

christianbodies5Mormonism’s greatest sin in this business, Christianity’s deepest condemnation of the Latter-day Saints in this offense, if the whole truth were told, is that these white Mormons chose to side with the ”red” race over fellow whites. And why not? It makes perfect sense to both Indian and Mormon alike, to team up to eliminate mutual enemies who have sworn to destroy both their ways of life, and repeatedly demonstrated the power and means to do so. Brigham Young, in his 1857 declaration of martial law, noted prominently that the Mormons had found more help and friendship amongst the “savage” Native Americans than they ever found amongst their “own.” This friendly relationship with Native America is one of the first things the entrance of the Utah Expedition deliberately destroyed. The army eventually removed all the local Indians to a system of reservations. Plainly speaking, Mormons, unlike “white” or “Christian” America, counted atrocities committed against the Indians as no less a crime than the abuse of any other human being:

burialI spoke a harsh word here yesterday with regard to a man who professes to be a Latter-day Saint who has been guilty of killing an innocent Indian. I say today that he is just as much a murderer through killing that Indian, as he would have been had he shot down a white man. To slay an innocent person is murder according to the law of Moses. Not that we believe that the law of Moses should, in all its bearings, be observed by us; but we believe that it has been fulfilled in a great measure with regard to the law of sacrifice. The Lord said to Noah, before the law was given to Moses: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.” Those who shed the blood of the innocent at the present day will have to pay the penalty here, or come short of receiving the glory and the peace which they anticipate receiving hereafter. This may appear very hard and unreasonable to some.70

–Brigham Young, July 28, 1866. Journal of Discourses 11:263-264

If forced to choose between the forces of “Christian America” and the Native American “savages”—even given small feuds occasionally fought between isolated groups of Mormon settlers and Native parties—the Mormons would likely choose the Native Americans every time:

wounded_kneeThere came a captain with troops into this city: they were a specimen of the virtue and morality of the United States. They came here and began to insult the people, and then tried to cover up their wickedness by the dignity of Uncle Samdom. Passing along, they came to a lone house, and there undertook to ravish a woman in open daylight; and the brother who interfered to prevent this villainous outrage was most shamefully maltreated by them, and got some of his bones broken. After this outrage, the officers of the company were soon told that if they did not take their troops out of the city, the “Mormons” would cut all their damned throats; and that was the last we had of them here.69

–George A. Smith, August 2, 1857. Journal of Discourses 5:109

Now, all this tough, vigilante talk from Mormon leadership was nothing to do with “Blood Atonement.” It wasimages (6) the wild west. And for all of it, there was really only one clearly documentable case of “vigilante” retribution attributable to significant LDS authority apart from the Mountain Meadows Massacre. That was the case of Bishop Warren S. Snow and his admitted victim, twenty-four-year-old Thomas Lewis. His champions claim he was only guilty of wanting to marry a young woman that was desired by this older bishop as a plural wife. What really happened however, was that a party of highly offended Mormons, led by a rather bitter local bishop, intercepted this convicted rapist while being transported to prison, and aided by friends and family of his victim, performed a rather unpleasant surgical castration. But again, that was pretty much a standard practice in the old west. There is a rumor of another similar incident later on, but it is only vaguely documented, and may be the same incident repeated with a later date tacked on as an urban legend. In that case the victim was alleged to have been convicted of incest, resulting in a similar response from friends and relatives. These friends and relatives on both cases of course, are retold as “Danites” under orders of Brigham Young. Castrating sexual criminals however, has not the slightest thing to do with “Blood Atonement.” Not even vaguely. It’s just good old vengeance.’s

John D Lee of course, gave reams of testimony in court, and combined with his journal, proceeded to attribute every single unsolved murder in the territory for years to Mormon “Blood Atonement,” including the incidents alleged above. He and his fellow paranoids consistently allude to disappearances, and people who may have just left the state, as victims of Danite death squads.

One alleged incident that may have some merit:

“Rasmos Anderson was a Danish man who came to Utah… He had married a widow lady somewhat older than himself… At one of the meetings during the reformation Anderson and his step-daughter confessed that they had committed adultery… they were rebaptized and received into full membership. They were then placed under covenant that if they again committed adultery, Anderson should suffer death. Soon after this a charge was laid against Anderson before the Council, accusing him of adultery with his step-daughter. This Council was composed of Klingensmith and his two counselors; it was the Bishop’s Council. Without giving Anderson any chance to defend himself or make a statement, the Council voted that Anderson must die for violating his covenants. Klingensmith went to Anderson and notified him that the orders were that he must die by having his throat cut, so that the running of his blood would atone for his sins. Anderson, being a firm believer in the doctrines and teachings of the Mormon Church, made no objections… His wife was ordered to prepare a suit of clean clothing, in which to have her husband buried… she being directed to tell those who should inquire after her husband that he had gone to California.

“Klingensmith, James Haslem, Daniel McFarland and John M. Higbee dug a grave in the field near Cedar City, and that night, about 12 o’clock, went to Anderson’s house and ordered him to make ready to obey Council. Anderson got up… and without a word of remonstrance accompanied those that he believed were carrying out the will of the “Almighty God.” They went to the place where the grave was prepared; Anderson knelt upon the side of the grave and prayed. Klingensmith and his company then cut Anderson’s throat from ear to ear and held him so that his blood ran into the grave.

“As soon as he was dead they dressed him in his clean clothes, threw him into the grave and buried him. They then carried his bloody clothing back to his family, and gave them to his wife to wash… She obeyed their orders…. Anderson was killed just before the Mountain Meadows massacre. The killing of Anderson was then considered a religious duty and a just act. It was justified by all the people, for they were bound by the same covenants, and the least word of objection to thus treating the man who had broken his covenant would have brought the same fate upon the person who was so foolish as to raise his voice against any act committed by order of the Church authorities.”

As a point of order, a local Mormon bishop is not the ranking ecclesiastical authority relative to any endowed or “covenanted” member. In fact, the church is lousy with bishops. They practically sweep them up off the streets, shovel them into a suit and tie, work them a while, and then trade them out every few years for another. A bishop’s court has no authority even to disfellowship or excommunicate a Melchizedek Priesthood holder as Anderson would have to have been. A bishop is merely an entirely untrained, unpaid parish priest in the Mormon system of church government who largely administers the temporal functions of a local meetinghouse and attendant “ward” or district. A stake president, also unpaid and uneducated by any accredited religious regimen, something of a orthodox  “bishop,” as the presiding high priest in the equivalent of a Mormon “diocese,” or a collection of parishes or Mormon “wards,”  and a court of the stake’s High Council would have to be called to put any Melchizedek priesthood holder on trial for anything, much less incest, adultery, or slitting his throat. And of course, testimony and witnesses are required unless the accused refuses them. The whole system is run by volunteers in any case.

When investigated, stories like these always sound a bit “off” and start with a few internal irregularities. In the end they usually reveal that the evidence is always in the possession of someone else at some other location, or “stifled” by the “Danites” and thus unavailable. In this case, the whole “court” procedure and order is wrong, and no other witness, no grave, no rotted corpse was ever found or dug up. Anderson may have simply just “R-U-N-N-O-F-T” to California after repeatedly committing incest with his wife’s daughter—perhaps to avoid a castration, ball-busting, or similar testicular retribution from friends or relatives of the bride. Or, as Lee insists, he and his friends in southern Utah may have just been that stupid and they actually did slit his incestuous throat with his own permission. But it remains inescapably, that John Lee told and wrote and spread this and many other stories for years and years and remained remarkably un-murdered by Danite assassins. A host of other witnesses at his two trials alsexecutiono exposed the whole messy business of Mountain Meadows and much more, and also remained notably un-“Blood Atoned.”

Multiple generations of anti-Mormonists have “exposed” every “secret” plot, scheme, murder, treachery and intrigue of the LDS faith and the Mormon church. Why is it then, that none of these prime subjects for summary “Blood Atonement,” revenge and Danite silencing, ever get silenced? Why does it always turn out to be some rapist, or flim-flam artist, or serial adulterist and fornicator who ends up with his balls hacked off or his throat slit instead? Why is it always some cad with gambling debts, a severe drinking problem, a police jacket for felonious and usually violent crimes, who gets pointed to as the “victim” of Mormon assassination? Seems like the Danites and the Avenging Angels over these many generations have wasted a lot of time and energy on singular arseholes and strictly personal issues that don’t really matter a damn to the church or nation as a whole. Seems like Danites ironically go out of their way to ignore all the very mouthiest, secret-spilling, slander and libel masters of the nation’s anti-Mormonist trade. It seems like Mormon Avenging Angels just have no interest in the prime enemies of Mormonism–culprits you would think that any good Danite assassin would be happily murdering on a regular basis.

Now, John Lee is a cold blooded mass-murderer by his own confession. Anti-Mormonists somehow have no end of affection for anything he has to say however. They say he’s just a scapegoat. Did I mention that John Lee was not convicted by Brigham Young’s High Council? It was the United States Judicial System that nailed him. It was a very biased, anti-Mormon, US Army-protected and enforced Federal Court. It was run by federally appointed Christians, not Mormons. It was a court Washington had initially been perfectly happy never to convene and would not have ever done so had Brigham Young not repeatedly encouraged the investigation. Did I mention that in spite of Lee and many others, including the entire panel of federal judges, the army, and every Gentile in the territory, desperately wanting to incriminate Brigham Young, they succeeded in doing nothing of the sort by any shred of legal standard. And did I mention that this was due to Lee in particular testifying that Brigham Young could not have known anything about the Mountain Meadows Massacre or any Mormon involvement in it before-the fact?

Sure, there were probably vigilante justice squads and lynch mobs and plenty of Mormons who wreaked homespun justice upon the convicted guilty and even the very suspected guilty of Utah territory. But only at a rate 10% of what was going on in the surrounding frontier West. Some years later, at a time when Mormons had essentially no vote or office or any role in civil government or the court systems by federal legislation, Mormons under empirical analysis, were found to have committed only a fraction of the demonstrable crimes that were being committed wholesale by “civilized” and “Christian” America in the same territory:

We are, as I have said, represented as a very bad people, and I want to show a comparison between us and our reformers, or those that profess to be our reformers in relation to these matters…”At the above estimate of population the ratio or percentage would be one prisoner to every 10,000 Mormons, or one hundredth of one per cent, and of the Gentiles one convict in every 909, or about one ninth of one per cent.” So that the actual proportion of criminals is more than ten times greater among the Gentiles of Utah, with the above very liberal estimate, than among the Mormons. It is urged that these non-Mormon prisoners are not a fair representation of the average of crime throughout the country, but are the result of the flow of the desperate classes westward to the borders of civilization; with greater truth we reply that the Mormon prisoners are not representatives of Mormonism, nor the results of Mormonism, but of the consequences of a departure from Mormon principles; and of the 13 prisoners classed as “Mormons,” the greater portion were only so by family connection or association…As I have said before, if we were not on the defensive in this case, I would say nothing about these things; but it ill becomes men who have got ten criminals to our one to come here as our reformers, and try to disfranchise men who are ten times as good as they are. These are facts that are not of my getting up. They come from the public records and can be verified by the prison and other statistics. And the question is, how much of that rule do we want here?52

–John Taylor, October 6, 1884. Journal of Discourses 25:314

The looking glass of history indeed, exposes Mormonism’s Christian “civilizers” as Utah Territory’s primary evildoers:

Brigham_YoungJames Buchanan did all he could do, and when he found he could do nothing, he sent a pardon here. What did he pardon us for? He was the man that had transgressed the laws, and had trampled the Constitution of the United States under his feet. We had neither transgressed against the one nor violated the other. But we did receive his pardon, you know, and when they find out they can do nothing they will be sending on their pardons again… There is not much danger, however, from that quarter. But are they not sending troops on here? Yes; and they will have plenty for them to do. Eleven thousand were ordered here by James Buchanan; seven thousand arrived, and about ten thousand hangers on—gamblers, thieves, and so forth. It made a pretty good army, but what did they accomplish? They used one another up. I recollect in the days of Camp Floyd it was thought nothing of to hear every morning to two or three men being killed; but now, if one is killed about once in six months all hell is on the move. If the whisky drinkers and gamblers who were here to winter, were to go to work, and kill off a few of themselves every night, it would stop all excitement about killing. What would be said if the United States mail were robbed in this neighborhood, as it is east, west, and north of this city every few weeks? It would be thought that we were becoming civilized; but in the absence of frequent deeds of this character, whenever a scoundrel meets with his just deserts here, there is a great outcry raised.74

–Brigham Young, February 10, 1867. Journal of Discourses 11:323

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Mormon Wars Part 5: Rumors of Rumors of War

I don’t mean to be crude, I’m just instinctively good at it. I don’t mean to piss people off, but it does come hw3-12naturally. If I wanted to, I could turn tables on the anti-Mormonists and take the show on the road, fighting fire with fire. I could set the Inquisition and Calvin’s Geneva to music, sing and dance around, mocking the thousands of years of Christian torture, gore, and warfare. I could do it all dressed in silly hats and funny costumes like a pope or a puritan. That’s exactly what Christian America has bee1277995948-snake-handlingn doing to Mormonism since its birth, and I mean literally that and worse. While the same Christians, many of them anyway, would be shocked and embarrassed at the same sort of open and utter contempt directed at gays, or Native Americans, or Catholics, or other ethnic or religious minorities, they think nothing when they or any of their fellows squat down and dump any volume or variety of crap all over the Mormons. Accepting at face value that Mormons are somehow uniquely weird or particularly dangerous is to this day still a national nbt0104-4-I1bias still sanctioned by federal law.

One of the first crusading, “Christian” federal authorities to impose himself upon the Mormon community by law and force of arms was one Judge John Cradlebaugh, a federalist, Christian reformer, who rode out with Johnston’s army in the Utah War of 1857, and set up shop in Provo. He immediately used the nearby US army to facilitate his desire to convict Brigham Young of masterminding the Mountain Meadows Massacre–as soon as he heard about it. Naturally, neither he nor anyone else at the time knew anything about what really went on, but in his mind it all had to be down to Brigham Young and so that’s all that mattered. Instead of hanging Mormon111219055050-congo-church-story-topism however, Cradlebaugh was back-handed by the incoming Christian governor Alfred Cumming for causing trouble and over-stepping his authority. He was also reprimanded by the US Attorney General for terrorizing witnesses and juries by military force. Notwithstanding the friendly disposition of the new, certifiably Christian governor himself, the press of the day, inextricably linked to party-loyal political advocacy, preferred Cradlebaugh’s burlesque version of life under Mormonism:


Vol. XXVI.                         Cleveland, Ohio, Sat.,  March 24, 1860.                         No. 71.

Judge Cradlebaugh on Mormonism

One of the Judges of the Territory of Utah is the Hon. John Cradlebaugh of Circleville. He was sent out by Mr. Buchanan at the time Gov. Cumming went out. The Governor turned Mormon, opposed the Judges in their efforts to ferret out Mormon crimes, and the Judiciary were powerless. The Administration sides with Governor Cumming.

Judge Cradlebaugh lately delivered a lecture at Circleville upon Mormonism. We make an extract:

JudgeCradlebaugh…The little education the children get consists in preparing them for the reception of polygamy. So at variance is that practice with all the instincts of humanity that it has to be pressed upon the people with great assiduity as a part of their religious duty. To prepare the women for the reception of the revolting practice it is necessary to brutalize them by destroying their modesty. The sentiment of love is ridiculed, cavalier gallantry and attentions are laughed at; the emblematic devices of lovers and the winning kindness that with us they dote on are hooted at in Utah. The lesson they are taught, and that is inculcated above all others, is “increase and multiply,” in order that Zion may be filled. The young people are familiarized to indecent exposures of all kinds; the Mormons call their wives their cattle; they choose them pretty much as they choose their cattle; and that great pibk of delicacy, Heber C. Kimball, the next in prominence, as also the next in sin, to Young, calls his women his cows.

…The reverend Mormon bishops, apostles, and the presidents of stakes have as many as they desire, and it is a common thing to see these hoary-headed old Turks surrounded by a troop of robust young wives. The common people take as many as they can support, and it is not uncommon to see a house with but two rooms inhabited by a man, his half-dozen of wives, and a proportionate number of children, like rabbits in a warren, and resembling very much the happy family that we read of — the prairie dog, the owl, and the rabbit. Incest is common….

The ill-assorted children — the offspring of one father and many mothers — run about like so many wild animals. The first thing they do, after learning vulgarity, is to wear a leather belt with a butcher-knife stuck in it; and the next is to steal from the Gentiles; then to ride animals; and as soon as they can, “by hook or by crook,” get a horse, a pair of jingling Mexican spurs and a revolver, they are then Mormon cavaliers, and are fit to steal, rob, and murder emigrants. The women and girls are coarse, masculine and uneducated, and are mostly drafted from the lowest stages of society. It is but seldom you meet handsome or attractive women among them.

…Women that are young and pretty are greedily caught up by the apostles and dignitaries to swell their harems, while the old and ugly are left to care for themselves, or sometimes the prophet forces them on a reluctant husband, that he may avail himself of their labor.

Cradlebaugh’s depiction of plural marriage was vigorously contradicted not only by the Christian governor he followed out 262444to Utah, but a host of other visiting dignitaries and journalists. Cradlebaugh’s testimony however, validated the US government’s united effort to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It rationalized the administration’s controversial decision to send a huge military body to force “civilization” upon the Mormons. Governor Cumming’s testimony on the other hand, made the Buchanan administration and all who supported the Utah Expedition look like bigoted idiots. Easily fixed: Cumming is quickly labeled a turncoat, thus invalidating anything further he might have to say about it.

(When you’re on a witch hunt, it’s always easy to exclude any witness who’s testimony would vindicate the old biddy you want to light up like a Roman candle, by pointing dramatically to the witness and claiming you saw them talking to Satan in the form of their pet kitty or that you saw them transform into a barnyard animal or something.)

The whole Christian recruitment shtick is built around frightening you into signing up. Then frightening you into paying up. Then frightening you into eliminating all of your clergy’s competition so there are no other options out there capable of soliciting your membership and guaranteeing you a heavenly reward. Otherwise: Hell awaits.

In the spring of 1857, it became obvious to Christian America that there was a rapidly growing, attractive, abc_polygamy1_070423_msviable, openly blossoming alternative to their national Christian program. It wasn’t scary enough just to say that the Utah Mormons were all fat and happy, but even so, it was still pretty crappy trying to live out there if you weren’t one of them because they make you feel all left-out and that hurts your feelings. The Mormons had to be seen as miserable wretches living like animals. If there weren’t any tangible social consequences to following a living prophet, or taking multiple wives, well, Christian America didn’t really have a case against Mormonism, and no excuse to butt into their business. The prophet had to be despotic and the institution of plural marriage had to be inherently depraved. That was the narrative they had contrived and that was what they needed to sell to the American public.

By 1857, after three decades of trumping up whole states, whole regions full of violent, Mormon-killing mobs via a strategy of non-stop mockery, slander, bold assertion, rumor and innuendo, Christian America as an entire nation called an open war upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christian America shouted from the presses and the pulpits that the federal government must eradicate Mormonism instantly, before the entire nation was at Brigham Young’s evil mercy. The more Christian they were, the more the American citizenry believed in the urgency of exterminating Mormonism.

But still, the political and religious classes had to provide this anxious public with a convincing pretext out of which they would appear to organically trigger the sort of overwhelming force and violence required to get the job of Mormon extermination done once and for all. The Christian Movers and Shakers of the American expansion didn’t want to teach the Mormons a lesson, or “contain” the festering Mormon influence upon America’s frontier development. They images (1)wanted to be rid of them. Period. And to this end, America’s collective conscience had to be perfectly satisfied that the Mormons really, really had it coming.

It had been hoped after their regional expulsion from the Midwest, that the Mormons would straggle their sorry arses out into no-man’s land, piddle their life’s-blood away into the barren, infertile desert, and soon be sucked dry, only to crumble into piles of their own dust. Christian America would then eventually get around to over-running the waning remnants of Mormonism by sheer force of numbers until the survivors were sufficiently diluted to become politically and socially insignificant—like the Quakers, the Shakers, the Charismatics, and other goofy Christian deviants.

Life did not work according to that plan.

mormon3Ten years into what Christian America had imagined would be a hopeless, leaderless, gasping Mormon failure in the desert, quite the reverse was happening. Mormonism was thriving and spreading its culture all across the Intermountain West. Mormonism was converting Europe, proselytizing the cities and farms of Canada and Eastern America. Mormonism was bringing enthusiastic capitalists and cultural diversity by the thousands and tens of thousands into America’s Great Basin. There, Brigham Young was daily transforming these foreigners, American oddballs, dissidents, and former Christians, into productive, patriotic Americans—Americans who rather than look at Mormonism as a threat to the exclusive whims of a Christian Nation, saw their new church, its doctrines and leadership, as the foremost protector of Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness regardless of race, creed, or color.

Christian America couldn’t allow that to go on for very long.

Christian America had spent years inventing legends and rumors of the corrupt, oppressive misbehavior of Brigham Young. An entire class of anti-Mormon literature, newspapers, journals and periodicals, had dedicated itself to the illumination of Brigham Young’s Utah “hell on earth,” and the depravity of his closed, secretive Mormon Empire. Nothing they said or did against the LDS scoundrels however, seemed to prohibit thousands upon thousands of emigrants, Mormon, Gentile, foreign and domestic, from making the exodus out of the teaming crapholes of the Old World and America’s East, and into the fresh, open Mormon territory in the West.

Though quite prepared to believe almost anything said against the puffed-up, conniving Mormon fiend who had appropriated Joe Smith’s bunch of dangerous heretics, for the most part Gentile settlers in the Mormon West found that Brigham Young was not cooperating with the sinister depiction given him by his Eastern critics. No 6a00d8341c630a53ef014e5fee897d970c-800wiconcrete examples of his black thuggery seemed to leap immediately forward to prove their point. To the contrary, many noted scholars and Eastern journalists also roamed freely throughout Utah Territory, up and down the streets of Salt Lake City, and most of these expected to be immediately struck by the beastly spectacle of vile conditions and heinous oppression that Mormon detractors had promised them back East. To the contrary, of the general condition of Mormon society, these professional observers conceded, often reluctantly, with suspicion, incredulity, resignation and disappointment dripping from their pens, that as the Great Gary Keillor boasts of his fictional home town of Lake Wobegon, “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

In the new Utah Mormon society, Brigham Young in all fairness,09_04_30_Mexico_procession had a pervasive influence over what everyone thought about everything simply because everyone respected his opinions. Once again, this voluntary association and resulting solid Mormon voting block was unassailable in Constitutional terms. The Mormon church may have effectively infiltrated every element of law and civil government, but that was mostly because almost everyone in Utah Territory was a member of it, in the same fashion that Roman 05c-holy-week-in-spainCatholics seem to “infiltrate” and dominate everything in Italy, or Spain, or Mexico. If Utah courts were stacked with Mormon juries and Mormon officers, it was because the criminals and everyone else there were also nearly all Mormons.

In frustration, in the spring of 1857, a few of Mormonism’s enemies in Utah, ran back to Washington DC making the bold assertion that Brigham Young, Territorial Governor, had usurped all the federal officers appointed by Congress. The cry of treason had never failed them before, and it bore fruit once again in this instance. It was tearfully alleged by a handful of failed federal appointees and contractors, who had made the trip back to Washington to air their complaints, that the Mormons were oppressing and pillaging every “Gentile” in the Territory. And thus, as it had transpired in Nauvoo, where the frantic anti-Mormonists sent their earnest Governor Ford up and down, back and forth around the region with his State Militia, on repeated wild-goose chases, urgently trying to rescue his constituents from phantom Mormon outrages, the newly elected US president, James Buchanan, eagerly assembled a large military force, dubbed it the “Utah Expedition,” and sent it on its way to install a Christian governor into Utah Territory, and put down this pretended Mormon unrest and rebellion.

But this was all according to plan, a plan outlined clearly in writing by Buchanan and agents of his ruling Democrat Party:

The author of the letter which is reproduced herein, Robert Tyler, was a son of John Tyler, tenth president of the United States. The Tyler family’s American roots stretched back to the mid-seventeenth century when its first representatives settled in Virginia. …His career was dominated by the law and his political interests:

Phila: April 27, 1857

My dear sir:

The public mind is becoming greatly excited on the subject of Mormonism. The Popular Idea is rapidly maturing that Mormonism (already felt slightly in our large Northern cities) should be put down and utterly extirpated.

I believe that we can supersede the Negro-Mania with the almost universal excitements of an Anti-Mormon Crusade. Certainly it is a subject which concerns all the Religious Bodies & reaches every man’s fireside with a peculiar interest. Should you, with your accustomed grip, seize this question with a strong fearless & resolute hand, the Country I am sure will rally to you with an earnest enthusiasm & the pipings of Abolitionism will hardly be heard amidst the thunders of the storm we shall raise. Were I President I would put down & cast out this hideous imposture, equally at War with Conscience, Reason & Philosophy, at all hazards. I would take the ground that the case was anomalous & altogether exceptional–without the limits of ordinary Constitutional treatment–& that the principles of the Democratic Party in regard to Territories consequently had no application. The eyes & hearts of the Nation may be made to find so much interest in Utah as to forget Kansas. [Last emphasis mine.]

His Excly ever you friend
James Buchanan Ro: Tyler

Once again, Christian America boldly spelled out its intention to usurp the Constitution and all the obviously protected rights of the Mormon people. And more to the point, where American Christians were gravely divided on the issue of slavery, these Democrat Party schemers proposed to brazenly make war upon the Latter-day Saints, not because of any threat or specific offense, but simply to unite Christian America in rejoicing over the destruction of Mormonism, and by this means, secure the religious crossover vote for their political party.butmormon In this however, they only echoed the strategy of the Republicans Party’s first appearance in a national election. The Republican platform featured as its chief planks the “eradication of the twin relics of barbarism: slavery and polygamy.”

President Buchanan naturally, never bothered to investigate or confirm any of the allegations brought to him by the likes of Justice WW Drummond. These allegations included petty complaints like this one, posted in the New York Times April 14, 1857, page 2; paragraph 8:

“I charge the Mormons, and Gov. Young in particular, with imprisoning five or six young men from Missouri and Iowa, who are now in the Penitentiary of Utah, without those men having violated any criminal law in America; but they were Anti-Mormons, poor, uneducated young men, on their way for California….”

Even in his own words it seems hardly worth an invasion, but  Drummond bundled his lame litany of personal bitches into a pattern of infamy.

More often than not the complaints of federal judges and law enforcement officers in early Utah Territory came down to not being able to command and manipulate juries and grand juries to convict Mormon desperadoes like Brigham Young, who they had already decreed guilty before leaving Washington, based upon their mighty federal insistence alone. That’s the way federal judges and law enforcement officers worked throughout the American frontier. They were demigods. Federal appointments were usually political rewards, from which the appointee often expected to set up business and political connections through which to graft, bribe, and extort themselves into a sizeable retirement purse. Mormon jurists however, considered the evidence given, and then voted their own minds regardless of federal instructions. Mormon court, civil and political officers did not play the graft game and there were so few “Gentiles” in the system, that though they SaltLakeCity1883seemed eager to get a piece of the action, there was just too little influence to peddle and too few Gentile collaborators willing to pay for it.

Unremarkable in every other way, WW Drummond was a Christian “reformer” of some stature, and he very dramatically made his “escape” back to Washington to resign his post. He instantly had Washington’s enthusiastic ear. Washington embraced his rant. It was just what the administration and most of Congress needed to move against Brigham Young. With the additional gripes of a few failed civil contractors thrown in for appearances, WW Drummond’s charges would seem completely credible to the American masses. After all, federal officers don’t lie. (And they actually believed that back then…)

The truth however, is that the history of anti-Mormonism is replete with examples of conspiring Saint-bashers inventing frightening but utterly false tales to elicit public outrage whenever they needed to justify their violence. In some cases they even elaborately faked outrages upon themselves in order to have something suitably horrible to blame upon their uncooperatively peaceful Mormon neighbors. As noted by Governor Thomas Ford in his A Brief history of Illinois:

“In the fall of 1845, the anti-Mormons of Lima and Green Plains, held a meeting to devise means for the expulsion of the Mormons from their neighborhood …. The meeting was held, the house was fired at [by their own people], but so as to hurt no one; and the anti-Mormons suddenly breaking up their meeting, rode all over the country spreading the dire alarm, that the Mormons had commenced the work of massacre and death…. On the eleventh of the month twenty-nine houses were burned [by the anti-Mormons.]”

[Laura A. Cruse, American Republicanism as Shown through Mormon-Federal Conflict, 1846-1890, PhD, Northeast Missouri State University, 1994, page 11, note 9, citing B.H. Roberts, The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965): 346-7)]

We don’t have to guess the purposes of the Utah Expedition. We have the smoking gun on James Buchanan. We have his version of the “Mob Manifesto” and it follows the same Christian pattern used by the “Regulator” committees in Missouri and Illinois. There was no Mormon rebellion.

Buchanan had promised to destroy the LDS church all through his campaign. One of his closest advisors and Democrat Party-wonk, Robert Tyler, clearly plotted with him to use the military conquest of Mormonism as a wag-the-dog diversion from the burning issue of slavery, and thereby gain both the Southern slaveholder’s vote and the overall religious swing vote on top of it. By this strategy they hoped to insure his re-election and maintain Democrat control of Congress. They include in their scheme, in writing, an open admission that they would have to suspend the Constitution in Utah Territory to do so.

The Utah Expedition was nothing more than religiously driven, politically sanctioned, naked aggression against the Mormon church. So of course, not only did James Buchanan take WW Drummond’s ravings at face value, but he also made no effort at all to inform Brigham Young of these charges, solicit a rebuttal, or seek further explanation from Young or anyone else. He made no indication of his intentions at all to anyone in the Territory of Utah. He had already long decided to kill Mormonism. He was only waiting for a pretense.

Buchanan’s expedition formed itself in the enemy images (6)hinterlands of former anti-Mormon War regions of the Midwest. As it grew, the Utah Expedition shed all pretense of “investigation,” and soon billed itself openly as an army of extermination and revenge. It took very little time for Brigham Young to hear about these developments through unofficial channels. Buchanan’s total lack of communication notwithstanding, it is then alleged by Christian apologists that Brigham Young responded to the news of his termination and a new governor’s appointment by issuing a “declaration of war,” against the United States:


We are invaded by hostile forces, who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.

For the last twenty-five years we have trusted officials of the govern­ment, from Constables and Justices to Judges, Governors and Presidents, only to be scorned, held in derision, insulted and betrayed. Our houses have been plundered and then burned; our fields laid waste, our principal men butchered while under the pledged faith of the Government for their safety, and our families driven from their homes to find that shelter in the barren wilderness, and that protection among hostile savages, which were denied them in the boasted abodes of Christianity and civilization.

The constitution of our common country guarantees unto us all that we do now or ever claimed.

If the constitutional rights, which pertain unto us as American citi­zens, were extended to Utah, according to the spirit and meaning there­of, and fairly and impartially administered, it is all that we could ask.

Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudices existing against us, because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish our destruction. We have had no privilege, no troops_enter_slc2opportunity of defending ourselves from the false, foul and unjust aspersions against us before the Nation. The Government has not condescended to cause an investigating committee or other person to be sent to inquire into and ascertain the truth, as is customary in such cases. We know those asper­sions to be false, but that avails us nothing. We are condemned unheard, and forced to an issue with an armed mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous letter writers, ashamed to father the base, slanderous falsehoods which they have given to the public; of corrupt officials who have brought false accusations against us, to screen themselves in their own infamy; and of hireling priests and howling editors, who prostitute the truth for filthy lucre’s sake.

The issue which has been thus forced upon us compels us to resort to the great first law of self preservation, and stand in our own defense, a right guaranteed unto us by the genius of the institutions of our country, and upon which the Government is based.

Our duty to our families requires us not to tamely submit to be driven and slain without an attempt to preserve ourselves. Our duty to our country, our holy religion, our God, to freedom and liberty, requires that we should not quietly stand still and see those fetters forging around, which are calculated to enslave and bring us into subjection to an unlawful military despotism, such as can only emanate (in a country of constitutional law) from usurpation, tyranny and oppression.

Therefore, I, Brigham Young, Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah, in the name of the people or the United States in the Territory of Utah,

First – Forbid all armed forces of every description from coming into this Territory, under any pretense whatever.

Second – That all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in readi­ness to march at a moment’s notice, to repel any and all such invasion

Third – Martial law is hereby declared to exist in this Territory, from and after the publication of this Proclamation; and no person shall be allowed to pass or repass, into or through, or from this Territory without a permit from the proper officer.

Given under my hand and seal at Great Salt Like City, Territory of Utah, this fifteenth day of September, A.D. eighteen hundred and fifty seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the eighty -second.


In the words of Malcolm X: A man has a right to survive through whatever means necessary. Malcolm said that with an assault rifle in his hands and he’s a “Freedom Fighter.” No so, Brigham Young. Mormonism is still too small a minority for that I suppose.

Buchanan’s so-called Mormon “rebellion,” was just another Christian exercise in the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy. First you declare Mormonism in rebellion. Then you send an army of extermination against them. Then, oddly enough, you find that they rebel from this procedure.

Far from a declaration of war on the United States of America, Brigham Young’s reply to the Utah Expedition only proves once-again that Mormons look upon the Constitution as a Divinely inspired document that guarantees religious and civil liberty to all races, creeds and colors. And yet, the Holy Conspiracy still claims that shortly after publishing this graciously composed, Constitutionally sound, and entirely reasonable statement of territorial defensive policy, Brigham Young decided he’d just pick up the nonexistent telephone, call a few bishops down the three-hundred miles souarmy_march_to_utahth to Mountain Meadows, and see if his sparse collection of emaciated Mormon lackeys had a spare minute to butcher a randomly selected wagon train full of harmless Christian pilgrims–if any could be found coincidentally camped in the vicinity at that particular moment.

Apparently James Buchanan thought he would just march a large body of artillery and troops out and storm the Salt Lake Valley. I guess he thought it would be that easy. All the way out, this obvious assault force telegraphed its mission at every opportunity to boast of Mormon annihilation. Yet, from the whole of the United States government, there wasn’t any communication of any sort, transmitted in any fashion to the Governor of Utah Territory, explaining the Utah Expedition. All Brigham Young knew, was that it was cursing him and his people all the way from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Bridger, it was armed to the teeth, rolled with heavy artillery, and was swearing the death and destruction of the Mormons. From Brigham Young’s perspective, that pretty much spelled it all out in big block letters.

Brigham Young didn’t need a memo from Washington to explain the Utah Expedition. The Utah Expedition was the memo from Washington. There was very little to misinterpret in that message. The destruction of Mormonism was after all, the key plank in the platform upon which James Buchanan had gotten himself elected.

Brigham Young quickly learned another unsettling bit of information as well: The new governor being inflicted upon them was a man named Alfred Cumming, the same name as one of the most prominent Jackson County Missouri mobocrats. It was also heard that this new governor was from Missouri. Though it turned out that Governor Cumming was a rather nice Christian gentleman from Georgia, and not the Missouri mobber at all, while awaiting the US invasion of Utah, a Mormon campfire song erroneously evolved:

Old Sam has sent I understand

Doo Dah. Doo Dah.

A Missouri ass to rule our land,

Doo Dah, Doo Dah Day…

Roberts Comprehensive History of the Church Volume 4, pg 396

In the same year of 1857, as the US Army was loading up guns, bombs, and filling out its troops in Kansas, there was also a wagon train making its way past them and on into Mormon country. This was known as the Fancher Party, named for the main family of saltlakecity_200602A18_06_lgChristian pilgrims it was transporting to California. They passed through Salt Lake City short on supplies, and very quickly became pissed off that the local Mormons weren’t inclined to sell them the provisions they’d been counting on.

The Fanchers are often billed by their admiring, evangelical, anti-Mormon legacy as wealthy farmers. They are lovingly described by their proponents as simple, God-fearing family-types. And so they were—by East Tennessee Regulator-culture standards that is. Even the most “civilized” of them were seasoned pioneers, frontiersmen, and hard-as-nails rugged. The Fancher Party was made up of simple farmers in the same way Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were simple farmers. It was the Fanchers and their kin who fought the battle of the Alamo.4345324_f260

Their trail partners on the other hand, were essentially a border-gang from Missouri who called themselves the “Wildcats.” These were not fun nick-names that some New-Gentrified, farmer-rednecks gave themselves to make their card-club sound daring while they relaxed over a mint-julep and played gin rummy after working their enslaved negroes in the fields all day. These weren’t whimsical Christian plowboys who entertained themselves in the off-season by putting buggies on barn roofs or pranking the Amish by painting their buckboards in bright colors. The Wildcats didn’t just go about the countryside scribbling mean, anti-Abolitionist epithets on outhouse walls. This was a QuantrillsRaidersself-described, hard-core, seasoned, Missouri band of Regulators, a violent, murdering, brutalizing vigilante squad, well versed in torture, torment, death and destruction. While the Wildcats were heading to California for gold, gambling, whores and fortune, their Missouri brothers were staying behind giving us “Bleeding Kansas,” the brutish, pro-slavery border war that actually delayed the departure of the Utah Expedition just long enough to allow Mormonism to prepare a very successful defense.

Even so-called “neutral” historians have always wondered why these “simple Christian farmers” would fall into the company of cutthroats and ruffians. Honestly, only the latter-day anthropological simpleton could have a problem reconciling this nonexistent conflict of identities. Still, this is a puzzle many historians on both sides have continuously used to prove either this or that point: that the two were entirely separate, disinterested parties only very briefly together out of necessity and security, or that the Fanchers and Bakers and other “family” elements of the train were just as profane and rowdy as the Missourians. Neither is true.

For most purposes, the Fanchers, Bakers, a few other amalgamated families and friends, were indeed a cut well above the Missouri “pukes.” (A regional nick-name at the time.) What seems astoundingly ignorant to me however, as a hack-writer and amateur historian of highly dubious qualifications, is that nobody has ever noticed that these ostensibly disparate groups of people are to the contrary, ethnic brethren. They’re all Scots-Irish, East Tennessee, Protestant, Fundamentalist kinfolk, from the same genetic, religious, ideological and cultural seed. While the Fanchers may have fled the Tennessee hills to find more productive land, a few more manners and a little more prosperity in Arkansas, it has always been the landed-Gentry, the Church-going Fancher types, who have enabled, directed, and validated the violence of the hillbilly Regulator-types. Coarse social elements like the burdette_towbridge_kinney (1)Missouri Wildcats have always been groomed and exploited by Christianity’s more refined citizens, to “regulate” their society according to their common desires and prejudices whenever violence is wanted and the hands of the “civil” must not be stained with the blood of infidels. The Wildcats were idiot cousins to the Fanchers perhaps, but cousins just the same—cousins of a common ethnic and religious experience.

And keep in mind also, that as the “good Christian” Fanchers were heading for California, their “good Christian” contemporaries, Abolitionist settlers under John Brown, were in turn, personally hacking up the Fancher’s pro-slave Tennessee brothers in Kansas, and then dressing up in their best Sunday suits for respectable photographs, and sharing the Communion of the Saints like innocent angels. Violence was just a thing “good Christians” did back in the day. Just a thing they still do.

8794_1_2-war-pictures-bleeding-kansasAs they made their way through Salt Lake City, down the Wasatch Front and through the lower, distant Mormon settlements, the Fanchers became increasingly more disgruntled at not getting all the supplies they wanted, and paying high prices for anything they did manage to buy off the Mormons. The Bakers, the Fanchers, Wildcats, or whoever–began to shoot their mouths off about the huge army that was boasted to be right on their heels, an army that would soon put the Mormons in their place. It was then that Utah’s Mormon survivors of previous Christian military actions begin to think they recognized some of the mouthy Wildcats as having been part of the mobs and rogue militias who had burned and slaughtered them out of Missouri and Illinois.

In the fall of 1857, after several years of drought and bad crops, Mormons in Utah did not want to sell their scarce provisions to anyone, much less the same smart-mouthed, murdering Missouri bastards who’d driven them into that wilderness. Now, you can say the Fanchers themselves were from Arkansas all you want, but they were the same Appalachian, East Tennessee, Andy Jackson rednecks Mormons knew all too well from previous persecutions. There were 70 men and boys in their company who were imposing riflemen. They were healthy, and strongly built from years of heavy frontier farm work. The Fancher Party had additional older girls and women who could shoot plenty good too. They had at least 11 hard-core “Regulators,” as ruthless and competent a band off semi-professional killers as the American frontier had ever seen. They outgunned and outnumbered every single one of the settlements they passed through in the lowest, hottest, deadest stretches of the Mormon sphere of influence.

With a Born-Again army of invasion on its way, and all communication lines cut by the federal government, the Mormons of southern Utah were in a very conservative frame of mind. Mormonism was hunkering down for an extended fight and expected to be soon cutoff from all supply lines. To them, the Fancher Party did not look like a  Sunday School class fellowshipping its way to California. They looked like trouble.

There are of course, pro-Fancher, “sainted hillbilly” versions of this wagon train, where there never were any Bleeding Kansas Photo“Wildcats” and the Fanchers are portrayed as a small, unarmed, helplessly naïve Bible-study group. But the fact remains that the very territories they were emigrating from were full of mixed, migrating groups of Ruffian and “good Christian settler” components, and they were indeed shooting the hell out of “Redskins,” Abolitionists and Freestate competitors all over Kansas, Missouri, and “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma. They were all Appalachian spin-offs, trying to get their share of the open land and goodies for the cause of slavery and King Cotton. They were a tough crowd. Not only did this ethnic, religious, political, combination of “Fanchers” and “Wildcats” win Texas for slavery, but only a few years later this same lot would beat the mighty Union to a near-defeat in one of the bloodiest Civil Wars in history, with nothing but a few rifles, their fighting skill and sheer bravery.

Utah territorial records clearly expose the myth of the Fancher Party’s oft-touted Christian purity. They are plainly recorded moving through the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys clearly united with the Duke Party. The Dukes were unequivocally boasted to be from Missouri. The Dukes bragged of some 11 self-identified members of a volunteer militia called the “Wildcats.” The “Wildcats” were in fact “regulators” or vigilante mobs that enforced Darwinian-Democracy’s Christian “cultural” mandates through extra-legal violence and murder in period vernacular. If not the mob that killed Joseph Smith, they were of the same type and pedigree. Whether or not they had any direct action against the Missouri or Nauvoo Saints is uncertain. That they inherently hated the Latter-day Saints is not debatable.

QuantrillsRaidersThe Duke and Fancher parties were repeatedly recorded travelling and negotiating for supplies and camp space together as a combined train. It is often claimed by pro-Fancher “historians” that the Wildcats actually left the slower moving Baker-Fancher train shortly after Salt Lake City. In this scenario, it is therefore contended that the Fanchers and other emigrant families were utterly innocent of any offense that might have precipitated their demise at Mountain Meadows. But then again, the irony of these sorts of pioneering wagon train disasters, is that the hellfire of Native and local vengeance usually falls upon the train immediately following the arse-holes who initiate all the trouble.

Neither the Mormons nor the Indians responsible for their destruction would have had any clear way to distinguish their ideological or physical separation from the Duke Party Wildcats. Frankly, to the Mormons, they were all hillbilly rednecks. They all spoke with the same East Tennessee twang. They all prayed to the same vengeful, anti-Mormon God, and cursed heathen Indians and the Latter-day Saints as their common enemies. To the Indians, they were all “shwop.” Indeed, the local Indians only had two names for white men: shwop, and Mormon. Mormons were their friends. Shwop were their enemies.

While the Fundamentalist legacy of the Fancher Party may be convinced they see the whole matter of Mountain Meadows with crystal clarity, in all honesty, the only thing clearly evident in the surviving jumble of half-facts, bigoted personal opinion, and bold speculation, is that there was a massive culture clash that ensued when the Fancher train passed through southern Utah. This time however, it wasn’t the hillbilly rednecks who had the entire region’s social and governmental establishments bent decidedly in their favor. This time, things did not go their way. This time they could not just beat up, shoot up, or string up the offending Mormons and take what they wanted away from them like they had done for two generations in Missouri and Illinois, or like they were doing in Kansas to the Abolitionists and Freestaters.

Occam’s razor, the once-popular burden-of-proof test states: “Simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones.” Rather than attempt to empirically validate that theory, I’ll just say that for my money, I think what happened to the Fancher Party at Mountain Meadows in the Fall of 1857, was that this particular wagon load of hillbillies crapped on exactly the wrong group of Mormons at just the wrong time, in absolutely the wrong place.

This narrative is a good summary of the main players and events connected with the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

download (2)In August of 1857 a wagon train of immigrants from Arkansas and Missouri known as the Fancher Party began to take the trail through Utah on their way to California. Due to the war preparations in the Utah territory they were unable to purchase many of the provisions they needed and had planned to buy in Salt Lake City. Out of frustration, this train began to lash out at the Saints threatening to take news of the insurrection to California and bring back troops. Additionally, some of the immigrants began to boast that they had participated in the Missouri persecutions (including Haun’s Mill) and some sources indicate that one immigrant claimed to be carrying the gun that killed Joseph Smith.[xvi] As the train moved through Salt Lake City and on to the southern settlements, some immigrants began to steal provisions that they were unable to buy out of sheer desperation. The Fancher party’s frustration combined with the anger, paranoia and thirst for vengeance by the southern Saints created an environment ripe for violence. In speaking of the actions of some of the southern Saints when they became aware of the Fancher party, its claims and activities; Juanita Brooks explains:

Immediately following the regular church service, a special meeting was called of the Stake High Council. Isaac C. Haight, as the highest in religious authority [stake president] and the one in command of the military organization in the town, was in charge of this indignation meeting. The local officers wanted the help of the militia to enforce the law, and various members expressed themselves freely as to what should be done with regard to the emigrant company. Some felt that the travelers should not be allowed to get away with such defiance.

A resolution was presented and passed to the effect that we will deal with this situation now, so that our hands will be free to meet the army when it comes. After it was passed, Laban Morrill and others began to ask questions. What, specifically, did the brethren mean by dealing with the situation now? Arrest and punish the offenders? Some felt that this would do no good; it would only mean men to guard them and food to feed them, and no one any better off.

So, it was suggested that they be done away with. Ever since the days of Missouri and Nauvoo, ever since the martyrdom of their prophet, the Saints had been taught that they should never cease to importune the Lord to avenge the blood of the prophets. Now, here were the men who had boasted openly and defiantly that they had helped to kill Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. One had displayed the pistol which fired the fatal shot. All had laughed to scorn the attempts of the local officers to arrest them. [Because the Fancher train outgunned and outnumbered the whole region.] Should they forget the oaths of vengeance which they had taken and sit back weakly while such as these taunted them? (emphasis added)[xvii]

Entire books have been written in an attempt to explain the events of September 11, 1857.[xviii] For sake of brevity, I will offer only the essential details. A group of Indians[xix] and zealous Mormons led by Isaac Haight and John D. Lee (both leaders of the Church in southern Utah) attacked the Fancher party at Mountain Meadows on or about September 7th. [Actually, Lee was not a bishop as popularly assumed, he was an elder, led a tiny branch in a very small settlement, and was a liaison to the Native Americans as an agricultural advisor.] Apparently, the Fancher party was better-armed than had been expected and withstood the initial assault. The fighting went on for several days but on September 11, a group of Mormon men approached the images (14)party under the pretense of peace offering to escort the group safely to the next settlement on the condition that the immigrants disarm and walk away protected by the company of Mormons. The Fancher party agreed to the request and was marched about one-half mile from their wagons when a signal was given by Mormon leaders and all members of the immigrant party, with the exception of those children who were not yet old enough to speak, were summarily shot and killed.’Smile with tongue outSurprised smileConfused smileNyah-NyahVampire bat

Just for the record, the bold emphasis above is mine. I wanted to clearly note that the text actually deals with the Brethren urging the Saints to pray to the Lord to do all the avenging. The actual Mormon canon on the subject of raining death upon your fellow man is:

18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not akill; and he that bkills shall cnot have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

79 And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shallakill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness; and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land.

D&C Section 42, 9 February 1831

According to most accounts, the Fancher Train also seems to have pissed off just the wrong group of Indians,mountain-meadows-1 at just the wrong time, at just the wrong place. We can argue ignorantly and inconclusively forever, who provoked or nudged the Indians into open attack, the Fancher crew themselves or diabolical Mormon instigators. Again, my money’s on the simple explanation: the Fanchers pissed off both the Indians and the Mormons. The Indians wanted to go to war, the Mormons said, go ahead, knock yourselves out–we don’t like them anyway and we have bigger fish to fry. When the Fanchers proved tougher than expected, the Indians joyfully invited the local Mormons to help them actively and personally in the war party.

st_louis_post_dispatchAssuming all of this, we’re still short of any half-intelligent motivation for the particularly cold-blooded strategy executed so efficiently by the Mormons to conclude the hostilities at Mountain Meadows.  It can be deduced that the Mormons sought to overcome the superior position and fighting instincts of the wild and wooly Fancher gang, who had by then thoroughly dug in, out-smarted and outshot the Indians. But the most logical explanation for the Mormon decision to go beyond simple defeat to total extermination however,  seems to be that there was a daring nighttime escape by two brave souls of the Fancher Party during the initial Indian-only part of the siege on Wednesday, 10 September. These escapees encountered three unidentified white men near the Mormon settlement of Pinto, who they approached for assistance. Instead of finding help, they were shot at, and one of the Fancher crew was killed on the spot. The second fled, slipped back, re-entered the Fancher stronghold, and eventually perished with the rest of his companions.

By Thursday, 11 September, a rally call from John Lee had gathered ‘round him as many as fifty or sixty Mormon combatants, most of whom were very young men and older boys. It is often claimed that Lee used the Mormon “militia” against the Fanchers, again anachronistically assuming that the Fanchers were helpless weaklings facing a large Mormon military assault. Quite untrue. Alone, Lee’s meager, unproven force was not sufficient to overcome the Fancher’s entrenched position and experienced riflemen. The Indians, no strangers to warfare, hadn’t been doing so well even with their greater numbers. The night before and again that morning, Lee’s party debated what to do about the situation. While in these deliberations, and while still waiting for direct word from the courier sent to get instructions from Brigham Young, this troubled Mormon war party heard the story of the Pinto shooting.

Now, according to the Mormon attackers–the only surviving witnesses to these events–up until they heard the Pinto news, the affair at Mountain Meadows had been an Indian attack. Lee and crew had been reluctantly entangled in the operation as advisors. It was clear that most of them still had deep reservations about getting directly involved in the whole mess. However, the business of hostile whites shooting at escaping members of the Fancher’s crew, now clearly incriminated the Mormons. That changed the tenor of the Mormon deliberations. At that point, it was thought that allowing any of the Fancher Party to live and retell that story in California would bring federal troops from the south who would fall upon their indefensible southern settlements within a week or two. Also, their Indian brothers were becoming more and more offended at the Mormon reluctance to help the war party out.

The thing you have to understand about the Missouri Wildcats and the Mormon claims that they were conjuring up threats of militant boogey men, is that the Mormons ghost-towel-1knew that the boogey man really did exist. They had seen him often. He really did come and take your supplies by force if he wanted them and leave you unarmed and starving. He did burn you out of your house, and he did rape your women, kill your friends and children, and hack people into bits. More to the point: The boogey man who routinely came upon the Mormons to take their stuff by force, raining leaden hellfire, almost always had an East Tennessee accent, called himself a “simple country farmer,” claimed to be a “God-fearing Christian,” and had friends who formed gangs they titled with heroic names like “Wildcats,” and “Regulators.” The Mormons also knew that when you called for help from state and federal troops, most of the time they showed up with the same hick accents, were members of the same secret vigilance clubs, and rather than rescue you, they helped the boogeyman destroy everyone and everything you ever loved.

Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church V 4, pg 153, 372

Pro-Fanchers often deny it, but a fair part of this nightmare is firmly rooted in the fact that at least some number in that ill fated company took great pleasure in openly baiting the local Mormons:

…When passing through Provo, 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, the emigrants decided to stop and let their animals rest. An area just west of the town had been marked off, by the local settlers, as use for animal feed during the upcoming winter. The emigrants allowed their livestock to wander into this area, and after seeing this the local settlers asked the party to move on to another area a few miles to the west; even offering to help them move.[3] One of the party’s leaders refused saying “This is Uncle Sam’s grass…We are staying right here.”, so the settlers gave them the option of fighting or leaving; the party left.[3] After camping the night, the Baker-Fancher party continued to pass through Utah over the next few weeks, arriving near Cedar City on Thursday, September 3, 1857.[4]

Cedar City was the last major settlement where emigrants could stop to buy grain and supplies bcarthage-jail-pepperboxefore a long stretch of wilderness leading to California.[5] When the Baker-Fancher train arrived there, however, they were turned a cold shoulder once again; important goods were not available in the town store, and the local miller charged an exorbitant price for grinding grain.[5] As tension between the Mormons and the emigrants mounted, a member of the Baker-Fancher train was said to have bragged how he had the very gun that “shot the guts out of Old Joe Smith“.[6] Other members of the party reportedly bragged about taking part in the Haun’s Mill massacre some decades before in Missouri.[5] Others were reported by Mormons to have threatened to join the incoming federal troops, or join troops from California, and march against the Mormons….[7]

If we are to deny the Mormon claims of these continued provocations, the mystery here, is that the Fancher Party would not have been singled out of a whole season of wagon trains simply because Mormons and Indians just naturally hated good, peaceful Christians. The “Virginal Fancher” apologists can only keep insisting that Brigham Young ordered their execution because he’s evil. They can’t however, come up with a logical reason for ordering this particular action against this particular wagon train at this particular time.

As for the Native Americans, well, Christian America has been billing them as mindless, murdering savages images (11)from the days of Jamestown onward. The Indian part of the story isn’t hard for Christian America to pass off as commonplace barbarity even if they want to claim the Mormons recruited them to do the dastardly deed. Oddly enough, the Fancher apologists sometimes go so far as to claim fantastically, that there wasn’t a single Indian involved at Mountain Meadows, it was all Mormon, from start to finish, conception to completion.

Apart from the fact that the Fancher apologists so desperately want to portray their Christian martyrs as even saintlier than the Saints, the story of their battle with the Indians and their Mormon accomplices—or vice-versa–is fairly heroic. According to their assassins, they shot like professionals and could have held off the attack for as long as they had ammunition.

The Fancher Party had sunk their wagons up to the axles and chained them in a circle. In this strong defensive posture, yhe Indians who engaged them initially, made little progress and took high losses. The Mormon conspirators estimated that their combined Indian and Mormon forces would still take weeks to finish them off, and then again, only with high losses. The Fancher Party, whoever they were, whatever else they were, constituted a very serious force to be reckoned with in the deserted wilds of southern galstickUtah Territory. If the Fancher Party had decided to come into town and take their provisions from the Mormons by force, they could have done just that.

Was this a likely eventuality? Yes. For all they knew, they were indefinitely stuck with waning provisions, in a desert hellhole, impatiently waiting for word to come back from Salt Lake City, so the local Mormon authorities could decide whether they should let them pass through or not. And if not, then what? But the Fancher faithful are no different than the Mormon apologists in this regard–the Fanchers can’t just be examined as normal human beings, they have to be adored as sainted, Christ-like aberrations you’d never encounter in real life anywhere, much less within a hearty, frontier, rednecked, hillbilly-pioneering tradition.


The Fanchers probably had no great fear of the pitiful Yankee Mormon locals. They knew from long reputation that Latter-day Saints never went to fighting unless it was the absolute last resort. And then only after weeks of leadership meetings followed by public assemblies, a lot of voting, speeches, counseling, and handwringing. The Missouri asses the Fanchers joined up with certainly would never have worried about being discrete in their utterations. The Missouri mob-militias hadn’t been afraid to take on the well-armed Mormon “Danites” who banded against them at Gallatin and Far West. They showed no fear of the huge, well-outfitted Nauvoo Legion, or the Illinois State Militia Regulars who defended the Mormons at the fall of Nauvoo. They had a long history of undertaking open warfare against the Saints with childish glee, as if the bigger the battle, the better the sport.

8794_1_4-civil-war-partisan-rangersIt appears indeed, that the Wildcat faction of the Fancher Party actually kept increasing its provocative rhetoric as their train grew more and more distant from the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City. While the Wildcats were amplifying and perfecting their taunts, it was also becoming widely known that the Fanchers were from Arkansas and the local Saints had recently learned that their beloved Mormon apostle and charismatic missionary, Parley P Pratt, had been stabbed to death back there in the Fancher’s home state by a jealous “good Christian” husband who said he was afraid Pratt was trying to convert his wife so he could help her run off to Utah with his kids. And then the southern Utah Saints learned Brigham Young had declared martial law, just about the time the Wildcats were bragging about shooting Joe Smith’s guts out.

Even “neutral” historians today still leave you with the impression that the Fanchers were a tiny handful of starving Christian pilgrims, humbled by the surrounding Mormon military might. That’s not however, what our infamously anti-Mormon Judge John Cradlebaugh argued in his report to president Buchanan:

…I have lately visited the southern settlement of this Territory, particularly the place where 119 emigrants were massacred, at the Mountain Meadows on the 10th of September, 1857. Eighty or more white men were engaged in that affair. Warrants are now in the hands of the Marshal for forty of them. The entire population within 150 miles of the Meadows does not exceed 1,100 — with not more than 200 of an adult male population.

usmapCradlebaugh’s estimate is actually an argument for giving him a federal marshal and a few troops and he could easily thrash the hell out of his whole southern district until he got to the bottom of it all. This also concurs with John Lee’s claim that all he could muster was his handful of local church leaders and some fifty or sixty older boys to make up his allegedly fierce “militia.”

Mountain Meadows is not Nauvoo, it isn’t even anywhere near Salt Lake City. St. George and Cedar City, the two largest settlements closest to Mountain Meadows, were rough villages at the time. (Some say still are…) The Fanchers were already nearly ready to fight in Provo, and the handful of old farts and youngsters that John D Lee barely managed to scrape together some 250 miles south of there in the desert, was not the Nauvoo Legion. It was the Fancher Party that represented a concentration of frontier hardiness and aggression as it passed through southern Utah, not the local Mormons. The Fancher Party, with or without any Missouri Wildcats, could have easily taken any Mormon town in hauns_millsouthern Utah at the time without breaking a sweat. Any two or three of them.

Today, you have all the leisure and resources to casually research this little group of emigrants from “Arkansas.” John D Lee and Isaac Haight had neither, squatting around a council fire, with an army of extermination on the way and a bunch of Indians nagging at them in the wilds of southern Utah. Perception is reality. The last experience these isolated and utterly exposed Mormons had with the likes of the Fanchers and probably the Wildcats themselves, in Missouri and Illinois, was twice-attempted genocide. In Missouri, it remained legal by standing executive order to shoot Mormons on sight until 1976.

To the Mormons on the lowest fringe of Utah Territory in 1857, living under threat of federal invasion and extermination in the undefendable southern extreme of the Mormon dominion, the Fancher Party was perceived to be the boogeyman. A large, belligerent, smart-assed, well-armed boogeyman.

On 11 September, 1857, on the Mountain Meadows of southern Utah, a small group of panicked, pissed-off and disoriented local Mormons killed the boogeyman. That’s what Mountain Meadows is all about.

Why is this so hard to believe?

Posted in 29 Mormon Wars Part 5: Rumors of Rumors of Wars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mormon Wars Part 4: Politics, the Other Religion

Loyal Latter-day Saints keep telling themselves that plural marriage was withdrawn from them by the Lord in order to save the church. Mormons today however, euphemize, obfuscate and blur the real Christianized, federal tyranny of that situation however. The whole truth is, the Utah State constitution specifically outlaws plural marriage. It was a condition for statehood dictated by Congress. Quite in spite of this enlightened century’s new, brown, black, red, yellow and tan little Mormons in distant countries in which plural marriage is the social and legal norm, the lily-white, American Mormon church leadership is still parked long-term in Utah, and cannot condone or author any statement along the lines that plural marriage–the patriarchal order–is a valid, Biblical concept. This is so even if they do not permit its institution in the church as a practice, not even in countries abroad where it may problem1be entirely legal and socially dominant. This puts the Mormon church in the ironic and dogmatically awkward position of being the only “Christian” missionary effort in the Muslim or developing, animist/polygamist worlds that wholeheartedly agrees with them on the principle of plural marriage, yet must instead tell potential converts that they cannot join the church because they have more than one wife. The American punishment for advocating any such Biblical correctness under US state and federal laws, is the dissolution of the LDS corporate charter, and the confiscation of every lick of money and property the LDS church owns in the state of Utah. That’s for openers. The LDS church is literally held hostage by the federal government even today.

The federal government directly owns or controls some 80-90% of the state of Utah to this day. Salt Lake County, its most populated area, has struggled to maintain a majority Mormon representation since the mid-1980’s, and Salt Lake City itself has an even lower percentage of active, genuine Mormons in it. The concept of a Utah “Mormon” rebellion or secession from the United States of America, is rather unlikely–even if the Mormon hierarchy actually ever wanted that. Though federal intrusion into territorial and then state political matters began as a crusade against Mormonism, it remains however, the nature of the federal government, that once it takes some portion of your rights or property, it never gives it back. Once the federal government sets a precedent of subverting Constitutional rights in one area, in one circumstance, with one set of people, it relentlessly wedges itself through that little crack in the nation’s protective door of Constitutionalized rights and liberties, until it is forced open wide and the feds rush in to take all the loot, all the booze, all the women, and all the fun. (Figuratively, and literally.)

Mormonism had to choose between statehood, or taking a daily beating while slowly being choked to death. The Mormons had to decide between defending the Biblical practice of plural marriage, sustaining the way of all the Biblical patriarchs, or achieving some measure of national acceptance and a long-term truce with the Christian Nation. Mormonism chose statehood, the truce, and some level of American toleration. In effect, any 450px-New_York_City_Proposition_8_Protest_outside_LDS_templetime LDS authorities are forced by clear Biblical scripture to teach that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, all the great Biblical prophets, took multiple wives and did so with God’s blessing, it could be considered a crime against the United States of America. For more biting irony, in today’s world, there are at present, a score and better of these selfsame United States who have authorized the wedding of avowed and practicing sodomites, or even surgically-altered, pseudo-sodomites. I don’t want to burst anyone’s delusional Bible bubble, but sodomy is indeed specifically banned as an affront to God in the Bible. God hadn’t apparently even considered the transgendered issue, though it would be safe to assume it’s implied under the same clause. I’m not saying stone them all. I’m just saying that plural marriage on the other hand, is clearly Biblically sanctioned, expressly ordained specifically and repeatedly by God, and practiced by the greatest Biblical prophets.

Sodomy, and sodomic marriage is legal. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses would all go to prison for life, their property would be confiscated and their funds would be seized. I’m not judging. I’m just sayin’…

460px-Good_Citizen_Pillar_of_Fire_Church_July_1926Admittedly, “polygamy” is but one principle, one little device, a gimmick, that Christianity rigged against the Mormons as a constant and ongoing reminder of who really is the master of American religion. It’s not a big enough hindrance to destroy the Mormon church as an institution, but it causes enough pain to tame the heretical Mormon hordes and let them know who’s in charge. Mormonism has had to go-along to get-along on that one issue. They had it crammed down their throats and were forced to swallow it. That’s how federalized, nationalized Christianity “got” Mormonism. That’s how they stuck it to Joe Smith’s rabble in the end. But outlawing plural marriage is not really the point of anti-Mormon legislation or LDS persecution in the first place. It wasn’t even a factor from the first persecutions connected to Joseph Smith’s “First Vision,” his production of the Book of Mormon, and well into Smith’s assassination at Carthage. Barely an inkling of the plural marriage issue had been leaked to the public at the time of Smith’s murder. Indeed, that first dribble of a leak was the whole point of destroying the Nauvoo Expositor. But the Expositor and plural marriage wasn’t the reason Joseph Smith was killed, and it wasn’t the real reason the United States of America eventually sent an Army out to Utah to get Mormonism under federal control. No, the reason for Christian America’s systematic enabling of Mormon persecution was the Mormon voting block.

Vol. V Springfield, Friday, November 13, 1840. No. 37.


The Missouri Republican and Quincy Whig both assert that the Hon. Richard M. Young and Stephen A. Douglass, Esq., were at Nauvoo, in Hancock county, on the day of the election, and it is insinuated by these Federal prints that they “induced two hundred Mormon voters to erase the name of A. Lincoln from the Whig electoral ticket, and substitute the name of James H. Ralston in its stead.” Now, for part of the above, every citizen of Springfield, can answer for its falsity. Mr. Douglass was in this place on the day of the election near the polls all day.

The Quincy Whig speaks of the erasure of Mr. Lincoln’s name as “a trick played upon “two hundred Mormon voters.” We do not view it in this light. It is very certain that Mr. Lincoln runs near 200 votes behind his ticket in Hancock county, and it is equally as certain that Judge Ralston runs near 200 ahead of his ticket, but this the voters had a perfect right to do. The “Mormon voters,” as well as all other voters have the right to vote for whomsoever they please, and no editor has the right to insinuate that any voter is governed by improper motives, or has been “tricked.” as this Whig editor calls it….

Now, the dynamics of these initial courtships between Gentile politicians and the Mormon vote were such that the winners immediately realized the Mormons voted as a block, and winning this block would determine the images-11_thumb1whole election. Soon, the losers realized that only by turning the entire populace against the Mormons on any and all levels possible would neutralize this phenomenon. This was done by Satanizing, villainizing, and conspiricizing them, first along religious grounds, and then more broadly, along the lines of a threat to personal “freedoms.” Each target constituency was preached a cleverly customized threat message: the pious were told that Mormons would persecute and soon destroy your favorite local churches. The rowdy were cautioned that Mormons would not let you drink on Sunday or ride through town shooting your guns in the air, and planned to close all the whore houses and saloons. Whatever precious “freedom” you feared losing most, that was what the Mormons were billed as trying to take from you. It didn’t matter if on the one hand, Mormonism was alleged to stifle the practice of your favorite vice, or on the other, represented a looming imposition upon your personal virtue. The ploy was personalized for each special interest group, and worked across the whole social, political, and ideological spectrum.images (1)

Mitt Romney, at this writing, a current leading Republican presidential candidate, is on the receiving end of heaps of old-style anti-Mormon rhetoric. Essentially, the Tea Party/Religious Right types still seem to prefer anyone but a Mormon, even though Romney consistently polls as the only Republican candidate capable of decidedly beating his incumbent opponent, their hated, Godless Commie, and possible closet Muslim, president Barack Hussein Obama. Romney’s first go at a images (4)presidential candidacy in the last election found his Republican primary opponents rallying the Religious Right against him as a possible anti-Christ. Late in the game when it became clear that Republican, Born-Again, fellow-challenger, Mike Huckabee, was falling off the charts, rather than cut a deal with his third-place standing and adding his gravitas to the strong, second-running Romney for a VP shot on Romney’s ticket, the ordained minister, pastor Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and direct legacy of the original Mormon-hating Tennessee hillbilly rednecks, basically told Mitt to feck his smiley Mormon arse off. The reason for this should be obvious to both the Christian and the Mormon observer if you’ve been paying any attention to my ramblings thus far. The vast majority of Mike Huckabee’s church or political constituency, the two of which are one and the same, devoutly believe Mitt Romney is a cultist who worships the devil. They don’t want a cultist in the White House. Sanctioning a Mormon attempt at taking over a Christian America in any capacity would be the kiss of death for our hip and happenin’ Pastor Mike. Even dealing with a Mitt Romney as VP candidate on a Huckabee ticket would only convince Huckabee’s hillbilly faithful that the Mormons plan to snuff Pastor Pastor Mikey right after the election and put Mitt in the Oval Office by force of violence.

Rather than taking a Romney/Huckabee team to the Republican National Convention that almost certainly would have won the nomination, Mike Huckabee took a talk-show gig with Fox News instead, where he could hobnob with his images (6)important Christian guests, hang out with famous country music singers, and impose his bass guitar upon a litany of motel-lounge-level pickup bands. This consolidated the front-running Republican ticket into the team of John McCain, doddering old RhINO, and an unelectable, but busty, Born-Again Sarah Palin. The McCain/Palin team decidedly lost the contest for the Republican Party in the general election.

While Mitt Romney takes crap from the Left about his smarmy Mormon ways and insipid personal purity, the Right denounces Mitt Romney as a “progressive” and a “liberal.” This sort of flies in the face of the Right’s other claims that he’s part of a creeping Mormon fascism plotting to take over the nation and subjugate all of its Christians, but it works for them. Mitt’s father before him, George Romney, in spite of a good start, a good reputation, tremendous popularity during his long run as governor of Michigan, and a well-funded organization, was wiped right out of his 1968 attempt at the presidency, for similar reasons.

images (9)In Mitt’s father’s case, the LDS leadership seemed as critical of his politics as did the Religious Right. The hawks in and out of his own church beat him up severely for claiming the Viet Nam war was unnecessary and the product of “brainwashing” by the military-industrial complex, intimating that the “domino theory” was essentially a vanity of the Right Wing power structure. George Romney was square into the Civil Rights Movement on top of this, which gained him derision again from the Southern rednecks and Northern “Conservatives,” who still make up a large part of the Republican base. George Romney also took a slap in the face and a warning from apostle Delbert L Stapley to shut up about advancing the cause of the negroes, else the Lord might strike him down. Still, throughout his political career, particularly as a gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, a state with 700,000 negroes in it, his opponents spread the rumor that Mormons believed God had declared negroes to be second-class citizens, doomed to be eternal servants—a tactic remarkably effective on a national and even state level given his open disagreement with LDS leadership on the subject and his fervent pro-civil rights activities. He was also constantly jabbed by the young and the hip, for talking and thinking like a preacher.

Romney’s campaign did often focus on his core beliefs; a Romney billboard in New Hampshire read “The Way To Stop Crime Is To Stop Moral Decay”.[129][140] Dartmouth College students gave a bemused reaction to his morals message, displaying signs such as “God Is Alive and Thinks He’s George Romney”.[131]

imaddsdagesWhile George was far less beaten up by his detractors on purely Mormon terms than his son Mitt is today, the whole Mormon issue so complicated George’s national aspirations that even with the most successful run as governor in the history of the state of Michigan, he was out of the Republican presidential contest befdownload (1)ore it began in earnest. George Romney was also a victim of the Cleon Skousenite, Red-baiting, McCarthy-era, Right Wing, takeover of LDS culture in the late 50’s and 1960’s. George Romney was almost singular in his distain for the period’s Birch invasion, which formed an LDS Bircher aristocracy that took over both the church and the Republican Party. (Anyone who told Klingon Skousen and ignorant Utah hicks like Delbert Stapley where to stuff their theories is OK by me.) While it is often contended that his religion had nothing to do with George Romney’s failure to win the Republican presidential nomination, the fact of the matter is, the Right Wing of his own Republican party was so busy slapping him around for his enlightened social views that they never got down to openly castigating any of his specifically religious views.

images (25)Even though the present Republican sentiment from the Right is, “anyone but Mitt,” despite the favorable polls and a smooth running campaign that has escaped theimages (29) bumbling, scandal-ridden, mouth-flapping, miss-stepping of his fellows in the primary race so far, Mitt Romney could have it far worse. Reed Smoot, the first Mormon senator from Utah State, even after a landslide election, went through years of grilling by Congressional committees, refusing to sustain his election and grant him a seat, though he was allowed to be seated silently, during the debates, and eventually won a sustaining vote from Congress. BH Roberts, noted LDS historian, some years previously, was elected to the House of Representatives, and in his case, he was never allowed to be seated.

It would be insightful to recall that it wasn’t until 1960, with the election of an incredibly likeable and popular John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a war-hero, and American son of a beloved bootlegger, so respected and just plain dfdasdfaadored by the general population, that the nation’s Protestant bias against Roman Catholics was finally overcome enough to elect a Papist to the presidency.

True, the sort of quibbling hassle the Christian Nation gives Mitt Romney, or even a Jon Huntsman or Harry Reid today, is nothing like the severe persecution of the old days. However, many of modern Christian excuse-makers use phraseology like, “The myth of Persecuted Mormon Innocence,” to mitigate their forefathers’ persecution of the early Latter-day Saints, by suggesting that first, Mormons don’t get persecuted any more, and second, that back when Latter-day Saints were the Church_Haunted-Hill-DVD-Tsubjects of persecution, they brought it on themselves.

Mormon “Persecution Deniers” first, in reverse order that is, cite a litany of verifiable Mormon retaliations, cleverly omitting the Christian initiatory brutality that almost invariably prompted them. It allows the anti-Mormonist the pretense of honesty. It leaves their rapt Christian audience shivering over their apparently true tales of brutal, but inexplicable Mormon “atrocities.” It’s easy enough to omit the part where the Christians start the fight, and cut to the part where Mormons finish it as they attempt to liberate themselves from Christian oppression. Of course, in that order, it looks like the Mormons are the oppressors and instigators. Moreover, it looks like Mormons just enjoy heaping violence upon good Christians entirely out of the blue. This must be because they’re evil, the gullible Christian audience will conclude. No other explanation seems possible. Thus, these one-sided fables easily seem to prove that Mormons are the very sort of conquering devils they have been promised to be, and are simply out to kill Christians and take all their stuff.

Nauvoo and the Myth of Mormonism’s Persecuted Innocence | Roger Launius’s Blog

Even the most honest and “enlightened” of the Christian apologists can’t resist trying to sugar-coat Christian aggression against the early Mormons by pointing out that Jesus would never get pissed off and start a regional war over defending his right to vote like the Mormons did. Jesus, they say, wouldn’t have shot back like Joe Smith did when the mobbers came to butcher Him. As these folks keep pointing out however, Joe Smith is not Jesus Christ. But as I often reply, he doesn’t have to be. The point of my analysis here is that the issue of just who is or isn’t a “true follower of Jesus” is irrelevant. Mormons were, and are, American citizens with Constitutional (3)

Christian aggressors also try to euphemize their instigation of violence against the early Mormons by alluding to vague “mobs,” and writing them off as some far-removed, backslidden, coincidental movement of the offended general population that religious leaders of the day only very reluctantly found associating with their goal to destroy Mormonism. These uncontrollable, inherently violent social cliques they say, are the non-religious portion of “Christian” society, spontaneously responding to Mormon despotism in their own ignorant fashion. Yet, virtually every single mobber to ever attack the Mormons had his name scribbled in the family Bible at birth, had been born and raised a “Christian,” and actual Christian ministers led them in deadly attacks against usually helpless Mormons–even in the regular and volunteer state militias. That’s like Pontius Pilate riding into the garden of Gethsemane with a cohort of troops, sword drawn, hacking his way up to Jesus shouting, “Kill the blasphemer! Death to the heretic!” and when his surrounding followers chop the Savior to pieces in direct obedience to this demand, then, Pilate asks for a bowl of water to wash his hands of the whole images (8)business.

The presupposition that American citizens have to present a valid Christian passport before being allowed to enter a polling place is the product of an inherent Christian bigotry and disloyalty to Constitutional, Republican government. This notion has little dissipated in American Christian circles to this day. How can it? It is an assumption that constitutes a central and intrinsic part of their religion. Even in the two most recent “Mormon” presidential campaigns, king-makers from the Religious right and candidates pandering to them, have openly stated that America is a Christian nation, and it should have a Christian president at its head. Only a Christian can properly govern a Christian nation they have openly argued, and God has ordained the office of the president be occupied by a disciple of Christ.

270Even more mind boggling than the modern Christian’s continued ignorance of Constitutional principles, is the conspiratorial Christian brushoff of Joseph Smith’s execution by a Christian, clergy-sanctioned mob. Christian apologists continue to suggest that unpopular religions, like Mormons, Moonies, Hindus, Muslims, other non-Christians and heretics, have no expectation of due process in a Constitutionally Christian legal and political system. It is quite natural for the general population to rise up and kill you if you’re not flying the right gospel flag they maintain. This is your fault for not properly confining your belief system to Christian orthodoxy. What else did you expect? they pose, as they excuse the violence of their Christian ancestors—against Mormons or Indians or any of the traditional Christian “threats’ to Godly rule. Christians who confess their part in the assassination of Joseph Smith at all, do so as if it all evened-out since Smith was arrogant enough to arm himself. He knew he had it coming—he even had the gall to shoot back at the lynch mob his Christian neighbors had rallied up and mustered together to do him in. It just proves what a faker he was. Modern Christianity, with a straight face and sober resolve, openly portrays Joseph Smith’s attempt to defend himself against a mob of Christian killers as a vain and petty act of selfishness, or even a vainglorious rebellion against Christian justice.

Naturally, nobody describes Joseph Smith’s assassins as “Christians.” Mormons don’t, because they still thinkimages (20) they are Christians, and that would only tarnish the name. Well, the name has been well-tarnished for two-thousand and more years so far: what’s a little more tarnish going to hurt? Christians weasel out of the mob’s thirst for Mormon blood and gore by declaring that the “mobs” obviously couldn’t be “Christians” because Christians don’t act like that. Well, sorry, but that’s exactly how they do act. Frequently. Repeatedly. Perpetually.

While everyone on all sides thinks it would be better to move along and get along, I wonder who they all think killed Joseph Smith then? Was it the large Muslim population of the American Midwest of the 19th century that rose up to stifle his religious rights? Was it the rabbis of the Northeast that screamed for Mormonism’s death from synagogue to synagogue? Was it the three Hindus and the couple of hundred Buddhists in the region that were behind all this murder and destruction?

No, it was the Christians.

Mormons as a people, have never been pacifists. We should all get that straight. That’s never been a tenet of the religion. A Mormon will take a bullet in the head for Jesus if it comes down to it, but all things being equal, a Mormon will earnestly try to dodge that bullet, and put one in the head of the guy shooting at them instead. Mormons figure, it’s really the guy starting the fight that Jesus would want taken out of this world.

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.

George S. Patton

Christian apologists who make the “myth of innocence” argument are essentially saying that Christians should be able to poke Mormons in the eye with a sharp stick at will, and if the Mormons don’t cheerfully offer a clear haunsmill-austinhammer-southwick_lineshot of the other one in response, it proves they’re frauds. I’m sure that makes sense to a Christian, since Christians have been poking out the eyes of heretics and accused sinners for millennia with impunity. They believe it’s their God-given right.

I shouldn’t need to refresh us all on the several Crusades, on Cromwell, on the Highland purges, on the Emperor Constantine’s vision of a crucifix glowing in the sky, and the words that came to him, “in this sign conquer,” after which he subjected most of the known world to his own personally defined and enforced “Christianity.” If you want to understand atrocities by Mormons upon Christians, you can’t pick the narrative up 1857 years into the story. You can’t automatically assume the Christians are the heroes of the tale, as you have been trained since a toddler in Sunday School.

Christians were a despised and persecuted minority for their first three centuries. Christians were blamed for images (12)burning Rome and the same sort of general disloyalty Mormons, Jews, and other persecuted religious minorities have been labeled with for ages. Mormons by contrast are barely two centuries into that progression, but it’s not the Pagans in charge of the government this time around, it’s the Christians. And for a Christian, payback is a bitch. Christian payback is in fact, an almost two-thousand-year-old tradition, handed down from father to son to son to son to son….

In its short history on this planet, Mormonism has a handful of angry frontier dustups to apologize for. This much is undeniable. So I’ll just do my apologizing at now, on behalf of all Mormanity: Sorry.

images (13)Christian America broke its toe kicking Mormonism’s arse for almost two-hundred years. The Mormons put up a good fight, but in the end they got slapped silly and cried “uncle.” That’s essentially what the record shows. Go ahead. Blame your broken toe on the Mormons. Times were hard. Mormon arses were harder. And you started it. Now, you guys, Christianity, how about apologizing for your 2011 years of wholesale genocide all around the globe? No? Not willing to make that moral comparison? Sound a little too morally un-equivalent for you?

I refer you to:, a little advice from our beloved Matthew about a mote and a beam.

The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor by Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo city council was clearly the legal match that lit up the Illinois Mormon war in 1844. Of this action, Illinois Governor Thomas Ford, advised Smith that they would have been better off organizing a mob (the same sort of mob that killed Smith shortly afterward) and effect his purpose of silencing the newspaper in that fashion, rather than by putting the color of the law onto it. Frankly, that’s the way you got things done in the frontier at the time. You fought it out. You came to blows if necessary. If that didn’t work you shot it out.

stagecoachAmerica is fine with hero-worshipping the poor frontier settler against the railroad barons, the cattle barons, the oil barons, who stole their land, murdered, oppressed, and drove them out. The theater crowd rises to its feet and applauds when the little band of immigrants rises up and defends itself against the big bosses, their hired gunslingers and thugs. Put Joe Smith and a small settlement of Mormons in the hero’s role, and suddenly the movie isn’t so popular.

Public opinion is easily swayed, and today’s notion of a biased press has nothing on the outright advocacy press that prevailed in Joseph Smith’s day. Mormon attempts to mail reports and journals outside their own immediate areas of control were systematically put down by universal loss or destruction of their mailings, and then when carted personally to outlying regions and distributed, Mormon newspapers and other documents were utterly destroyed by gangs of persecutors who followed EF6BFEB8-D73B-32F3-9D9FACD75D66F30A (1)minutes behind their distribution efforts. The mob not only did the dirty deeds, but it controlled how the story was told about those deeds.

Reports, records, commentaries on the various Mormon wars and persecutions are not scarce or difficult to obtain today however. Just Google it, as my kids say. Unfortunately, Mormon historical records are just so contradictory as to be unhelpful to the naïve and uninitiated. You can pick and choose which you care to believe and make Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or the whole church glow in whatever color light suits your prejudices. And the truth be known, BH Robert’s LDS authorized Comprehensive History of the Church, and The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, do a far better job of factually recording the arguments on all sides than the anti-Mormon efforts, or even allegedly neutral scholars like Fawn Brody, in her No Man Knows My History. But Slogging through Roberts is hard work—lots of footnotes. Lots of actual statements from actual people with actual names, dates, times, witnesses. Actual quotes from actual first-hand notes, letters, publications. Lots of follow-up. Lots and lots and lots of connecting all the dots. Not even most Mormons are that interested or motivated to burn that many brain cells in pure research, and most people in general are just too stupid or lazy to bother at all, even if they pretend to have an earnest desire to know the truth.laban11c

It has always been the people motivated by the extreme hate and fear of Mormonism who have written and researched the most about it. Conversely, it has been the self-serving Mormon who has chosen to do the bulk of the counter-research and defense of the religion and its history. Both of these primarily religious extremes more often than not miss the very simple truth of the issue one way or another out of blind ignorance, self-interest, an anal-stage fixation on self-martyrdom, and an inflated sense of “chosenness.” The third group of Mormon researchers, in or out of the church itself, are the so-called “scholars,” who pretend to seek, record, and analyze the “facts.” The caveat there would be that they depend upon “known facts,” and “reliable records.” Re-lie the key word here, because facts are seldom known or knowable, and records are often made and kept and redacted by liars. They lie, and then lie again, or “re-lie.” Most Mormon histories are in that sense, very “re-liable.” Worse yet, is the academic’s standard defense of walking a pretended neutral line down the center of Mormon history, allowing all the factions to be a little bit right or wrong here or there, arguing the overall experience on a case-by-case basis. This is the biggest lie there is.

Given that religion is religion and you and I are not going to agree upon who is serving the devil in the ultimate, cosmic, universal sense, the fact is, from a legal, a civil and Constitutional perspective, Mormons have been basically in the right most of the time. Mormons had a Constitutional, God-given images (16)natural right to do what they wanted to do, live they way they wanted to live, believe what they wanted to believe, be who they wanted to be. These fundamental rights were infringed upon by an oppressive Christian social and political majority. These forces of the Christian Nation were on the wrong side of the legal, Constitutional, and even Beattitudinal arguments almost one-hundred percent of the time in their oppression of Mormonism from Joseph Smith’s first vision to Mitt Romney’s second run at the White House. In the final telling, it doesn’t matter a rat’s rectum if Joseph Smith was an earnest, but bogus impostor as a prophet or not. He had a right to pretend he talked to God, and anyone who wanted to believe it had a right to follow him, even Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman.

Furthermore, the one single time Mormonism lost a legal, Constitutional challenge was on the issue of plural marriage—a harmless social and religious contract between consenting adults that frankly is none of your bigoted Christian business. It’s certainly none of the government’s business. Anti-bigamy laws are really just anti-Mormon laws, unequally applied only to those who marry  and co-habitate with their multiple sex partners, while permitting serial fornicators to continue to enjoy the fruits of marriage without any of the responsibility of marriage. The same Supreme Court that ruled Christians could define Biblically approved marital status for the non-Christian, also upheld the Dred Scott decision and gave us the “Jim Crow” era that justified racial bigotry via a similarly fallacious “separate but equal” rationale. It was a Supreme Court packed with Christian, hillbilly redneck southern justices.

Christianity’s zeal to eliminate the Mormon practice of multiple wifery really had nothing to do with Biblical interpretation or moral claims of Christian “enlightenment.” Christianity didn’t really care about the wives or the offspring of these perfectly happy and functional marriages, because its agents wholeheartedly destroyed images (18)these unions, imprisoned the family breadwinners and thus impoverished and left destitute their wives and children. Christian “reformers” systematically broke up the very families they pretended to care about. Christianity’s true interest in destroying Mormon plural marriage comes once again down to not allowing Mormons by the recruitment of significant numbers of eligible and fertile females into their communities, to rapidly go about out-producing and out-populating the influx of local Christians. Christianity was once again fighting for control over frontier land the Mormons had now made productive. Once again, gaining that control came down to circumventing the solid Mormon voting block.

And I guess that’s why I’ve assumed the role of abridging the Mormon historical record, gleaning out what I think would be most helpful for all sides of the Mormon question. Because, most anti-Mormon “history” hughnibleyis little more than Christian self-interested BS. This has been mindlessly countered by impassioned, “testimony-based” whimpering from Mormon defenders about how innocent and pure Joseph Smith and his band of merry men were, a woeful tale of generational victimhood designed almost exclusively to “convert” you. However, you don’t need to be “converted” to see exactly what was going on between American Christianity and early Mormons. But we don’t have to pick one or the other narrative on blind faith and just ignore contrary evidence we don’t like or doesn’t fit into the scheme we’ve already decided to believe. The truth remains, that every time some neutral investigator went into the Mormon experience, they came out giving Mormonism a fairly clean bill of health—like this little observation from BYU egghead Hugh Nibley, a faddishly popular Mormon apologist throughout the height of the last big anti-Mormon evangelical craze in the 1970’s through the 1980’s:

At the end of the last century, the great tradition of European scholarship in the grand style culminated in the person of Eduard Meyer. … No other man ever combined the learning both of the East and the classical world in a work of such high and lasting authority as Meyer’s Geschichte des Altertums – the ultimate and, in fact, the last general history of antiquity to be the work of a single mind.29

This man had a particular interest in ancient religions, and it occurred to him that in Mormonism he might study at first hand how a real religion gets started. So impressed was he by the possibilities of such a study that he packed up and went to Utah in 1904, to devote a year of his priceless time to studying the Mormons.

220px-Eduard_MeyerMeyer’s entire Ursprung und Geschichte der Mormonen is a study in parallels, comparing the new religion with revealed religions of the past.30 While grandly contemptuous of Joseph Smith’s low coefficient of Kultur, the great savant illustrates at length the “exact identity” of his Church both in “atmosphere” and sundry particulars with that of the early Christians. A “striking and irrefutable” parallelism supports Mormon claims to revelation; “with perfect right” they identify themselves with the apostolic church of old. The similarity extends to the faults as well as the virtues of the Prophet and his followers—they may be matched “at every point” by the faults and virtues of the ancient prophets and the ancient church….

What Eduard Meyer sees in the Mormon doctrine is before everything else Konsequenz (consistency; to use his own words, that doctrine is “absolutely literal, sober, and logical”; verstandesgemäss). Moreover, says Meyer, the scientific aspects of the dogma, “in full agreement with the later discoveries of science,” may well be a cause of considerable gratification to believers….145

Of course, only Mormons seriously study the works of Hugh Nibley, and then only the “scholarly” BYU apologists in the Mormon academic crowd. And I would not expect anyone to take any official LDS apologist, even me, at his word alone. But I have only been trying to say what the bona fide genius, Eduard Meyer said generations ago: Mormons live and preach a consistent and logical set of basic doctrines. (Except when they have shite in their ears and get it all wrong.)

Sorry, that’s just the way it falls historically, by a preponderance of evidence. I know I originally entitled this series, What’s Wrong With Mormonism, but a centrally-governed coven of Satanic murderers, assassins, and New World Order conspirators, simply isn’t one of the things wrong with Mormonism. It never has been. In the words of the legendary frontier journalist, Horace Greely:

images (14)“Do I regard the great body of these Mormons,” he asks, “as knaves and hypocrites” Assuredly not. I do not believe there was ever a religion whereof the great mass of the adherents were not honest and sincere. Hypocrites and knaves there are in all sects; it is quite possible that some of the magnates of the Mormon church regard this so-called religion (with all others) as a contrivance for the enslavement and fleecing of the many, and the aggrandizement of the few; but I cannot believe that a sect, so considerable and so vigorous as the Mormons, was ever founded in conscious imposture, or built up on any other basis than that of earnest conviction.”

–Overland Journey, p 223

Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, pg 532

I would submit likewise, that Christians live and act upon their central beliefs. In this, they tend to gravitate toward imposing their religious dogma upon any and all within their dominion. This is because, unlike ffffffsMormonism, or for that matter, the Founding Fathers, who’s central doctrines revolve around the blessings of man’s “Free Agency,” and are anchored to the concept of a Constitutionally protected, pluralistic nation that guarantees religious liberty for all, Christianity to this day is based upon the fundamental belief that all non-Christians are the literal spawn of the devil. Non-Christians are “infidels” or “heathens,” and have no place in a Christian society. In Christian theology, the “unredeemed” constitute only an ongoing threat to a Christian Nation. Unlike Mormonism, Christianity has had a long, storied history of universal, unflinching aggression, oppression, extermination, torture, murder and persecution of its rivals. Christianity had conducted its program of violent dominance of “lesser” religions and peoples, both covertly, and also quite openly and proudly, much of which has been vaingloriously committed to record, proudly, by Christianity’s highest officials and most stalwart leaders.

When I got into the whole Mountain Meadows record, in the course of my explorations, I was quite prepared to concede that Christianity had me and my dumbassed Mormon brethren dead-nailed in this one instance. Unfortunately, even though Mountain Meadows represents just the sort of colossal screw-up Mormonism has always 24682-109404-8527StupidPeoplePostersjpg-468xbeen capable of, this turns out to be the case only by accident, out of sheer stupid irony, rather than centralized malice and design.

Sure, some of the anti-Mormon literature can be quite convincing if you simply intended to hate or ridicule Mormons in the first place. But, you don’t have to go to the local Christian fellowship hall and hear some evangelical nutjob dressed in a scary Mormon temple costume or modeling frumpy “magic” Mormon underwear with his worship-team of conspiracy-theory clowns, to feel like you have reliable, non-Mormon sources who can tell us what early Mormonism’s problems really came down to. We don’t have to guess what early Mormons kept doing that was always annoying the Christian population around them. This we can read from sources like Governor Ford’s on-the-spot, direct evaluation of the real problem neighboring Christians had with the Mormon presence in Illinois. Ford is well on the mark, inasmuch as the same primary complaint got the Saints thrown out of Missouri previously:

But the great cause of popular fury was, that the Mormons at several preceding elections had cast their vote as a unit, thereby making the fact apparent that no one could aspire to the honors or offices of the country, within the sphere of their influence, without their approbation and votes. It appears to be one of the principles by which they insist upon being governed as a community, to act as a unit in all matters of government and religion. They express themselves to be fearful that if division should be encouraged in politics, it would soon extend to their religion, and rend their church with schism and into sects.

This seems to me to be an unfortunate view of the subject, and more unfortunate in practice, as I am well satisfied that it must be the fruitful source of excitement, violence, and mobocracy, whilst it is persisted in. It is indeed unfortunate for their peace that they do not divide in elections, according to their individual preferences or political principles, like other people.

images (30)You couldn’t however, do a damned thing about American citizens who didn’t vote the way you wanted them to vote. (Legally that is…) You couldn’t do a damned thing if people wanted to form a club, or a church, or a fraternity, like the Freemasons, or the Elks, or the Boy Scouts, or the John Birch Society—and then sit around, fellowship, share philosophies, and decide to all vote the same way. First in Missouri, and then in Illinois, old Christian settlers, badgered and alarmed by their insistent clergy, goaded by their eager press, went about contriving and building up the public image of an inherent Mormon threat, simply to stifle their vote. Even though there was no evidence of immediate or tangible villainous Mormon action, or any clear indication of a dangerous Mormon movement toward brutal conquest, Christian champions have always had a plethora of distant, anecdotal stories of terror to tell. It was, the anti-Mormonists have always contended, only because the Mormons didn’t quite yet dominate the political scene, it was only because they didn’t have the sheer political force to dominate all of Christendom, that they now pretend for the time being, to be so friendly and harmless. They second they got into power—bam! Then they’d take all the Christians out and reveal their true plans for world domination.

Governor Ford continues his evaluation of the unified Mormon voting block phenomenon:

This one principle and practice of theirs arrayed against them in deadly hostility all aspirants for office who were not sure of their support, all who have been unsuccessful in elections, and all who were too proud to court their influence, with all their friends and connections.

These also were the active men in blowing up the fury of the people, in hopes that a popular movement might be set on foot, which would result in the expulsion or extermination of the Mormon voters. For this purpose public meetings had been called; inflammatory speeches had been made; exaggerated reports had been extensively circulated; committees had been appointed, who rode night and day to spread the reports and solicit the aid of neighboring counties, and at a public meeting at Warsaw, resolutions were passed to expel or exterminate the Mormon population. This was not, however, a movement which was unanimously concurred in. The county contained a goodly number of inhabitants in favor of peace, or who at least desired to be neutral in such a contest. These were stigmatized by the name of “Jack-Mormons,” and there were not a few of the more furious exciters of the people who openly expressed their intention to involve them in the common expulsion or extermination.

A system of excitement and agitation was artfully planned and executed with tact. It consisted in spreading reports and rumors of the most fearful character. As examples: — On the morning before my arrival at Carthage, I was awakened at an early hour by the frightful report, which was asserted with confidence and apparent consternation, that the Mormons had already commenced the work of burning, destruction, and murder, and that every man capable of bearing arms was instantly wanted at Carthage for the protection of the county. We lost no time in starting; but when we arrived at 43234505Carthage we could hear no more concerning this story. Again, during the few days that the militia were encamped at Carthage, frequent applications were made to me to send a force here, and a force there, and a force all about the country, to prevent murders, robberies, and larcenies which, it was said, were threatened by the Mormons. No such forces were sent; nor were any such offenses committed at that time, except the stealing of some provisions, and there was never the least proof that this was done by a Mormon. Again, on my late visit to Hancock county, I was informed by some of their violent enemies that the larcenies of the Mormons had become unusually numerous and insufferable. They admitted that but little had been done in this way in their immediate vicinity. But they insisted that sixteen horses had been stolen by the Mormons in one night near Lima, in the county of Adams. At the close of the expedition, I called at this same town of Lima, and upon inquiry, was told that no horses had been stolen in that neighborhood, but that sixteen horses had been stolen in one night in Hancock county. This last informant being told of the Hancock story, again changed the venue to another distant settlement in the northern edge of Adams.

If you cannot accept any part of this reasoning so far, I am only wasting your time. If you are willing to entertain at least the notion that the Mormons are all deluded fools who often come off like ignorant and egocentric buffoons, and yet are willing to confess that none of this is punishable by law, then perhaps I have made some progress. Mormon delusion is as Constitutionally protected as Christian delusion.

I’m preaching only one very limited sermon here. I am merely asking you to accept, as Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, the supreme commander of the state that killed Joseph Smith deduced: when it comes down to it, all the titillating claims of Mormon outrages throughout the years, almost invariably turn out to be willow-the-wisps. Rumors. Wild goose chases. When you get there in person to check it out, there almost never appears to be any concrete examples, only anecdotes passed around third hand.images (31) Mormonism, consequently, having not actually exposed any specific legal premise, has been politically, socially, and at times very physically punished by a Christian America based primarily upon what Christianity imagines it would be up to if it were in Mormonism’s place.

Mormonism, I repeat for emphasis, has almost utterly escaped serious self-incrimination from Day-1. There is one resounding exception. That would be the clear-cut assassination of roughly 120 men, women, and older children of the emigrant Fancher Party by a handful of local Mormon leaders and their minions at Mountain Meadows in 1857. And that is one whopping exception. What these particular Mormons did to their ostensibly “Christian” foes is fairly obvious. And hideous. The question of “why” these particular Mormons shot down this particular group of “Christians” isn’t so easy to pin down however. But I will warn you that if you continue honestly digging into the matter, if the one person you want to hang the crime on is Brigham Young or anyone in the official Mormon hierarchy, again, all you come up with is a lot of dangerous rhetoric, murky anecdotal assumptions, and mostly a lot of bold assertion.

Likewise, if you want to put Mountain Meadows down to its perpetrators following some clear mandate out of general LDS doctrine or arising out of a simple extrapolation of central Mormon theology, you will again be unrewarded. The Christian nemeses of Mormonism have tried earnestly to obfuscate the chronology of the events leading up to Mountain Meadows, but the simple fact remains that Christian America had already decided to exterminate Mormonism months before the Fancher Party got anywhere near Utah Territory. Mountain Meadows is not the “reason” James Buchannan sent an army to kill off the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The tragedy at Mountain Meadows was the direct result of America’s determination to destroy Mormonism, not vice-versa. Had a pack of Christian reformers, disgruntled federal appointees and contract-holders, not gone tattling back to Washington with the usual litany of grossly exaggerated tales of Mormon “outrages,” deliberately trying to provoke a federal assault upon the Mormon capital, there would have been no US invasion of Utah Territory. If there had been no invasion, the Mormon officials in southern Utah would have had no cause to hold up the Fancher’s wagon train, no cause to withhold basic provisions from them, and the Fancher Party would have passed, with only some slight complaining on both sides, peaceably through Utah without incident.

9780806141350And it pains me to say this, but it must be pointed out. The bastard Mormons who wiped out the Fancher company and friends, learned how it was done from the Fancher’s idiot, hillbilly, redneck, hick cousins back in Missouri and Illinois. They didn’t do anything to the “good Christian” Fancher and Baker families that the “good Christian” kin of the Fanchers and Bakers, and certainly the Missouri Wildcats amongst them, hadn’t already done to the Mormons, en-masse, repeatedly, and in spades.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre on a personal level is a great miscarriage of justice and human tragedy. In the great, “Christian America” scheme of things, however, it is a small blip on the anti-Mormon political agenda. In an of itself, it was officially, on both sides, dismissed as collateral damage, an unintended consequence of a short war that was pointless to begin with and concluded peacefully in the end. Today, Mountain Meadows would be little more than a historical afterthought, were it not for the unshakeable true-believers, the serious anti-Mormonists, who still pull it out of their sleeves like a trump card, to add just that little bit of credibility to the contention that subsequent legal sanctions levied against the Mormon religion, were fair and rational. Even sensible and unavoidable.

With the utmost respect, it has to be understood that the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre have been made into poster children for THE BIG LIE. Their memory is desecrated every time some evangelical clown uses them to “prove” Brigham Young was a devil worshipper and the Mormons are all clandestine killers. The “good Christians” who continually exploit the deaths of these unfortunate souls to sell their books and trinkets and scary lecture tours full of horror stories of Brigham Young’s deluded slaves and “Danite” henchmen, rather than honor their memory, probably only leaves the Fancher Party blushing and apologetic in the hereafter.

If you can’t get over that, then, as I say, I am wasting your time. Mormonism has lots of problems. Again, secret death squads isn’t one of them.

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