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Another September 11th

September 10, 2007

This week’s topic: The Mountain Meadows Massacre

by carrie ann

Superstitiously, the fact that this event occurred on September 11th witnesses to the horror and tragedy of this painful episode in church history.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre has, until recently, has been treated like a dirty little secret. No one wanted to talk about it except trouble-makers and apostates. Over the years people have published accounts of what they think happened. Even Mark Twain was fascinated by the story and published part of the account in “Roughing It.” Then more recently, “Under the Banner of Heaven” was published and the story got a bit of renewal.

Some people felt uncomfortable with the amount of time the producers of the PBS Frontline special “The Mormons” spent on the Mountain Meadows event. While I really enjoyed the four-hour special, this part was hard to watch. Hard to swallow, not in that it wasn’t believable, but that it’s difficult emotionally and testimonial-ly to stand by, to accept that it happened. It’s hard to accept that church leaders (on any level) would resort to lying and deception and MURDER.

I really appreciated the article commemorating the 150th anniversary of the massacre in this month’s Ensign (September issue pg. 14). It is straightforward and clear and, I felt, non-evasive. The article is not trying to spin the horrors of the event or trying to cover up or excuse. It admits that the church made huge mistakes in how it dealt with the situation. It also explains clearly the atmosphere that generated the church’s paranoia and fear at the time.

But nothing comforts me in the fact of the matter. It was a horrible thing to have happened to innocent men, women, and children died. I can’t say that I am fully satisfied with the Church’s attempts at reconciliation, but I am glad that this is out in the open, and that it is a topic that is no longer being hidden in the shadows of our history.

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One comment

  1. I learned about the event in great detail in college and had before that never heard anything about it–goes to show how much it was talked about in the past. I too appreciate the light shed on the situation, and think it’s important to get facts straight, not only for accuracy’s sake, but in order to pay proper tribut to those who lost their lives so horribly.



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