Mountain Meadows Horror Continues 150 Years Later

by Rocky Hulse

September 2007

As we approach September 11th, Americans everywhere will reflect on the tragic event of that day in 2001; however, we had more than one terrible tragedy that happened on September 11th.  As a nation, we are all aware of the horror of 9/11/2001; but few are aware of the horror of the First September 11th.  Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, this horrific event happened September 11, 1857.  On that tragic September day, 120 innocent men, women, and children were brutally murdered by 60, and possibly as many as 100, Mormon men under direct orders from their Priesthood leadership.

A very rich wagon train from Arkansas consisting of about 140 people, 1,000 head of cattle, 200 horses, 40 wagons and carriages, and thousands of dollars in gold was attacked, looted and left with but 17 survivors, all 7 years of age or less.  Historian Will Bagley has made the historical connection through the diary of Dimmick Huntington, Indian Interpreter and brother-in-law of Brigham Young, that Brigham himself ordered the attack by telling the Indian Chiefs they could have the cattle if they would attack the train.  The Indians did attack the wagon train on September 6th; however, the seasoned pioneers put up a staunch fight after being surprised and suffering some casualties.

The Indians withdrew under the superior firepower of the pioneers.  With the Indians failing to do their part, the Mormon leaders met in Parowan and came up with a heinous plot.  Under the direction of Stake President Isaac Haight, and Bishop William Dame the Commander of the Iron County Militia (a remnant of the Nauvoo Legion), Bishop John D. Lee rode into the siege encampment of the pioneers with a white truce flag.  He told the pioneers that the Indians had agreed to allow the Mormons to rescue the pioneers and take them to safety if they would lay down their arms. Believing the Mormons to be their deliverers, they did.  The wounded and children seven years of age and under were put into two separate wagons; the children’s wagon was driven by Samuel McMurdy, 1st Counselor in the Cedar Ward.  The women and remaining children were then led out first.  With a quarter mile spacing between them, the unarmed men were then led out escorted with an armed Mormon guard.  Once clear of the encampment and out in the open, Nauvoo Legion Maj. John Higbee, 1st Counselor to Stake President Haight, gave the order: “Halt, do your duty.”  The Mormon escort guards turned and gunned down at point blank range the men.  At the sound of gunfire, Indians and Saints disguised as Indians came from ambush positions and clubbed, stabbed, and shot to death the women and children.  The wounded in the wagon were shot at point blank range.

Only the seventeen children were spared because “they were too young to tell the tale,” and Mormon Doctrine states there is no forgiveness for the shedding of innocent blood (children under the age of eight).  The children were doled out to Mormon homes and two years later when they were recovered by the Indian Agent, Forney, the Mormon Church billed the Federal Government for room and board.  Authorization was made for payment to those who killed the children’s very parents in the sum of $2,961.77.  Brevet Major Carleton, of the U.S. Army First Dragoons, who first found the killing field in Mountain Meadows, said of this payment: “Has there ever been an act which at all equaled this in devilish hardihood, in more than devilish effrontery?  Never, but one: and even then the price was but ‘30 pieces of silver.’”  (Mountain Meadows Massacre, Special Report, 57th Congress 1st Session, House of Representatives, Document No. 605).

Federal Stewardship

     The horror of this event lives on today. The Mormon Church refuses to acknowledge any complicity in the wretched event. What is even worse, they have purchased all the land in the area of the killings. Four mass graves still hold the remains of these innocent people. The descendants have tried for years to be granted access to these mass graves to properly honor and bury their dead; HOWEVER, THE MORMON CHURCH REFUSES TO ALLOW THEM THIS SIMPLE ACT OF DECENCY.

How is this possible in 2007? Is this Bosnia, Iraq or Afghanistan we’re talking about here? No! We are talking about the control of the Mormon Church inside the “Zion Curtain,” a state known as Utah.  If you’re the Mormon Church, you can kill them, and then with your money, purchase the land and keep the descendants away.  How can this be?

There is no question that the Mormon Priesthood ordered this massacre, and the Mormon Church will not allow the families to properly bury their dead. The descendants of these people petitioned the Mormon Church in 1999 for Federal Stewardship of this area. They were seeking to have a neutral third party, the US Government, awarded the land. This would have allowed the descendants access to the graves so they can properly honor their dead. They were refused. In the spring of 2007 another request was made; again denial. Mormon Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It’s not in the best interests of the church to allow federal stewardship in the meadows.” Phil Bolinger, President of the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation, meeting with the Mormon representative, Marlin Jensen on April 25th said, “It’s not right for the people who had complicity to the killings to be the grave owner.” He followed up with a sage question, “I asked him, ‘How do you think the Kennedy family would feel if the Lee Harvey Oswald family had control of the Kennedy tomb?”  That question says it all—would, we Americans allow such a thing? NEVER!! This holdout by the Mormon Church, refusing to allow the descendants of the innocent victims, who their Priesthood leadership ordered killed, to properly bury their dead, is outrageous.  These aren’t the actions of a religious organization—a religious organization would have compassion for such a tragedy. These are the actions of a large corporation trying to protect its assets—it’s all about business, plain old dollars and cents!

I thought the Mormon Church was all about families? Their actions have certainly proved they are not; I guess it depends on whether or not you killed those families!  This most despicable act in American history lives on by the Mormon Church thumbing its nose at the descendants of those its Priesthood killed.

I interviewed four of the descendants of this massacre on our TV show “Truth Outreach.”   Those shows were very hard to film—I could hardly keep my emotions in check.  This brutal, senseless, religious fanatical killing, done by order of the Mormon Priesthood, just makes my blood boil. I hope it makes yours boil as well! The only thing that will make the Mormon Church budge one inch on this issue is NEGATIVE PUBLIC OPINION!!

If you want to right one of the WORST WRONGS in American history, stop by the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center—we are collecting signatures on petitions demanding the Mormon Church to turn this killing field over to the Federal Government so the families can properly inter their dead. Go up on the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation (MMMF) website (just Google Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation and take the 1857massacre website) and on the main page is a link to download a PDF.file for the petition, or write to us and we’ll send you a couple.  Pass them around your church, work, and your neighborhood.  Hundreds of thousands of signatures and letters and phone calls is the only thing that will get their attention. Only the angry outcry of the American public will force the Mormon Church to do the right thing. Tell everyone you know about this!

If you wish to write a letter demanding release of Mountain Meadows, send it to:
Marlin Jensen, LDS CHURCH, 35 North West Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84150. You may call and complain to the LDS Church: Tom Owen 801-240-1000. Call the Switchboard in Washington D.C. to be connected to your US Senator or Congressman: (202) 224-3121.  Get involved, you can make a difference to right this ugly wrong!! Let your voice be heard!!

MMMF needs strength in numbers—if you’re interested in joining a just cause send your $20.00 yearly membership fee to: Membership Application, Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation, Inc., 8002 Wind Rock Lane, Harrison, AR 72601—Helen and I did!!