Letter to the Editor: Mountain Meadows Massacre

Parley P. Pratt | St. George News

OPINION — I noted recently in the St George News a gathering of decedents of the Mountain Meadow Massacre victims for their annual conclave.

Mountain Meadows Massacre StGeorgeNews.com
Memorial erected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the site of the Sept. 11, 1857, Mountain Meadows Massacre about 36 miles southwest of Cedar City, off U.S. Highway 18, where a wagon train of emigrants traveling from Arkansas stopped in the mountain valley en route to California. They were killed by a group of Mormons with the help of Paiute Indians. Washington County, Utah, March 27, 2016 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

The events surrounding the MMM are well documented. The question I have is why this horrible event needs to be celebrated annually?

The motivation for Mormon settlers to kill the travelers from Arkansas remains a mystery.

The persecution of Mormons in that part of the country was legendary as they were driven from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois where their founder Joseph Smith was murdered and the Mormons were driven from there homes in the winter of 1847 to finally find refuge in Utah.

A decade later Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt was gunned down in Arkansas while on Church business. He was my great great grandfather and his remains are still in a grave in Arkansas.

His murder in Arkansas was facilitated by law enforcement and the news came to Utah Mormons a few months before the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Our family believes that Parley’s death lead Mormons in Utah’s Dixie to revenge the death of their beloved Mormon apostle. Parley led the first Mormon Party to explore St George in 1849.

It is documented that the well-armed Arkansas Party traveled the length of the State with livestock destroying local crops. The Party, empowered by their numbers and weapons, bragged of killing Mormons in the Midwest. When they got to Mountain Meadow near St George, the Mormons took out years of pent up anger and frustration. Finding no recourse in the Judicial System, the Mormon locals took a full measure of revenge. The Mormon Church has owned responsibility and apologized, giving restitution to the degree possible.

The descendants of the MMM victims choose to perpetuate memories of the morbid event by meeting annually. My family chooses to celebrate the life of our ancestor, cut short in Arkansas, by singing the hymns and poetry he wrote.

Submitted by Craig Davis of Washington, Utah.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are published as received without edit. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

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  • voice of reason September 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Yes, we should forget this moment of tragedy that affected so many. While we’re at it, we ought to stop recognizing Pearl Harbor Day and September 11th. You, sir, are an embarrassment to the Mormon Church and to the Legacy of Mr. Pratt.

  • wilbur September 15, 2016 at 10:50 am

    EPIC fail…..try again.

  • anybody home September 15, 2016 at 10:53 am

    This letter raises my hackles for two reasons.
    First, because of the sloppy editing. It is Mountain Meadow (no S) and is correct in the letter, but both the headline and the caption get it wrong. No excuse for this.

    Second, because although the writer has an ancient relative whose death apparently spurred MMM, that’s no reason at all for this subtle attack on the families who were killed or their descendants. While the adult Mormon men who were mad at the settlers may have wanted to kill those who had offended them, that did not include women and children who were completely innocent and no amount of rationalizing will change that.

    Also, the skullduggery behind the use of Native American disguises to implicate even more innocents in this horrible crime makes it worse.

    No, Mr. Davis, it was a terrible crime and if the descendants wish to remember it each year – as we remember 9/11 – they do not deserve your bitterness.

    By the way, you are not the only one with a Mormon ancestor. My great-great-grandfather is listed in the big book of important Mormon pioneers. I stand with the descendants of the Mountain Meadow Massacre and not with any of the perpetrators.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic September 15, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Good morning Anybody. We do not edit letters to the editor; they are published “as is” as indicated at the close of the letter and in the “about” section at the very bottom of every letter to the editor. I often remind people asking about submitting an opinion letter that the submission will not be edited as we aim to allow these to retain their character as submitted – not unlike comments posted to stories.
      I hope that helps,
      Joyce E. Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

      • .... September 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        Yeah. !!!!! you tell him Joyce ! 5 ☆☆☆☆☆ stars for that one

      • Roy J September 15, 2016 at 4:28 pm

        much to the author’s chagrin, in some cases…Ha!

    • RealMcCoy September 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      It’s was my understanding that the Mormon church has NOT “owned responsibility and apologized, giving restitution to the degree possible”. From what I have read they passed the buck to a minion from their church, in order to have a scapegoat to blame.
      If there is something that specifically shows the Mormon church has “owned responsibility and apologized, giving restitution to the degree possible”, I’d like to see it.

      As for the authors justifications saying t is “documented that the well-armed Arkansas Party traveled the length of the State with livestock destroying local crops. The Party, empowered by their numbers and weapons, bragged of killing Mormons in the Midwest.”- Where? Where is that documentation?

      Anything reliable to prove that? No- your mormon history book is not reliable by any means. Is there any real proof? Every other reliable historical reference shows that these people were peacefully passing through, and were ambushed and killed. Most people in “hostile territory” do no brag about killing mormons to the very mormons they were seeking safe passage through.

    • .... September 16, 2016 at 1:44 am

      ANYBODY HOME JUST ATTACKED THE ENTIRE MORMON P0PULATION …….just make sure you don’t say anything about Bob because anybody home will ban you from first recess and take you to the principles office

  • tcrider September 15, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Craig Davis, I agree
    this is nothing more than the foundation for fundamentalism.
    these people need to get over it, we need to look at it from both sides.
    what has happened is done and if they want to celebrate revenge, they
    are no different than the ones who made havoc in the first place, the mmm
    sounds like another version of the kkk, but with cult like mentality towards
    anyone that is not Mormon.

  • ScanMeister September 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Hiding from history is not the answer. Descendants of this Massacre are honoring their deceased relatives. Pearl Harbor…D Day…we also honor those that died that day. History can be very inconvenient…….shines light on dark times. I have heard the excuses before as Craig’s letter stated from other LDS. This Massacre by members of the Mormon church was very sad indeed…….women and children shot in the back of the head under white flag. Even the rules of war would take objection to that.

  • Real Life September 15, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Are you serious? You can’t be serious. Nobody is really this stupid and ignorant. Yep, that’s it. This letter is just a ruse.

  • Bob September 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Ok, I’ll take the bait. So, according to Mr. Craig, those early UT mormons were perfectly justified in the savage way they slaughtered those men, women, and kids, and how they used the lowest form of trickery to go about it. Some of these “from old stock” S Utah mormons truly are vile and disgusting creatures. They make a cockroach or a tick or a lous look like a noble animal in comparison. Possibly Craig Davis is trolling for reactions, or maybe he really is this dumb and callous. Either way, he is not worth the time of addressing this letter point by point. And if Parley Pratt was like other top mormon elites at the time then he was a scumbag, liar, a philanderer, and likely a pedophile. Chew on that Mr. Craig

    comments here too: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2016/09/10/njp-jek-to-seek-new-gravesites-from-mountain-meadows-massacre/

  • MOnoMO September 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Mr. Davis,
    Please research the Mountain Meadow Massacre outside of approved church resources to save yourself from such a display of ignorance in the future. May I suggest “Blood of the Prophets” by Will Bagley.

  • Craig September 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Are they reliving a “morbid” event without any other purpose, as you propose?

    Or, are they remembering and celebrating their ancestors just as you are?

  • .... September 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Hey anybody home. .you and Bob are both the same you two have no problem coming here and shooting off your mouth and showing just how stupid and ignorant you both are !

  • .... September 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Hey everybody see what anybody home just posted ? he accuses people of attacking Bob and then he attacks St George news ! and accuses them of sloppy editing ! There was no editing done ! maybe anybody home should shut his mouth and practice he preaches !

  • Pheo September 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    How very Christian it was of them to avenge Pratt’s death. It is like Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, smite them over the head until they are dead.”

  • NotSoFast September 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    The letter to the Editor reminds me of a Black Lives Matters chanting for attention. . Mistakes happen, move on.

  • Roy J September 15, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Oh brother, are you seriously trying to tell another group of people to stop doing something they are entirely within their rights as citizens to do? And trying to formulate an argument in defense of revenge killing?

  • Paul Jensen September 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Well at least the Craig Davis who wrote this had enough guts to post using his real name and not something like those slinging the mud who anomalously call themselves “voice of reason, wilbur, or anybody home.”

  • peanutz714 September 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The author to this letter has their history mixed up. The Fancher train did not leave a trail of Mormon killings and bashing in their wake across the Midwest. When they came to SLC in the midst of the “Utah War” they were denied provisions. They continued south and this treatment continued. For THREE days this group of people were harassed by the Mormon Militia. The Mormons dressed up like Indians. Then they came back and said that they would lead them to safety. At a given signal, you killed the person to your side. Over 120 Men, women, and children were killed. Only 17 children under the age of 7 were spared. They had the gall to try and incorporate these survivors into their own home. It took YEARS for the families to get these kids back. This was a MASS SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENT LIVES ! They have EVERY RIGHT to remember their ancestors. The fact that only one person was brought to Justice, John D. Lee is another miscarriage of Justice. I do not think that the slaughter of 120 lives is equal to loss of your ancestor. Just because the Mormon Church apologized and paid out money did not make this okay then and does not make it okay now. The Mormon Church should be ashamed of this and you should be ashamed by your letter.

    Ray Holt

  • Bob September 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    censoring or just delaying? edit out this if the post was too sharp-edged “truly are vile and disgusting creatures. They make a cockroach or a tick or a lous look like a noble animal in comparison”

    I still think this letter was an attempt at trolling, or can folks really be that ignorant?

  • Don Bagley September 15, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Sure, let’s forget history so we can repeat it. I was raised by two abusive parents who basically insisted I forget the abuse. Well, I forgot their address and phone number, is what i did. For those of you unfortunate enough to attend church with them, good luck.

  • Bob September 15, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    And I’ll say the author succeeded in trolling me, bc I found it to irritate me plenty. So good job on that OP..

  • Dave September 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    “The persecution of Mormons in that part of the country was legendary”

    And like most legends, based more in myth than reality.

    • Chris September 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      “Persecution” of Mormons was the result of their practice of polygamy, plain and simple. There were many religious minorities in those parts of the country who experienced no such discrimination, but they practiced monogamy like all civilized peoples.

  • godisdead September 15, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    The Mormon church has never acknowledged the truth about the slaughter of these people, and truth about the mormon cover-up of the massacre.

  • Kristi September 16, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I’ve always heard it was at the hands of Brigham Youngs men, because they wouldn’t join the Mormon church. I’d believe that in a blink of an eye since he had his men kill Joseph Smith too. And the Mormons claim to have a letter signed by Joseph Smith himself stating I’m his death should Brigham Young become the next Prophet. Well you all should know that you can’t become a self proclaimed prophet. And the Mormons could never produce this said letter. Three questions 1) Why are there so many Mormons leaving the church? 2) Is because they see the church for what it really is? 3) Is this article Craig Davis’ way of getting 5 min fame because his ancestor didn’t? Just askin

    • Real Life September 16, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Good old Bang ’em Young should have been hung right in the middle if town square for everyone to see. This “prophet” was no man of God.

  • .... September 16, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Well this looks like a job for Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry and his side kick Deputy Bob Fife. !

  • Chris September 16, 2016 at 8:40 am

    may the first 9/11 victims of religious terrorism never be forgotten. RIP

  • Mark September 16, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Pratt was in Arkansas on church business??? History says different…. Pratt was there attempting to take a married woman from another man to add to his harem of wives and got shot over it. Author seems to be just another of the dime a dozen blind followers. It’s no wonder surrounding states refer to us a Utards.

  • old school September 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Interesting opinion, I suppose in the given context we shouldn’t remember 9/11, Memorial Day or the Holocaust. It’s typical human nature for groups to resist any dark stain on their heritage, but loved ones deserve to be remembered

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