Polemics & Exchanges

On the Mountain Meadows

I was very disappointed to see William Grigg’s “Frontier Taliban” (Reviews, December 2002) in Chronicles.  Mr. Grigg either is laughably ignorant of the history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre or is content to promote Will Bagley’s agenda, put forth in his book, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  Mr. Bagley is not quite the “independent researcher” that Mr. Grigg takes him to be, and, as an historian, his facts are often far from the truth.

Mr. Grigg would have us believe that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was the direct result of an order given by Brigham Young and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has since been involved in a massive cover-up.  These charges are demonstrably false.

Quoting Mr. Bagley, Mr. Grigg writes that “Mormon historians have habitually ‘laid the blame on the victims and Indians, and that tradition is alive and well today.’”  This is absurd.  In 1874, 17 years after the massacre, John Taylor, senior apostle and future president of the church, wrote in a letter to the Desert News: “That bloody tragedy has been the chief stock in trade . . . for penny-a-liners, the press, and pulpit, who have gloated in turns, and by chorus over the sickening...

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