In our final conversation with Barbara Jones Brown, we’ll talk about who was most culpable for the massacre. Was it John D. Lee, Brigham Young, or militia leaders in Iron County?
Barbara: [Brigham Young] starts to come to believe that John D Lee and Isaac Haight we’re involved. Now at this time, he doesn’t have civil authority. He just has church authority, right? Because he’s not the governor anymore. And so, he excommunicates John D. Lee and Isaac Haight, eventually.
GT: Would it be safe to say that those were the two most responsible people for the massacre?
Barbara: I think William Dame is also responsible because he gave the final okay to go ahead and carry it out as Iron County militia commander. Phillip Klingensmith was clearly very much involved and clearly received much of the spoils. We know from a clerk of Phillip Klingensmith that he was pilfering tithing funds and stealing from the people long before the massacre.
But is Brigham Young completely blameless?
Barbara: I agree with Juanita Brooks’ conclusion that his rhetoric before the massacre was very dangerous. You know, privately he was writing and saying, “I don’t want any bloodshed in this conflict.” But he was definitely whipping people up into a state of hysteria.
GT: Would Brigham Young be an accessory to that with his rhetoric?
Barbara: I don’t think he’s an accessory to the crime. I look at President Donald Trump today and some of his rhetoric that he uses. Did he tell people to do what happened at Charlottesville? No. But did his rhetoric make people think it was okay to do what they did? Did some people think it was okay to do what they did at Charlottesville? Probably. So, would you call Trump an accessory to any crime? Would you call Trump an accessory to the crime that occurred at Charlottesville when you had one of these people drive a car into protesters? No. I wouldn’t call Trump an accessory to that crime. No. But did his rhetoric encourage some people to think that was okay? Possibly.
Check out our conversation….
Check out our other episodes with Barbara!
260: After the Killing (Jones Brown)
259: Cattle Rustling Turns Deadly (Jones Brown)
258: Tackling Myths of Mountain Meadows (Jones Brown)
257: Revenge for Haun’s Mill & Pratt’s Murder? (Jones Brown)
256: Utah War & Mountain Meadows Massacre (Jones Brown)