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Revenge for Haun’s Mill & Pratt’s Murder?

20 years before the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 17 Mormons were killed in Haun’s Mill, Missouri.  And just four months earlier, Parley P. Pratt, a beloved Mormon apostle was killed May 13, 1857 in Arkansas.  Just a few months after Pratt’s death, around 100 immigrants from Arkansas were killed.  Is it true that Mormons sought revenge for the Haun’s Mill and Pratt’s murder?  Barbara Jones Brown will answer that question.

Barbara: So I looked at that theory and all I can find is proximate cause, meaning, so okay, this happened in Arkansas, therefore these people were from Arkansas, therefore that must be the reason. But when I looked at it, I don’t think that was the motive. I think these other things that I’ve been talking about were the motive. Here are my reasons. Quite a lot of the perpetrators eventually come out and say why this happened as well as local people. They give a whole slew of motives and reasons for why this happened. Not one of them ever said that Parley P. Pratt’s murder was a motive.

GT: Hmm. That’s among the principal people that were involved.

Barbara: Yeah. Anyone. Anyone. You can’t find a single Mormon that ever said that.

GT: So, do you think that’s overplayed then?

Barbara: I do.

Were you surprised to hear Brown downplay Pratt and Haun’s Mill in the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Check out our conversation….

Barbara Jones Brown disputes the idea that Mountain Meadows was revenge for Haun's Mill or Parley Pratt's murder.
Barbara Jones Brown disputes the idea that Mountain Meadows was revenge for Haun’s Mill or Parley Pratt’s murder.

Don’t miss our other episodes about the massacre.

256: Utah War & Mountain Meadows Massacre (Jones-Brown)

194: What is the Dead Lee Scroll? (Mayfield)

193: John D. Lee’s Role in Mountain Meadows Massacre (Mayfield)

074: CSI: Mountain Meadows – Using DNA to Solve 2 Mysteries (Perego)

 

 

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Utah War & Mountain Meadows Massacre (Part 1 of 6)

If you didn’t grow up in Utah, you’ve probably never heard of the Utah War.  Federal troops came to Utah in 1857 creating great anxiety among the Mormons.  This war footing led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the lowest point in Mormon history.  Barbara Jones-Brown tells about these events that led to the greatest atrocity in American history up to that point in 1857.

Barbara: A memorial from Utah’s legislature [was sent to Washington] saying, “Look, if you keep sending us federal officials that we don’t like, that we don’t agree with, we’re going to send them away. Please choose appointees that are from among us and represent our values.” Basically one legislator said it was practically a declaration of independence. So there’s these kinds of stories, these kind of rumors, some based in fact, some exaggerated that reach Washington. So the new president concludes that he needs to send a whole new set of territorial appointees to Utah, including one to replace Brigham Young as governor and that he’s going to send federal troops with them to ensure that they are placed successfully and with no resistance from local Utahans.

So Brigham Young and church leaders interpret this as a threat and they vowed that the army, the troops will never enter into their settlements. I’m really glossing over things quickly here, but you have what came to be called the Utah War erupt where the troops and the federal appointees, as they are nearing settlements of what was then Utah Territory. Young and other church leaders send out Mormon militia men to hamper their way. So they’re running off their cattle, they’re burning the grass in front of them. They are burning their supply wagons, doing everything they can to try and get the troops to be stopped on the plains that year. So that’s the environment and you’ve got this war hysteria going, on if you will, in Utah Territory.

These heightened tensions contributed to Mormons in Utah committing the worst war atrocity in U.S. history up to that time in 1857.  Approximately 100 settlers from Arkansas were killed.  Check out our conversation….

President James Buchanan sent federal troops to Utah to quell the "Mormon Rebellion." The Utah War indirectly led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
President James Buchanan sent federal troops to Utah to quell the “Mormon Rebellion.” The Utah War indirectly led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Check out our other conversations about the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

194: What is the Dead Lee Scroll? (Mayfield)

193: John D. Lee’s Role in Mountain Meadows Massacre (Mayfield)

074: CSI: Mountain Meadows – Using DNA to Solve 2 Mysteries (Perego)

 

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How Jerald Tanner Identified Fake Salamander Letter (Part 2)

Jerald Tanner was the first person to publicly question Mark Hofmann’s fake Salamander Letter.  His wife Sandra details how Jerald came to that conclusion.

Sandra:  Jerald, realizes this, there’s a story of a document out there that claim to be by Martin Harris about the magic involvement of Joseph in the coming forth of Book of Mormon in a magic setting. So he went back to E.D. Howe’s, “Mormonism Unvailed” that has statements by the neighbors that all talk about the Smiths’ involvement in magic. And so he’s becoming more familiar with getting this fresh in his mind what these affidavits all said. And there had been a BYU Studies article a year or two before that had talked about Joseph Knight, who was an early Mormon at the Smith home at the time that coming out of the Book of Mormon. And he had read that article so he was kind of getting prepped up on his research ahead of time. So when he get that copy of the letter, he’d be able to jump right into an evaluation of it. So he gets the letter–the type copy, not the original and he’s reading through this and the more he looks at it, he says to me, “There’s something wrong. This has got phrases in it that have to come from E.D. Howe and from the Joseph Knight letters. And so someone’s making this up.”

Now I don’t think he was sure that it was Mark, but someone was making up documents. So this is a forgery. And I’m like, “Jerald, everyone accepts Mark’s documents. I mean Dean Jessee at the Church Historians Office is not going to want to accept Mark’s documents that are critical of Joseph Smith that tie him to magic unless they feel they have to. I mean, why would they? Why wouldn’t they be asking these questions?”

Jerald says, “I don’t care. I’m telling you there’s something wrong. The similarities of wording is too much there.”

She also tells her reaction!

Sandra:  I’m telling Jerald we could get sued. You can’t just run around saying something’s forgery. Someone’s going to sue us. Mark will sue us for defamation or something, and Jerald says, “He’s not going to sue us.”

I said, “How can you be sure?”

And he says, “Because it’s a forgery. He has no background to prove this document.”

And I said, “Well please don’t lose my house.”

Check out our conversation…. and don’t forget part 1 describing how Sandra met Mark Hofmann.

Jerald Tanner was the first to determine the Salamander Letter was fake.
Jerald Tanner was the first to identify the fake Salamander Letter.