On the morning of September 15, the Mormon melisha, was called to a prayer meeting, by John M. Higby. Under the beautiful serenity of heaven,with which the angles must have looked down with infinite sorrow on the hellish seen, thoes wretched victims of unquestioning obedience, of superstition and fanaticism, knelt in a form of a ...prayer circle..
With heads bowed in abject prayer, to an alien god, and each right arm raised in the form of a square, thoes unhappy dupes listening, while one of .....the servants of the lord...asked the blessing of there god upon the deeds they were about to enact, and for divine protection while they were ...avenging the blood of the prophets, who died in the carthage jail...and the saints who perished in Missouri and Illinois...the invocation ended, the brethren covented together with ...council.
The church claims that a messenger by the name of Haslem was sent to Brigham Young, by priesthood leaders from cedar city, to Salt Lake City, to ask him what should be done with the wagon train, his response was, return to the meadows , spare no horse flesh, let the wagon train pass. There was testimony from others that this was a cover up, to protect Brigham Young, from any involvement in the massacre.
On the morning of the 15 th, Samual knight was at Jacob Hamblins ranch near by, was ask to take his two wagons over to the meadows, which was a couple miles away, he tried all he could to plead, not to go there, he knew what was going to happen,he said that his wife was ill, and he needed to stay home and take care of her. But if a leader speaks in mormondom the priesthood member acts.. now...so he did as he was ask,and took the horses and wagons to the meadows.
The massacre was to begin at 2 P.M. on the 15 th,,of September. John D, Lee and William Bateman,walked toward the circled wagon train, with a white flag in hopes they could get the immigrants to surrender, if they would then Lee promised them that he would keep them from harm from the Indians and take them to cedar city in safety. If they would give up there arms and surrender. The leaders in the train were very reluctant to do what was ask because of lack of trust, in the Mormon leaders. but what choice did they have, they were at the mercy of the Mormon church leaders. The decision was made with reluctance. The agreement was made to surrender. Lee then called in the wagons from the Hamblins ranch, and entered into the corraled wagon train. As they entered the emigrants, were in the process of burying two of the men who had died from there previous wounds.
John D. Lee describing in his own words from the second trail the incident as follows...."As I entered the fortifications, men women and children gathered around me in wild consternation. Some felt that the time of their happy deliverance had come,while others, although in deep distress and terror.....describing his sensations,Lee continues.....My position was painful,trying and awful; my brain seemed to be on fire; my nerves were for a moment unstrung; humanity was overpowered, as I thought of the cruel, unmanly part I was acting.....I knew that I was acting a cruel part and doing a damnable deed. Yet my faith in the godliness of my leaders was such that it forced me to think that I was not sufficiently spiritual, to act the important part I was commanded to perform"...The immigrants were ordered to put there guns and ammunition into the wagon, also ordered the children and the wounded to be put into the other wagon. They told them, that if they did not hurry ,the Indians would get excited and attack. The Indians were at that point some 100 strong.
There happened to be a father and son that came up from st George to help John D. Lee with the massacre, the son told his father upon arrival that he just could not be involved in this inhumane murder,the boy started to run in the opposite direction of the massacre site, and the father, told him to return immediately. For fear of knowing what the church leaders would do to him if he disobeyed, the priesthood orders. The boy turned around to leave, and the father shot him in the ear and took off part of his ear, the father knew that his sons life would be taken, if he disobeyed.
One of the wagons was loaded with the guns, and ammunition, the other with two wounded men, and some of the small children, thoes that were young enough, "to tell no tails". They were taken out and started up the road,the women were next to line they were to follow, behind the first wagon. The men unarmed were next, they were to follow behind the women single file, 4 feet apart from each other, the idea was to have the Mormon militia, in a line single file, up the road waiting. As the emigrants approached the Mormon militia the order was given by Higby, ...."Do Your Duty".... then each of the militia was to do there ...."Priesthood Duty".....which they did, instantly killing each and every one of the men. the Indians was further up the road and they were instructed to kill all the women and children that were old enough to remember. It was done at the same time as the men were shot to death. The women and the children who were on foot ran forward some two hundred yards, screaming ....Help Us... they were quickly over taken by the Indians among whom were some, Mormons disguised as Indians. The women fell on their knees, and with clasped hands pleading in vain for mercy; clutching the garments of there murders, as they grasped them by the hair, children pleated for life, meeting with the steady gaze of innocent childhood the demoniac grin of the savages, who brandished over them with uplifted knives,and tomahawks. There skulls were battered in, there throats cut, from ear to ear,and while some still alive, there scalp was torn from there heads. Some of the little ones met with a more merciful death, one an infant in arms, being shot through the head by the same bullet that pierced its mothers heart. Of the women none were spared, and of the children only thoes, who were thought to be no more than 7 years old.
Two of Lee's men, Samual McMurdy and Samual Knight had the duty of killing the two wounded men in the wagon. Carrying out there orders, with loaded rifles, they approached the wagons, where the wounded men lay, calling out..."O LORD MY GOD"....he exclaimed,... "Receive there spirits,".. raised there rifles, then shot through the brain of a wounded man, who was laying with his head on a sick comrade's breast, killing both men. There was one little girl who was laying on top of her mother, still alive, with one arm clutching around her mothers neck, crying and her other arm shot mostly off. Most of the children witnessed the murders of there fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
There were two girls one sixteen and, one eighteen, they ran and hid in the oak brush. The Indian chief found the two girls and brought them to John D. Lee and said, that they are to pretty to kill. There names were Rachel, and Ruth Dunlap. It was reported that the girls pled for mercy and told Lee, that they would work for him, and love him all his life, and serve his needs as to whatever he wanted them to do, but the girls were both..... Sexually Abused ....and afterwards there throats cut from ear to ear .... There was personal testimony at the 2ND trial of John D Lee from Jacob Hamblins 15 year old Indian boy, whom Hamblin had adopted, testified that he sat on the hill above where the girls were hiding, and wittinessed the sexual abuse and murder of the Dunlap girls, by John D.Lee.
A survivor, by the name of Charley Fancher the son of the wagon leader was near the meadows a few years later, and in his childish way said...(some of the Indians, after the slaughter, went to the little creek, and that after washing there faces they were white men.)
Dead bodies were striped naked, men, women, and children, mutilated and scalped, the bodies were taken to a gully and stacked one upon another, and left to the wolves and the elements.
Now the massacre was over, the men were ordered to come together in a circle, and was ask to raise there right hand to the square and make packs of secrecy and life threatening promises to god, that at the peril of their lives was never to tell or discuss, the incident with anyone, not even there own families. They were told by priesthood leaders that ..."The will Of The Lord Had Finally been Appeased."
After the massacre the booty was divided up among the Indians and the Mormons, they even took the dresses and under clothing right off the dead bodies, and took it home and washed it and used all of it, The cattle were also divided. The Mormons received there share and they all returned to there homes to ponder and suffer all the problems and emotional stress, that was to come..
Two years later,the U.S.Government under the leadership of Major Carelton and his men, were sent, to gather up the immigrants remains, and give them a proper burial. They gathered up body parts as far away as one mile, that the wolves and coyotes had dragged away. They also erected a rock mound as a monument to the Fancher party,there was a cross that stood ten feet high and six feet wide, with the inscription ..."VENGEANCE IS MINE, AND I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD."
Within a couple of years Brigham Young visited the massacre site, on his way to ST. George Utah, along with 30 or so other men, some church leaders. He arrived at Mountain Meadows, got off his wagon, and walked around looking at the monument and cross, then he ordered several of the priesthood leaders, to completely destroy the cross and rock monument, as to be out of sight, out of mind, and the words from him was..."VENGINES IS MINE, AND I HAVE TAKEN IT"..... Later on September 10 th, 1937 a brass ingraved sign at the burial sight was installed by the Utah Pioneer Trails And Land Association. It was not until around 1960 that a beauitful monument was erected,with the names of the emigrants, and a short story of the massacre, at the site.
There were 17 children that survived the massacre, and they were divided among the Mormon settlers. Later U.S. Government officials was sent to the southern settlements to gather up the children, and take them back to there extended family and friends.
Through a chain of events on March 23 th,1877, John D. Lee was tried and was to bare the blunt, of the massacre, and was later convicted for the murders, taking the full responsibility of the Mormon leaders and Brigham Young. He was taken to the Mountain Meadows and there shot and killed, in front of family and friends. The body was taken to the Panguich cemetery, and there finally put to rest. Lees final words before he died was...."I Have Been Sacrificed In A Cowardly, Dastardly Manner, then he continued, ..I Am Ready To Die. I Trust In God. I Have No Fear. Death Has No Terror... Finally he closed with the words, Having said this, I feel resigned. I ask the lord, my god, if my labors are done,to receive my spirit". No others were put on trial for there part in the massacre. Brigham Young died just five months later,on August 29 1877,of natural causes.
John D. Lee had in his life 18 polygamist wives and 60 children. Lee had been sealed to Brigham Young in the temple, for time and all eternity. He was dedicated to Brigham Young and the church. The church leadership on May 8 1960, restored his membership and former blessings.
The tragedy of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, is one that is unforgivable, and one we would all wish had never happened. But it demonstrates what we as people in a church or churches of religious fanaticism, can allow the control of our minds to become deceived and brainwashed, into doing things we would not ordinarily participate in. Because we have, or have had, leaders who think that they have Gods authority and permission and can say, God has commanded it. Thoes men who were involved, in that horrible deed, would have never allowed themselves to have done what they did, if church leaders had not have commanded them to follow ....."Priesthood Leadership" ...."All in the name of God.".....
We might ask ourselves the question today, would we, follow blindly, the orders, of others, to commit such acts of ....."Inhumanity"........
History of Utah 1540 to 1886.. Hubert Howe Bancroft.
History Of Utah 1847 to 1869.. Andrew Neff.
Mormons And Mormonism in The U.S. Government Documents..Fales and Flake.
John Doyle Lee.. Jaunita Brooks.
Mountain Meadows Massacre.. Jaunita Brooks.
Mountain Meadows Massacre.. Josiah F. Gibbs.
Lights And Shadows of Mormonism.. Josiah F. Gibbs.
John D. Lee Journals.. John D. Lee.
Mormonism Shadow Or Reality...Gerald And Sandra Tanner.
Rocky Mountain Saints...T.B.H. Stenhouse.
Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism... Beadle.
Utah State Historical Society... Salt Lake City Utah.