Before I start my story I would like to give a short history and story of our exodus out of Mormonism. We are five generation Mormons and were very active in the L.D.S church for thirty six years. When we first became active in the church we had had one of our children killed in a freak accident in Idaho. She was, at the time of her death, five years old. We had not been attending church, or very little. My wife and I were were both from L.D.S parents who did not believe the church was true. Religion meant very little to us. But upon the death of our five year old daughter we began to try and find out why God had taken this special spirit away from us, in such a devastating manner. We wanted answers. Shortly after her death we became active in the Mormon church.
We jumped in, hook, line and sinker.We believed everything that was taught about where she was and how we could be with her again.. But there was a catch, if only we were worthy and could get to the temple and be sealed together , that would give us a ticket,.... if you would.... To have our daughter, who had been killed, and also our other living children sealed together, then we would be together forever. Well we fell for all the Mormon doctrine never looking back, we were going to do whatever it took to have that blessing in our lives, so as we thought?
Then as the years went by, we began to question many things about the church. We would ask our friends and church leaders questions about what we were finding. Their reply would be, well, we don't have the answers for some of those questions. You need to live on faith and some day you will know . We always said well o.k, and let it go unanswered. We wanted to be together as a family. I started to think about that family togetherness, and what it meant. Low and behold I began to realize that it was not going to happen as the church leaders had portrayed to us.. So think about this..My wife and I leave this life and we go to another earth to start our own world. First.. my wife will need to be content, with me having many, many,more wives. That alone makes me very sick, and I know she would not put up with it anyway. I would not put her through that abuse for anything. I have studied, read stories, journals and diaries, of my family and others, who had practiced polygamy, with that knowledge alone I can see that the church is not true. The Lord would not do that to any of his daughters, if so, I do not want to live with the ...Mormon God.... But any way getting back to the family unit. We are on that new planet, starting a new world together and we want our children to be with us. That's what the church teaches. We will all be together. Well guess what, our children are on another planet, starting their new world and the same for their children. We as couples are so busy having all these children, to populate our new earth, that we will never see our parents,or the children we have now, let alone any of our past relatives or future ones..Furthermore me as the priesthood holder and the god of that new world, is getting very tired ... to say the least of... sexual intimacy..., that I am ready to die, just trying to get it populated..
Well we began to recognized that that was not going to be, and we started our own research of the ..other.. history of the church, that the church leaders have been hiding,ever since the beginnings of Mormonism. The more research we got involved in, the worse it got. To us the church definitely was no longer ....true.... not now.... not ever. It was somewhat difficult, to say the least, coming out of the deceit and lies that had been given us.. We were also very uncomfortable with the....holier than thou attitude.... of the Mormon church..
If you want to read our whole story go to Eric A. kettunen, Mormon Recovery page on the internet ( http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~erickett/index.htm) and go to recovery number twenty five. It will tell more about our lives and experience.
The mountain meadows massacre was one of many problems, we found with the Mormon church. That will be the story I will share with you in the following pages. It will be very difficult to let you see the whole story in just a short history, but to the end I will make some references as to where you may do your further research..
We have researched this massacre history very aggressively, and with many tears. and deep hurting feeling for thoes with who may have been directly or indirectly involved. We have visited the site many times. We found we had our own pioneer families involved. We have direct family history and information from many other writers who have tried to attempt to show the truth and involvement of the Mormon church. The devastation of countless lives, and never any type of "apology", from the Mormon Church..... The church has tried continually to cover this up, and also other church history. They tried to blame the whole affair on the Native American Indians. As far as the Mormon church is concerned, it was all done, "In the name of God".. and that there need not be any ..."apology"....
If our ancestors... who were involved , or knew about, the mountain meadows massacre... were here today, I'm sure they would say something like this.
First... A heart felt apology to my Father in heaven for thinking that you would sanction the taking of innocent lives of men, women and children all in the name of Deity.
I apologize... to my Savior, who taught me to love one another, and to value all people, even to the point of sacrificing his own life for me.
I apologize... to my wife, children and family, I am so sorry that I was involved in the treacherous murder of all thoes innocent people.
I apologize... for listening to priesthood leaders, who told me this was the will of the Lord, so that his church could move foreword and avenge the death of the prophet Joseph Smith.
I apologize... to the men who witnessed my part in what I did on that horrible afternoon.
I apologize... to the children who witnessed the cruel, senseless murders of their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
I apologize... to the families of thoes who were brutally murdered by men who were following orders from Mormon leadership. I do not, excuse myself for participating in this horrible crime.
I apologize... to the American people for creating such an awful page of history that will be there forever, to degrade what we call a free country.
In the spring of 1857 a excited but apprehensive group of American settlers left Missouri to start a new life in the west, a place called California. They, consisting of approximately 120 men, women and children.The immigrants headed west with 34 wagons,with what was considered at that time, a very well equipped and very well organized wagon train. It was estimated that they were carrying a large sum of gold, so as to purchase land upon their arrival in California. They also had about 600 head of choice livestock.The estimated value of the wagon train was $70,000.00.
They arrived in Salt Lake City on or about the sixteenth of august, 1857. There they purchased some needed supplies and rested. At this point there was some concern as to the route over the sierra mountains, because of the possibility of getting involved in a snow storm, as did the Donner party. To be on the safe side they changed their plans and took the southern route through Utah, a more favored route for westward travelers for that late in the season. So the decision was finalized to travel south, which would take them through several Mormon communities that had been settled for approximately six years. There were also in Salt Lake City another group of emigrants, called the Missouri wildcats, that decided to travel with the Fancher party, consisting of 28 more men women and children, 40 additional wagons, plus additional livestock. The distance they would travel from Salt Lake City, to mountain meadows would be over three houndred miles.
After four days of travel from Salt Lake City they found themselves in a real problem. The Mormon settlements would not sell them any necessary supplies. The Mormon church president Brigham Young had sent, George A. Smith south ahead of the wagon train, with instructions not to sell to the wagon train,which was then called the Fancher party, any type of commodities. Also, the church leaders were to instruct the members that under no circumstances were they to provide any help to the wagon train, under penalty of possible harm or death to themselves or their families. The church history says, that Brigham Young on September 4, 1857 had declared martial law throughout the entire territory, because of the approaching Johnsons Army that was being sent from the east by orders of the President of the United States. The purpose for the army coming to Utah was to have Brigham Young removed as governor of the territory, and install a new governor. There had been very serious problems with the Utah territorial political leaders for eight years. There had been numerous complaints of political abuse. These complaints had been sent to Washington. Church leaders were not following the laws of the United States government. There was no separation from church and state. What Brigham Young said and did was law. Brigham Young stated in a conference talk......"It is reported that I have said that whosoever the president appoints, I am still governor. I repeat it, all hell cannot remove me. ....(.cries of amen)... I am still your governor... (cries of glory to god).....I will still rule this people until god himself permits another to take my place"... Other government officials had been sent to Utah to serve in their political capacities to no avail. No one breathed without Brigham young knowing it. He made all the decisions.
Also there were complaints with problems of polygamy. Anyway the church leaders took Johnsons army as a real threat. The Mormons said that they were not going to be run out of their communities any more. They were ready to stand up and fight. Also, another dilemma with the saints was that Brigham Young had started what he called the reformation, and blood atonement, which had very much upset the Mormon people. The reformation was to reform the saints. It was a time of concession, ....repentance..., and.... renewal of covenants....Disharmony, lack of faith, cheating, stealing and abuse to each other, that brought the reformation about. This also included some church leaders. Brigham Young wanted it stopped. So hence, a reformation that all was to reform and be rebaptised. The preaching of the blood atonement, whole different story, was in effect at this time...1856-1857....The blood atonement created a atmosphere of hysterical repentance. If any member of the church had committed certain crimes, that were unforgivable, then the only way to have repentance was by the voluntary shedding of your own blood, in order to have complete forgiveness in the next life. The saints were afraid, because they knew that the Danites or Brighams destroying angels would see to it that Brighams will would be carried out.
Another problem that complicated the matter was that Brigham Young had preached a violent sermon in which he said that ..."There is not a man or woman who violates the covenants made with their God in the Mormon temple, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out.Your own blood must atone for it, and the judgments of the almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man or woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants"..... journal of discourses vol .111 page 247.
One of the covenants in the temple was that each person going through a session would toward the end of the endowment stand and raise their right hand to the square and promise and covenant to god,and swear to avenge the death of their prophet Joseph Smith. That part of the temple ceremony was started shortly after Josephs death in 1844 and went until right after the mountain meadows massacre in 1857, at which time Brigham Young figured that the prophets death had been avenged, and it was then removed from the temple ceremony. So there was great termoil in and out of the church, which helped lead up to the problems, facing the saints and those traveling with the wagon train.
As the wagon train moved south through the settlements there was great uneasiness on both sides. The Fancher party unable to receive help, and the saints mad because , there had been rumors that the wagon train had some members with them that had killed the prophet and that there were among them some who had killed some of their family members at The Hawns Mill Massacre in Missouri. Other rumors also made the whole affair very unfortunate. As the train passed through Utah the emigrants had also been charged with poisoning some of the watering holes. It was said that some of the saints livestock had drank from the pools and the livestock had died and Indians had ate the flesh of the dead animals and themselves died. If the Fancher party had had room to carry with them gallons and gallons of poison, which it would have taken to have done that, then it could have been substantiated. It never was. Just another rumor. The train stopped at the fort in Parowan to rest and let their animals feed, when one of the members of the train recognized one of the men at a fort. He had been friends with him in Missouri., his name was William DeLaney. He went to talk to him and his family and as they approached the farm house they noticed some onions growing in the front yard and ask if some could be purchased. The reply was, yes indeed to a friend. the wife, of William A. Aden, went and pulled half of a sack onions, and gave them to there friends. A few days later the church leaders found out about it and sent two Danites or priesthood brothers to the farm and very seriously beat up the farmer in front of his two wives. He was beaten so bad with a club as to maim him severely for the rest of his life. He had gone against Brigham Youngs order, not to give, to the train any type of help what so ever.
On the 7 th, of September, the wagon train continued south to what was called mountain meadows which was about straight west of Cedar city twenty five miles. They decided to rest themselves and their livestock and prepare themselves for the treacherous journey that they had heard lay ahead over the Nevada and California desert. This was one of the major stopping places for westward travelers. There was good water to replenish their needs and lots of lush grass to feed their animals in preparation for the long journey. Little did they know of their ..."fate".... which lay ahead.
On September 4 th, Brigham Young sent a request to all of the leaders of the Indian tribes in the Utah territory,to come to Salt Lake City, as soon as possible. He met with them and told them that ,the U.S.Government was sending troops to Utah for the purpose of exterminating the Mormons and also, all the Indian tribes in the territory. So it was necessary for them to join in with the Mormons, to help fight them off, and save there own people, it created such a frenzy among the Indian chiefs, that they promised to join in and help the saints. Brigham Young also met with the chief Kanosh and had a private meeting with him,he was the Indian chief that was accused of killing Captain John Gunnison and his men on oct.28 th, 1853, they were in Utah at the time, surveying for the U.S.Government. There was testimony that the massacre was committed by white men dressed up as Indians, in the book called The Unsolicited Chronicler by Robert K.Fielding. It is believed at in that meeting Brigham Young gave chief Kanosh the order to exterminate the emigrant wagon train,and his reward for the extermination would be part of the booty and some of the cattle to help feed his people. At that time Brigham Young also met with George A.Smith, and gave him the responsibility of making a trip south to warn the settlements and priesthood leaders of the approaching wagon train, and informing that chief Kanosh was going to attack the wagon train. But as the story unfolds the Indians was not capable of doing the deed themselves,so hence the Mormons was left to finish the job.Then it became the responsibility of George A. Smith to meet with the priesthood leaders and John D. Lee to make arrangements to wipe out the Fancher wagon train.
The agreement between Brigham Young with the Indians leaders in Salt Lake City, was made and put into movement. On the morning of the September 11 th, 1857, the first attack on the train was made at mountain meadows. The members of the train were not expecting any trouble. They were sitting down to breakfast, all was very peaceful, then all of a sudden there came from around the small hills war hoops and cracking of rifles. More than fifty Indians fell upon the wagon train. The screaming and cries of women and children raged in their mist. The Indian war hoops were coming from all around them, several of the immigrants fell dead or mortally wounded. The men secured their arms. Three Indians were killed and others wounded. The Indians had been promised an easy victory over the white men, by the big chief in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young, that none of their people would be injured by the... "enemies of the Lord"... Naturally the Indians were surprised, as well as frightened at the result, and hastily withdrew, carrying with them their dead and wounded. They retreated over the hill. The frightened and angry braves immediately went to John D. Lee and demanded him to come to the meadows which he did. Upon Lee's arrival the discontented Indians showed Lee the dead braves and told Lee that failing to help the Indians would wreak vengeance on the Mormon people. So Lee sent a message to Saint George, Cedar City, and surrounding towns, to have every available man come to the meadows immediately. Within twenty four hours there were 55 or more men and some younger boys there to help. Meanwhile the wagon train had fortified themselves by moving their wagons into a circle and digging in for protection. Through a chain of events, John D. Lee had been told by his superiors in the church, and George A. Smith,that he was to do whatever he felt necessary to appease the Indians, and wipe out the train. His orders were to kill everyone that was on the wagon train, except small children who he felt were not old enough to remember what had happened, so as not to tell no tails. His superiors from Cedar City were Isaac C. Haight, stake president, with John.M.Higby as his first counselor,second counselor Elias Morris. Bishop of Cedar City at that time was, Phillip Killingsmith. William. H.Dame. Dame was in charge of the military over the southern District.
The evening of the 13th, Charles Fancher had sent William A. Aden and two other young men, from the wagon train for help, they were able to sneak past the Indians, and rush toward Cedar City , in hopes that the leaders would send immediate help to the wagon train, to warrant off the Indians. The two men traveled about 7 miles to a watering hole called Leachey springs, their met up with twenty men on their way to join in with John D. Lee , at the massacre. Aden approached the Mormon men and ask for help. Immediately William C. Stewart took out his rifle and shot and killed William A. Aden, shooting and wounding the other two. They were able to get back on there horses and return back to the wagon party and told what had happened, and that there would be no help coming.
The day of the 14th, Lee walked across the meadows to a small hill overlooking the wagon train, as Lee said ..."to look over the situation"... he was noticed by some members of the train, they put up a white flag and Charley Fancher, son of the wagon leader and another boy were immidatly sent out to talk to Lee, Lee ran and hid from them, because he had not yet decided what there approach would be. There was no chance for the emigrants, to sneak away in the night. There was no place to go,only maybe into the hot dry desert, and they knew that they would parish there, or that the Indians would surely hunt them down, and kill them, so they had no choice other than to dig in and try to defend themselves.
With all of what was going on you can imigame the horror and fear on those women and small children, the crying and despair,the fear within the fathers for the protection of there families. It must have been a seen even the savior himself would have had to go away and hide his face and cover his eyes and ears, so as not to witness. Those people were god fearing people, just wanting to start a new life in the west..
... SECOND PART OF MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE ARTICLE