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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

January 7, 2007

AMERICAN MASSACRE: Book Review

AMERICAN MASSACRE: The tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857, Sally Denton, Knopf, NY 2003, 306 pp. $26.95

This is an absorbing account of what followed the founding of the Mormon Church, the doctrines of polygamy and blood atonement, the hostility generated by Mormons against themselves in Illinois and Arkansas, the treks to Utah, the establishment of the Mormon theocracy under Brigham Young. The hostility they generated against themselves coupled with the assassination of Joseph Smith, the founder instilled a sense of persecution directed against themselves. Efforts of the US government and the US army to establish proper government were viewed by the Mormons as acts of hostility. Those outside the fold, the Gentiles, were similarly viewed. When a wagon train of settlers entered their territory, it was viewed with hostility and attacked, its members slaughtered.

The efforts of the US attorneys and judges to bring to justice the murderers were resisted by the church authorities – claiming the Indians had massacred the emigrants - and only after twenty years were some of them brought to justice. John D. Lee, a major culprit in the events, was convicted and executed. The story of the trials is quite fascinating.

Msgr, Harry J. Byrne 11-14-05

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