Criticism of Mormonism/Books/American Massacre/Chapter 16

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Response to claims made in Chapter 16: "Mountain Meadows Aftermath"

A FairMormon Analysis of: American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, a work by author: Sally Denton
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Response to claims made in American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, "Chapter 16: Mountain Meadows Aftermath"

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Response to claim: 237 - Lee's biography, published by his lawyer after his death, claimed that the Church ordered the massacre

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Lee's biography, published by his lawyer after his death, claimed that the Church ordered the massacre.

Author's sources:
  • New York Herald, March 21, 1876.
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Salt Lake Daily Tribune
  • Pioche Record, Pioche, Nevada.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Lee's self-serving effort to blame others for the massacre is not terribly persuasive in the absence of other corroborating evidence. There is a great deal of contemporaneous evidence which shows that it was local leaders who ordered the Massacre, not "the Church" or its general leaders such as Brigham Young.

Response to claim: 238 - Lee's book Mormonism Unveiled or Life & Confession of John D. Lee "has generally been determined valid and credible by later scholars of the event, though some have believed Bishop embellished it"

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Lee's book Mormonism Unveiled or Life & Confession of John D. Lee "has generally been determined valid and credible by later scholars of the event, though some have believed Bishop embellished it."

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

It is true that Lee's memoir is considered "valid and credible by later scholars" if by "later scholars" one means "hostile authors who wish to blame the Church as an institution and Brigham Young," such as Bagley, Krakauer, or Stenhouse. This is assuredly not true of the broader scholarly consensus.


Response to claim: 238 - Lee predicted that Brigham would die within six months of Lee's death if Lee were not guilty. Brigham died six months after Lee

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Lee predicted that Brigham would die within six months of Lee's death if Lee were not guilty. Brigham died six months after Lee.

Author's sources:
  1. Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002), 319.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Such a claim is dramatic, but irrelevant unless one grants prophetic gifts and powers to Lee.


Response to claim: 293 - The author claims special insight into the LDS psyche

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

The author claims special insight into the LDS psyche.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

Robert Crockett: "Her suggestion that she is an insider to the Latter-day Saint psyche proves unconvincing because she makes mistakes that careful historians of Mormon Americana do not." [1]


Notes

  1. ↑ Robert D. Crockett, "The Denton Debacle (Review of: American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 135–148. off-site