Criticism of Mormonism/Books/American Massacre/Chapter 6

Table of Contents

Response to claims made in "Chapter 6: Sevier River, October 26, 1853"

A FairMormon Analysis of: American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, a work by author: Sally Denton
Chart AM chapter 6.png

Response to claims made in American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, "Chapter 6: Sevier River, October 26, 1853"

Jump to Subtopic:


Response to claim: 79 - Brigham's fortification of villages against attack by the Indians was a reversal of Book of Mormon prophecies regarding the Lamanites

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

The author claims that Brigham's fortification of villages against attack by the Indians was a reversal of Book of Mormon prophecies regarding the Lamanites.

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided, although the author dates this to July 21, 1853.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

During the so-called "Walker War" against Indians (1853–54) Brigham Young and the Nauvoo Legion preferred defense and peaceful resolution over attack. This strategy—as well as self-defense—is consistent with numerous Book of Mormon teachings (e.g., Alma 43:14,47, Alma 61:10). See: Howard A. Christy, "The Walker War: Defense and Conciliation as Strategy," Utah Historical Quarterly 47 (fall 1979): 395–420.


Response to claim: 90 - The author claims that Latter-day Saint elders were "in the habit of confiscating at will younger wives of less ranking members of the church"

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

The author claims that Latter-day Saint elders were "in the habit of confiscating at will younger wives of less ranking members of the church."

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided.

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

This claim is absurd. The author would need to provide some evidence for this claim. An abbreviated version of a talk by Brigham Young is sometimes used in this vein, but a review of the contemporaneous text gives a different picture.


Response to claim: 90 - In the Gunnison death, the Mormons are claimed to have defamed the victims while blaming the Indians

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

In the Gunnison death, the Mormons are claimed to have defamed the victims while blaming the Indians.

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Despite anti-Mormon polemic to the contrary, Gunnison's death was the fault of an Indian attack.


Question: Were 19th century Utah Mormons complicit in the deaths of Judge Leonidas Shaver, John Gunnison, and Almon Babbitt?

Two of these individuals were killed by Indians; the other died of natural causes and was not killed at all

Critics of Mormonism credit the story of Judge William W. Drummond of the Mormons' complicity in the death of Judge Leonidas Shaver, John Gunnison, and Almon Babbitt. However, two of these individuals were killed by Indians; the other died of natural causes and was not killed at all. The author ignores the biases of his source.

Noted one reviewer:

[Will] Bagley tries to support his fictional tale of a violent society by crediting the report of Judge William W. Drummond on murders committed by the Mormons. In a report that Norman Furniss and other authorities believe probably tipped the balance in favor of sending the army to Utah, Drummond charged that the Mormons engineered the murders of territorial delegate Almon Babbitt, Capt. John Gunnison, and Judge Leonidas Shaver. In spite of its flaws and prejudice, Bagley cites Drummond's report approvingly (77). In fact, Cheyennes killed Babbitt on the high plains, Gunnison died at the hands of Pahvant Utes, and Shaver died a natural death. [1]


Notes

  1. Thomas G. Alexander, "Review of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows," Brigham Young University Studies 31 no. 1 (January 2003), 167–. off-site