Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows/Use of sources/Alexander on reasons

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Did Thomas Alexander claim that "the Indians" were responsible for Mountain Meadows Massacre?


Question: Did historian Thomas Alexander claim that "the Indians" forced Mormons to commit the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

Alexander responds: "I did not say, as Bagley flippantly claims I did, 'the Indians made them do it'"

Historian Thomas Alexander is claimed by the author of Blood of the Prophets to have held the position that "the Indians made them do it" (i.e., commit the Mountain Meadows Massacre).[1]

The author is willing to distort the position of his historical colleague to score a rhetorical point, just as he selectively presents the evidence of the past to the same end.

Responded Alexander to this claim:

The massacre at Mountain Meadows remains one of the most heinous and least understood crimes in the history of the American West. How a militia unit of "God-fearing Christians" could have murdered more than 120 people in cold blood seems beyond comprehension. In a previous book, I attempted to understand the massacre by comparing it to "the massacres of Christian Armenians by Moslem Turks, of Jews by Christian Germans, and of Moslem Bosnians by Christian Serbs." I did not say, as Bagley flippantly claims I did, "the Indians made them do it" (367). On reflection, the massacre should reveal to each of us our vulnerability and our potential—however well hidden—for acts of unspeakable atrocity. [2]


Notes

  1. Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002), 367.
  2. 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