Question: Did Colonel Thomas Kane attempt to cover up the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

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Question: Did Colonel Thomas Kane attempt to cover up the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

The claim that Kane was responsible for covering up the massacre finds no support in history

Critics who use the Mountain Meadows Massacre to attack the Church often mention non-LDS Col. Thomas Kane. Kane was a good friend to the Mormons prior to Joseph Smith's death, and he was also briefly involved in the Massacre issue. There are two issues raised by critics in conjunction with Kane:

  1. some blame Kane for helping Brigham Young to cover up the Massacre
  2. some paint Kane as ridiculous, vain, or foolish—this is apparently done on the theory that anyone who likes or helps the Mormons must either be evil or a dupe.

Noted one reviewer:

The claim that Kane was responsible for covering up the massacre (p. 47) finds no support in history, nor does Denton cite primary sources for her view other than Kane's participation in advising Young to respond to federal inquiries in 1858 (p. 208). As I point out in my review of Bagley's Blood of the Prophets, the massacre investigation spanned decades and involved sitting presidents, cabinet members, attorneys general, federal district attorneys, federal marshals, territorial marshals, and more. Kane was out of the picture shortly after the massacre." [1]

Negative portrayal

Denton's American Massacre portrays Kane as arrogant, effeminate, a hypochondriac, and with delusions of fame. Wrote one reviewer of her portrait:

Denton's discussion of Kane is mercilessly out of context. Biographies and journals of nineteenth-century 'Renaissance' men reveal that many accomplished men adopted what appear today to be affectations of self-importance and prolixity. Stenhouse, no advocate of Brigham Young nor necessarily fair with his sources when discussing Mormonism, treated Kane respectfully in his nineteenth-century work, Rocky Mountain Saints. Stenhouse tells us that 'in the relations of Col. Kane with the Mormons at that time, there was exhibited evidence of the highest Christian charity and personal heroism of character.'" [2]

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
  2. 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