Brent Wilson's Reviews > Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Ronald W. Walker
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's review
Jan 26, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: mormons
Read in October, 2008

I had mixed feelings approaching this book. Wasn't sure I trusted this "establishment" version of the story, but hearing that it was good. My great=great grampa was Laban Morrill, and my great-great grand-uncle was Nephi Johnson. AND - my wife's great-great grampa was John D Lee - so there was plenty of natural interest in the story.

My reaction:

- Surprisingly lean telling of the story, at times even tedious
- Authors stuck close to the script; did not engage other historians much - which was a little hard actually
- Overall I felt a fair and honest telling
- Disappointing to stop abruptly with Lee's execution, leaving the LDS coverup and denial largely untold

Sharman and I visited the Mountain Meadows memorial site a year ago - I had not been there before. It was sobering and challenging for me to be there and witness for myself the rugged windy but beautiful land, the pathetic memorial. I still have a lot of feelings about the massacre and what it says to our faith (I am active LDS).

I read a couple of good reviews of the book in BYU Studies - gave me a context for my own reactions.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Kris Rhodes I am a decent of the fanchers. How would I feel about this book? Does it do justice the my innocent ancestors? Just curious.

Brent Wilson Yes Kris-

It's nothing but respectful to the Rancher group and does not complicate the story by blaming them in any way. This only adds to the tragedy of course.

I am happy our church is conceding the Mountain Meadows property to the federal government for construction of a national monument; that gives more direct voice to the victims, and will remove some of the distrust that has built up over the years!

Meridee A sequel is being written which will come out soon, it will cover what transpired after Lee's execution - coverup and ALL!

Brent Wilson I hadn't heard that news-

But I welcome it. Brigham Young was complicit in the coverup, although I don't think he was involved in the initial action.

Owning up fully to actions can take many years, and it's never easy. I hope we can all learn the needed lessons from the event, the coverup, and the need to eventually take responsibility!

Meridee My bookclub just reviewed this book, Elder Marlin Jensen's wife was the reviewer and he was instrumental in the building of the current monument and healing relations with the Fancher and other victim's descendants - all at Pres. Hinckley's request and direction. It was fascinating to hear their stories. I'm very impressed that the current administration of the LDS church wants all available information to be transparent - good and bad, and there is good too. The sequel has always been in the works, it is even mentioned in the book.

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