Mormon History

Mormonism Defined - 1867

The Daily Union Vedette July 17, 1867


A recent article in the [Montana] Post, touching mildly on the abominations practiced by Brigham Young and his followers, appears to have touched a tender place in the Salt Lake Telegraph, and it thereupon devotes a couple of editorials to the Post. The Telegraph builds its article on this kind of theory: "The legalizing of prostitution is advocated in some of the States. Polygamy is no worse than prostitution, therefore why disturb it? This kind of argument is its own refutation, and would not merit a reply were it not for the following assertions:

"There is something said in general terms about infamous and detestible criminal practices, pernicious and demoralizing institutions, hostility toward resident unbelievers and the Federal Government and its officers, intimidating courts, defiance to the laws, locally legalized abominations, and so on.

"We have lived in this city quite a time, and must confess to utter ignorance of the prevelence hereabout of the crimes somewhat indefinitely preferred by the Post.

"We are in a great loss to know what those infamous and detestable criminal practices, pernicious and demoralized institutions mean. We have not the remotest idea of any such things in connection with the people of Utah....

On the 7th of January, 1863, Judge Cradlebaugh stated in the House of Representatives that "while he was an Associate Justice of Utah, the Grand Juries utterly refused to do anything and had to be discharged. He added:

"Sitting as a committing magistrate, complaint after complaint was made before me of murders and robberies. Among these I may mention, as peculiarly and shockingly prominent, the murder of Forbes, the assassination of the Parrishes and Potter, of Jones and his mother, of the Aiken party, of which there were six in all, and, worst and darkest in the appalling catalogue of blood, the cowardly, cold-blooded butchery and robbery at the Mountain Meadows, September 10, 1857. At that time there still lay, all ghastly, under the sun of Utah, the unburied skeletons of one hundred and nineteen men, women, and children, the hapless, hopeless victims of the Mormon creed."

He stated that the wholesale murder was committed by Mormons, partly painted as Indians, by written authority of Brigham Young. They were a train of emigrants who had passed through the the city and been joined by disaffected Mormons. United States officers reported officially the same thing. The train was a wealthy one, was from those States from which the Mormons had been expelled, and Revenge and Avarice inspired the deed. It consisted of 40 wagons, 800 head of cattle, 60 horses and mules, and nearly 150 men and women and many children. The people were all massacred except the infants, and Hon. J. Forney testifies to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that a few days after the massacre that there was distributed among the leading dignitaries $30,000 worth of property. Captain Campbell who was appointed to enquire into these affairs reported to the A. A. General of the U. S. Army, July 6, 1859, that

"These emigrants were [here] met by the Mormons, assisted by such of the wretched Indians of the neighborhood as they could force or persuade to join [them], and massacred, with the exception of such infant children as the Mormons thought too young to remember or tell of the affair."

Judge Cradlebaugh visited the scene of the massacre, was thoroughly convinced that the Mormons concocted the deed and were the main parties in executing it. Numbers of Mormons who had apostatized offered abundance of evidence if they were assured of military protection. He took affidavits and issued warrants for the arrest of thorty-eight Mormons including three Bishops, when orders were received from Washington to withdraw the military and so ended, for the time at least, the investigation. Brigham Young, Superintendent of Indian Affairs at the time, made no mention of the massacre in his report. The Deseret News made no mention of it for several months. The Indians, apostate Mormons and the children saved in the massacre; goods found in the possession of the Mormons, known to have belonged to the emigrants, and traced back to the day succeeding the massacre, every evidence of a direct or circumstantial character, fastens upon the Mormon people the stigma and guilt of this damnable outrage. If this not sufficient, there is this day in possession of Judge Titus in Salt Lake City, the original order, issued by Lieut. Gen. Wells, commanding the Nauvoo Legion, in the handwriting of his Adj. Gen. Spangler sworn to as authentic by two witnesses, and admitted last winter by the widow of Spangler to be his handwriting, ordering the murder of over forty teamsters who had incurred the displeasure of the Mormon dignitaries. This order is published in a report in the United States Congress last winter....