Today’s guest post is by Joe Geisner. Most bookstores in Utah have sold out of the new book on the Mountain Meadows massacre with a print run of 10,000 copies. Amazingly this happened in less than a week.
The buzz is that the book answers all the questions. This new openness, scholarly approach and availability for the most controversial subject in Mormon history is quite amazing.
I guess Leonard Arrington is looking down with that wonder smile of his and quite proud of the historical department.
What are some of these continuing problem?
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>The Haight letter The authors of the new book say the September 10 letter from Young to Haight (see Brooks 44-45 for letter) could not contain a countermand to the Indians about taking cattle because of the complications with Indian relations. This Young letter has multiple problems. Why couldn’t Young change the policy he had just instituted on Sept. 1 telling the Indians they could have the emigrants cattle? Why did Young swear in 1875 that his September 10th letter to Haight was lost and then the letter resurfaces for the Penrose defense of 1884? Did Young realize this letter implicated him? The letter causes concern over the emigrant’s safety and as Indian agent Young had responsibility to protect the emigrants. When Young gave Haslam the letter Young returned to his office “with a troubled face and bowed head”. Does this indicate Young realized his new Indian policy had gone horribly wrong or did he know Mormon’s had started killing emigrants? Brooks carefully analyzes the letter on pages 45-46. Young also gave the northern Indians all the emigrants’ cattle and horses as they were heading to California. (Huntington August 11 1857 and August 30 1857) http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/DepoJournals/Dimick/Dimick-2.htm
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>What is the word? Multiple reviewers of “Blood of the Prophets” and the authors of the new book all believe the controversial word in the Huntington journal is “grain”. Does this mean the debate is over? Three other qualified historians read the word differently. Bagley and Lyman in their books bracket the word (Bagley, [allies] and Lyman, [friends]) to identify that they were unsure of their reading. Fielding in his book reads the word “Tutsegavit”. Since the photocopy was made available Bagley has changed [allies] to [grain]. Reviewers were very critical of Bagley for not pointing out the insertion of the word “allies” and suggesting he was “direct violation of the American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct”. In truth Bagley pointed out the insertion when he placed [brackets] around the word. For a photo of the journal entry in question see: http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/byustudies&CISOPTR=4141&CISOSHOW=4136&REC=3
Reviewers also claimed Bagley wrote, “In southern Utah illegitimate children [were] plentiful” (238),”. Actually Bagley writes “but the reality of pioneer life in poverty-stricken southern Utah was that children (including illegitimate children of mysterious origin) were plentiful.” As for illegitimate children one has only to turn to Howard Egan and his wife getting pregnant and giving birth while Egan is in California.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>Lost Documents With all the missing primary documents, how can anyone claim the questions have been answered? At best authors and historians can honestly evaluate the remaining documentary evidence and present both their conclusions and the evidence, both contradictory and supporting.