Skip to comments.Early newspaper accounts portrayed Mormons poorly
Posted on 02/22/2010 11:51:49 AM PST by Colofornian
PROVO, Utah -- Stories printed in early 19th century newspapers did little to allay fears about the new Mormon church and the efforts of its members to lead peaceful, productive lives.
In fact, judging by the headlines and story direction, Mormons were thought to be lawbreaking fanatics who could only bring trouble.
So said one of the presenters at the Twelfth Annual Religious Education Student Symposium at BYU Feb. 19.
Sara D. Smith outlined her findings in a paper entitled "More Sinned Against Than Sinning."
Smith researched newspaper stories about the Mormons in the special collections library in the Harold B. Lee Library on campus.
In the National Intelligencer, published in Washington, D.C., from 1800 to 1867, Smith found reports claiming the Mormon people were setting the laws of the land "at naught" and organizing "banditti" to defend themselves.
They were referred to as "deluded fanatics who give loose to their evil passions."
The National Intelligencer collected, reported and summarized the slanted stories, influencing readers on the eastern coast, including lawmakers and politicians.
People outside the church were referred to in the news stories as citizens, while members of the church were always "Mormons."
Headlines declared stories titled "Mormon Difficulties," "Mormon Wars," and "More of the Mormons."
"It is our opinion that the Mormons are the aggressors," said the writer of an Oct. 6, 1838 editorial, referring to an incident where "someone fought with knives and caused trouble" in a thinly veiled report where the writer had already concluded who was at fault.
(Excerpt) Read more at mormontimes.com ...
What time period is this referencing? (This journalist needed to be more specific)
From the article: "It is our opinion that the Mormons are the aggressors," said the writer of an Oct. 6, 1838 editorial, referring to an incident where "someone fought with knives and caused trouble"
Well, if only it had been limited in the mid-19th century to "an incident": The Union Vedette (May 13, 1864): "RLDS Missionaries Beaten and Nearly Murdered by LDS" [Rlds is the offshoots of Lds whom the Lds did not like] RLDS Missionaries Beaten and Nearly Murdered by LDS
That was 1864...
1857...Mormons commit the first 9/11 terrorist act on American soil...executing at point blank range 120 children, mothers and fathers in Southern Utah...
1842...The Wasp, a pro-Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois, included an anonymous contributor who wrote wrote about the attempted assassination on the Missouri gov on May 28, 1842 that "Boggs is undoubtedly killed according to report; but who did the noble deed remains to be found out." (Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History, p. 323).
Maybe that is because they were. At the very least, the polygamy was outside the laws of the states they were in. But there is no reason to believe multiple articles were slanted about the trouble the mormons were causing.
And then the US army and calvary were sent to fight the Mormons after they relocated to Utah, because the Mormons kept attacking wagon trains.
My goodness don't these people ever get tired of being the victim.
And they wonder why their membership is flailing, who wants to join a bunch of cry babies?
So said one of the presenters at the Twelfth Annual Religious Education Student Symposium at BYU Feb. 19.
Sara D. Smith outlined her findings in a paper entitled “More Sinned Against Than Sinning.”
Be interesting to be able to read the original paper so qwe could judge for ourselves and not have to rely on the spin from an author with a bias and an agenda...
Interesting. Thanks for posting this.
Being nervous about Mormons nearby would seem to be a normal extension of such activity.
“Beneath the sands of the once-beautiful land lie the bones of more than 120 men, women and children slain at Mountain Meadows in 1857, their mortal remains left to the caprices of nature and their killers protected by Utahs peculiar theocracy. Only one participant was ever punished for the butchery, although more than 50 men took part.”
This doesn’t help early day PR either...
Good summarized post of the whole event.
Polygamy and holy underwear; what’s not to like?
One wife getting mad about me leaving my old holey underwear on the floor is enough thank you...
Let’s see without any reason what-so-ever Mormon neighbors suddenly, willfully and maliciously attacked a people obeying the laws of God and man. Possibly but not likely.
More related Jehovahs Witnesses dispute all newspapers articles about their founder Charles Russel Taze from his time as being erroneous and false persecution.A persecution which is evidence of Gods Truth
According to Fawn Brodie’s well documented biography of Joseph Smith, “No Man Knows My History,” Smith told his followers that ‘gentiles’ were not deserving of the same treatment and fairness as latter day saints. This led to many encroachments upon property which made the latter day saints unwelcome.
>>”They also had their own standing army...”<<
Unlike the Catholics?
Read more History.
“Stories printed in early 19th century newspapers did little to allay fears about the new Mormon church and the efforts of its members to lead peaceful, productive lives.”
I see that you are continuing where they left off.
Sometime in your past a Mormon must have really hurt you.
...suddenly, willfully and maliciously...
??? Lds apostle & Lds would-be congressman B.H. Roberts (lived before & after turn of 19th century) concluded the Mountain Meadow Massacre "conception was diabolical; the execution of it horrible; and the responsibility for both must rest upon those men who conceived and executed it..."
I include Angela Burmylo's article @ bottom of this post. She says: It was a crime committed without cause or justification...
Besides, who said any of these were committed "without any reason"??? (That's your straw man...'cause rarely are murders committed so randomly "without any reason"...and if you think either murder in general, or murder in these specific cases, were somehow "justified," please let us know).
Lots of reasons existed.
The Mormons hated Gov. Boggs.
I already said the Mormons didn't like the RLDS break-off shoot. To this generation, Lds "prophets" like Hinckley have still gone on national TV (Larry King show) & claimed there's no such thing as a "fundamentalist Mormon." (So they won't even acknowledge the existence of these people)
And as the Mountain Meadow Massacre, all kinds of potential motivations. But since, as Choctaw Man said in post #7, ...their killers protected by Utahs peculiar theocracy. Only one participant was ever punished for the butchery, although more than 50 men took part. -- so we didn't have Lds authorities providing for us their primary motivations, now do we?
Was it mere obedience to an order by then territorial governor-'prophet' Brigham Young?
Did they hear rumors that the Fancher party was from Arkansas & wanted to revenge the murder of their apostle Parley P. Pratt killed there? (And you kill women & children as "revenge"??? ...sounds like another religious group who eventually did the same thing on another 9/11 day 144 years later)
Were they coveting the reality that the Fanchers had top-notch horses? Burmylo's article below says It has been reported that this was one of the wealthiest wagon trains to ever traverse the United States as well.
BTW: Did the southern Utah Mormons who kept them ever provide financial restorations to the descendents of the Fanchers & others who lived? After all, the Mormon killers who attacked a people obeying the laws of God and man spared the children aged 7 & under -- a "theological" consideration of theirs -- since they believe to this day that children 7 & under are 100% "innocent"...so, we know 17-18 children were spared...in fact, in their "sparing" they kidnapped these children for a year or two before giving them up. Surely they knew who they were. Any restoration, Southern Utah Mormons re: taking those 200 of the finest horses around? -- or the 1,000 head of cattle, or the cash & firearms? Do you Southern Mormons who now own some fine descendents of those original fine Fancher horses were "bought" for you by the Mormon murders?
Mormon wiki conceded four of the top four planners were an ex-Lds missionary (John D. Lee); two Mormon bishops; and a Mormon stake president:
John Doyle Lee was born September 12, 1812, at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and baptized on June 17, 1838. He served numerous missions for the Church and eventually moved to southern Utah in 1850 or 1851. At the time of the massacre he was a major in the Iron County militia, and commander of its Fourth Battalion. Lee was the only person ever brought to trial for his involvement in the massacre.
William H. Dame was, at the time of the massacre, the commander of the Iron Military District with the militia rank of colonel. He was also serving as a bishop in the Mormon Church at that time. He did not participate personally in the massacre, but was, by the standards of military justice applicable both then and now, administratively responsible for the actions of officers and soldiers under his command.
Isaac C. Haight was the commander of the Second Battalion in the Iron County militia with the rank of major, and Colonel Dame's second-in-command. His ecclesiastical position was stake president. Haight's role in the massacre was a complex one; he was involved in its planning, but also made some efforts to stop or at least delay the actions against the emigrants. Efforts to bring Haight and others to justice after the massacre proved to be fruitless.
Philip Klingensmith was a bishop in Cedar City and an officer in the Iron County militia. In this latter role, he carried orders and other messages between various militia officers.
The other reason given prominent play by historians is that Utah Mormons were fearful of some fed attack...as if 19th century Mormons couldn't tell the difference beween a wagon train and feds...
Mountain Meadows Massacre by Angela Burmylo:
The year was 1857. On May 1st, over 40 wagons, several carriages, 1000 head of cattle, hundreds of horses and about 140 pioneer men, women, and children left Boone County near Harrison, Arkansas heading to California. The wagon train, which was one of the largest in history, was made up of farming families known as the Baker\Fancher party. It has been reported that this was one of the wealthiest wagon trains to ever traverse the United States as well.
Most of the members of the wagon train were Methodist, with a few being Presbyterian. They had a Methodist minister with them who held services every Sunday. The Baker\Fancher party was also mixed blood Cherokee descendants of the Cherokee Nation West, who had a federal reservation in Arkansas from 1817 to 1828. Harrison, Arkansas was only a couple of miles north of the reservation boundary.
The Baker\Fancher party reported no incidents of trouble until they reached Fillmore, New Mexico, which is about 150 miles south of Salt Lake City Utah. Tension was building at this time among the Mormon people, who were starting to become afraid of their own destruction by the federal government. The then President of the United States, James Buchanan, had sent a replacement for the Mormon Governor, Brigham Young. As the wagon train made their way into Utah, the pioneers were on alert because some settlers in Utah had not been friendly, but they were not expecting any trouble from Indians. From this point and through some settlements to the south there were complaints that the emigrants had boasted of participating in violence towards the Mormons, such as poisoning springs and destroying Mormon settlements in both Missouri and Illinois. There were also rumors that some of the emigrants had told a few Latter Day Saints that when they had gotten their families settled into California, they were going to return, join the army, and help to restrain the Mormons.
If the rumors can be believed, it is sure that the travels of the wagon train moving through southern Utah did not go unnoticed, as the party had previously experienced anonymity while traveling in northern Utah. The presence of the train didnt help to relieve the tensions already present due to the Utah war, which was a confrontation between the Mormon people in Utah Territory and the government and army of the United States.
Beginning on Monday September 8, 1857, the Paiute Indians besieged the pioneers. This horrific event took place at Mountain Meadows, Utah, which is located several miles south of Enterprise in Washington County along the Old Spanish Trail to Santa Fe. Seven men were killed and 16 others were wounded before the Indians were turned back. The emigrants endured the attacking Indians for another four days. This left the pioneers with no water and most of their ammunition gone.
Bishop John D. Lee, who was reportedly a servant to the leader of the Mormon Church, and the leader of a group of Mormon Militiamen, approached the suffering wagon train under a truce flag and told the pioneers that he had talked to the Indians and they agreed to spare the wagon train members if they would leave their wagons, weapons, and all other belongings to the Indians. After discussing this offer, the group could figure no other way out and agreed to this. Told that they should appear as the Mormon Militiamens prisoners to the Indians, the men were lined up single file and received a one on one escort from the Militiamen. The caravans members thought they were being led to safety, but instead they were being led to their cruel deaths. While marching with each of their escorts towards supposed peaceful grounds the leader of the Mormon Militia gave an order to his men to Do your duty! As soon as this order was called out, each Militiaman turned and shot to death in cold blood the man he was supposed to be escorting to safety. At about the same time up ahead, Mormon Militia disguised as Indians, as well as real Paiute Indians, moved in on the women and older children shooting, clubbing, and axing them to death.
Very young children who had not been killed were adopted into the homes of the very Mormons that had slaughtered their mothers, fathers, and siblings right before their eyes. It is reported that 18 children survived. In 1859 Captain James Lynch of the United States Army took possession of the young survivors and returned them to relatives in Arkansas.
Even though there were numerous investigations, no punishment was handed out until twenty years later. There was, and still is, much debate over who was responsible for the attack upon the unsuspecting wagon train members. Finally, John D. Lee was tried twice, and then was executed in 1877. Lee did write a full confession before his death.
There are three memorials in the Harrison area dedicated to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. One is at the grounds of the courthouse in Harrison, with the front of the marker giving a brief history of the massacre and a list of surviving children. The back of the marker lists the names of those killed. Another memorial is a historic marker placed at the wagon trains point of origin, which was Caravan Springs along highway 7 south. The third memorial called the Looking to the West Memorial, location uncertain, states, We know their story, but they saw none of the dangers that awaited them on their journey.
William Bishop, who was the attorney to John D. Lee, was quoted saying, The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands without parallel amongst the crimes that stain the pages of American History. It was a crime committed without cause or justification of any kind to relieve it of its fearful character
when nearly exhausted from fatigue and thirst, [the men of the caravan] were approached by white men with a flag of truce, and induced to surrender their arms, under the most solemn promises of protection. They were then murdered in cold blood. Mountain Meadows Massacre
However apples and oranges, there has never been a Catholic or any other religious army in the US that rivaled the US military on its own soil, nor count among its members those who had threatened government officials or attack wagon trains and settlers...
I know, details details...
BTW, telling me to read History, man that's funny...
What? By posting articles from Mormon sources -- shedding light on what Mormons are saying?
Or is it that you think "groupthink" should take over and every comment on such threads should just be "Amen!" to whatever the article says? Or perhaps you believe all "letter-to-the-editor" type of comments about original newspaper articles should be 100% positive or neutral? (Or else, if disagreement exists, what? They should be repressed?)
Sometime in your past a Mormon must have really hurt you.
Why do you assume motivations? If it weren't for Mormons, I wouldn't alive today...(biological descendency)
And it's often what's NOT mentioned by historians when speaking about Mormons' time in Missouri in the 1830s.
Smith, while he was still in Kirtland, Ohio, was even proclaiming that all nations would bow down to the Lds church in a new "scripture" established on Aug. 2, 1833:
"...if Zion doing these things [build a house of the Mormon god & school + obey commandments] she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible. And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place... (Lds "scripture" -- Doctrine & Covenants, 97:18-19)
As Smith himself visited Missouri more often, many Missourians didn't like Independence, MO becoming the world-wide HQ military takeover Smith was preaching in Missouri in June 1834:
"And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their own moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations; That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws." (Lds "scripture," D&C 105: 30-32)
Mormon leaders are still on record as saying:
* The Garden of Eden is in Missouri.
* Smith prophesied that Temple Lot would be built in Independence, MO. (Lds can't build it because it doesn't own the property)
* And the Mormon "jesus" would return starting in Missouri.
(No wonder Missouri's a "show-me" state!!!)
Membership is flailing? Hmmm if I only believed in making negative comments about people based on their religion. I can say this much, if I spent 8 hours a day for the rest of my life studying and learning the scriptures, I still would not have enough time left over to decide if all the other churchs’ doctrines were or weren’t true.
It appears that the MSM hasn’t changed much, they have never been ones to let the facts get in the way of a good story.
I would suspect that the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor by smith’s order didn’t help his PR with the non-mormon community either.
Bennett’s House of Ill Fame
Since Dr. Bennett was a medical doctor who specialized in the diseases of women, it was legitimate for him to go alone into the homes of those who were ill. This gave him opportunity to continue his promiscuity without Joseph being able to know whether or not he was remaining chaste. But Joseph and Hyrum suspected that Bennett had not repented, and asked certain men holding the office of teacher in the priesthood to investigate Bennett’s conduct. Teacher John Taylor (not the apostle by that name) was one of those who did the investigating. He testified under oath:
I held the position of teacher in the original church from September, 1832, until Joseph Smith’s death in 1844.... It was our duty in case we found anybody with more wives than one to report them to the President of the Teachers’ Quorum.... [O]ur instructions were if we found any case of that kind to report it to the President of the Teachers’ Quorum, and the president [of the Teachers’ Quorum] would report them to Hyrum Smith.... [I]t was about that time that John C. Bennett’s secret wife system came to be heard of.... [We] were told to search it out and find what there was to it if we could. That was the way it was, and so I got after him [Bennett], and followed him, and saw him go into a house that did not have a very good reputation. I followed him to the house there in Nauvoo where this secret wife business was practiced,saw him go into it.
He was said to be a doctor and was going about treating people.... He would go into these houses, and the women there were suspicious women,did not bear good characters. I heard about his doing this, and I went around to watch him and see if I could not catch him going there. And one evening I traced him and saw him go right into the house. During the time that I was a teacher from 1832 up to 1844, there was no rule or law of the original church that permitted the practice or principle of polygamy. (Abstract of Evidence, 190191; italics added)
It is important to remember that Hyrum Smith directed the teachers to investigate and report any man who might be found to have “more wives than one”; and also that Teacher Taylor testified that there was no “rule or law” that permitted the practice of polygamy up to 1844while Joseph and Hyrum were alive.
Teacher John Taylor testified further:
John C. Bennett and a lot of them built an ill-fame house near the Temple in Nauvoo.... After they had built it, John C. Bennett and the Fosters,I knew all their names at the time, they were the head men of it, after they got it built, they wrote on it in large letters what it was,a sign declaring what it was, and what it was there for....
The City Council held a council over it, and they considered it was a nuisance to the city.... [The police] took the building, and put it on rollers; and there was a deep gully there, and they pitched the house into it. (ibid.,192; italics added)
One may wonder if this was the house “on the hill” where Francis Higbee visited the French woman who had come to Nauvoo from Warsaw. Dr. Robert Foster, a resident of Nauvoo at the time, declared that Bennett “plead the cause of the house of ill fame in Nauvoo when he was Mayor and the City Council unanimously declared it a public nuisance” (Wasp 1 [October 2, 1842]: 2). The Times and Seasons for November 15, 1841, published a notice of the destruction of the house with the statement, “The city authorities manifest a determination to carry out strictly the temperence ordinances of the city, and in this we wish them ‘God speed’ “ (Times and Seasons 3:599600).
The Mormons also voted as a single block in response to ‘revelation’. With 20,000+ at Nauvoo, they controlled the state politics.
I suspect that the destruction of Mormon presses didn’t have any thing to do with the problem.
what mormon presses were destroyed at nauvoo?
Did I say Nauvoo ?