Thursday, May 10, 2007


There is a film coming out about the Mountain Meadows Massacre called "September Dawn." I did not want to mention this film on my blog because the thought of it makes me want to go eat chips, my anger food. No, I haven't seen it, but it seems that it is a bigoted portrayal of Brigham Young, suggesting that he was a terrorist, Osama Bin Laden-style. Check out this lovely tag line:


[crunching chips]

I did not make that up. It's for real! The movie poster truly says that.

So you can go for that or you can read this post on Mormon Wasp. Look at what an early investigator of MMM said about Mormons: “[c]rime is found in the footsteps of the Mormons wherever they go, and so the evil must always exist as long as the Mormons themselves exist….They are an ulcer upon the body politic. An ulcer which it needs more than cutlery to cure. It must have excision, complete and thorough extirpation, before we can ever hope for safety or tranquility.”

I'm sure his report was most fair and impartial.


Joe said...

This is related to the earlier discussion we had about Mountain Meadows Massacre (Official Church response and more thoughts).

I can see the need for members of the Church and those who are not members to become aware of certain aspects of history that we wouldn't necessarily include in a Sunday School class for children. One good reason is so they won't be blindsided by junk (either motivated by ignorance or by maliciousness). But what is the best forum for that kind of discussion?

I've known about MMM and other such things for so long that I don't remember when I first learned about them, maybe just browsing in my dad's books. I think my dad's approach to our questions would be to address them when we raised an issue. (Though he sometimes would raise issues himself to get us thinking.)

I don't see an effective way to do that on a wider scale, in a congregation or in a class, since the participants are in such different spiritual and intellectual places.

Calandria said...

Right. I think that's the thing people don't stop to think about. What I'm referring to is when some member of the Church, in their early 20's, say, comes across some bit of Mormon/Utah history that rubs them the wrong way and they pull their hair out and exclaim, "Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this? I've been duped!" Blindsided, as you say.

But how are those things going to be brought up systematically in Sunday school? I know everyone is getting sick of me saying this, but this is a world-wide church. The curriculum is necessarily limited to the scriptures and that seems to work just fine for most of us. Shady bits of Church history are best discussed at home. And probably should be.

I know people who have "discovered" what they consider shocking things about early Church history and have left the Church as a result. I know others who have been able to some how reconcile, for example, the strange rumors about Joseph Smith with their belief that he was, nevertheless, a prophet of God and his story is weird, but true. No, we're not a bunch of brainwashed idiots who have had the wool pulled over our eyes. We know, and we still believe.

Karen ~ said...

“[c]rime is found in the footsteps of the {ENTER ANY RELIGIOUS ORDER NAME HERE} wherever they go, and so the evil must always exist as long as the {ENTER ANY RELIGIOUS ORDER NAME HERE}themselves exist"

Seems to me that people write this same sentiment about Christians in general, Muslims, Catholics, etc. So much hatred is in the name of religion yet what those spewing the garbage choose to forget is what goes around comes around, and for every declaration of hatred they put forth, someone somewhere in the world is probably saying something similar about their beliefs.

Frustrating but I hope most sane people recognize the ridiculous nature of these types of tirades.

And BTW, chips are a luxury food to me ... so I just can't be there crunching in sympathy with you, I would totally lose my focus and be happy ....

ML said...

As far as venue, I'm teaching it to my 28 EM Seminary students next week...I wouldn't ordinarily, because I focus mostly on principles and doctrine since 75% of my class are converts, but I want them to hear it and be able to discuss it with us all together.

ave said...

I think most people will find this movie over the top and just another conspiracy theory. I remember when Davinci Code came out, and there were lots of narrow minded people raging against the Catholics (yet again). My Sunday School kids were upset about MMM because of the documentary, and I explained to them that just because a small percentage of a religious group does something wicked and evil dosen't mean that the rest of the religious group is also wrong, wicked and evil. Even if the crime was sanctioned by the church, and I hope it wasn't, that dosen't make the Book of Mormon false, just like in the Catholic church, the truth that they have and their belief in scripture isn't wrong because of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades.

Auntie Lee said...

I agree with Karen's comment. Sounds like the same Hollywood bla bla to me. There certainly isn't a shortage of hate in the world.

People everywhere seem to have a need to put history, politics and any other social issue into a simple neat package. Real knowledge takes an effort and most do not want to make an effort.

I always thought the Wall Street Journal was a paper for relatively high educated people. Did you know the grammar and lexicon is purposely kept at 8th grade level?

Like any issue, people should know everything about MMM and not just the small edited bits that a film maker, storyteller or propagandist wants to say. What I always got from the MMM information is that it is extrememly pay attention to those making conclusions...people making conclusions with insufficient data usually have an agenda of some kind.

Calandria said...

Karen, I think you are right that people attack all religions in this way. Also, when they attack one, they are really attacking them all. What I thought was so interesting about that quote is that it's from someone who originally investigated the mmm. It seems that many of the other investigators had similar feelings about Mormons. So how could they give any type of account that was even close to being fair? Like Lee says, people make these conclusions when there is insufficient data. There is no way of knowing the truth about mmm.

ML, I think seminary is a great place to discuss mmm, especially with you as their teacher. The students will probably leave the island some time and will hear about it and need to have some background. Or they will find out about on the internet or see that movie.

Ave, you make good points. It's important to realize that people make mistakes and we don't need to condemn the whole membership because of it, or blame the religion for it.

Auntie, that's so true about people not wanting to work to understand something. I know it's true of me sometimes. And also so true that we like to wrap things like social issues, politics, etc. into little packages.

ML said...

I hope you don't mind Lee, but I'm going to quote you in class.