Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mountain Meadows Massacre - A Cautionary Tale / Lloyd

Friday, 14 Nov 2008, email addressed to members of the church

“As all of you know, the protests from the “No on 8” side will continue this weekend.

“We are counseled not to hold counter-demonstrations. The other side will be looking for confrontations and if they get them, guess how the attending media will spin villains and victims?

“Please counsel our people to stay away from the demonstrations and let the police handle things. Especially encourage our most passionate supporters to stay at home. . .

“Keep things in perspective: We can paint over graffiti on our buildings and we can plant new flowers on our temple grounds, but it's more difficult to repair a reputation that has been tarnished because some member loses his temper.

Be patient and kind. Turn the other cheek. This too shall pass.”

contextual comments

1. The advice not only keeps supporters of Prop. 8 out of the camera lens attempting to add fuel to the frenzied fire, but also protects them from being caught up in the rage personally, which could get out of hand.

2. Mormons have faced this politically approved lawlessness many times in its history, especially in Missouri and Illinois. [See Missouri Governor Orders Mormons Expelled—or Exterminated and Wikipedia: Latter Day Saint martyrs. Added 5 May 2013.]

3. Since the demonstrating, vandalism, and terrorist threats began in the aftermath of Proposition 8 passing, not one politician has spoken out against it. On the contrary, in California politicians from the Governor down have been telling protesters to hang in there, that their cause is just, and that Proposition 8 will be overturned.

4. Mormons left the United States for Utah to escape State sanctioned rape, murder, and plunder. Earlier, the Prophet Joseph Smith personally petitioned United States president Martin Van Buren to intercede for his people. Van Buren replied: "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you. If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri." And just before fleeing the States, Mormon leaders wrote to every state of the Union asking for asylum. Their pleas were met with either refusals or silence.

5. Mormons endured many hardships getting to Utah, many died on the way and after arriving because of harsh conditions. But in 1857 a single event that was totally inconsistent with their theology and history, overshadowed their own just cause.

6. On September 11, 1857 local Mormon militia members in southern Utah, in the company of Paiute Indians, murdered 120 traveling emigrants, including women and older children, leaving only a few younger children to be farmed out among the Mormon settlers. This tragedy became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

7. I asked my Father about this tragedy when I first read about it in high school. His family was from Southern Utah—about an hour by automobile south of Mountain Meadows. He said that the emigrants came from Arkansas and may have participated in the earlier persecutions of Mormons. He said that people from this company expressed surprise at finding the Mormon settlement, that they thought killing off ole Joe Smith would have taken care of the Mormons once and for all, that they bragged about their own exploits in persecuting the Mormons, and that they threatened to come back and finish the job.

8. Now I don’t know what the folks from Arkansas may have said, and I don’t know how Dad learned this unless it was passed down through his family who settled in the region. But nothing said or done warranted a massacre. And in a recent study about the event, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, published by Oxford University Press, the authors ask, “How can basically good people commit such a terrible atrocity?”

9. I can tell you. They can let themselves be incited by Satan’s war cry, “Let’s you two go fight.” Any justification will do, but feelings of fear, hurt, and anger really prime the pump. And no one should figure he is completely immune to Satan’s promptings given the right conditions.

10. Currently, demonstrators in support of same-sex marriage are targeting those members of the religious community whom they blame for passing Proposition 8. And thus far that community is showing appropriate restraint. However, should Proposition 8 be overturned as politicians are promising, we may learn that many others voted to ban same-sex marriage out of hate for homosexuals, not with the objective of protecting traditional marriage. And these folks many not be so disciplined as the religious community in responding to terrorist attacks.

11. Regrettably, the political leadership in California has thus far pandered to lawlessness. Their behavior is more contemptible than that of President Martin Van Buren, who at least conceded that he was afraid to lose the vote of a loud and influential constituency by protecting life and property.

12. Whether Proposition 8 is overturned or not, the failure of politicians to uphold laws that were enacted through the established, Constitutional orderly and deliberative legislative and judicial processes have subordinated civil peace and safety to anarchy and terror. They may be jaded politicians seeking personal advantage or just cowardly. They have set the stage for a potentially more serious outbreak of violence in the future.

13. These politicians have become contributors to Satan’s agenda of civil conflict and disorder and will likely declare, "I had no idea things would get so out of hand." Such craven and criminal excuses have been repeated often and on a grand scale during my lifetime.

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