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Brigham Young, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Latter-Day Saint Investigation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Arrington Lecture No. Twelve

Thomas G. Alexander

Publication Year: 2007

On September 11, 1857, a wagon train of emigrants passing through the Utah Territory on their way to California were massacred at Mountain Meadows. Although today’s historians agree that the principal perpetrators were members of the Mormon militia in southern Utah, how much the central Mormon leadership, especially Brigham Young at the top, knew about the massacre, when and how they learned about it, and the extent of a cover up afterward are still matters of controversy and debate.

In this 12th volume of the Arrington Lecture Series, Thomas Alexander (Lemuel  Redd Professor of Western American History, Emeritus, at Brigham Young University), asserts that Brigham Young and the LDS Church’s governing Quorum of Twelve made timely and diligent efforts to investigate the massacre and encouraged legal proceedings but were hindered by federal  territorial officials and lied to by massacre participant John D. Lee, preventing Young from learning the full truth for many years.

Published by: Utah State University Press

Title Page

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pp. iii-v

The establishment of a lecture series honoring a library's special collections and a donor to that collection is unique. Utah State University's Merrill-Cazier Library houses the personal and historical collection of Leonard J. Arrington, a renowned scholar of the American West. As part of Arrington's gift to the university, he requested that the university's historical...

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Brigham Young, The Quorum of the Twelve, and the Latter-day Saint Investigation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

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pp. 1-32

As early as May 29, 1857, Utahns had begun to believe their lives stood in peril. Word seeped in that President James Buchanan had dispatched an army of two to three thousand troops "to the Territory."1 Throughout the summer, Brigham Young, as incumbent governor of Utah Territory and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met in council...


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pp. 33-41

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780874216974
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874216875

Publication Year: 2007