Telestial State

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Good morning class. We’re going to discuss a little history today.

I read yesterday in the Salt Lake Tribune (“Not the Deseret News since 1870!”) that the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre is now a national historic landmark. What is the Mountain Meadows Massacre, you probably don’t wonder to yourself? Oh, it’s that one time when a bunch of Mormons murdered a bunch of emigrants, no big deal.

Well, this is awkward. So anyhoo, wouldn’t Mitt Romney make a great president?

The LDS Church is understandably touchy when it comes to the topic of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. On September 11, 1857, Isaac C. Haight and John D. Lee lead members of the Mormon military to Mountain Meadows, and murdered approximately 140 members of the Baker-Fancher party. (You can read more about the Mountain Meadows Massacre here.) In the 154 years that have passed since the massacre, the LDS Church has, to its credit, done a relatively good job in apologizing for the horrific event, as well as dedicating a monument in 1999 that honors the victims. Fine.

But, omg you guys, that was so in the past.

I was a valiant* member of the LDS Church for more than 23 years. However, not once did a Sunday School or a Sacrament meeting talk or a seminary class ever bring up the Mountain Meadows massacre. I served a 2-year mission for the LDS Church. We certainly never taught about it, because it wasn’t in any of the material. Like polygamy, racism, and electrocuting homosexuals at BYU, the Mountain Meadows Massacre happened a long, long time ago and the LDS Church wishes you would stop asking fucking** questions about it and by the way have you done your home teaching yet?

Which brings us to September 11, 2011: the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre becomes a goddamn National Historic Landmark. Thus, the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre now resides in the company of other relatively unknown landmarks, such as, oh I don’t know, Lincoln’s Tomb, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, and the Empire State Building. It makes it a little more difficult to ignore the Mountain Meadows Massacre when it has the same historical classification as, oh let’s say, one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world.

Let’s end end today’s discussion of the Mountain Meadows Massacre with some fun historical trivia! On March 23, 1877, John D. Lee, one of the leaders behind the massacre, was executed by firing squad. His last words were: “I do not believe everything that is now being taught and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care who hears it. It is my last word… I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner.” On April 20, 1961, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posthumously reinstated Lee’s membership in the church.

And who happens to be John D. Lee’s great-great-great grandson? Oh, just some guy named U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah.

Class dismissed.

*Paid tithing.