Thursday, September 24, 2009
150th Commemoration of the Return of Surviving Children
Friday, September 18, 2009
Helen and I had the privilege of attending the commemoration events remembering the return of the surviving children from Mountain Meadows Massacre which occurred on September 11, 1857. It was almost two years after the event before the U.S. Government was made aware of this horrific event and attempted to find out what had happened. The leaders of the Mormon Church stymied the investigation and refused to cooperate. They knew what had happened and who was involved, and yet they did nothing.
Only through the extraordinary efforts of the U.S. Army and U.S. Government Indian Agent Jacob Forney were the 17 surviving children recovered, and eventually returned to family members back in Arkansas. The children were given a full military escort from Southern Utah back to the Old Yell Lodge in Carrollton, Arkansas, arriving on September 18, 1859.
Friday night, September 18, 2009, Helen and I arrived about a half hour late to the buffet dinner at the Old Yell Lodge (weather and bad roads slowed us down just a bit, and perhaps misjudging the time to drive almost 600 miles from Austin). It was great to see many of those in attendance that we had met and made friends with back in August and September 2007. During that time, we did three programs on our TV show, “Truth Outreach,” with the Mountain Meadows Massacre Foundation leadership about this American history atrocity; and then we went out to Mountain Meadows, Utah for the 150th Commemoration of the Massacre. The various relatives related to those who perished in that infamous massacre on that fateful day, are just regular folks that love their families and life in general. Helen and I have enjoyed our friendship with these folks and their down home hospitality.
The buffet was great and we truly enjoyed socializing with those in attendance. When dinner was over, Dr. Shannon Novak, a forensic anthropologist spoke about what research on the bones of those who lived in the 1800’s around the country has shown; mainly, that those who lived in the Ozarks in that time period were healthier than many of their countrymen who lived in urban areas and other locals around the nation. Dr. Novak was able to do a brief analysis of some of the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In the Summer of 1999, while the Mormon Church was proving how much they cared about the fact that they murdered over 120 innocent men, women, and children on September 11, 1857, by constructing a small monument at Mountain Meadows, Utah, a backhoe that was to begin the earthmoving required in the construction, unearthed thousands of bones, and bone fragments of the victims of the Massacre. Dr. Novak was asked to do the analysis of these bones. Her first hand knowledge of these deceased people, through her scientific work, is invaluable, and I truly enjoyed the information she shared.
The next speaker was Barbara Brown, a Mormon, who was the editor of the book “Massacre at Mountain Meadows” written by three Mormon historians, and critically reviewed as biased to the Mormon explanation of its role in this massacre; this book has been heavily criticized because it fails to mention the 150 year cover-up of the complicity of the Mormon Church in this terrible event.
I must admit, I had a very difficult time listening to what she had to say. I view any, and all, statements about the Massacre made by any Mormon Church spokesperson with complete skepticism. The Mormon Church leadership ordered this murder and for 150 years has engaged in a campaign of damage control trying to deny its role in this event. For years the “official” Mormon Church explanation was that the “Indians” did it.
Barbara Brown unveiled a quilt that she initiated between her family and family members of those massacred. I found the offering to be nothing other than a distraction to the family members. The family members don’t need a quilt, they need the Mormon Church to do the right thing and turn the killing field over to the Federal Government so it can become a National Battlefield Park. I am not a family member, just a friend of the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation (MMMF), and in my opinion the Foundation should tell the Mormons to: Keep your quilt, give us back our ancestors!
Recently another mass grave may have been located on the Northern edges of the Meadow. Scott Fancher, a direct descendant of the Massacre, asked Barbara Brown about acquiring that property. The answer was evasive and disingenuous. Barbara Brown stated that the location is on private property and the owners do not want to sell. What a bunch of hooey. All the Mormon Church has to do is contact these Mormons and tell them the “Prophet” wants them to sell the property to the Church. As my book “When Salt Lake City Calls,” clearly shows, a Mormon cannot refuse such a command from the person they believe speaks for God on earth. Even if the owner did not want to sell at current market prices, the Mormon Church, worth over 60 Billion dollars, could offer 10 times the value of the property and make it happen (10 times the price isn’t a penny in the Mormon Church’s multi-million/billion dollar yearly budget). So, who is the Mormon Church trying to kid here?
Arkansas State Government Senator Randy Laverty took the floor after Barbara Brown and talked about his support of the MMMF. He is to be commended for truly supporting the Foundation and the families of the Massacre victims. Scott Fancher presented Senator Laverty with a letter of commendation from the Foundation for his sustained superior support of the Foundation.
The night continued with a fund-raising auction of items donated to the cause. The President of MMMF, Phil Bolinger, is an auctioneer, and presided over the auction. He is really a down home funny guy and the auction was great fun.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
A rainy, dreary day was the setting for the Commemoration of the “Return of Surviving Children.” Helen and I got a little wet as we photographed and filmed the two horse drawn wagons filled with children in period dress as they re-enacted the return of the 17 surviving children.
The re-enactment wagons began at the Old Yell Lodge, Carrollton, Arkansas, and proceeded to a park a short distance away for the commemoration ceremony. It’s hard to imagine the feelings of those family members so long ago as they came to take home these poor orphaned children. Obviously joy that these children survived, all the while grieving beyond measure at the loss of those 120 souls who were so brutally murdered by order of Mormon leaders.
Bob Fancher, another direct descendant of those massacred, Emceed the event. He read the names of the surviving children and a brief description of what we know of their lives. It was hard to sit there in the audience and listen to names and some of the events surrounding these poor children. What a tragedy this was.
Helen and I will continue to support MMMF in their quest to honor their deceased relatives and to achieve Federal Stewardship of the Massacre site. To this day, those massacred still lie in mass graves on the ground where they were murdered, and the family must rely on the party guilty of the murders, the Mormon Church, to have any access to their own murdered kin.
There is no incident in American History as diabolical as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which is still unresolved, 152 years later. The only reason that this tragedy is still unresolved is that the Mormon Church does not want the truth to come out about their complicity in this event; plain and simple, the Mormon Church continues to hide the truth!