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Dave,

I haven't been to MM, but I'm wondering what relationship I have to the perpetrators of this atrocity. They were Mormons, so am I. But these people are not my ancestors, or even close. Frankly, I feel touchier about stuff like Boer War British concentration camps. I imagine that for Pioneer-blood Mormons this issue might feel closer to home.

I've never been to the MM sites, but I do have some interest in this sad story. One of my ancestors, Jacob Hamblin, met the company on their way and advised them to stay at MM, near his ranch. When he later heard what had happened there, he was horrified. The mobsters also brought three of the orphaned children to his home, where his wife Rachel cared for them. Next time I'm in southern Utah I'd like to visit MM.

Does the fact that MM happened mean anything at all for the Church? Only if one holds to beliefs that Brigham Young commissioned it. Anti and Exmos are very eager to have one believe that, but it is far from clear, and very likely untrue. It's like saying that the Lutheran Church is bad or hypocritical or Satanic (pick your anti or exmo line here) because BTK was a sociopathic murderer and also President of his local Lutheran congregation.

"Does the fact that MM happened mean anything at all for the Church?"

It certainly should, especially when you consider how the massacre reflected the cultural atmosphere in Utah at the time it occurred and some of the church's early teachings.

In fact, it would be interesting to explore how MM may have influenced LDS thought. I wonder if the de-emphasis and eventual abandonment of doctrines such as blood atonement or the oath to avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were influenced by the fall-out of MM.

Whether or not Brigham Young was involved--and as you said, no smoking gun has been found (although some would argue there is a smoking gun-shaped hole in the historical record)--I wonder if his investigation by federal authorities played a role in toning down some of his own rhetoric and that of other church leaders.

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