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You are here News Human Rights For 150 years, site markers didn’t name who committed Utah’s Mountain Meadows Massacre

For 150 years, site markers didn’t name who committed Utah’s Mountain Meadows Massacre

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Mountain Meadows Massacre

Mountain Meadows was an oasis. A lush, green valley at the doorstep of the Mojave Desert.

In the era of westward expansion, this part of present-day southwest Utah was basically that last-chance gas station on a lonely highway. Wagon trains on the Old Spanish Trail would camp and graze their livestock before braving the rest of the dry, dusty road to California.

One September day in 1857, however, this peaceful paradise was thrown into unthinkable violence.

“If you can imagine: Small children going to the legs of their mothers looking for protection. Mothers doing what they could to try to protect the children. Gunfire. Smoke. Screams. A kind of horror that we often don't think about much today in our sanitized world,” said historian Richard E. Turley Jr., now retired from the historical department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Turley, author of the 2023 book Vengeance Is Mine about the massacre and its aftermath, has spent more than three decades researching and writing about the attack. He describes it as the worst event in the church’s history.

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