Latest from Mormon Land: Remembering the ‘other’ 9/11 — the bloodiest stain on the faith’s history

The Mountain Meadows Massacre, unleashed by LDS militiamen, claimed 120 lives 164 years ago. on Sept. 11, 1857.

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Wooden crosses in 2007 adorn the Mountain Meadows Massacre memorial site in southern Utah. Sept. 11 marks the 164th anniversary of the massacre.

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The ‘other’ Sept. 11

As the nation pauses to observe the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror assault, thoughts turn to another Sept. 11 attack — one that happened 164 years ago.

On Sept. 11, 1857, Mormon militiamen, under a flag of truce, slaughtered 120 men, women and children in a wagon train traveling from Arkansas to California.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre, about 30 miles north of St. George, stands as the bloodiest stain on Mormon history.

“What was done here long ago by members of our church represents a terrible and inexcusable departure from Christian teaching and conduct,” apostle Henry B. Eyring stated during a 2007 visit to the southwestern Utah site. “We cannot change what happened, but we can remember and honor those who were killed here.”

John D. Lee was the only person ever convicted and put to death for his part in the carnage. He was executed March 23, 1877, by a firing squad at the site.

In 2008, Latter-day Saint historian Richard E. Turley Jr. co-wrote the highly acclaimed “Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy.” He talks about the mass killings in this story and in this “Mormon Land” podcast.

(Tribune file photo) John D. Lee can seen sitting on his coffin shorty before his execution on March 23, 1877, for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Listen and boost your BYU understanding

Last week, in the wake of apostle Jeffrey R. Holland’s recent speech, we provided a rundown of past Salt Lake Tribune stories about conflicting forces at play at Brigham Young University.

This week, we share a handful of past “Mormon Land” podcasts — with links — that shed additional light on issues confronting the faith’s flagship school:

• A vice president (and BYU alum) at a Methodist university discusses the fallout from Holland’s talk and how it could affect the school’s academic research, professional ties, athletic alliances, classroom interactions and more.

• A BYU law professor offers a deep look at a school committee’s revealing report on campus racism and its recommendations for creating a more welcoming environment.

• An openly gay BYU Honor Code administrator talks about his life, the church’s evolution on LGBTQ issues and his work at the Provo school.

• A researcher explores the rise and repercussions of DezNat, self-anointed defenders of the church who have sometimes lobbed social media barrages at progressive BYU faculty and LGBTQ students.

• A member of Wyoming’s “Black 14” reflects on his protest before playing BYU back when the church still had its racist priesthood ban and how he has now teamed up with the church on humanitarian outreach.

• BYU activists explain their grassroots effort to rebrand the main campus administration building, given that it bears the name of 19th-century slaveholder Abraham O. Smoot.

Nelson’s 97 candles

Church President Russell M. Nelson is close to becoming the longest-living Latter-day Saint prophet.

The faith’s 17th president turned 97 on Thursday.

Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president, who died in 2008, lived for seven months past his 97th birthday.

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