These are excerpts from our free Mormon Land newsletter, a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Want the full newsletter in your inbox? Subscribe here. You also can support Mormon Land with a donation at Patreon.com/mormonland, where you can access, among other exclusive gifts and content, transcripts from our “Mormon Land” podcasts.
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.
Listen and boost your BYU understanding
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.
Maybe you want to know how Texas’ abortion ban could threaten other constitutional rights, or how a BYU-Idaho faculty member defines a safe classroom space, or how a church program is helping former inmates rebuild their lives and livelihoods. If so, click here to receive this and more newsletter items free in your email each week.