Welcome to the Read Rinaldo Blog. This is the last chapter in my analysis of the different people involved in the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. This week, UTAH GOVERNOR MIKE LEAVITT.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) began in rural New York, moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Nauvoo, Illinois before stopping in Utah Territory. The LDS experienced a great deal of persecution at each location before settling in the distant and unpopulated Utah Territory. The persecution in Illinois included gunfights between locals and the Mormon Militia, eventually named Avenging Angels or Danites. The Mormons stockpiled weapons for these encounters. Having to guess at the cause of these fights from what I know about humans, I suspect the locals and the Mormons share fault for reaching this level of violence. Prophet Joseph Smith, LDS originator and leader, died when a mob of gentiles lynched him (Mormons define gentiles as non-Mormons). Brigham Young filled the void atop the LDS hierarchy and moved the Church to Utah.
During Brigham's leadership, approximately 150 Arkansans were slaughtered during a four day siege of their encampment in 1857. Eerily, though the siege lasted from September 7th to September 11th, nearly all of the emigrants died on September 11th. This ranked as the most deadly killing of Americans by Americans outside of the Civil War until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Local Mormons allegedly committed this atrocity. In 1999 two men digging with a backhoe unearthed bones at Mountain Meadows. Forensic scientists flocked to the area to quickly study the remains. Within days Governor Mike Leavitt ordered the bones reburied. Interestingly, Mike Leavitt is allegedly a direct descendant of one of the killers at Mountain Meadows in 1857. Mormons consider lineage of vital importance, and one's ancestry is something a faithful Mormon would definitely know. Please note that despite Mormons blaming local Paiute Indians for the killings, the scientists definitively concluded that every death they could account for happened with bullets, something the Paiute tribes in the area did not possess. Science, the limited federal investigation in the years following the massacre, and the surviving historical record irrefutably declares that Mormons killed these travelers. In 2007 the LDS officially expressed regret that the local Mormons participated in the massacre, but failed to admit sanctioning these murders.
UTAH GOVERNOR MIKE LEAVITT
Governor Mike Leavitt helped bring the Olympics to Utah, lowered crime by 25%, made health care more affordable, repaired Utah's freeway system, and revamped that state's welfare system. Most governors can only dream about accomplishing so much.
In 1999 two men working at Mountain Meadows to rebuild the monument there began digging with a backhoe. Before their equipment arrived, archeologists from Brigham Young University surveyed the ground looking for anomalies or any evidence of a massacre [American Massacre, Sally Denton, Vintage Books 2003, page xxi]. According to Martha Beck's book Leaving the Saints, Brigham Young University has a notoriously poor reputation for all academic disciplines other than studying the Book of Mormon. The BYU archeologists assured the Mormon Church they had nothing to fear by digging at Mountain Meadows. True to their reputation, the scholars from BYU were completely wrong. The backhoe promptly dug up bones. Not reporting such a find would be a felony, and the men did as the law required [American Massacre, Sally Denton, Vintage Books 2003, page xxi].
Not surprisingly, scientists flocked to Mountain Meadows to study these bones. The bones unearthed on the third of August 1999 were reinterred on the tenth of September 1999 [http://www.mtn-meadows-assoc.com/1999_monument.htm]. One day shy of being exactly 142 years since most of the victims died.
Governor Mike Leavitt ordered these bones reburied. Interesting action for a man rumored to be a direct descendant of a murderer at Mountain Meadows in 1857. Mormons consider their lineage to be of the utmost importance, so a Mormon family would definitely know if this were true.
As governor, Mr. Leavitt wielded some impressive power. Despite state law requiring unidentified bones to be examined, he managed to cease excavation after only 38 days. As one of, if not the most popular governor in Utah's history, Governor Leavitt possessed a deep desire to keep the truth of Mountain Meadows from becoming national news. Good thing he buried the truth; President Bush hired him as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2003 to 2005 and as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2005 to 2009 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Leavitt].
I find it disturbing that Mormons like Governor Mike Leavitt continue to consent to the Mountain Meadows massacre and cover-up by their silence and by silencing anyone who seeks to bring the truth to light about that horrible four days at Mountain Meadows. Why is a man known for doing so much good so scared of the truth?