K.C. and Michelle Woolf

Family blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Books I've Read Update: Massacre at Mountain Meadows

I just finished reading Massacre at Mountain Meadows last night. I’ve been interested in the Mountain Meadows Massacre since I was 20 years old and I found out that one of my favorite missionary companions, Michael Shumway Lee, was descended from John D. Lee, the alleged leader of the murder of 120 men, women and children in Southern Utah in 1857. (And no, Elder Lee never tried to kill me.) One of the first books I read when I got off my mission was Juanita Brooks’ The Mountain Meadow’s Massacre. This new book doesn’t contradict anything from Brooks, but does add to our understanding with previously unavailable documents.

So, what could make these otherwise peaceful Mormon settlers (who went on to live normal, nonviolent lives) murder 120 people in cold blood? “What did the terrible atrocity say about the killers? What did it say about their church and its leaders? Did early Mormonism possess a violent strain so deep and volcanic that it erupted without warning? And what did the Mountain Meadows Massacre say about religion generally? A modern age wants to know whether people might be better off without their religious beliefs.”

This book helps explain the situation in 1857 that would lead to this darkest event in Utah history. “Scholars who have investigated violence in many cultures provide other insights based on group psychology. Episodes of violence often begin when one people classify another as ‘the other,’ stripping them of any humanity and mentally transforming them into enemies. Once this process of devaluing and demonizing occurs, stereotypes take over, rumors circulate, and pressure builds to conform to group action against the perceived threat....Other elements are often present when ‘good people’ do terrible things. Usually there is an atmosphere of authority and obedience, which allows errant leaders to trump the moral instincts of their followers. Atrocities also occur when followers do not have clear messages about what is expected of them-when their culture or messages from headquarters leave local leaders wondering what they should do.” All these conditions were present in Southern Utah during the "Utah War" in 1857. This book implicates errors by President James Buchanan, Brigham Young, some of the Arkansas emigrants, some Paiutes, and mostly the settlers in southern Utah who “set aside principles of their faith to commit an atrocity.” (One interesting part of the story is how the cow disease anthrax played into the massacre.)

I believe those who try to make the case that there is something inherently violent about Mormonism or religion in general (Under the Banner of Heaven - Your Mormon neighbors are probably going to kill you in your sleep) are missing one of the historical lessons to be learned from the massacre. We know from modern history that group violence is not something that occurs exclusively among religious groups, so to suppose that the abandonment of religion would free us from like events would be a mistake. There are also those who have spent the last century and a half trying to blame the massacre on Brigham Young (Blood of the Prophets - just ignore all the evidence to the contrary - Brigham Young was personally responsible for everything bad that happened in the Intermountain West between 1847 and 1877), although every scrap of evidence available shows that he did not order the massacre and in fact sent a message, received too late, ordering that the emigrants be left to go in peace.

When I teach my children about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the lesson I hope they learn is that when leaders, religious or secular, ask you to do something evil you should not do it. Principles of righteousness should trump any principles of obedience.


Books I Can Remember that I’ve Read (In no particular order)

I'm only counting text books if I read the entire thing.
I'm counting books that I read more than half of but stopped because I couldn't stomach it (Lolita) or hated (Moby Dick). I'm not counting books that are mostly pictures (The Cat in the Hat) although they are still some of my favorite books. I'm counting books twice if I read them in English and in Spanish. Also, I have not counted all the Bathroom Readers, mostly because I'm ashamed of how much time I spend on the pot. I've read almost all of them though.

***** - I really liked
**** - I liked
*** - OK
** - I didn’t like
* - It sucked.

1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce**
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen****
4. Walden - Henry David Thoreau**
5. Claudius the God - Robert Graves*****
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez***
7. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess****
8. As I Lay Dying -William Faulkner***
9. Animal Farm - George Orwell****
10. The Book of Mormon - Written by the Hand of Mormon. Translated by Joseph Smith Jr.*****
11. The Holy Bible - King James Version*****
12. The Doctrine and Covenants - Joseph Smith, others****
13. The Pearl of Great Price - Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith****
14. Travels with Charley (In Search of America) - John Steinbeck****
15. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket***
16. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket***
17. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket***
18. Les Liaisons Dagereuses - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos****
19. Tom Sawyer Abroad - Samuel Clemens***
20. The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey****
21. The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell***
22. The Faith of a Scientist - Henry Eyring****
23. The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell****
24. What are People For - Wendell Berry***
25. The Miracle of Forgiveness - Spencer W. Kimball****
26. The Greatest Salesman in the World - Og Mandino***
27. 1984 - George Orwell****
28. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Samuel Clemens*****
29. On the Road - Jack Keroac****
30. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens****
31. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller****
32. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra****
33. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe***
34. Deliverance - James Dickey****
35. The Best of Edward Abbey***
36. Rosaura a las Diez - Marco Denevi****
37. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow****
38. Tom Sawyer Detective - Samuel Clemens***
39. The Iliad -Homer****
40. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein*****
41. Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
42. The Double - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
43. The Trial -Franz Kafka***
44. Moby Dick - Herman Melville**
45. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison***
46. Principles of Surgery Companion Handbook - Schartz, Shires, Spencer*
47. Standing for Something - Gordon B. Hinckley***
48. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis*****
49. The Sound and the Fury -William Faulkner**
50. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck****
51. Slaughter House-Five - Kurt Vonnegut****
52. Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
53. Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry**
54. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -Samuel Clemens*****
55. Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler*****
56. The Call of the Wild - Jack London****
57. Kim - Rudyard Kipling***
58. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens****
59. Howards End - E.M. Forster****
60. Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence***
61. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad***
62. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -Robert M. Pirsig****
63. The Stranger - Albus Camus****
64. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf***
65. The Lonely Men - Louis L’Amour***
66. Sacred Clowns - Tony Hillerman***
67. The Covenant - James A. Michener****
68. Prentice Alvin - Orson Scott Card****
69. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -Douglas Adams****
70. The Quick and the Dead - Louis L’Amour***
71. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*****
72. The Gift of the Jews - Thomas Cahill****
73. The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis****
74. The Christ Commission - Og Mandin****
75. Ender’s Game -Orson Scott Card*****
76. People of Darkness - Tony Hillerman****
77. The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis****
78. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis****
79. Memory of Earth - Orson Scott Card***
80. The Odyssey - Homer****
81. The Source - James A. Michener*****
82. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger****
83. The Story of England - Christopher Hibbert****
84. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway****
85. The Changed Man - Orson Scott Card****
86. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl****
87. El Milagro del Perdon -Spencer W. Kimball****
88. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley****
89. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder - LeGrand Richards****
90. A Treasury of Classical Mythology - A.R. Hope Moncrieff****
91. The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien****
92. Pure Drivel - Steve Martin***
93. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens****
94. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens****
95. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone - J.K. Rowling*****
96. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling*****
97. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -J.K. Rowling*****
98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -J.K. Rowling*****
99. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling*****
100. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling*****
101. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling*****
102. The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis*****
103. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis*****
104. Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis****
105. Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis*****
106. The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis*****
107. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis****
108. That Hideous Strength - C.S. Lewis****
109. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway***
110. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov**
111. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley****
112. I Claudius - Robert Graves*****
113. Anthem - Ann Rand***
114. Lord of the Flies - William Golding****
115. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner***
116. The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad***
117. Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein****
118. A Room With a View - E.M. Forster****
119. Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad***
120. Citizen of the Galaxy - Robert Heinlein****
121. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesley****
122. Tunnel in the Sky - Robert Heinlein****
123. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum****
124. Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card****
125. Xenocide - Orson Scott Card****
126. Songmaster - Orson Scott Card**
127. Saints - Orson Scott Card****
128. Red Prophet - Orson Scott Card****
129. Cruel Shoes - Steve Martin***
130. The Great Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
131. Me and My Little Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
132. Jesus the Christ - James Talmage*****
133. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas****
134. Dracula - Bram Stoker****
135. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown***
136. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown****
137. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire****
138. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - Roald Dahl**
139. How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill***
140. Fundamentals of Family Medicine - Robert B. Taylor***
141. Medical Physiology - Rodney A Rhoades and George A Tanner**
142. D'aulaires Book of Greek Myths - Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aurlaire****
143. El Libro De Mormon - Un Relato Escrito por la Mano de Mormon. Traducido de las Planchas por Jose Smith, Hijo*****
144. Generation X - Douglas Coupland***
145. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe****
146. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice****
147. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde****
148. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen****
149. History of the English-Speaking Peoples - Winston Churchhill****
150. A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking - Barbara Bates**
151. Complete History of the World - Richard Overy****
152. The American Religion - Harold Bloom***
153. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck****
154. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote****
155. A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo****
156. Religion in the New World - Richard E. Wentz***
157. The Moon Is Down - John Steinbeck****
158. The Pearl - John Steinbeck****
159. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck****
160. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John le Carré****
161. The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter*****
162. The Chosen - Chaim Potok****
163. The Work and the Glory, Pilar of Fire - Gerald N. Lund*****
164. The Work and the Glory, Like a Fire if Burning - Gerald N. Lund*****
165. The Work and the Glory, Truth will Prevail - Gerald N. Lund*****
166. The Work and the Glory, Thy Gold Refine - Gerald N. Lund*****
167. The Work and the Glory, A Season of Joy - Gerald N. Lund*****
168. Stepen King On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King***
169. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris****
170. Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited, The Evidence for Ancient Origins - Edited by Noel B. Reynolds. **** (March '08)
171. The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko****
172. Naked Ape : A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal - Desmond Morris****
173. Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes****
174. Mormons and Masons, Setting the Record Straight - Gilbert W. Scharffs* (March '08)
175. San Manuel Bueno, mártir - Miguel de Unamuno****
176. Critiquing the Critics of Joseph Smith - Hartt Wixom**** (March '08)
177. Mormon Country - Wallace Stegner****
178. The House of God - Samuel Shem**
179. The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler****(March '08)
180. The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel**** (April '08)
181. Religions of the World - A Latter-day Saint View - Spencer J. Palmer, Rober R. Keller, Dong Sull Choi, James A. Toronto****
182. Julius Caesar - William Shakespear****
183. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare****
184. Hamlet - William Shakespeare****
185. Macbeth - William Shakespeare****
186. One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions - Stephen W. Gibson*** (May '08)
187. Jay's Journal - Beatrice Sparks**
188. Blueprints in Obstetrics and Gynecology - Tamara L. Callahan, Aaron B Caughey and Linda J Heffner***
189. Clinical Microbiology Made Rediculously Simple - Mark Galdwin and Bill Trattler****
190. Prescription for the Boards USMLE Step 2 - Radhika Breaden, Charyl Denenberg, Kate Feibusch, Stephen Gomperts***
191. The Instant Exam Review for the USMLE Step 3 - Joel s. Goldberg**
192. Appleton & Lang's Review of Pediatrics - Martin I. Lorin**
193. Pathology - Arthur S. Schneider and Philip A Szanto**
194. Internal Medicine - Edward D. Frohlich**
195. The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien****
196. The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien****
198. The Mountain Meadows Massacre - Juanita Brooks****
198. A Thief of Time - Tony Hillerman****
199. Naked Pictures of Famous People - Jon Stewart**
200. La Casa de Bernarda Alba - Federico García Lorca***
201. Why Things Are and Why Things Aren't - Joel Achenbach****
202. Why Things Are - Joel Achenbach****
203. Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? And Other Imponderables - David Feldman****
204. First Aid for the Family Medicine Boards - Tao Le, Christine Dehlendorf, Michael Mendoza, and Cynthria Ohata**** (May '08)
205. Why Don't Cat's Like to Swim - David Feldman****
206. The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer**** (June '08)
207. Encounters with the Archdruid - John McPhee***
208. Desert Solitaire - Edward Abby***
209. Family Medicine Board Review - Robert L. Bratton, MD**** (July '08)
210. View of the Hebrews - Ethan Smith** (August '08)
211. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle****
212. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens****
213. The Book of Mormon and DNA Resarch - Edited by Daniel C. Petersen**** (Sept '08)
214. The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis**** (Sept '08)
215. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson**** (Sept '08)
216. The Great Angel - A Study of Israel's Second God - Margaret Barker**** (Sept '08)
217. The House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne**** (Sept,08)
218. The Scarlett Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne**** (Oct, '08)
219. Twilight - Stephanie Meyer** (Oct, '08)
220. Sophie's Choice - William Styron*** (Nov, '08)
221. Revolt of 2100 - Robert Heinlein****
222. Farnham's Freehold - Robert Heinlein****
223. Between Planets - Robert Heinlein****
224. The Giver - Lois Lowry****(Nov, '08)
225. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith****
226. Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein** (Nov, '08)
227. Joseph Smith - Rough Stone Rolling - Richard Lyman Bushman**** (Dec, '08)
228. The Work and the Glory - Praise to the Man - Gerald N. Lund**** (Dec, '08)
229. Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass - The Art of Telling Tales about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young - Hugh Nibley****(Dec, '08)
230. The Happy Prince and Other Tales - Oscar Wilde***(Dec, '08)
231. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling****(Dec, '08)
232. A High Wind in Jamaica - Richard Hughes*** (Dec, '08)
233. Celsus on the True Doctrine - A Discourse Against the Christians - translated by R. Joseph Hoffmann**** (Jan, '09)
234. Brigham Young: American Moses - Leonard J. Arrington**** (Jan, '09)
235. Atlas Shrugged - Ann Rand***** (Jan, '09)
236. Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder*** (Feb, '09)
237. Silas Marner - George Eliot**** (Feb, '09)
238. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte*** (Feb, '09)
239. Mormonism and Early Christianity - Hugh Nibley**** (March, '09)
240. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens*** (March, '09)
241. The Abolition of Man - C.S. Lewis*** (April, '09)
242. The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx** (April '09)
243. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky**** (April '09)
244. Till We Have Faces - C.S. Lewis**** (April '09)
245. Return from Tomorrow - George Ritchie and Elizebeth Sherrill***
246. President Kimball Speaks Out - Spencer W. Kimball***
247. The World's Last Night and Other Essays - C.S. Lewis**** (April '09)
248. Everything's Eventual - Stephen King****
249. Dubliners - James Joyce**** (April '09)
250. Capitalism and Freedom Milton Friedman**** (May '09)
251. Texas - James Michener***
252. Massacre at Mountain Meadows - Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr. and Geln M Leonard**** (May '09)
253. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein****

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