Between September 7 and 11 of 1857, an emigrant (pioneer) wagon train was attacked while traveling through southern Utah toward California. At the end of the attack, 120 were killed, sparing only 17 or perhaps 18 children considered too young to talk about it. In the annals of war and slaughter, this could be considered a tiny event. But for the history of the Great Basin of North America, it was quite exceptional. More white pioneers died on the Mountain Meadows than during any other violent event in the history of the American west. For civilizationalists, this is important as a case study of civilizational encounter, because while complex, it has been studied in rare detail. Members of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons, arrived in the area just ten years earlier with the express purpose of creating a new and morally better civilization than the one from which they had been violently expelled. The Indians in the area were coping with a flood of white-skinned immigrants of many kinds who were killing off game and grazing on scarce grasses in a land more desert than not. And the emigrants who died were just passing through, on their way to dreams of a better life further west. This confluence of forces and movements of people from many places combined with specific personalities of leaders and the history of a newly emerging religion with civilizational dreams created a tragedy that even the Greeks could scarcely contemplate. The slaughter was so complete and duplicitous that word of it spread rapidly across the continent. It had dramatic impacts of relations between Mormons and other Americans, some of which echo to this day in states such as Arkansas. This paper will examine mainly those aspects of this civilizational encounter and its consequences.
"The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857: A Civilizational Encounter With Lessons for Us All,"
Comparative Civilizations Review: Vol. 64
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/ccr/vol64/iss64/5