Mormon historian visits Juanita Brooks Lecture; Mountain Meadows massacre, ‘The Trial of John D. Lee’

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ST. GEORGE – Renowned author and historian Richard Turley will present his research and findings about one of the most tragic events in Utah history, the Mountain Meadows massacre, at the 31st annual Juanita Brooks Lecture Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the historic St. George Tabernacle. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Turley will tell the story of “The Trial of John D. Lee,” one of the key figures in the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857, in which 122 men, women and children from the Arkansas-based Baker-Fancher wagon train were killed in a valley just west of Cedar City. In 1875, Lee and others were put on trial for their part in the massacre.

He will show how this trial was the first sign of a national issue: what to do with the Mormons. Critics of Mormonism hoped to magnify the story of violence and blame Brigham Young for instituting the massacre, thereby increasing the national unrest against the Mormons, Turley will offer. The trial was much more than just accusations against Lee.

Turley is an assistant LDS church historian and the author of several articles and books. He teamed with colleagues Glen Leonard and Ronald Walker to author the book “Massacre at Mountain Meadows,” which was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. Turley holds a bachelor’s degree from BYU and earned a law degree from the BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School. He has been affiliated with the LDS Church Historian’s Office and the LDS Family History Library for two decades.

The Juanita Brooks Lecture Series was established at Dixie State University by Obert C. Tanner for the purpose of perpetuating the great writing of Southern Utah in the tradition of Juanita Brooks, and is a part of the St. George Tabernacle’s weekly music and history series.

Brooks, who served on the Utah Board of State History for 28 years, was a long-time professor at the former Dixie State College of Utah and became a well-known author. She is recognized, by scholarly consent, to be one of Utah’s and the Mormon church’s most eminent historians. Her total honesty, unwavering courage and perceptive interpretation of fact set more stringent standards of scholarship for her fellow historians to emulate. All of the previous 30 lectures, in addition to this year’s topic, will soon appear in the book “Honoring Juanita Brooks,” published by DSU later this year.

Event details and contact information

  • Date: March 26
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Location: St. George Tabernacle, 18 South Main Street, St. George
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact/more info: Dixie State University – 435-652-7500

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  • But Seriously March 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The Mormon historian Turley will show that ‘The trial was much more than accusations against Lee’. So all of those innocent men, women, and children that were murdered, is just a side note? This would be like a Nazi historian blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.

  • Bub March 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I bet a lot of the descendants of those bloodthirsty, murdering mormons are still floating around stg to this day…

  • setaf March 24, 2014 at 7:38 am

    “But seriously”, perhaps you should attend the lecture and then react to something that has happened rather to something that hasn’t yet. One statement is hardly grounds for judging an entire event.

  • Butt bub March 24, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Butt you are correct the innocent women, children have been forgotten as they were killed in Missour, and yes the nazis blame the jews. Bub your wrong all the bloodthirsty murdering Mormon have all died either at mount meadows or just died from old age. Just waiting in spirit prison. By the way tell them hi when you get there.

  • IQ92 March 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Bub, and your point is?

  • Urroner March 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Bub is right….but, then again, I’m sure that somewhere in Bub’s ancestry are blood thirsty murderers, rapists, child molesters, and people who were totally insane or maybe even liberal progressives. What does that mean? Maybe Bub should tell us. I await with bated breath.

  • Wowza March 24, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Wish I had me a pair of magic underwear that deflects any responsibility of our actions that were deemed wrong by everyone else.

  • Iinn June 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Richard turley will only tell what the l d s church wants him to say,if he really told the truth he would be excommunicated from the l d s church..

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