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How many pioneers died crossing the Plains?
 
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Can anyone tell me how many Mormons verses non Mormons died and were injured crossing the plains?  I have heard that more people died in the handcart companies than all other crossings combined.  Is this True?  I can't seem to find the numbers to make the comparison.

 
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How many Mormon pioneers died, seems that just between the Donners and the Franchers you have about 130 non Mormon pioneers who died.
 
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There may be some good guesses, but that's all they are.  Because there was no one keeping score.  No one recorded the names, DOBs and places of birth of all the 'pioneers' who crossed the Mississippi between, say, 1830 and 1865, just to select an arbitrary slice 'O history.  That list, had it been prepared, would have had to be periodically forwarded to whatever terminus was felt likely,so that the people who made it  could report their trips a success, and perhaps report on those they knew to have died.

 

It it literally possible that entire companies of pioneers, with no definite destination in mind, could have perished in their entirety, and simply disappeared from recorded history.

 

Even among the Mormons, groups could have come from Europe, remained entirely cohesive, set off from Independence, MO, and then been lost to history.  No one was expecting them in Utah, and even if they were, the number in the party might not have  been known.  Some missionary might have returned from, say, Ireland, to ask, "Hey, did that group of families I converted and convinced to head for Zion make it?  It was the O'Brian family, the O'Bannon family and the O'Oh family..."

 

To which some authority in SLC, in 1869, would have said, "Never heard of them."  And the missionary might have said, "Huh!  Wonder what happened to them...."  And then promptly forgotten about it.

 

But don't worry, all this will be straightened out during the Millennium, assuming you have the ghawd channel on cable. 

 
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I think it is really interesting that the RLDS and Strangeites and other Mormon splinter groups got along okay with their neighbors and did not have to flee to the West.

It also seems like a bad setup for missionary work. If everyone who converted to the church moved to Deseret, then the church would have to keep sending out missionaries to previously visited areas. But if, for example, missionaries converted some people in a certain town in Wales, and the converts kept living there, then they could do their own missionary work in that area and the church wouldn't have to keep sending so many missionaries there.

But I guess the church had this millenarian thing going one. The world was going to end at any time. Brigham Young would be the last prophet before the end of times. So the Mormons all wanted to be together at the end, and moved to Deseret for this reason.
 
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If church history is to be believed, every man who crossed the plains buried at least two of his children, one of his wives, his mother, an ox and/or a horse, and maybe even himself. And a wheel broke on his handcart/wagon, and all members of his party lost various fingers and toes to frostbite. But they were blessed, don't you know?
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This thread brought to mind two questions:

 

How many are TOO many?

 

and...

 

How many are enough??

 

Seeing as how my surname is Baker — as in the Baker-Fancher Party! — and how YOUR ancestors murdered MY ancestors for walking across the back yard, I'd say my blood atonement should be about 260... one person for every person killed and one child for every child not born.  Sounds reasonable.  Oh... And don't forget my 21 cousins on the Baker side.  That'd be about 260 per as well. 

 

So... Out of your TBM families, who's going to serve 'em up?  Your MIL, BIL?  Your dear sons, daughters, wives, parents???  C'mon, it can't be that hard!!  After all, Brigham said, "Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little" after he had had his goons tear down a makeshift memorial to those killed.  Surely, you can cough up a body or two for ol' GraciesDaddy!

 

I'm just glad ol' BY wasn't around at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.  We had enough trouble as it was! 

 

The Fine Print:  It's not so easy when you're on the receiving end, eh?  That probably didn't occur to the Lafferty brothers, either. 

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GraciesDaddy:

This thread brought to mind two questions:

 

How many are TOO many?

 

and...

 

How many are enough??

 

Seeing as how my surname is Baker — as in the Baker-Fancher Party! — and how YOUR ancestors murdered MY ancestors for walking across the back yard, I'd say my blood atonement should be about 260... one person for every person killed and one child for every child not born.  Sounds reasonable.  Oh... And don't forget my 21 cousins on the Baker side.  That'd be about 260 per as well. 

 

So... Out of your TBM families, who's going to serve 'em up?  Your MIL, BIL?  Your dear sons, daughters, wives, parents???  C'mon, it can't be that hard!!  After all, Brigham said, "Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little" after he had had his goons tear down a makeshift memorial to those killed.  Surely, you can cough up a body or two for ol' GraciesDaddy!

 

I'm just glad ol' BY wasn't around at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.  We had enough trouble as it was! 

 

The Fine Print:  It's not so easy when you're on the receiving end, eh?  That probably didn't occur to the Lafferty brothers, either. 

GraciesDaddy,

 

Your normal cordial demeanor seems to have been agitated by this topic.  As a descendant of the murdered Baker family members, you have every right to be incensed by the Mountain Meadows massacre.

 

However, I'm uncomfortable by a blanket accusation of "YOUR ancestors" directed at all readers that have Mormon roots.  If you want to blame a direct descendant, take your anger out on me.  As a great, great, great grandson of John D. Lee (even if only through adoption), I will willingly accept your indignation.

 

To answer your guestions, I say, 

 

One death was too many.

 

And many times your proposed 260 would never really repay you and your family for your murdered ancestors.  But, your proposed huge compensation graphically makes your point. 

 

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Heretic:
I think it is really interesting that the RLDS and Strangeites and other Mormon splinter groups got along okay with their neighbors and did not have to flee to the West.

It also seems like a bad setup for missionary work. If everyone who converted to the church moved to Deseret, then the church would have to keep sending out missionaries to previously visited areas. But if, for example, missionaries converted some people in a certain town in Wales, and the converts kept living there, then they could do their own missionary work in that area and the church wouldn't have to keep sending so many missionaries there.

But I guess the church had this millenarian thing going one. The world was going to end at any time. Brigham Young would be the last prophet before the end of times. So the Mormons all wanted to be together at the end, and moved to Deseret for this reason.

 

I think BY wanted to remove the church from civilization.  The more secluded the better.  He was a tyrant and was able control the saints who followed his particular brand of mormonism without competition until the railroad came to town.  The reformation BY put the church through by isolating the saints would have been a terrible time to be a member of the church, in my opinion. 

 
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I haven't read it, but I've heard that "Devil's Gate" by David Roberts is an intersting book on this topic. From what I gather, the book focuses on how Mormons love to venerate the sacrifices of the pioneers when in reality those deaths were due to gross negligence and incompetence. 

 

I've read some stuff in "Outside" by Roberts and he is a good writer in a similar vein with Jon Krakauer.  

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Joseph Smith's banking practices didn't help.
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"The Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument is dedicated to the more than 6,000 pioneers who died making the journey to Utah from Illinois and other parts of the world between 1847 and 1869."

 

(Ref. http://www.utah.com/mormon/pioneer_memorial_monument.htm)

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GD - I too am a "Baker".  In fact, my grandfather was born and raised in Beaver, UT (not far from the massacre area).  I've always wondered if there is any relationship to the slayed party, especially since we can't seem to find any geneology past my great-grandfather.  Makes me physically sick what BY and JDL did there, and especially that they tried to put all the blame on the local native americans.  Then, when the MORG helped to sponsor a monument a few years back, I figured there may be some sort of attempt at apology by GBH, but NOOOOOOO - all he could say was - "there's no way to know who was actually responsible for this, so let's all just forget about it...".  Unbelievable!  It made me embarrassed because I was still TBM at that point.
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I have not studied this topic but I did hear that BY left too early or too late and that was why there were so many that perished. Have any of you heard this?
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Aleut:
GraciesDaddy:

This thread brought to mind two questions:

 

How many are TOO many?

 

and...

 

How many are enough??

 

Seeing as how my surname is Baker — as in the Baker-Fancher Party! — and how YOUR ancestors murdered MY ancestors for walking across the back yard, I'd say my blood atonement should be about 260... one person for every person killed and one child for every child not born.  Sounds reasonable.  Oh... And don't forget my 21 cousins on the Baker side.  That'd be about 260 per as well. 

 

So... Out of your TBM families, who's going to serve 'em up?  Your MIL, BIL?  Your dear sons, daughters, wives, parents???  C'mon, it can't be that hard!!  After all, Brigham said, "Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little" after he had had his goons tear down a makeshift memorial to those killed.  Surely, you can cough up a body or two for ol' GraciesDaddy!

 

I'm just glad ol' BY wasn't around at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.  We had enough trouble as it was! 

 

The Fine Print:  It's not so easy when you're on the receiving end, eh?  That probably didn't occur to the Lafferty brothers, either. 

GraciesDaddy,

 

Your normal cordial demeanor seems to have been agitated by this topic.  As a descendant of the murdered Baker family members, you have every right to be incensed by the Mountain Meadows massacre.

 

However, I'm uncomfortable by a blanket accusation of "YOUR ancestors" directed at all readers that have Mormon roots.  If you want to blame a direct descendant, take your anger out on me.  As a great, great, great grandson of John D. Lee (even if only through adoption), I will willingly accept your indignation.

 

To answer your guestions, I say, 

 

One death was too many.

 

And many times your proposed 260 would never really repay you and your family for your murdered ancestors.  But, your proposed huge compensation graphically makes your point. 

 

This is exactly what I was going for, Aleut.  But yes, this topic gets my normal rolling boil into a ROILING boil!  The Murder of Innocents tends to do that.  That includes those pushcart immigrants who froze to death hiking across the prairie.  

 

Mostly, I wanted people [PostMoes] to think...  To think about how our politicians so lackadaisically demonize and determine who should or should not live... To think about how our religious leaders do the same thing... To think that even right down to our school boards demonize those of The Other and fear them...

 

...all because they walk across Their back yard.

 

 

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Nomoremocrap:
GD - I too am a "Baker".  In fact, my grandfather was born and raised in Beaver, UT (not far from the massacre area).  I've always wondered if there is any relationship to the slayed party, especially since we can't seem to find any geneology past my great-grandfather.  Makes me physically sick what BY and JDL did there, and especially that they tried to put all the blame on the local native americans.  Then, when the MORG helped to sponsor a monument a few years back, I figured there may be some sort of attempt at apology by GBH, but NOOOOOOO - all he could say was - "there's no way to know who was actually responsible for this, so let's all just forget about it...".  Unbelievable!  It made me embarrassed because I was still TBM at that point.

 I agree.

 

No excuse concocted by Mormons, historians, apologists, et al, can ever justify the massacre at Mountain Meadows.  I, also, had hoped for at least an apology from GBH at the monument dedication.  The church owes the victims' descendants and all of the rest of us at least that much.

 

But no, they commission their own book on the savage bloodbath that IMO white washes any blame that could be reasonably inferred lies with Brigham Young and the general church leadership.

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Heretic:
I think it is really interesting that the RLDS and Strangeites and other Mormon splinter groups got along okay with their neighbors and did not have to flee to the West.

It also seems like a bad setup for missionary work. If everyone who converted to the church moved to Deseret, then the church would have to keep sending out missionaries to previously visited areas. But if, for example, missionaries converted some people in a certain town in Wales, and the converts kept living there, then they could do their own missionary work in that area and the church wouldn't have to keep sending so many missionaries there.

But I guess the church had this millenarian thing going one. The world was going to end at any time. Brigham Young would be the last prophet before the end of times. So the Mormons all wanted to be together at the end, and moved to Deseret for this reason.

 

I have a feeling that if converting to the church did not include assistance moving to "the land of opportunity", that far fewer people would have converted.

 

SG

 

 

 
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My ancestor, Mary McBride is buried 'on the plains' near Scottsbluff Nebraska, a member of the John B. Walker Co., and victim of Cholera.

 

Her children survived and finished the trek to SLC.

 

A sad footnote to my study of my family history and entanglement with the so-called church.

 

To underscore the misery index, Mary McBride's father was one of the people killed at Haun's Mill, Missouri.  

 

I can't even begin to fathom the miserable life that my ancestors lived as trusting followers of Joseph and Brigham...and on my father's side of the family, literally EVERY ancestral line traces through the history of mormonism.  All branches of the family were in Utah before the railroad arrived, which means they were all suckers that bought the snake oil...

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"I figured there may be some sort of attempt at apology by GBH, but NOOOOOOO - all he could say was - "there's no way to know who was actually responsible for this, so let's all just forget about it...".

 

That is because "Love means never having to say you're sorry". (couldn't resist - L-d$,inc doctrine straight from the movie classic LOVE STORY.

 

As for what GordieB said - Joseph Smith would have prayed and gotten a revelation telling what happened, why and then detailed the genealogy of those involved.

 

But now it is all covered by "that is not necessary to your salvation" and then dropped.

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Two things, first I read that BY was trying to save money by sending the saints with handcarts, and the he was warned by people in the church that they did not have enough food etc. to make it.  But BY would not listen.  I blame him for the handcart problems.  Am I right or wrong on this? Second the book written By Jauntia Brookes about the MT. meadows massacre was very good, it is older but very well documented. I went down to the the sight and we got a chance to walk around the sight  be told how it happened.  It made me sick, and then I put that back on the shelf, but when it came crashing down there was know way I could go back to that type of blind obedience. Religion really is not the answer it is just sad, how could anyone do that.
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Not enough.
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General Smith:
Not enough.

 

 

Are you saying that you wish more people had died? That really isn't very nice. That would be the type of feelings Mormons would assume that ex-Mormons would have. I would think that ex-Mormons would want to prove the Mormons wrong.
 
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Heretic:
General Smith:
Not enough.

 

 

Are you saying that you wish more people had died? That really isn't very nice. That would be the type of feelings Mormons would assume that ex-Mormons would have. I would think that ex-Mormons would want to prove the Mormons wrong.

 

 >>Implying one's actions, thoughts, or posts on the interwebs should be governed by what Mormons might think.

 

lol

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@ General Smith

I was trying to be somewhat polite. I guess I will stop. You pretty much stated that you are disappointed that more Mormons did not die crossing the plains. It is morally reprehensible to wish people would die. This is like the attitude that murderers, sadists, and perpetrators of genocide have. I assert that it is evil to want people to die unless you are talking about enemies who are willing and able to injure or kill you right in the middle of a self defense or war type of situation.

There is this old thing: "Thou shalt not kill." The Bible has been discredited, but this is a rule that makes good sense, and made it into things the Code of Hammurabi, English Common Law, The Code Napoleon, and the laws of the United States of America.
 
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I took Gen. Smith's position to be that in saying "not enough..." he meant that it's too bad that the leadership people didn't seem to suffer.  What would have happened if BY and his apostles had croaked?

 

I have a rule of thumb about internet exchanges:  always assume the best possible interpretation.  I don't always follow my rule, but that's another story. 

 
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Elder OldDog:

I took Gen. Smith's position to be that in saying "not enough..." he meant that it's too bad that the leadership people didn't seem to suffer.  What would have happened if BY and his apostles had croaked?

 

I have a rule of thumb about internet exchanges:  always assume the best possible interpretation.  I don't always follow my rule, but that's another story. 

 

 ^Nailed it.

 

Thanks for not reading more into it than that.

 

 

@Heretic: I'm only going to say this once, and I don't like having to, but I never insulted you or gave you any legitimate cause to escalate like that. I lived in Haiti, I saw a guy murdered in front of me and fed to pigs. I got to watch as pigs ate a person that had been alive and well just minutes before that. I have seen protestors literally torn in half by police tear gas canisters, and I've seen people shot to death. Aside from people who've seen war, I tend to have more experience with actual death, so I consider myself somewhat more in touch with the frailty of our existence than most people who just muse on the subject.

 

When I said "not enough" I was being both funny and honest. If you want to consider moral weight, how many people have been damaged as a result of Mormons' past and present teachings?

 

Color me a sociopath if you want, but to me a couple extra dead guys to nip a psychologically damaging institution in the bud isn't a bad thing.

 

Besides, all those people died anyway, just not crossing the plains. So, it's not morally reprehensible and I wish people would stop asigning such heavy moral weight to any statement they feel it'll stick to. Morality is entirely subjective anyway. Mormons find taking the name of an invisible cloud-rider in vain to be morally reprehensible, and I'll be goddamned if I let that stop me from doing it.

 

I suppose we just have different answers to that old moral dilemma: "If you you could put an end to all war, but it meant taking the life of an innocent child, would you?"

 

 I hope this helps you see my point of view, and if not, maybe it'll at least calm you down enough to stop grandstanding.

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Well, you know...it was mostly women and children...so...they didn't mean too much...and weren't recorded.
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On the other side of the coin - had none died, had Joseph Smith not died the church might have fizzled out somewhere in Missouri.  It might have become a bunch of pissed off people wandering back to their family farms shaking their heads, having a stiff drink and wondering what the hell they had been thinking.

 

Might have become like the Cutlerites who were down to a scant 20 people just a few generations ago - but don't worry about those Cutlerites because that's exactly what the scriptures say will happen.

 

Often one martyr makes all the difference (says every Christian in the world today.)   Had Joseph Smith lived he very well might have pissed off the last 20 people who still liked him at that point.

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Nomoremocrap:
GD - I too am a "Baker".  In fact, my grandfather was born and raised in Beaver, UT (not far from the massacre area).  I've always wondered if there is any relationship to the slayed party, especially since we can't seem to find any geneology past my great-grandfather.  Makes me physically sick what BY and JDL did there, and especially that they tried to put all the blame on the local native americans.  Then, when the MORG helped to sponsor a monument a few years back, I figured there may be some sort of attempt at apology by GBH, but NOOOOOOO - all he could say was - "there's no way to know who was actually responsible for this, so let's all just forget about it...".  Unbelievable!  It made me embarrassed because I was still TBM at that point.

 

 I have to admit I feel just a bit sorry for JDL. I don't know how accurate his "last confession" is, but he seems to have suffered some cognitive dissonance in the middle of the massacre that, had he had time alone to resolve it, I think he would have resolved it differently than he did in the moment, surrounded by the other religious zealots involved. It's definitely unfair that his commanding officers weren't held responsible for their roles in the massacre, and that JDL was the only one to take the fall for the lot of them. He definitely felt remorse after the fact, and realized that his trust in BY and the other GAs was misplaced. He eventually, if I infer correctly from his confession, came to believe that JS III was the true successor, and that BY was a tyrant who abused his power.

 

I know that doesn't change the depravity or the heinous nature of his crimes, but I feel sorry for him because he was just a brainwashed sheeple and all the other guilty parties got off scot-free after committing the same heinous crimes.

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And I don’t need the fallout
Of all the past that’s in between us
And I’m not holding on
And all your lies weren’t enough to keep me here
Goo Goo Dolls, Here Is Gone

 
       
 


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