What Happened At Mountain Meadows?

The truth is still emerging about the mass murder of more than 100 California-bound emigrants in Utah in 1857, and about the role of leaders of the Mormon Church in the atrocity.

On August 3, 1999, a backhoe operator powered his shovel into a hard-packed mound of earth at a remote site in the southwestern corner of Utah, and to the shock of those watching, the bucket emerged with more than 30 pounds of human skeletons. The excavation, part of a renovation of a crumbling monument, had not only uncovered an old burial site but also exposed anew one of the enduring controversies in American history. Read more »

This Is The Place

Retracing the Pioneer Trail in Mormon Utah

On my first visit to Gilgal Garden, a back-yard collection of folk sculpture in Salt Lake City, a Mormon friend who shares my taste for the unusual took my picture. There I am, a smiling, middle-aged Gentile (as Mormons call all non-Mormons) seated on a large stone sphinx that has the face of Joseph Smith, the founder of the faith. I am sitting on the sphinx’s paw. Read more »

The Mormons

From Poverty and Persecution to Prosperity and Power

In the month of February, 1846, when conditions for travel were as unpropitious as possible, the Mormons began moving out of their newly built city of Nauvoo, Illinois, in order to cross the ice-strewn Mississippi, on the first leg of a long and uncertain journey. A forced abandoning of barely completed homes, this time with the loss of much property and the necessity for travel in the dead of winter, was no new experience for the adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Read more »

A Record Filled With Sunlight

John Charles Frémont never succeeded in living up to his fame, yet he was one of America’s great explorers

Rolling plains covered with dry bunch grass stretch for miles on every side. Far on the northern horizon lifts an enormous square-topped butte, giving individuality to that quarter of the landscape. Westward, faint in the distance but brought into hard relief as the sun sets, are penciled the snowy peaks of an isolated mountain chain; and close inspection shows that near their base the country dips into a narrow valley, with cottonwoods indicating a stream whose waters are fed by these distant summits.

 
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