Nasty, Brutish & Short

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In Bob Novak's latest column...

May 3, 2007 03:08 PM

...there are two things of interest.  First, the column speculates that "September Dawn" a movie about Mormons opening this weekend is damaging to Mitt Romney's presidential prospects.  The movie details the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and portrays Brigham Young as a 19th century Osama bin Laden.  In the September 11, 1857 massacre,

Mormons mobilized Paiute Indians, accompanied by Mormons disguised as Indians, to attack a peaceful wagon train. The settlers beat off the attack but were left short of food and ammunition. They disarmed themselves at the request of Mormons who said they would lead them to safety but instead turned on the settlers, murdering every man, woman and child above the age of 8. All that is in doubt historically is whether this was ordered by Brigham Young, president of the Mormon Church. ''September Dawn'' says he was responsible, and the church denies it.

I was having a conversation last night about the PBS special that has been running this week on the Mormons, and everyone was in universal agreement that Mormons represent their faith very well.  Nice.  Clean-cut.  Peaceful.  Needless to say, it sounds like "September Dawn" reaches a different conclusion.  And I am sure it won't be helpful to Mitt Romney, who is surely the reason we've been hearing so much about Mormon's lately (which all started with Andrew Sullivan's post about Mormon underwear).

Which brings me to the second thing of interest.  Novak writes:

I attended a screening of the movie hosted by Academy Award-winner Jon Voight (who plays a fictional Mormon bishop). A conservative, he said this was no hit against Romney. ''I didn't even know he was running when we began this,'' Voight told viewers after the screening. But he said this terrible story is important considering America's war against terrorists.

Jon Voight is a "conservative"?  Angelina Jolie's dad?  No wonder they're not talking.


I saw the recent "Frontline" two-part documentary on PBS, which was fascinating.

The segment on the massacre was insightful, as was the bit about Joseph Smith's "revelation" about plural marriage only being revealed publicly after a newspaper exposed his multiple wives, calling him out for his "whoredoms."

These two incidents say a lot about the church, I think. But I suppose similar incidents mark the history of any organized religion.

Kind, Gentle and Long   ·  May 4, 2007 01:34 PM

Do similar incidents REALLY mark the history of any organized religion??? Read the view of the great grandaughter of Brigham Young about the blood atonement. I don't see the similarities between this type of brutality and other church histories.

Tonya Nichols   ·  May 4, 2007 06:00 PM