September Dawn

I ran across this very interesting article about SEPTEMBER DAWN, the controversial new movie that explores Brigham Young’s role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

LOS ANGELES – As the new year dawned, Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” – about a “divinely ordered” double murder in 1984 by two members of a breakaway Mormon sect – was fresh off the best-seller list. Warren Jeffs, the polygamist prophet of this splinter group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was on FBI wanted lists. And the world’s first-ever “Mormonsploitation Retrospective” (“Passion! Polygamy! Pamphlets!”) of vintage fear-mongering anti-Mormon movies had just finished at the fringy Pioneer Theater in New York’s East Village.

In public relations terms, this is not the easiest time to have the words “Latter,” “Day” and “Saints” anywhere close together in your name. And the going may get rougher after the filmmaker Christopher Cain finishes his new movie about one of the darkest moments in Mormon history, the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857, in which 137 pioneers from Arkansas were killed in Utah by a raiding party whose ties to the Mormon church are still in dispute.

The movie will be highly controversial mostly because of its depiction of Brigham Young as a tyrannical fundamentalist leader, which I TRULY believe he was.

In the past, the LDS Church has tried to tone down his image, and created furor by painting a picture of him as a “monogamist.” In the Relief Society Manual of 1998, only one wife is mentioned. After the backlash started, the official church stance was:

‘Those who believe that this is a historical account of Brigham Young, or an all-inclusive book of his teachings, or something to learn more about Brigham Young the man, the statesman, the great colonizer and so on – that was never the intent,” said Ronald L. Knighton, managing director of the church’s Curriculum Department.

Rather, the focus was the gospel of Jesus Christ ”as taught through the mouth and sermons of that great president of the church,” he said.

This is but one example of how the Church has tried to whitewash its history, but my focus today is actually Brigham Young. If possible, he was actually much more “colorful” than Joseph Smith Jr., and much MORE of a PR nightmare.

Interestingly enough, the Church has chosen to alter many of Brigham Young’s quotes, to make them less offensive, thusly–say it with me now–TAKING THEM OUT OF CONTEXT. I get accused of that all the time. Frankly, I don’t alter the quotes. They do. There is a VERY big difference.

From the article I linked above:

”I’d say that about 10 percent of the quotes are overtly lifted out of context, with about another 10 percent that are more subtly altered. In addition, about 5 percent have been abbreviated to avoid offense regarding race, nationality, gender and so on,” Priddis said.

Bagley is perhaps the most vociferous in his disdain for the new manual, which he sees as a misguided attempt ”to pass Brigham Young off as a 20th century Mormon,” as ”this defanged creature.”

The same text does not mention Brigham Young’s Adam/God doctrine, one of the more controversial of his teachings.

“Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later …. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; … Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation” (April 9, 1852, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pages 50-51).

Here’s another interesting article about the MMM.

Some of my favorite Brigham Young quotes (NOT taken out of context–just quoted):

“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.
“I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them….

“And further more, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.
“It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit…. There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle dove, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man.” (Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 53-54); also published in the Mormon Church’s Deseret News, 1856, page 235)

And my personal favorite:

“Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved… and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, ‘shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?’

“All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant….

“I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance… if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the Devil… I have known a great many men who have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them….

“This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it…. if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind.” (Sermon by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Mormon Tabernacle, February 8, 1857; printed in the Deseret News, February 18, 1857; also reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 219-220)

“This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it..”

Sorta puts the whole MMM thing into perspective, huh?


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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34 Responses to September Dawn

  1. Elaine says:

    Sounds to me like Brigham Young’s conception of “love” was very close to that preached by another cult leader…Charlie Manson.

    Just sayin’.


  2. Brett says:

    Okay, I swear I found your site by doing a Google search for “‘davis county’ dump”. Check it out.

    But after reading a couple posts I have to ask, what happened to you to make you so bitter against Mormons? I mean, jeez! I know lots of people that used to belong to the Mormon faith, but non of these ex-Mormons harbor even close to the ill feelings I’ve read in your posts. You might find therapy more beneficial than ranting against a religion. Be careful, that’s how Hitler got started.

    I’ve lived in Utah for years now (transferred for a CA company) and I’ve found the Mormons, while unique, to be just like every other group out there. Every religion, political movement, organization, etc has a few nuts, but they don’t represent the whole.

    Anyway, I’ve got to go haul some junk to the dump now.


  3. Tracy says:

    Oh, here we go again.

    Brett sweetie, read the whole blog before you ask Natalie why she is so bitter, which she is not by the way. You will get a better understanding.


  4. Bill Jones says:

    Being born in the church I learned a lot about the early church from the point of view of a Father who was a jealous God. Now I learn that He is that person from whom all blessing flow. Obviously I did not understand that HIS ways are not my ways. We are HIS. Brigham Young was HIS, worts and all. You are HIS, worts and all. HE is the decider. HE is the commander. HE sent HIS son to atone for our sins and to allow us to repent. Such”love” is from the kingdom of God, not from kingdoms of men.


  5. Brett says:

    Okay, so I read the blog from the very beginning in an effort to be fair. I’m still not seeing it. I grew up in VA and had many similar experiences with evangelical Christians, Baptists, Born Agains, Jehovah’s Witnesses, you name it. I guess I should blog about how “terrible” those groups are. I am just not bitter about it, as Natalie most definitely is.


  6. Brett,

    While I greatly appreciate your concern for my mental health, I assure you, genocide is not in the future cards for me, so you can shelve those Hitler concerns.

    I’m always amused when Mormons call me bitter, because frankly, they are the ONLY ones who think I am bitter. The rest see it for what it is. I DON’T BELIEVE it’s the only true thing.

    And that’s the bottom line.


  7. azteclady says:

    Brett, perhaps you could read this short piece by Natalie explaining her experiences with the LDS’s Church:

    Once you’ve done that, you could keep an open mind to read her blog “since the very beginning” (in other words, THREE FULL YEARS of posts–which I sincerely doubt you could have done in the hour and a half between your comments).

    If after that you still think that a)Natalie is bitter and in need of therapy, and b)there’s any possible comparison between one person’s blog and Hitler…

    … well then, not much left to say to that.

    Bill Jones, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, and Warren Jeffs are all God’s children–so are you, so am I. That doesn’t excuse nor justify the decisions made by those three (and many other people), to cause harm to other human beings. May God (of whichever flavor each likes) forgive them–being human myself, I find that forgiveness for some things is just not my thing.


  8. Uh, Bill? Little bit confused here what you are saying….


  9. One of my gggggrandmothers (or thereabouts) was a midwife in Hyrum Utah. She told a story of the time when Brigham Young came to her home and ordered her to burn her journals. She did.

    She had written a lot about each Brethern. He knew that if he allowed her to continue writing that people would be more concerned about the “problems,” than about the “gospel.”

    Unfortunately for us, we have lost a lot of that “good” information because of Brigham’s need to control everyone around him.

    The spin my family has put on it is that she was a good member in good standing. Look at the righteous thing she did. ARG!


  10. teri says:

    This blog is a nightmare. Why does the author feel the need to bash a group again? I missed the reason, and actually am quite sure the reason will not justify.


  11. Teri,

    No one is bashing anyone. You missed the reason because you didn’t bother looking. I write about life as an “Ain’t” living in the land of Saints. It’s as simple as that. There are always two sides to every story. Amazingly enough, people like YOU only want ONE viewpoint out there–the Mormon one.


  12. Wayne says:

    Why did I ever think I had a chance to break through the crust of the negativism on this site concerning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? I read the articles and blogs and go to the Richard Packham type sights as suggested. I go to the LDS sights (like Robert Millet’s talk to the missionaries about trying to avoid confrontations), after Natalie has already prepared the minds of her followers and fans to see only what she sees ‘as ugly” about his talk. I read blogs about “Jesus-Jammies”, and everyone poking fun at the things that are special or “sacred” to us. (I do recognize Natalie’s efforts to defend the Church about that.) I read things written about our doctrines that are twisted and distorted to make them look ugly. And then I see others, like Shawna, trying (in a very polite way) to express her views only to have her comments called a “diatribe if crap” by Tracy. I see the so-called intelligent and talented, (and to some, ‘deep thinking intellectuals’ ??) use their ‘God given rights’ (agency) to express their views of the “Mormons” using un-Christ-like methods (according to my views) to discourage non-members and members. I have spent hours trying to think of a way to say what I see as not being fair on this site. Where did it get me? Absolutely nowhere!!!

    I read comments about members of the Church being compared to the Jim Jones ordeal when he told them to drink Kool-aid mixed with Cyanide. Would it be fair if I compared this site, and the ‘followers of Natalie’ with Jim Jones? And suggest what her ‘followers’ would do if she told the too? No, I don’t think so!

    For me it is another testimony of the TRUTH of the Church. I see now why the leaders of the Church (and Robert Millet) tell us not to argue with the enemies of the Church or become “anti-anti-Mormon”. They say it is a waste of time, and they are right, as usual.

    By the way Natalie, in regards to my re-posting of my blogs: By the time I get time to make time and then prepare a response, it is some times a week or two before I am able post my comments about a particular subject. It is then, well past anyone going back and reading my response. That is why I re-posted my long and time consuming blog. I was trying to make a point, and apparently, I didn’t accomplish that the first time, or the second. I sometimes, too, like to think about what I have said, and determine whether I really want to say it the way I have, or whether to send it at all. To some on this site, it might be just a ‘diatribe of crap’ anyway. As the Savior said…“don’t cast your pearls before swine…”

    You have told me a long time ago that I was wasting my time posting the things I was, because this was not a Christian vs. Mormon web-site. I think I have concluded that that is the truth. From the many times you have quoted Richard Pacham and referred your followers to his website, and after going there and finding his very comprehensive and in depth research not only against the Mormons, and seeing him make the same efforts and challenges against the Bible and Christianity. And also noticing Natalie, your reluctance to discuss anything about God or Jesus Christ, I have concluded you are one of his (Richard Pacham’s) followers. And as I alluded too earlier: I wonder if you and your followers would drink………..if Richard Pacham….. But that wouldn’t be fair to do that would it? It isn’t fair for Brett to compare you Natalie, to a Hitler. But it is OK for you to compare the LDS Church and its followers to Jim Jones and his group and so on. Every time someone sees something they don’t like about the Mormons they have to compare them to some “negative” group.

    I would like you to make a list of maybe ten things you think is good about the Mormons, and the good they do (and have done) for the world. It would be interesting to see if you could do it. You might even post a few ‘GO HERE’ references to the sights that show the videos of the thousands of wheel chairs recently given to those in other countries (and here in the States) that were, before then, crawling around in the streets on their hands and knees. How about the millions of dollars of supplies sent to the flood zones and earth quake victims. Sometimes the Church is even the first ones there.

    Members of the Church are also commended for being the first on the scene with their buckets and shovels digging the mud out of people’s homes so they can get their lives back together. Refer your readers to some sites that talk about how some senior members of the Church go for a year and a half (free of charge) to help people cure disease and help pregnant mothers give birth to healthy and living babies, and etc, etc.


  13. The truth, Wayne, and this is something you can’t wrap your head around, is that I am NOT a follower. I don’t NEED someone to tell me what to do. I know what is right, and what is wrong, and I have for years led a very Christian lifestyle, even teaching at a Christian school. However I am not ARROGANT enough to believe that I have to spout out MY BELIEF system to everyone and anyone, telling them I have the ONLY TRUE THING.

    I think that’s wrong.

    Neither do I feel any need to write a list of good things Mormons have done, because I am well aware there are good Mormons, and many of them do VERY good things. My issue is not, and has never been, with the people, unless the people are using the religion as a sword of superiority and power over the heads of others. Those people I take issue with.

    If the Mormon Church ever left me alone, I would leave it alone. It will not. Therefore, I will not.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a religion based on false doctrine, and false principals, and there are many cult-like aspects of Mormonism that people like YOU do not wish to hear. One of those is indoctrination. You came here spouting the same ridiculous claims I’ve heard before, and that have NEVER been proven. You have been indoctrinated.

    You are incapable of looking at the facts I put out here and seeing them without blinders. You knee-jerk react that I am bashing Mormons, with everything I post. You REFUSE to see that I am giving my opinion, and that it differs greatly from yours. You also REFUSE to see that your belief, that you are superior to me because you have the “only true religion” and a “temple recommend” is just as offensive to ME as my words are to YOU. Tell me please, why you are allowed to “bear your testimony” about what you believe to be true, but I am not allowed the same?


  14. Tracy says:

    teri, no one forced you to read the blog.

    Go here,

    It is probably more to your liking.


  15. Lyndsey says:

    I would just like to second Natalie on her last comment. I will speak for all who regularly post here, we are not Mormon haters. I do not believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, so anything that comes from him that differs at all from what I was brought up to believe, in my opinion, is simply not true. I am friends with and even related to the friendliest people who are LDS and I love them dearly, just not their faith.

    Wayne, you are going to have to come to the understanding that many people leave the LDS church with bitter feelings and there’s not one thing you can say to change that. You are going to have to let their opinions be what they are, THEIR opinions. You cannot argue with their experience because it is THEIRS. I would encourage you to listen to this podcast. It is by a member of the LDS church and he uses LDS friendly materials to back up everything he talks about. I am guessing that the majority of people who post here who are former members left the church for one of the reasons he gives. Sorry I don’t know how to link this, so you’ll just have to copy and paste.




  16. Del says:

    Wayne, Bret, Teri, etc,
    What Natalie and all the rest are “spouting” on this blog is not hate speech. Talking about what you believe, what you have studied, and un-earthed in your studies is not hateful and mean. Sorry – it really is okay to talk about what you want to talk about!
    It doesn’t hurt anyone.
    If Mormons Church cannot stand people talking about them, discussing their past etc. Then they must be afraid of something.
    What is there to be afraid of? Have you left the church because you are reading this blog? Are you afraid that Satan will jump out of us onto you and take your free-will away?
    I don’t get it.


  17. Wayne says:

    Natalie: The very existence of your website is in its-self a statement, by you, that you have ‘THE TRUTH’ about MORMONS and the MORMON Church. It is a statement that you know all the answers about what the MORMON Church teaches. And because of a bunch of THORNS you seem to dig up about it and some of the member’s weaknesses, you are very willing to tell all of your FOLLOWERS the TRUTH ABOUT THE MORMONS! The books you write and the articles you write are, in a way, YOUR TESTIMONY that the Mormon Church and its Doctrines are wrong. Setting up and web-site and making “YOUR TRUTH” available to the whole world, is not TOUTING? Name me one church or religious group that does not ‘tout’ the phrase, directly or indirectly, that they are the ‘one true church, and if you don’t believe the way we do, doctrines and all, you are doomed to hell?

    What I can’t seem to get through MY head (for example) is how you can continue to refer people to Richard Pacham’s web-site about his expertise on the Mormon Church and its doctrine? Natalie you claim you are a Christian and even teach at a Christian school. That is wonderful, and I mean that, and will not try to condemn that. But how can you as a Christian, use him as an expert on Mormonism, when on the same website he has (like I have said before) made a very exhaustive and in depth ATTACK on what you and all forms of other Christians believe?

    Have you ever gone to his HOME PAGE and looked at the reasons he stopped believing in God? He has made many comments about the evils done by the leaders and people of that era, some of them involving God and the Savior. I am sure you, and other Christians, would feel very uncomfortable reading some of his research and evidences against the Bible and Christians, just like I don’t enjoy looking at all the things he and others have written about the Mormons.

    Have you ever considered that you just might be putting a potential believer in God on the doorstep of becoming an Atheist should they become curious about other things Richard Pacham is touting about his declarations of “I HAVE THE TRUTH!!!” and here is the evidence? I have gone there, and it is NOT fun. He has put together quite an ‘arsenal.’

    Have you looked at his website enough to find the many books by him and the other so-called “experts” on the subject of the stupid and “indoctrinated” Christians? Frankly, I believe both you and I should be joining forces in putting him down for what he is doing. I am almost sure though if we tried, we would get some answer in return like: “If the Christians ever left me alone, I would leave them alone. They will not. Therefore, I will not.”

    Natalie, there has to be another, or might I say, a better way, to distinguish between truth and untruth. Looking at the weakness of the leaders or members of a group (no matter what the group) cannot be the way. I am not even sure looking at the doctrines of a specific religion (if not in tune with the spirit) is the best way.


  18. Tracy says:


    Why not criticize the leaders? If they are the one’s leading the people astray, they need to be reigned in. I can’t see any organization or religious institution growing and maturing if the leadership is not looked at and made to account for there actions. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.


  19. Natalie says:


    I do NOT have followers. I have readers. There is no CHURCH OF NATALIE, and there never WILL be. I must really scare you, and I have no idea why. Maybe there is just too much truth in what I say, or maybe I’m pushing buttons you don’t want pushed. Whatever the case may be, I am NOT going to tell anyone what their religion should be. And YOU shouldn’t be doing it either.

    I know Richard personally, he is an awesome individual, who just HAPPENS to be an atheist. That doesn’t threaten me or scare me. Nor am I bothered to link to his page, which is forthright and honest. He has the right to believe what he believes, and he has given ALL the reasons why he believes it.

    He’s not telling you how to sacrifice virgins, for heck’s sake. Those are hard to find these days.

    You are a true victim of indoctrination. It simply isn’t black and white, and you can’t seem to understand or accept that. Religion is not black and white, and there is no ONE TRUE ANYTHING. Except funeral potatoes. I thank the Mormon Church for that everytime I have them.

    You and I won’t be joining forces anytime soon, sorry to say.

    You wrote: Have you looked at his website enough to find the many books by him and the other so-called “experts” on the subject of the stupid and “indoctrinated” Christians? Frankly, I believe both you and I should be joining forces in putting him down for what he is doing. I am almost sure though if we tried, we would get some answer in return like: “If the Christians ever left me alone, I would leave them alone. They will not. Therefore, I will not.”

    As I stated, I know Richard personally, I’ve spent time on his Web site. And maybe you ought to look at your last comment, and think about it. Maybe, just maybe, there is a kernel of truth or common sense in it.

    As for this: “I am not even sure looking at the doctrines of a specific religion (if not in tune with the spirit) is the best way.”

    Wayne, Wayne, Wayne…. How truly sad for you, that you could even SPOUT this type of drivel and not get a nasty taste in your mouth. When I compare Mormonism to other cults, this is the VERY reason why. This is how they brainwash, and indoctrinate people. Don’t look at the doctrine? Don’t look at the leaders? Just pray about it, and if you feel good, then it’s true? This is scary stuff, Wayne. That someone could disregard facts and alter your very existence and life, living it based on what someone has TOLD you is true, and a “burning in your bosom,” is a treacherous way to live your life.


  20. azteclady says:

    (And the fact that you can continue answering the same drivel with such patience and civility amazes me each time, Natalie)

    Wayne, I’m [sarcasm] happy [/sarcasm] to know that, even though no one in the Mormon church knows my name, nor my beliefs, nor whether I am a good or a bad person, one day after I’m death (and burning in hell, no doubt), I’ll be baptized in THE ONE TRUE CHURCH OF JOSEPH SMITH AMEN. By the same token, I hope you and all other fanatics of all religions and stripes are happy as clams that I’m praying for your souls.

    (apologies, Natalie, feel free to edit this–I’m nowhere near as patient nor civil as you are)


  21. Yep, same drivel–different person

    The lot of them sound like same person–indoctrination. My family try the same arguments with me.

    My mother didn’t realize how offensive it sounded when she said a Christian woman was righteous even though she wasn’t a member of the church. I am sure she meant it as a compliment.


  22. Scott Goold says:

    Dear Natalie,
    I grew up in Pocatello, Idaho, and know a great deal about the Mormon culture. Although I am not Mormon, I would like to respond to Wayne regarding ten things Mormons do well. I co-direct a basketball camp for Special Needs athletes each summer with a Mormon family in Oregon, see I admire the volunteer service provided by ALL the member of this family (#1). I admire the volunteer service from members of the Church who also assist (#2). We are never short of help, food or supplies. Mormons, in general, are very giving people (#3).

    I respect greatly how they raise their children (#4). Sure, there is a lot of religious doctrine I do not accept or understand, but they are tolerant people (#5). Their home is full of love, joy and happiness (#6). They are highly focused on creating a positive and rewarding family environment (#7). The husband is emotionally strong and a good provider for the family (#8). The wife is emotionally stable and a good teacher for the family (#9). They work hard to build “community” in their community (#10). There’s no need to lock doors, close their garage or worry about their property… their neighbors, Morman and non, look after each other (#11).

    My wife and I don’t have children, but if we did, I would love to be near or in a Mormon community. I would feel safe having my kids hang out with their children (#12).

    Last summer I was discussing life with one of the young adult males. He was considering a career with the DEA. I was puzzled. Why do that, I asked? These officials are so frustrated. He wanted to help end drug abuse in America. I pointed out that the Church community does not have a drug problem (#13). Sure, there are people in any group who have drinking, drug, gambling, etc. problems, but Mormons in general have a significantly lower rate than the rest of America. There is less divorce (#14).

    Now, Wayne, I wish you would ease up on Natalie. Your ranting only pushes people to the extremes. I grew up close to Mormons, nearly married a cheerleader from BYU, but the doctrine didn’t work for me. I understand her position and feelings. I respect her — without knowing her — greatly.

    Whenever any group feels they have the ABSOLUTE truth, I am concerned. If god wanted us to know the truth, there wouldn’t be so much confusion in our world. The Christians, Jews, Muslims — ALL — believe they have the “word.” How can this be? But the saddest part is all the killing and bloodshed over god and religion. It makes me sick and cynical.

    Mormons are good people with great hearts. I ask you, Wayne, to open your heart to Natalie and people like me. Respect our frustration with god, religion, spirituality. Mr. Pacham is just as correct in his beliefs about atheism as you are about Mormonism. These are issues of faith — not science. There is no “factual” proof, only our beliefs.

    I truly believe that if Jesus walked among us today, he would never rant or rave. He would listen. He would make room for all to talk and ask questions. He would give us an example to live by, not simply talk, talk, talk… Show us, by example, of your faith — which should be to extend love and courtesy to Natalie.

    If she wants to exit the Church, why do leaders make this difficult? Where is the compassion? Be the strong, wholesome people that I see so often (#15). Be there for questions and help those in need, but do not persecute. I believe the Church and its members have experienced enough of this.


  23. Aaron says:


    Mormon here. Inactive, whatever. Just thought I’d put in two cents.

    I feel bad for Natalie and her experience. It’s actually a lesson for members of the church. Even if you know all the doctrine, go to church, etc, you can still totally screw yourself and people like Natalie are the result (not a bad thing, just saying). Seen several sites (and books) with people frustrated with the “Church’s Leaders” not letting them go in peace. This can be a very delicate ledge for members of the church to walk on, we believe true happiness is found with Christ, thus we don’t want people turned off of the church… and here is where it gets slippery.

    But , i’ve done the debate thing and all it leads to (after every argument is checked, every detail revealed, etc) is – “I feel better about my own interpretation than yours” Everything else is just fodder.

    Even if all mormons were complete A-holes the church could still be true – they wouldn’t be practicing what they preached, but it doesn’t negate the principles it’s based on. I say this because I am so sick of people using this fallacy as a legitimate argument.


    And a final thought, if people want to start really arguing with legitimate arguments please do so, but enough of this user-interpreted, fallacy-filled crap. Peace.


  24. Klaudia says:

    I find it strange that all of you are talking about what is true or not true but you dont even mention the Bible in the same sentence. The Bible is the TRUTH the pure,infallible word of the living God and it should therefore be what you should use to measure truth. I know Mormons say that it contains errors but Im yet to actually be told by a Mormon what those errors are. What I say to them is Proverbs 30:5-6 and 2 Timothy 3:16, Titus 1:15. The Bible says in John 1:14 that Jesus was the Word made flesh so therefore I believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible as representative of God on this Earth. He paid for our sins entirely and by Brigham Young saying that people are allowed to pay for their own sins with their own blood is an insult to the Savior himself because it belittles the sacrifice that He made. God required sacrifices to be free of blemish as the Savior was, How can a sinful man be a worthy sacrifice? When Christians show you the own words of the early Mormon founders it is not to belittle or judge you but it is to show you what kind of an organization you are associating yourself with. I dont dislike Mormons but I am agaisnt the mass indoctrination and deception of the Mormon church. It has claimed people close to me, Ive seen them being lost further and further into unsound teachings that they cant even explain to me themselves. Im yet to get sound answers from any Mormon about what they believe they usually pawn you off to the missionaries. The Bible says that believers are to be prepared to give an answer to anyone that asks about the hope that is in them. (1 Peter 3:15 ) You will not be a God someday! There is only one true God and He is your creator and imagine how much you hurt Him when you believe you will be an equal to HIM someday. Look at the words of your own prophet, he is saying that he is better than the Savior!:

    “Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.”

    Joseph Smith (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)

    Correct me if Im wrong but Joseph Smith is saying that Christ was a failure. How can you follow such a self righteous man as a prophet? The prophets of the Old Testament gave glory only to God and no other. Read Isaiah 53 it is a detailed prophecy about our Savior. Christ fullfilled all of what is said in Isaiah 53. How many things that Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon prophesied have come true? Im not asking you to take my word for it, take God’s, read the scriptures read your Bibles read your Books of Mormon compare them and the Holy Spirit will begin to give you the discernment you need. I believe you will discover something you didnt know before when you read the Bible because its words never return void and dont say you already read it, if you do read it , then you need to read it some more!


  25. PollyTerGeist says:

    To the following posters (and others who may echo the sentiment that one is not qualified to post a rebuttal or sympathetic reply unless one reviews Natalie’s “Genesis” to “Revelation”)
    Tracy who said:
    “Oh, here we go again.
    Brett sweetie, read the whole blog before you ask Natalie why she is so bitter, which she is not by the way. You will get a better understanding;” and

    azteclady who said:
    “Brett, perhaps you could read this short piece by Natalie explaining her experiences with the LDS’s Church:
    Once you’ve done that, you could keep an open mind to read her blog “since the very beginning” (in other words, THREE FULL YEARS of posts–which I sincerely doubt you could have done in the hour and a half between your comments).”

    Is that really necessary? If so, then wouldn’t:

    • anyone who criticizes Jewish beliefs and practices be required to read the Pentateuch, the rest of the Torah, the entire Talmud (in every form), and other rabbinical discussions before a word is uttered;

    • anyone who criticizes Islamic beliefs and practices be required to read the entire Qur’an and the Sunnah, as well as every fatwa issued by a cleric before their lips breathe a word against Islam;

    • anyone who criticizes Christian practices and beliefs read the Biblical Canon, the entire writings and homilies of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox churches, pre-Reformation writings, post-Reformation writings, etc., to be qualified to comment.

    (See where I’m going with this? No? Okay, then …)

    • anyone who criticizes Mormon practices and beliefs read the Biblical Canon, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the entire writings of Smith, Young, et al to understand the Mountain Meadows Massacre and other Mormon phenomenon.

    That’s what you ask readers of this blog to do: withhold comment and discussion (which if done openly is the best way to come to understand another) until they have read the entire back story. Yet I doubt that anyone critical of another’s religious beliefs has gone through precisely that exercise. I have yet to see anyone here hold themselves up to that strict standard they expect their adversaries to adhere to. Instead we cast aspersions based on our own experience and (limited) knowledge. This is fine to a point. As long as you are honest about your prejudices and preconceptions, the discussion can provide opportunities to learn a lot from anyone with a differing belief.

    However, the moment you retreat into, “You’re wrong ” without seeking to understand why you are objecting, and why they aren’t yielding, you have lost. Neither gain, the game is over. Similarly, when you assume you know why they aren’t yielding and take no thought to understand the ground they stand on, you gain no ground, and the game is over.

    While it’s helpful to read and review antagonist’s views, as in the case of the new Christopher Cain Mountain Meadows Massacre movie, it’s equally useful to read and review sympathetic views. Then understand that history is imperfect: both views are cobbled together from the limited documentary evidence left from an event, era, or movement. Even those who had first-hand experience will color their rendition in their own prejudices and preconceptions. The “truth” may never be known, but that doesn’t stop some of us from concluding our search at one belief over another. If we were all convinced of the same thing without effort, there would be no need for Rogerian struggle that leads to growth.

    Sorry if this was a threadjack. You may now continue the flight of the aspersions…


  26. Kevin says:

    Natalie, I just want to say how refreshing it is that you seek the truth about a religion you once were a part of, and that I disagree whole heartedly with Bret that this was the way “Hitler got started.”

    Hitler was not a seeker of truth. In fact, he sought to suppress it.

    If any religion is to evolve and mature to something that mankind can benefit from through its teachings, it is imperative that the institution be truthful regarding its history. No matter how disagreeable or potentially damaging that history may be, it must be disclosed. We can learn from mistakes committed in the past. We learn nothing from suppression and denial.

    By editing the doctrines of Brigham Young and attempting to protect him from any involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre (to what extent that was will never be fully clear), the Mormon Church appears as a suppressor of truth.

    So I support your effort to reveal the truth about the Mormon Church or anywhere else you may pursue it.


  27. Indy says:


    “Burying The Past: Legacy of The Mountain Meadows Massacre”

    Directed by Brian Patrick

    Played Nationally in Over 20 Film Festivals

    Speaking of the film’s purpose, Patrick is quoted: “Burying The Past” has taken me six years to complete. I came upon the idea when I saw an article in the Salt Lake Tribune in 1998 about these age-old enemies who were attempting to forgive each other. With all of these warring factions in the world today and the cycle of vengeance they perpetuate, it was inspiring to me to see an attempt at reconciliation. It was the humanity of the story which I found in the descendants of the massacre that I was drawn to, and wanted to bring out. I think that the film shows how difficult it is for opposing cultural groups to come together. If you can show people to other people, you can reduce the prejudice in this world, and in this case, I hope to help heal some of those prejudices. I hope you find the story as fascinating as I have while making it.”

    The film is available at DVDs include many Special Features like a 23 minute documentary on The Making of The Film, Director’s Commentary, Deleted Scenes & more.


    “Burying The Past: Legacy of The Mountain Meadows Massacre” Critical Praise:

    “Genuinely remarkable . . . BURYING THE PAST is astute and brave and, contrary to the current fashion in documentaries, fastidiously fair to all concerned. I’ll give it an A.” –Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat Gazette

    “Beautifully produced…weaves & tightens into a shocking web of injustice. Five stars!” -Phil Hall

    “Brilliantly Honest…they will come back to this film decades from now.” -Will Bagley

    On September 11, 1857, a wagon train of 120 immigrants bound for California were slaughtered under a white flag by Utah Mormons in one of the worst massacres in American history. Through the actual testimony of a young girl who survived, interviews with descendants, and forensic investigations, this compelling film breaks through decades of coverup to expose a story kept out of the history books. Descendants of the massacre, haunted by the tragedy to this day, struggle to find forgiveness and healing.

    “$5,000 Crystal Heart Award” (Heartland Film Festival)
    “Broadcast Education Association King Foundation Award Winner” (Best of Festival)
    “Broadcast Education Association Best Documentary”
    “Best of State Award Utah 2004”
    “Accolade Award of Excellence” for Documentary Feature (Accolade Competition)
    “Accolade Award of Excellence” for Voiceover (Accolade Competition)
    “Best of Festival Award” (Berkeley Film Festival)
    “Chris Award” (Columbus International Film Festival)
    “Best Musical Score” (Park City Film Music Festival)
    “Best Digital Feature” (Stony Brook Film Festival New York)
    “Spur Awards” (Western Writer’s Association)

    “Best of State Competition”
    “Broadcast Education Association”
    “Accolade Competition”
    “Berkeley Film Festival”
    “Columbus International Film Festival”
    “Park City Film Music Festival”
    “Park City Film Series”
    “Denver International Film Festival”
    “Arizona International Film Festival”
    “Santa Fe Film Festival”
    “Breckenridge Film Festival”
    “Bare Bones International Film Festival”
    “Sedona International Film Festival”
    “Athens International Film Festival”
    “Bend Film Festival”
    “Idaho International Film Festival”
    “Heartland Film Festival”
    “ARPA International Film Festival, Hollywood”
    “SMMASH Film Festival”
    “Ozark Foothills Film Festival”

    Director’s Statement
    “Burying The Past” took me six years to complete. I came upon the idea when I saw an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about these age-old enemies who were attempting to forgive each other. With all of these warring factions in the world today and the cycle of vengeance they perpetuate, it was inspiring to me to see an attempt at reconciliation. It was the humanity of the story which I found in the descendants of the massacre that I was drawn to, and wanted to bring out. I think that the film shows how difficult it is for opposing cultural groups to come together.

    I feel very strongly that this is a story that deserves to be told. The chilling significance of the “September 11th” date of the Mountain Meadows Massacre is also difficult to ignore. Many people have never learned of this tragic event. It is an event that has been kept out of history books, that is not taught to children in schools, even though it is the biggest American massacres before Oklahoma City, and one of the most despicable crimes in the history of the West. It was a difficult and risky film to make in Utah – what took place at Mountain Meadows is still shrouded in controversy, and many people would prefer that the massacre remain forgotten. The truth of what happened has been obscured by the Mormon Church’s cover up, but events unfold in the film revealing evidence that is hard to deny. I’m very proud that the film captures some of the most powerful, documented evidence of what really happened at Mountain Meadows one hundred and forty seven years ago.

    It has been quite an incredible journey with this film. I have traveled to many film festivals and taken it around the country introducing the story to audiences for the first time, and have received hundreds of letters and e-mails from people who have been moved or changed by film’s story. I have also been fortunate to show the film to the descendants of the victims for many years every anniversary of the massacre on September 11 when they gather from around the country in Harrison, Arkansas where the wagon train party originated from. When these people respond so emotionally to the film it makes me feel like I really accomplished something. It was very important to me to show the point of view of the Arkansas people in that wagon train, and I think for these people, the film has given them a voice that has never been seen or heard before. I have also been invited to show the film to family reunions of the descendants perpetrators, and have had very emotional, powerful screenings where it felt as though healing was finally beginning to take place for them. The way the descendants of the attackers respond to the film reveal how much pain they still carry with them. In the end, the story of how these two groups came together in a spirit of reconciliation was at the core of why I made the film in the first place. I hope you find the story as fascinating as I have while making it.

    Brian Patrick, Producer/Director
    “Burying the Past”


  28. Dustin says:

    you know, I can understand how annoying it would be to be an “aint” in the middle of the “saints” and whatnot but I do have to agree a little with brett. I think he’s just trying to say that the mormons aren’t alone when it comes to commiting atrocities, covering up crazy members or leaders, or trying to push their viewpoints on people….. it’s kinda the norm for every religion…. and every religion has it’s own crazy fanatics. I mean look at the popes during the crusades, cleans your sins by killing muslims… it’s not quite the “love thy neighbor attitude that you would expect.” I’m sure you’ve read up on things like that. I’m just wonder why you fight so strongly against the mormons who, granted, have a lot of nutcakes, when every religion has the same basic history and the same basic problems with zealots and fanatics


  29. patti Dunleavy says:

    interestingly enough I lived not far from the meadow mt. mas. in Mesquite NV. the movie was so acurate of the horrible murders that took place there ,I was quite surprised and pleased. The mormons are the most deceptive people i have ever had the disservice of meeting or living by ,there beliefs are still the same the only thing you don’t see are the avenging angels that actually where depicted in the movie. For people who doubt these horrific murders all you have to do is go to the site and you will still feel the the desperation of the unsettled spirits that have never been able to let go, it is bone chilling.


  30. Justin says:

    I don’t think the writer’s intent was to bash Mormon’s. But to give some insight to the doctrine behind Blood Atonement. If you are offended by the truth, it is not in a bashing manor but in revelation to the truth that the LDS have a dark and secretive past, and to this day continues in its doctrine. Not far from where this tales leaves off. You can deny it if you want, I personally came from it, and I can attest to it. Taking into consideration that every faith has a brutal history, the one thing in their faith that has any likeness to Christianity, a few Characters in the Book of Mormans pages, and the whack history of dominance in the name of God. I personally agree with Joseph Smith that there is no true church. Besides that, they are far from the Bible in their belief and unlike Jesus, whose only commandment was to love without agenda, what person of any faith can say that… I dare you, reply.


  31. John Swartch says:

    The big issue now is who is Mitt Romeny and what is his church. We have a right to know. Just like Jack K. 40 years ago. The movie might give some clue, but is not shown in this area. Has it been killed??? I lived in Mesa, AZ, lots of Mormons, but they seemed OK except when I said that I watched “The Hour of Power” on Sunday mornings.


  32. John Swartch says:

    Also, the other Mormon church HQ’ed in Independence, MO sent some people to Salt Lake City in the 1890’s to see what they could do. They were told ot go back to Missouri while the getting was good. The Independence, MO church is much more normal.


  33. John Swartch says:

    Here is a movie review from the Salt Lake City paper:

    Here is a movie loaded with raunchy jokes about premarital sex and getting stoned that is not just soda-out-the-nose funny but also one of the most life-affirming and pro-marriage movies ever made.

    The movie?? Knocked Up. Great stuff!!!


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