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Mitt Romney’s September Dawn

by @ 1:45 am on May 3, 2007. Filed under 2008 Election, Mitt Romney, Politics

Robert Novak tells the story of a September 11th that occurred 150 years ago:

Opening Friday, a motion picture called “September Dawn” depicts a brutal American massacre that has been forgotten. On Sept. 11, 1857, in Utah Territory, Mormons slaughtered more than 120 California-bound settlers from Arkansas. Retelling at this time the Sept. 11 carnage of 150 years ago does not help Mormon Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

The basic facts of the Mountain Meadows Massacre are not in dispute. Mormons mobilized Paiute Indians, accompanied by Mormons disguised as Indians, to attack a peaceful wagon train. The settlers beat back the attack but were left short of food and ammunition. They disarmed at the request of the Mormons, who said they would lead the settlers to safety but instead turned on them, murdering every man, woman and child above age 8. All that is in doubt historically is whether this was ordered by Brigham Young, president of the Mormon Church and territorial governor of Utah. “September Dawn” says he was responsible; the church denies it.

Today’s Mormons, including Romney, cannot be blamed for those events. Nevertheless, the candidate has followed the church’s example and ignored the movie. Romney will not comment on “September Dawn” and indeed will not watch it. That follows his decision not to defend his faith or actively fight religious bias that has impeded his candidacy.

And this in this, I think, is the back story that has been a part of the Romney campaign from the beginning.

Like it or not, the Morman Church has played a part in American history, and the truth of that history needs to be discussed. One of the flaws that the Latter Day Saints have exemplified is the inability to admit,? or even discuss, the mistakes that were made in the past. As it is, the movie does nothing to help their image, or Romney’s:

Brigham Young — played by the British actor Terence Stamp — is portrayed in the film as a 19th-century Osama bin Laden. Calling himself a “second Muhammad,” he insists on the “shedding of blood” of “gentiles.” He is seen fighting the United States, which was sending troops to Utah.

The church has always accepted Young’s plea that he had nothing to do with the massacre. But Voight is certain that he did based on research for the movie. “If any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats,” Young said in his “Blood Atonement Sermon” (which concluded that he would not fight “unless they come upon us and compel us”). The movie’s researchers found in the church’s archives a generic threat against interlopers: “I will loose the Indians on them, and I will slit their throats from ear to ear.”

Novak argues, rightly I think, that Romney’s efforts to ignore questions like this only hurt his campaign for the While House.

4 Responses to “Mitt Romney’s September Dawn”

  1. KipEsquire says:

    If it had been a Mormon massacre of Indians, you know dang well Romney would comment on it (i.e., to “apologize” for it).

  2. dan says:

    I?m convinced that the average American is intelligent enough to have gotten past these types of character assassination using the name of religion. By the same logic employed in your insidious articles, Giuliani should apologize for the Catholic priests sexual/molestation scandal, RIGHT?

    I am therefore convinced that the average American – who, again, is intelligent – would call Novak and yourself surreptitious conniving bigots!

  3. Michael Johnson says:

    You could call the Mormon Church the George Bush of religions. Any questioning or looking for insights into the history of the Mormon Church is marginalized as ?Mormon bashing.?

    There?s an element of arrogance. Mormons are taught they have greater insights than other being members of God?s only true church and that the Book of Mormon is the world?s most perfect book.

    Those with Mormon connections characterize September Dawn as anti-Mormon. So, September Dawn?s impact within the Mormon Church will confirm the church is god?s church because persuasion is a sign of righteousness. This is what I mean by arrogance, the fault is always with how others see Mormonism, its history, its beliefs and it impact on people who come in contact with it.

    There is a conspiracy of silence. Mormons see electing a Mormon president as the fulfillment of prophecy. The Mormon Church claims to be neutral in politics. Every church attending Mormon knows whom the church wants in power. They think others are too stupid to see what is apparent to everyone.

  4. Jonathan B says:

    “Like it or not, the Morman Church”… is spelt M-O-R-M-O-N. I simply can’t trust the opinion of someone who doesn’t even know how to properly spell Mormon. Romney certainly seems to have been attacked alot lately by the media, what are they so scared of?

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