Summarized by Janus Wilkinson
Was There a Secret Order to Wipe Out Mormon Church?
Salt Lake Tribune 26Mar00 N6
By Robert Paul
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- This article debates the question of whether
there had been a secret order to wipe out the Mormon Church in the
mid-1800's. The debate centers around the Mormon Batallion, a group
of 500 LDS men who fought during the Mexican War in 1846.
Members of the modern-day Mormon Batallion say there is some indication
that government leaders of the day had indeed formulated a plan for the
destruction of the Mormon people. They cite, in part, the talks given by
Church leaders eight years after the batallion was discharged. Brigham Young
and his second counselor in the First Presidency, Jedediah M. Grant, spoke at
a Mormon Batalion Festival in Salt Lake City in 1955. Brigham Young made the
following remarks during the festival, "Suppose it had been shown to you that
there were men in Washington, and influential men too, men who had control of
the affairs of the nation to a great degree, who had plotted to massacre this
people while on the frontiers in an Indian country, you would doubtless have
gone to work to circumvewnt their plans." He went on to say that he knew for
certain that plans had been made for the complete destruction of the LDS
people and these plans had been approved by President James Polk.
The other side of the debate is shown through a letter to the editor of
the Salt Lake Tribune, published in December, 1999. The letter, written by
David Bigler of California, makes the assertation that the story of such a
plan is absurd. He states, "Mr. Polk and other American presidents are not
dictators and the United States was ot the Nazi Germany of the 19th century."
In response, Major Paul of the U.S. Mormon Batallion, Inc., an
organization designed to keep a live the memory of the Mormon Batallion said,
"Preposterous? No more prepposterous than the infamous "Extermination Order"
that Missouri Governor Boggs issued in 1838 to drive the Mormons out of
Missouri or exterminate them."