SW10009: Author Meets Critics: Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector: A Scottish Immigrant in the American West, 1848-1861

Peter McAuslan, an 1848 Mormon convert, emigrated from Scotland in 1854. after arriving in Utah, the Mormons had experienced a series of natural disasters, a reformation, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the arrival of the U. S. army. These events and the insistence on absolute obedience to one’s file leaders tore at McAuslan’s faith. Now dissenters and fearful of their lives, he and his extended family left Utah under the protection of an army escort and went to California. McAuslan never lost his regard for the Mormon people it was the leaders, he believed, who had not followed the highest precepts of their religion. Panelists will discuss the book in light of the violence during this time period and use the McAuslan family’s experiences to explore the nature of religious dissent.

Todd Compton, Angela Breeland, Polly Aird