Wrestling with the Devil: New Evidence on the Mountain Meadows Massacre

When I began investigating the murders at Mountain Meadows seven years ago, I knew a wealth of material had surfaced since Juanita Brooks completed her groundbreaking study in 1950. These included the 1857 diary of Brigham Young’s Indian interpreter, Wilford Woodruff’s journal, and the LDS archives items Don Moormon used to write Camp Floyd and the Mormons. What turned up over the next five years proved astonishing: the lost “official” history of handcart veteran Josiah Rogerson; the letters of a forgotten Mormon hero, George Hicks; the narratives of adventurer James Gemmell and of John Hawley, “the Mormon Ulysses”; and “Discursive Remarks,” an account of the atrocity probably written by John D. Lee in 1859. While completing my study, I stumbled across a final piece of evidence that resolved all my remaining questions about what compelled decent men to commit a horrific crime.

Will Bagley