Question: Did apostle George A. Smith carry orders for the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

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Question: Did apostle George A. Smith carry orders for the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

There is no evidence to support this claim

Some wish to make Brigham Young and apostle George A. Smith complicit in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Thus, it is claimed that prior to the massacre, George A. Smith is alleged to "have carried orders to Cedar City leaders to incite their people to avenge the blood of the prophets" (Denton, 186).

John D. Lee is wrong on those events which we can verify, and no other evidence supports this claim.

One reviewer dismissed the thin evidence upon which this claim rests:

"This argument assumes Brigham Young had formulated the plan for destruction when the Fancher train was still in Salt Lake City on 5 August 1857. There is no evidence of material provocation by the Fancher train at this early stage except from persons with no reliable basis upon which to provide testimony....Nobody has ever offered any believable evidence that George A. Smith gave instructions to Haight and Lee to massacre the train. John D. Lee is the only person who purported to offer evidence of these instructions," and Lee had a clear motive to lie to save his own skin and make his memoirs more marketable. "Lee's claim that George A. Smith met Lee in southern Utah on 1 September 1857 (an approximate date deduced from Lee's text) with orders of destruction was impossible because Smith was hundreds of miles away in Salt Lake City on that very day, as well as the day before. [1]


  1. Robert D. Crockett, "A Trial Lawyer Reviews Will Bagley's Blood of the Prophets," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 199–254. off-site