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The History of Juanita Brooks' History of Mountain Meadows Massacre

Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society

For nearly a century, the murder of 120 emigrants by Mormon militiamen at Mountain Meadows in early September, 1857, existed as little more than whispers around Utah. Then a rural housewife and writer named Juanita Brooks dared to tread where others had long feared to and write the first history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Brooks was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in revealing the details of an ignominious event in the faith's past, she wrote that “nothing but the truth would be good enough for the Church.” The vocational historian Richard Saunders emphasizes that Brooks relied on hard evidence, not anecdote, to compose her book "The Mountain Meadows Massacre." Saunders joins us to explore who Brooks was and how she came to write her seminal work.

You can read Professor Saunders’ 2019 lecture here.


  • Paul Reeve | Simmons Chair of Mormon Studies in the History Department at the University of Utah where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West. 
  • Professor Richard Saunders |Historian and academic librarian and former Dean of Library Services at Southern Utah University. 

Airdate: Friday, April 7, 2023 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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