Charles W. Penrose denounces the massacre.

Oct 26, 1884
Speech / Court Transcript
Charles W. Penrose
Scribed Verbatim

Charles W. Penrose, Speech, October 26, 1884, rep. The Mountain Meadows Massacre: Who Were Guilty of the Crime? (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1906), 5–6, 11–12

Deseret News
Brigham Young, Charles W. Penrose
Reading Public

THE subject upon which I have to speak this evening has attracted a great deal of attention. It has been mentioned, I think, in every part of the civilized world. Wherever our Elders have gone abroad to preach the gospel of Christ they have been met with the statement that the "Mormon" Church, with Brigham Young at its head, is a bloody church ; that it not only teaches, but practices the doctrine of shedding human blood for apostasy; that there is an organization in the midst of the people called "Danites" or "Destroying Angels,”* whose business it is to kill everyone who attempts to escape from Utah, or any obnoxious person, "Mormon” or Gentile, who may come into the midst of the people. This has been denied frequently, and those who have made these statements have been challenged to the proof. The proof, of course, has not been forthcoming, because the charge is a falsehood . Still, wherever our Elders go they meet with a statement of this kind, and particularly is the cry of "The Mountain Meadows Massacre" raised against them. It is claimed that that awful tragedy was performed by the "Mormon" Church, or that the "Mormon" Church is responsible for it; that it was perpetrated at the command of Brigham Young as the leader of the Church, and that it was in accordance with the doctrines of the Church.

. . .

Now, I have endeavored to tell you, as briefly as possible, the dreadful story of the massacre. It was a horrible affair. It makes one's blood run cold to think of such a slaughter. One hundred and twenty persons-some say one hundred and nineteen, but it is generally conceded to be about one hundred and twenty-inhumanly butchered. They were murdered. No one can palliate the crime. I would not attempt to do so. No circumstances that existed at that time could, in my mind, palliate that dreadful deed. And to think that any white person should be engaged in it is most horrible to my mind, most repugnant to my feelings, and I know it is repugnant to the feelings of my brethren and sisters, not only those present tonight, but the great body of people called Latter-day Saints wherever they may be.

Now, this horrible crime is laid at the door of the Church because certain individuals, who were then members of the Church, were engaged in this horrible massacre. This has always appeared to me to be very unjust. Why should the "Mormon" Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, be held responsible for the crimes of a few of its members any more than other churches for the crimes of a few of their members?

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