Statement from John Doyle Lee issued by his lawyer in July 1875. Claims he is innocent. Shares his informing Brigham about the massacre and his being distraught at such.

Jul 21, 1875
John Doyle Lee
Scribed Verbatim

John D. Lee, Statement, Extracts, Supplied to the Press by William W. Bishop, July 1875. Published in "Mountain Meadow Massacre," Salt Lake Herald-Republican (July 21, 1875): 3

William Bishop
William Bishop, Brigham Young, William H. Dame, John Doyle Lee, Isaac C. Haight
Reading Public

It now becomes my painful though imperative duty to chronicle the circumstances that led to and fully describe that unfortunate affair known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in Utah history, which has been shrouded in mystery for the last fifteen years, causing much comment, excitement and vindictive feeling throughout the land. The entire blame has rested upon the Mormon people in Utah. Now, in justice to humanity I feel it my duty to show up the facts as they exist according to the best of my ability, though I implicate myself by so doing. I have no vindictive feelings whatever against any man or class of individuals. What I do is done from a sense of duty to myself, to my God and to the people at large, so that the truth may come to light and the blame rest where it properly belongs. I have been arrested on the charge of being engaged in the crime committed at the time and place referred to, I have been in close confinement over eight months since my arrest: I was in irons three months of the time during my confinement; for the last seventeen years, in fact, since the commission of the crime, I have given this subject much thought and reflection. I have made the effort to bear my confinement with fortitude and resignation, well knowing that most of those engaged in this unfortunate affair were led on by religious influences, commonly called fanaticism, and nothing but their devotion to God, and their duty to him, as taught to them by their religion and their church leaders, would ever have induced them to have committed the outrageous and unnatural acts, believing that all who participated in the lamentable transaction, or most of them, were acting under orders that they considered it their duty—their religious duty—to obey. I have suffered all kinds of ill-treatment and injury, as well as imprisonment, rather than expose these men, knowing the circumstances as I do, and believing in the sincerity of their motives, as I always have done; but I have a duty to perform, and have, since I was arrested, become convinced that it was not the policy of the government or the wish of the court to punish those men, but rather to protect them and let the blame rest on their leaders, where it justly and lawfully belongs. After much thought and meditation I have come to this conclusion that I could no longer remain silent on this subject, but so far as I can bring to the light the circumstances connected therewith and remove the cloud of mystery that has so long obscured the transaction and seemed to agitate the public mind, believing it to be my duty as a man—a duty to myself, to my family, to my God, and humanity to cast aside the shackles so long holding my conscience in silence, and in pursuance of the disinterested advice of the attorneys I now submit the facts so far as I know them, stating nothing from malice or for the purpose of revenge, holding that I can state of my own knowledge willing that the world may know all that was done and why the acts were committed, I submit the following as the exact unvarying statements of facts and circumstances connected with the crime known as the Mountain Meadow massacre . . . A few days after the massacre I was instructed by Major Isaac C. Haight, next in command to W.H. Dame, in Iron military district, to carry a report of what had been done to President Brigham Young, at Salt Lake. Haight directed me to give my report and stand up with manly courage, and shoulder as much of the blame as possible, he saying to me that if I did so I should receive a celestial reward. It is my nature never to bind burdens on others, that I am not willing to bear myself. I went to Salt Lake and reported to Brigham Young the exact facts connected with the transaction, shouldering a greater share of responsibility than justly belonged to me. In justice to Brigham Young I must say that when he heard my story he wept like a child, walked the floor and wrung his hands in bitter anguish and said it was the most unfortunate affair, the most unwarranted event that had ever happened to the Mormon people. He said this transaction will bring sorrow and trouble upon us in Utah. I would to God it had never happened.

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