New York Times interviews Brigham Young concerning John Doyle Lee's conviction and Mountain Meadows Massacre.

May 12, 1877
Brigham Young
Scribed Verbatim

“Interview with Brigham Young,” Deseret Evening News, May 12,1877, 2 in New York Herald, May 6, 1877. Based on an interview that took place in Cedar City, April 30, 1877

Deseret Evening News
Brigham Young, John Willard Young, John Doyle Lee
Reading Public

Correspondent—The conviction is settled in the east, especially by the testimony on the Lee trial, that there was some poweful direction of the part taken by the whites in the massacre. This conviction is strengthened by the statements in Judge Cradlebaugh's speech. Brigham Young--There is no doubt that the affair was directed by John D. Lee, and he evidently was a white man. Correspondent--It appears incredible to outsiders that Lee would have undertaken a task like that on his own responsibility; the responsibility attaches, in their opinion, to the Mormon Church, even to its higher individual officers. Brigham Young—My disposition is such that had I know anything about it I would have gone to that camp and fought the Indians and white men who took part in the perpetration of the massacre to the death, rather than such a deed should have been committed. J.W. Young—John D. Lee, in his testimony, says he informed President Young of the affair when he visited Salt Lake City. I happened to be present when he came in father's office, and I was present during the interview. He commenced to relate the circumstances of the Indians killing the emigrants, but did not intimate a single world about the whites taking part in the killing. When he commenced to speak of the manner of the deed father stopped him, saying that the rumor which had already reached him was so horrifying that he would not bear to hear a recital of it. Brigham Young—I never knew the real facts of this affair until within the last few years. I myself proposed to Governor Cumming, who came here soon after the massacre, to render him and Judge Cradlebaugh every assistance in hunting up the perpetrators and bringing them to justice, and if Mr. Cradlebaugh knows anything about this affair he must know what to be true. That propostion was made in the spring of 1856. . . . Correspondent—To what do you ascribe the massacre? Brigham Young—If you were to inquire of the people who live hereabouts, and lived in the country at that time, you would find, if it should be according to what I have heard, that some of the Arkansas company boasted that they had had the promise from the United States that the Mormons were to be used up by the troops, and that they had boasted too, of having helped to kull Hyrum and Joseph Smith and the Mormons in Missouri, and that they never meant to leave the Territory until similar scenes were enacted here. This, if true, may have embittered the feelings of those who took part in the massacre and the probabilities are that Lee and his confreres took advantage of these facts and the disturbed state of the country to accomplish their desires for plunder, which under other circumstances would not have been gratified. . . . Correspondent—Do you believe in blood atonement? Brigham Young—I do, and I believe that Lee has not half atoned for his great crime. The Saviour died for all the sins of the world by shedding his blood, and then I believe that he who sheds the blood of man wilfully, by man shall his blood be shed. In other words capital punishment for offenses deserving death, according to the laws of the land. And we believe that the execution should be done by the shedding of blood instead of by hanging. If the murders of Joseph Smith were to come to me now, giving themselves up, I would not feel justified in taking their lives, but I would feel justified in having them taken to Illinois and there tried for murder.

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