Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioA movie about the Mountain Meadows Massacre is sending a big ripple of emotion through descendants on both sides of the story. Some descendants say it puts the story into the right perspective, while others say it's grossly inaccurate.
The movie quotes Brigham Young as saying, "I am the voice of God, and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down."
You ask people on either side of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and they all say the same thing. The movie "September Dawn" puts the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a very bad light.
In the movie trailer, the announcer says, "The reputation of one of this nation's mightiest religious figures has been preserved and protected until now." However, some descendants of the massacre say the LDS Church needs to be put in a bad light over what happened.
Burr Fancher is a descendant of Alexander Fancher who led the group killed in the massacre. He says, "It put the saddle on the right horse as far as I'm concerned on who planned and ordered the massacre."
Fancher says the LDS Church has never officially apologized for it, and he feels the church should not be the stewards of the Mountain Meadows Monument. Fancher says the movie showed how fanatical Mormons were at the time. He says, "I don't think it had anything to do with [the] current-day Mormon Church, it had something to do with the church in 1857."
But, some members of the LDS Church say that's not good enough. Dorothy Lee says she hopes people don't believe what they see. She says, "I'm a convert to the church. If I would have seen this movie [before converting], I would have run in the opposite direction as hard as I can go."
Dorothy's husband is Leroy Lee, the great-grandson of John D. Lee, the only man tried and executed for the massacre. He says the writer's account of his great-grandfather's involvement is way off. He says, "They showed John D. Lee turn and shoot Alexander Fancher."
Plus, he says the overall message of the movie is clear. Mormons are bad people. He says he's been trying to bridge the gap between the two sides, and "September Dawn" will ruin that. "It will do damage. The descendants who are anti-Mormon will be happy to see that movie," Leroy said.
Historians say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hate the upcoming movie. What is it about the movie that has some church members so angry?
The movie was originally set to open tomorrow, but the studio moved it back to August 24, which they expect to be a less competitive date.
Ken Sanders Rare Books Owner, Ken Sanders, has seen the film. He says every member of the LDS Church in the movie is an evil person.
Sanders says, "The only Mormon who isn't depicted as evil is the conflicted son of the bishop."
Sanders says in addition to the cold blooded portrayal of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, there's a scene where a man slits his wife's throat so she would atone for her sins. He says the movie is told from an anti-Mormon point of view. "We're going to forever argue over whether Brigham Young knew about the massacre."
Sanders says there's also a scene supposedly in an LDS temple where a naked man is washed by women in their temple robes.