Episode 48: Southern Utah Polygamy- Orderville, Santa Clara, Cedar City and Violence

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

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Comments (49)

  • andrew h

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    I know that your review of the MMM was short and quick, but I did want to note that it was not Indians/Native Americans that killed the women, it was Mormon men painted/dressed as Native Americans. Some of the surviving children described seeing the “Indians” wash themselves and become white.

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  • Noell Hyman

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    I can’t help but wonder and worry about the young lady who ended up marrying Bishop Snow after he castrated the young man she wanted to marry. Do we know anything about her and her life, being married to the villain of this sad story?

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  • andrew h

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    Once again let me please say that this was excellent. A great podcast in a great series. If I may I would like to add a post script and one alternative view on your last story about the Warren Snow led castrations.

    POSTSCRIPT: If contemporary news stories are to be believed then Warren Snow too was eventually castrated. In 1883 the Salt Lake Tribune reported in an article called “Retributive Justice” that Snow could not attend general conference “by reason of sickness, which was brought on by a band of men, who served him as he served a young man (Lewis) several years since. The Bishop is no longer a man. ‘Vengeance is mine,’ saith the Lord.”

    DIFFERENT VIEW: like you, I do not trust FAIR, they have little integrity and protect the Church no matter the evidence. BUT I do trust David Bigler. He is an award winning historian, works regularly with Will Bagley, would die if he were called an apologist, and has no desire to protect Brigham Young or the Church. His documentary book “Forgotten Kingdom” which is volume 2 in the Will Bagley edited Kingdom in the West series won several awards, is one of the finest histories on Utah Mormonism, and has no problem attacking Brigham Young and the apologist narrative. Bigler disagrees with the John D Lee account, which he calls “colored”, and instead cites the contemporary Samuel Pitchforth Diary and the Petersen theses. He states:

    “That same winter, Young Thomas Lewis from Manti was being escorted one night to the territorial prison at Great Salt Lake for alleged sexual misconduct. At Willow Creek, near Ephraim, he was seized by a party of men under 38-year-old Warren Snow, the bishop of Manti, who ‘took him into the willows,’ and castrated him ‘in a brutal manner tearing the chords right out.’ They left the youth lying in the snow, bleeding and senseless on ‘a bitter cold night.’ He was found two days later, crazed and nearly dead.”

    Now if I had read that on the FAIR website I would likely dismiss it, but coming from David Bigler, in a book overseen by Will Bagley I’m willing to give it some credence and believe that they were through in their research and were not trying to protect the Church

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  • liz johnson

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    CASTRATIONS?! WHAT.

    I guess you learn something new every day, eh?

    Reply

  • Bill

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    Great stuff Lindsay! Thanks for your efforts. I have always been interested in Orderville since our stake performed CLP’s ‘The Order is Love’ when I was a kid. The new pants scene is featured in detail. I didn’t realize this was based on actual events. Or was history influenced by art? Now I have even more on my reading list!

    Reply

  • Lisa Leach

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    Thank you for these podcasts, Lindsay! You’ve done a great job. I was touched by the story of John Hason, as you were, and you used this in your “rant” as evidence that polygamy wasn’t about sex. But if not sex, then what was it about? Control? Status by collecting women as property? Obviously it doesn’t work mathematically since the genders are divided close to 50/50, and it’s been proven that they didn’t have more children that way. I would like to know your thoughts. Thanks.

    Reply

  • SomeGuy

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    To echo what andrew h pointed out, the story of the castration of Thomas Lewis has been thoroughly debunked many times over, by both mormon apologists and those critical of the church. John D. Lee is not (and should not be) considered an authoritative source on what happened, and the details of his account conflict with first hand accounts, prison documents, journals, etc.

    While we don’t know what crime Thomas Lewis was being transported to prison for (most of the historians I’ve read seem to agree it was some sort of sexual assault crime, though previously Thomas Lewis had been arrested for attempted murder with a shovel), he was most certainly not castrated for courting a young woman, it was not done in a church, and the remnants of his body part were not nailed to a wall. Those details are so ridiculous and salacious I’m surprised you would repeat them without doing even some cursory research.

    So far I’ve been enjoying the podcast, but when you’re pushing debunked and untrue history, it makes me concerned about the reliability of the information you’re presenting.

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