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Posted by: waisted24years ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 04:38PM

I took an early american history class, and the professor taught that one of the mormon apostles promised the willie and martin handcart companies that nobody would be harmed. Can anybody confirm or deny this?

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Posted by: JasonK ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 05:19PM

No. I understand that in England, Orson Hyde had promised someone who became part of one of the companies that they would reach Salt Lake City, which they did. The journey was flawed from the beginning, with delays leaving England. Once in Iowa, veterans of the journey advised the companies not to go, but didn't insist on it. In Nebraska, Franklin D Richards could have stopped them, but failed to do so. The members of the companies are also culpable in that they rejected advise from local leaders and experienced members of the companies and voted to go on, relying on faith over common sense.

Ultimately, however, this is an illustration of the problems with power being concentrated in one person, in this case Brigham Young, especially in an era with slow communication.

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Posted by: slskipper ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 05:35PM

JasonK Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No. I understand that in England, Orson Hyde had
> promised someone who became part of one of the
> companies that they would reach Salt Lake City,
> which they did.
>

The sampling is not exactly unbiased. We would never hear from those who were promised they would survive but inconveniently didn't actually make it. So the study design automatically selects for the successes and against the failures.

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Posted by: spanner ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 07:36PM

+1 exactly

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Posted by: Heresy ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 05:38PM

Roberts' book, "Devils Gate" is great read about this tragedy. He is an unbiased nevermo and a professional historian.

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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 06:58PM

Ditto. Read Devil's Gate. It covers the subject really well and is well-written. A fun read.

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Posted by: kenc ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 07:53PM

Devil's Gate is an excellent book.

Contrary to Jason K's assertion, and victimizing the victims, they are not accountable.

The leaders began haranguing the members in England. They made rosy promises and prophesies. If members questioned, they were made to feel like no-good apostates. So they shut up and did exactly what they were told.

Jason K neglects to include the meeting where the members were faced with the choice to go (way too late in the season) or stay and wait until the next Spring.

A leader of one company, Levi Savage (?) objected to the idea put forth by the leaders to set out so late in the season. He was put down by leaders as one lacking faith in the prophet, lack of faith in God, and unworthy to object. He gave up.

Of course the members voted to go. They were shamed and guilted into it.

Blaming the members of the handcart companies for setting out so late is like blaming the rape victim for "asking for it." The members had already shown extraordinary gullibility (faith) for agreeing to give their money to the apostles; agreeing to use the flimsy, made on the cheap handcarts; and put up with the constant lack of leadership exhibited by the Moron leaders.

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Posted by: JasonK ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 08:31PM

Why this notion that a victim bears no culpability ever? Members of the Martin and Willie handcart companies were advised not to go and voted to anyway--something even you acknowledge. What you failed to mention is that over a hundred listend to the advise of experts and chose to winter in Iowa.

Does that mean they deserved it? Of course not. But don't fall into the trap of saying that people bear no personal responsiblity for their choices.

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Posted by: lucky ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 08:03PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3A5QGj7ZaM

and the MORmON pioneer idiocy continues even now.

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Posted by: The Oncoming Storm - bc ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 08:35PM

I can't answer that question but I do know this.

Levi Savage - an experienced guide strongly, strongly discouraged the Willie handcart company from leaving. He said it was too late in the year and it would be a disaster.

However, the priesthood leader pulled rank and said they were going anyway. Levi bowed his head and obeyed despite warning them it was a huge mistake.

Levi probably saved the lives of 20% of the group with his experience but could not avert the disaster caused by an ass-holy priesthood leader.

It uncovers one of the greatest flaws with the LDS church - local priesthood leaders are considered to be speaking for Christ and have nearly unlimited authority with no reasonable appeal. That problem killed hundreds in this case and continues to wreak havoc in the lives of many many LDS members still today because priesthood leaders give lots and lots of bad, untrained advise that people blindly follow.

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Posted by: twirlnwhirl ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 08:38PM

The priesthood leader I believe was an apostle. I think I read this in devils gate.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: August 03, 2013 08:47PM

My great grandfather was in the Willie company.
He survived and later helped colonize Arizona.

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