When Hollywood Crosses The Line, Stay Home

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At the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin made a very enlightened comment.

He said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

That comment says a lot about this country. It says that we are a nation of individuals, but that each of us is tied to our fellow Americans by the need to support common beliefs.

That is particularly true when it comes to religious beliefs. Though we are of many different faiths, we hold the right to worship as you choose to be inviolable. We do not condone attacks on religion. For proof of that, you only have to look around at a time when we are fighting Islamic extremists. Though provoked, we still treat Muslims, and Islam itself, with respect.

The reason I mention all this is because of a forthcoming Hollywood film. It may be one you want to boycott.

Not only is it historically inaccurate, it is a blatant insult to anyone who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which, by the way, I am not.

The film, called "September Dawn," tells of an attack on a wagon train, which passed through Utah in 1857. It falsely portrays Brigham Young as a party to the attack.

The hype being put out about the film even goes so far as to point out that fact the attack occurred on Sept. 11, and hints darkly at some relationship between it and Sept. 11, 2001.

What happened at Mountain Meadows, Utah, in 1857 was not pretty, but the evidence is clear. Because of anger over what Missourians on the wagons did and said, a man named John D. Lee plotted with others to have the wagon train attacked by Paiute Indians. When the Paiutes failed to wipe out the train, Lee and his cronies won the confidence of the settlers and gunned them down themselves.

Lee was tried and convicted. He claimed he was a scapegoat, because those who testified against him were given immunity from prosecution, the only way to get them to testify. But unscrupulous suggestions later made that the attack was approved by Brigham Young are absolutely untrue. Not only would it have been contrary to the character of Brigham Young to approve such a thing, but at that very moment he was working to reduce tension with the federal government, not to create more. There was no evidence then, nor has any emerged in the 150 years since, that anyone other than Lee and his cronies were in on, or even knew of, the plan to attack the wagon train.

If you need to know more, look up "Mountain Meadows" on the Internet, to find books on the subject. They will verify the facts I have cited. Hollywood may reasonably stretch the truth to make a movie more exciting, but defaming the character of a man who helped found a religion, just to make a few more dollars at the box office, crosses the line. My suggestion is to stay away from a film that falsely attacks a good man who is no longer here to defend himself.

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