Mountain Meadows and Jihad: One Lesson From Two September 11th Events
It’s interesting that the Mountain Meadows Massacre and Jihadist terror attacks happened on the same calendar day. Mormons and Americans can both learn the same lesson from both of these events: we usually get respect when we give respect. If we don’t–-if we think that people of other religions or cultures or nationalities are somehow inferior to us-–then we have lost the right to the respect of those other peoples.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre should never have happened. Actually, neither should the atrocities of September 11th, 2001. Both events occurred for the same reason: arrogance and a sense of self-superiority.
The Massacre at Mountain Meadows almost didn't occur, but Mormon leaders in Southern Utah continued to tempt themselves and follow temptation with justification until the situation got dreadfully out of hand. A massive cover-up, which included mass murder by Mormons, was the result.
Mormons had conjured up all sorts of bogeymen by the time the fated Fancher party passed through the Cedar City area. Despite how difficult it may have been under the circumstances, had the local Mormons made even the tiniest attempts to put themselves in the settlers' shoes, an embarrassing travesty would likely have never happened.
Shortly after 9/11, President George W. Bush asked the question, why do they hate us? I will admit at the time that I didn't understand the answer to that question as fully as I do now. But I can't imagine that a President of the United States didn't understand the answer. It is in large part because of the foisting of American empire on the rest of the world. The members of your American Establishment know exactly how their dim-witted actions engender animosity for America the world over.
But that's not the reason we should stop. The reason we should stop tromping the American boot on the backs of the world is because it is not American to do so.
I wrote yesterday about what Newt Gingrich said before the American Enterprise Institute. His statements and their implications still has my emotions rubbed raw. I get so angered when Gingrich and others use the auspices of places like the American Enterprise Institute to convey the idea that the Enterprise of America is to choose other countries’ leaders, bomb their civilians into oblivion, and force them to be just like us. This is wrong, and America should be embarrassed for it.
Yesterday I listened to the Glenn Beck radio program, where he described with considerable emotion what it was like to sit down with his 16-year-old daughter to watch the cataclysmic destruction as jumbo jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Why is it that Glenn Beck can engender such emotions within himself only for American dead?
I'm sure he'd have a different perspective if his daughter were Iraqi. What if there were video tape that conveyed the sheer horror of these words?
The final days of Baghdad's war were the bloodiest. As is their practice, they deployed overwhelming force, often blurring the line between civilian and military... Hospitals overflowed with wounded... Anesthesia ran short, and generators struggled to fill the void left by a blackout. At one hospital, refrigerators were breaking down...leaving corpses stacked on top of one another to rot in a warming sun.And these as well:
"We don't know what's going on," she wrote. "At 11:30 the building was shaking and it almost collapsed. You can't imagine the fear and panic. We thought these were our last moments alive..."
A lull followed, creating a rare moment of silence. "Every time there is quiet, I feel more afraid. After the quiet ends, we don't know what will happen."
I know the Mormons are embarrassed for the roles of Church members in the killing of 120 innocents at Mountain Meadows. What will it take for America to learn a similar lesson--that if we expect to be respected and not feared, that we must give respect? Why does America think it is better than the rest of the world, and that we don't have to abide by the same rules and morals when dealing with the rest of the world? If we learned and practiced this one simple lesson, we would once again have the respect of nearly everyone. As it stands, they would spit on us if they didn't think we'd drop a smart bomb on them for it.
Of course there will always be the implacables. Nothing that we do will satisfy them. Some such people can be found within the ranks of Islam. But there are actually very few of these types. Most people in the world are just like most Americans--trying to live a good life one day at a time. For most of the people of the world the issue is one of morality and fairness. If America treats the world with little respect, why should we expect them to respect us? The disrespect we receive as a nation is compounded by the confusion most people have in knowing that this is not the real America, the America of 100 years ago. America was always seen as and is yet expected to be a generous nation, not a pompous and vindictive one.
That's actually a comforting thought. Most people on earth today are just like most Americans--generous, gracious, and in hot pursuit of liberty and happiness. Not everyone is the enemy, as people like Newt Gingrich would have you believe. The Newt faction tells you these things because it knows if you believe them you will entrust them with greater and greater levels of power.
You know, if we don't soon discount the cockamamey ideas of people like Newt Gingrich, everyone will become our enemy.
And they will have every right to be.