Janiece Johnson (Convicting the Mormons), 5/25/23

Janiece Johnson (Convicting the Mormons), 5/25/23

Thursday, May 25, 2023 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM



We are excited to announce that Janiece Johnson will be here Thursday, May 25 to speak about Convicting the Mormons: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Culture (published by University of North Carolina Press). She will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will speak at 6:00, and answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make it that night but, if not, we can mail a signed copy or hold one here at the store for pick-up.  To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

On September 11, 1857, a small band of Mormons led by John D. Lee massacred an emigrant train of men, women, and children heading west at Mountain Meadows, Utah. News of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as it became known, sent shockwaves through the western frontier of the United States, reaching the nation's capital and eventually crossing the Atlantic. In the years prior to the massacre, Americans dubbed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the "Mormon problem" as it garnered national attention for its "unusual" theocracy and practice of polygamy. In the aftermath of the massacre, many Americans viewed Mormonism as a real religious and physical threat to white civilization. Putting the Mormon Church on trial for its crimes against American purity became more important than prosecuting those responsible for the slaughter.

Religious historian Janiece Johnson analyzes how sensational media attention used the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre to enflame public sentiment and provoke legal action against Latter-day Saints. Ministers, novelists, entertainers, cartoonists, and federal officials followed suit, spreading anti-Mormon sentiment to collectively convict the Mormon religion itself. This troubling episode in American religious history sheds important light on the role of media and popular culture in provoking religious intolerance that continues to resonate in the present.

Convicting the Mormons: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Culture. University of North Carolina Press. 234pp. Paperback. $29.95/Hardback. $99.00 (hardback special order only—please order immediately if you would like a copy). To purchase online, click here.

Janiece Johnson  has master's degrees in American religious history and theology from Brigham Young University and Vanderbilt's Divinity School, respectively. After working as a historian in the LDS Church History Department for several years, she returned to school to complete doctoral work at the University of Leicester in England. Janiece has published work in women's and religious history—specializing in Mormon history and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Also by Janiece Johnson

"Give It All Up and Follow Your Lord": Mormon Female Religiosity. BYU Studies, 2008. Paperback. $19.95

The Witness of Women: Firsthand Experiences and Testimonies from the Restoration. Deseret Book, 2016. Paperback. $18.99

Mountain Meadows Massacre: Collected Legal Papers (2 vols.). University of Oklahoma Press, 2017.  $130.00


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