John D. Lee, Alleged Lead Scroll

In January 2002 a lead scroll was found at Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River in Arizona. It purports to be written by John D. Lee, who was executed in 1877 for his roll in the Mountain Meadows Massacre which occured in southern Utah 11 September 1857. Indians attacked a company of emigrants traveling from Arkansas to California. After several days, Mormons, primarily from Cedar City, joined with the Indians in the massacre of 120, only 16 children were spared.

Several Mormon leaders in the area planned and ordered the Mormon participation in the massacre. From the beginning there has been a concerted effort to charge Brigham Young with ordering the massacre. That effort continues. The difficulty historians have encountered in sifting and assessing a large body of conflicting source material has resulted in a situation where sources can be assembled to support many conflicting conclusions. The uncertainty of many details in the historical reconstruction of this event, promises that past controversies over several major points will continue, with no resolution in sight.

This scroll, claiming to be written by John D. Lee, "written by my own hand," would be a significant source in the controversy, if authentic. It attributes the order for the massacre to Brigham Young who sent it to Cedar City by Apostle George A. Smith.

So far, the investigation raises a number of serious doubts about its authenticity.

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