Martin's Cove essay was distorted

  Dear HCN,


I am writing this letter to let you know how disappointed I was to read the article, "This land holds a story the church won't tell" (HCN, 9/30/02: This land holds a story the church won't tell). I might expect such a poorly written article to be found in a scam paper, such as the National Enquirer, but not in your paper, which I have come to value for its well-written, carefully researched and fairly reported articles.


First of all, understand that I am in principle opposed to the selling of national treasures on public lands to private interests. But Martin's Cove, by the writer's own admission, is not a national treasure. He reports that "more then 100,000 tourists reportedly came through here last year, and almost every one was a Mormon." This is clearly an LDS church treasure, not a national treasure, and the church simply wants to be able to fully develop and protect the site so that it may not be sold by congressional approval in future years for other purposes.


The writer is obviously harboring negative feelings about the LDS church and religious faith in general, and has used this venue to vent - although subtly - those feelings by misrepresenting facts. He insinuates that the handcart participants had been driven out of their homes, "during the stormy pilgrimage years, 1847 to 1869." The truth is that the stormy years were in the 1840s, when for many reasons - some their fault, but mostly the intolerance of "uncivilized" people on the borders of civilization - they were driven out of their homes and towns and were struggling for survival.


By the mid-1850s, the people crossing the plains to go to Utah were no longer struggling for survival, no longer running from enemies; instead, they were answering the church's call to gather in Utah. Many left comfortable homes in Europe, against the advice and pleading of family and friends, to answer the call to gather. The Willie and Martin handcart companies were desperate only because they had started late, were indeed poor, and did not want to waste what resources they had staying the winter in a safe place.


The writer's concluding paragraphs, which give a somewhat true, but at the same time somewhat distorted account of the origins of the church, have nothing to do with that church's desire to purchase and protect what they feel is a holy site to them, but have all to do with his disdain for that church.


Fred Ash


Sandy, Utah
High Country News Classifieds
  • CHAPTER DIRECTOR - IDAHO SIERRA CLUB
    Idaho could lead the nation in the transition to clean energy, and the Idaho Sierra Club is committed to making that happen. We seek to...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES STAFF SCIENTIST
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a staff scientist to advocate for the conservation of endangered species. General position overview: The position will involve working...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM
    The Center for Biological Diversity - a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled plants, animals and wild places - seeks a dynamic...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Staff Attorney to join our team of attorneys, scientists, campaigners who are working to protect America's public lands...
  • SOUTHWEST CONSERVATION ADVOCATE
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Southwest Conservation Advocate to join our team of attorneys, scientists and campaigners who are working to protect America's...
  • OCEANS PROGRAM CAMPAIGNER
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks an experienced campaigner for its oceans program. The aim of the position is to campaign for the protection of...
  • CLIMATE LAW INSTITUTE ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute is looking to add an attorney to its team and will consider applicants at both staff attorney...
  • FULL-TIME CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a full-time Campaign Director in our Climate Law Institute to join our campaign for progressive, urgent government action to...
  • WESTERN WATER PROJECT MANAGER
    National Wildlife Federation is hiring NM-based position focused on riparian corridors, watershed health. Learn more and apply online: https://www.nwf.org/about-us/careers
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Associate Program Director Location: New Mexico; flexible in state Position reports to: Senior Program Director Position Closes: March 13, 2020 GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The...
  • DEAN, W. A. FRANKE COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
    Dean, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, apply http://bit.ly/2548umjobs. AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks a creative and driven graphic design professional to design high quality print and digital collateral. The Graphic Designer will bring...
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • CAMPAIGN REPRESENTATIVE
    Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign is hiring an experienced campaigner to lead our work challenging the oil and fracked gas industry on the Gulf...
  • AG LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Oregon Agricultural Trust (OAT) seeks passionate relationship builder experienced in coordinating agricultural conservation easement transactions.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • FINANCE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Coms/Engagmnt Mngr; Dev/Engagmnt Dir; Americorps vol
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Dev/Engagement Dir; Coms/Engagement Mngr; & Americorps volunteer
  • SEASONAL TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    Lead the nation's premier volunteer-based trail crew programs on the spectacular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This is a great career-building opportunity for rising professionals....