It has been distressing to see the now-all-too
typically-characteristic derision borne of Ignorance,
in those who express their distaste for Doyle’s
first adventure with Mr Sherlock Holmes:
Their “complaint” ?
… the Inexplicable “Wild West Story”
that comprises roughly the second half of the novel.
As a boy reading Holmes, whenever we,
as schoolchildren, encountered an unfamiliar word
or did not know to what some historical reference referred,
we … laid aside the book we were reading
and opened up the household OXFORD Dictionary,
or went to the local library.
We Made the Effort to Learn.
It was NEVER a hardship, for us in the 1960’s, to
educate ourselves – raise ourselves to a higher standard
than that which we had just ten minutes earlier.
Today – with precious rare exception,
anything that requires minimal personal effort
and the humility to learn,
is immediately dismissed as ‘too difficult’.
The refusal to pause … and discern between
Vacuous Opinion – (which should be kept private
… to conceal one’s foolishness);
and Apathetic or Intentional Error – (which should be
exposed and withstood … to defend honourable folk
from malignant bullies),
has all but vanished from the world that deifies “Me”
and is insulted that anyone should care enough to
make the effort to correct their error.
I was often asked by students, as a schoolteacher
in Italy, if I could recommend the best thing
for my Italian students to read in order to become
proficient in proper, grammatical English.
Without hesitation, my reply was always …
“find an unabridged, un-modernised, unedited copy of
“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”.
“There”, I would point out, “you will see how English
was – and should be – spoken and written;
spelled and punctuated.”
Familiarise yourself with Holmes’ English
of a century ago,
and you will immediately be able to detect
the difference between properly spoken English,
and the barely-literate grunting of the
Conan Doyle’s 1887 introduction of Holmes
was the very same introduction that I read
to Italian schoolchildren 120 years later.
And I cannot recall there ever being any difficulty
for 14-year old Italian students,
in understanding the Victorian narrative.
What woeful tragedy then, in modern-day minds
who claim English to be their ‘native tongue’,
but require their books, ‘bibles’, and ‘English’
to be dumbed down, modernised, or edited.
A STUDY IN SCARLET
It is in this 1887 novel, A Study in Scarlet,
that Edinburgh native and physician,
Arthur Conan Doyle recounted the meeting of
Holmes and Watson,
and provided the reader with a glimpse
into the background of both literary figures.
Having changed his character’s name
from “Sherrinford” to “Sherlock”;
and replacing “Ormond Sacker”
with “John Watson”,
Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes
to the world at large in the one shilling edition
of Beeton’s Christmas Annual.
Written within living memory of the 1857 Mountain
Meadows Massacre in America – wherein 120 men, women,
and children were butchered by Mormons in Utah –
Conan Doyle drew upon the outrage for this, his first novel –
“A Study in Scarlet”.
A summary of history will enable the reader today to
understand the outrage that existed at the time – and should
exist today – over the savagery of which men are capable,
when they place the proclamations of self-appointed,
pseudo-religious ‘leaders’ over and above the old Bible
– while pretending to the world that they have something
(however tenuous) to do with “Christianity”.
1. Some sadistic tyrant claims to follow the Bible.
2. Said tyrant rapes/brutalises/massacres peaceful people.
3. Mindless humanity therefore blame the Bible
which the perverted tyrant used as a cover for his depravity.
If infantile multitudes had the maturity to control themselves
at any mere mention of the word “Bible” – WITHOUT the
knee-jerk vomiting of obscenities as though they were
starring in the 1973 film, “The Exorcist”,
they might be able to exercise that once-commonplace adult
quality that used to be known as “discernment”.
If people had the maturity to control themselves at any
mere mention of the word “Bible”, without the knee-jerk
vomiting of obscenities as though they were starring
in the 1973 film, “The Exorcist”, they might be able to
exercise what used to be called “discernment” …
It might also help them to understand why Conan Doyle
evidently felt compelled to centre his first novel
around an incident involving what was touted as some
supposedly Christian-esque sect in America.
It seems wholly unknown in the 21st century that a (genuine)
Christian is one whose life – conduct and conversation – at all times,
is characterised by the doctrine and example of Christ … and NOT
the “special revelation” proclamations of
Popes, Pastors, Faith-“healers”, or Evangelical Showmen.
The mature will have the intelligence to discriminate
the true from the false; and realise that those who are
… truly … godly people WILL conduct themselves
in accordance with the old Bible –
which makes no allowance for mass murder,
emotional hysteria, or fleecing the gullible.
What outraged the consciences of Victorian society
had nothing to do with any biblical account of
an Old Testament war against sadistic nations
who held parties where they placed their babies
on to the red-hot ‘arms’ of bronze statues of Molech,
and then beat drums and danced while the tiny babes
died screaming in agony …
… this massacre involved the butchery of peaceful settlers
in America – women and children included.
THAT is why the “Wild West” story appears.
In appalling perversion of biblical writ, it was maintained
by Joseph Smith
– whose claim to angelic visitation and Extra-Biblical
revelations (a feature of EVERY sect, cult, and Charlatan)
became Mormonism, in April of 1830 –
that the blood of Christ was insufficient to atone for
some sins … and that the only way for redemption
was for “sinners” to have their Own blood spilled.
This blasphemy against the Christ (kindly note:)
of the Bible, permitted murder on any “sinner”
over the age of eight.
For Smith’s successor Young, to murder certain people
… was to “love” them enough to shed their blood.
Such was the Mormon notion of “Blood Atonement”.
And at Mountain Meadows, Utah … that principle
was certainly carried out – children and all.
A Utah settler from Denmark, named Anderson
– for the sin of adultery – was held over an open grave,
whereupon his throat was sliced open from ear to ear.
They held him poised over the grave as the blood drained
into it; dressed his corpse in fresh clothing,
and dropped him into the grave.
This was the mentality immediately before
the massacre at Mountain Meadow.
A party of settlers going under the name of
“The Fancher Party” was attacked by a band of Mormons
and “Indians” (which, many strongly suspected)
might not have been ‘Indians’.
Successfully holding the attackers at bay,
the company noticed one of their potential killers
approaching under a White Flag.
Accepting the White Flag of peace, the Fancher Party
let down their defences, spoke with the representative,
and agreed to the Mormon proposal of safe passage
out of the area.
Having surrendered their weapons, the emigrants
began to trek in the direction that their Mormon
escorts led them.
The men – at the front of the convoy – were
The women … and children judged to be over
the age of 7 years … were slaughtered next.
Younger children, presumably, became “Mormons”
whether they wanted to or not.
In the wake of this historical atrocity, a man named
Lee was the only one of the Mormon killers to be executed
(by firing squad under the command of a certain Marshal Nelson)
for his blind allegiance to Brigham Young, Governor
of the Utah Territory.
Lee’s final words before execution included:
“I do not believe everything that is now being taught
and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care
who hears it. It is my last word – it is so.
I believe he is leading the people astray, downward
to destruction … I studied to make this man’s will
my pleasure for thirty years.
See, now, what I have come to this day!”
It is firmly asserted – by its present adherents, that
modern Mormonism no longer practices
… yet, IF the mind-set has indeed been removed,
it is puzzling to note that Mormons have repeatedly
pushed blame elsewhere; and tried to bring about
the wholesale banning of Conan Doyle’s
“Study in Scarlet”.
I am a British Citizen.
And I understand that Great Britain became “Great”
in the 18th century … because it butchered people
who could not fight back … made slaves of multitudes
… and terrorized, invaded, and occupied the lands of
those who did not acquiesce –
much as another nation took over the reins
a century later, and now boasts freely and loudly
of its “greatness” and “might”.
Yet I – as a British man – do not seek to ban
the truth of British tyranny in the 17- and 1800’s.
I had nothing to do with it …
despise those who did …
and believe that political corruption and murder
should be open to historical criticism and loathing.
And that the citizens – of any country – should be capable
of summoning enough integrity and maturity
to stop living in a fantasy world of ego, apathy,
and the fanatical pagan religion of nationalism.
It strikes me as strange then, that certain Mormons
in the American state of Virginia, should seek to ban
“A Study in Scarlet” as being “anti Mormon”
[ The Guardian, 16 August 2011 ] …
… rather than acknowledge the incident
upon which it was based,
and have the maturity and integrity to reassure
the world that nothing like it could ever happen again
at their hands.
Conscience, in the most of humanity,
has observably been a thing of the past
for the last thirty years.
The massacre at Mountain Meadows
most definitely did occur:
Conan Doyle based this novel upon it,
and I forward the title now
for your consideration.