Letter to the Editor: LDS persecution complex has historical implications


I read Jared Johnson’s April 6 letter to the editor (“Mormons should reciprocate Illinois Legislature’s recent apology”) with interest. Johnson’s opinion on the state of Illinois’ recent apology to Mormons and what transpired during the 1800s differs greatly from my own.

Instead of arguing points of history, I thought I might provide some insight into Johnson’s last comment made in his letter.

He wrote that the Mormons’ persecution complex annoys him and that it is unjustifiable. I can’t comment on what does or doesn’t annoy the author, but I believe that this complex is a justifiable reaction based on past history. I feel that other groups have the same types of feelings regarding past persecutions.

Certainly, blacks have a long history of persecution at the hands of many Americans. History has recorded the atrocities committed to them over the centuries. Would not the past treatment of blacks in our country naturally cause some to mistrust their fellow human beings? I would argue that Jewish people also face a similar “persecution complex” based on their history.

While I don’t hold people today accountable for the actions of those in the past, I still remember what happened to my ancestors who were beaten, robbed and killed by their fellow countrymen. My great-great grandfather was beaten so badly by off-duty federal troops that he was bed-ridden for a year recovering from his injuries. The troops’ reason was to teach a Mormon his place and that he was not welcome in their company. The persecution of Mormons in our country’s history is real, not fabricated.

Is it important to me if the state of Illinois issues an apology or not? No. Did I find it thoughtful that they would try to understand my background and situation (and those of Mormons in general) by issuing an apology? Yes. I believe it is important for us to understand our past to know where our future will take us. Hopefully this will help us all grow and learn to love our fellow man instead of hate.

Shane Hinckley

U Staff