Deseret Drama

Sunstone Magazine

On Oct. 26, 1866 non-Mormon Dr. John k. Robinson was taken from his home

and brutally murdered by a gang of Mormon men in the heart of Salt Lake City. In Season One of Deseret Dramas, criminal prosecutor and Mormon legal historian John Dinger, along with Sunstone's Lindsay Hansen Park discuss the brutal killing of Robinson and many others who lived outside the law in Mormonism. Join them for a limited-series podcast season where they discuss extralegal and vigilante justice throughout the history of early Mormonism.

All Episodes

Are Mormons more violent than other religious groups? Was frontier Utah a dangerous place? Join Lindsay and John as they introduce extralegal justice in Utah and the West, and describe what is to come on Sunstone’s Crime and Punishment podcast. Listen to this episode here. 

Apr 2020

33 min 54 sec

Was Samuel Smith poisoned to clear the way for Brigham Young to succeed as leader? Did Emma Smith really try to poison Joseph over polygamy? In this episode Lindsay and John discuss poisonings in Mormon history. They are joined by Johnny Stephenson to talk about the poisoning of Samuel Smith, brother to the prophet and claims about Emma Smith poisoning Joseph. Are these claims historical fact or mere supposition? Listen to this episode here.

Apr 2020

1 hr 18 min

Join Lindsay and John as they talk with Joe Geisner about the famous murder of Parley P. Pratt. Pratt was murdered by the ex-husband of one of his plural wives in a violent incident. They also talk to Craig Foster about the murder of James Monroe when he started to court the plural wife of Howard Egan. Egan claimed he did this “not for anger but for justice,” and cited mountain law as justification. Are these murders justified or plain old revenge? And what the heck is mountain law? Listen to this episode here.

Apr 2020

1 hr 23 min

Lindsay and John start to discuss the murder of Dr. Robinson and the fall out it caused throughout the country, including the lynching of Thomas Coleman. To give context for this murder, they briefly discuss many other murders in frontier Utah, such as Lieutenant Brassfield and the Parrish Potter murders. Was Utah really this lawless? Was being a gentile deadly? Listen to this episode here. 

Apr 2020

22 min 50 sec

Lindsay and John continue their discussion of the murder of Dr. Robinson and the lynching of Thomas Coleman. They are joined by Mica McGriggs who helps discuss lynching and racism present in the West, and Michael McClane who describes the murder and old time Salt Lake City. Was Coleman’s murder part of a cover up, or just old fashioned extralegal justice and racism? Listen to this episode here. 

Apr 2020

1 hr

The legal system in frontier Utah was as wild as the wild wild west. Lindsay and John discuss the decades long battle between the federal and local court system, and the fall out it caused. Claims of abuse, corruption, and a murder ordered by Brigham Young are discussed. Who was right and who was wrong when the feds go up against the Mormons? Listen to this episode here.

Apr 2020

1 hr 8 min

Lindsay and John head north to southeastern Idaho to discuss the murder of Gobo Fango. Fango was a freed African, probably Latter-day Saint, and sheep herder who got caught up in the range wars of the 1880s. They are joined by Amanda Hendrix-Komoto and Mica McGriggs who both discuss the violence and the treatment of disadvantaged groups in this time period. Was Fango murdered or trespassing on a cattleman’s land? Did his being Mormon help or hurt his case? Listen to this episode here.

Apr 2020

1 hr 18 min

In the final episode Lindsay and John show the evolution of the Utah criminal justice system through a prison escape. Murderer Nick Haworth escaped from the Utah penitentiary after Joseph Smith’s spiritual son and prison guard, Zebulon Jacobs, was overpowered and severely beaten. Haworth was eventually found and returned to prison. What did the law do with those who escaped from prison? Was the legal system in line with the rest of the country, or did Haworth find he was subjected to mountain law? Listen to this episode here. 

Apr 2020

31 min 22 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

27 min 42 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

26 min 46 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

19 min 31 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

26 min 10 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

27 min 37 sec

Season Two: The History of Mormon History Historiography—We are doing it.... Join the Sunstone Mormon History podcasters Bryan Buchanan and Lindsay Hansen Park for a special second season of Deseret Dramas. This miniseries will explore the history of how Mormon history was told and came to be.

Oct 2020

20 min 23 sec