51a: Interview with Will Bagley part 1

In this episode, Tom is joined by Will Bagley. Will is an independent historian and a prominent author who has written close to 20 books. In this episode, Will talks about his background and growing up Mormon. Links: Kingdom in the West Series So Rugged and So Mountainous: Blazing the trails to Oregon and California,
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32 comments on “51a: Interview with Will Bagley part 1”

  1. Wes Cauthers Reply

    This was an excellent podcast and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. I’ve been very interested in the MMM for many years and I learned much from Bagley that I did not previously know. It’s so refreshing to hear from a historian on Mormonism who just says it like it is and who doesn’t try to whitewash things. Bagley is awesome. Good job Tom and Mormon Expression. Episodes like this one are just what is needed to shed light in significant parts of Mormonism that have remained in the shadows for far too long.

  2. Wes Cauthers Reply

    This was an excellent podcast and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. I’ve been very interested in the MMM for many years and I learned much from Bagley that I did not previously know. It’s so refreshing to hear from a historian on Mormonism who just says it like it is and who doesn’t try to whitewash things. Bagley is awesome. Good job Tom and Mormon Expression. Episodes like this one are just what is needed to shed light in significant parts of Mormonism that have remained in the shadows for far too long.

  3. Erico Reply

    That was a great podcast! Your best one yet. Will Bagley seems like a fun guy who doesn’t mince words. I also thoroughly enjoyed his book, The Blood of the Prophets. I read it when it first came out and it had a powerful, powerful effect on me.

    I also enjoyed Will’s, ehhh, how should I say it, “redneck voice”, in the podcast whenever he was impersonating someone having an ignorant yokel moment. hahaha!

    Great job Tom and Will Bagley!

  4. Erico Reply

    That was a great podcast! Your best one yet. Will Bagley seems like a fun guy who doesn’t mince words. I also thoroughly enjoyed his book, The Blood of the Prophets. I read it when it first came out and it had a powerful, powerful effect on me.

    I also enjoyed Will’s, ehhh, how should I say it, “redneck voice”, in the podcast whenever he was impersonating someone having an ignorant yokel moment. hahaha!

    Great job Tom and Will Bagley!

  5. Glenn Reply

    Tom,

    Very interesting podcast. A lot to take in — I’m still trying to process it all. Incidently, I went on to itunes almost immediately and purchased the audio version of Mark Twain’s “Letter from the Earth” — I look forward to listening to it.

    I guess from the MMM perspective, I wish that this would have been more of a “for dummies” type presentation, laying out step-by-step what the events were and what the historical evidence is. I don’t know as much about MMM as either you or Will. But for others who are more well versed in the details, this was probably alright.

    Also, as I was listening I kept thinking that Will has an Al Franken quality to his voice, and I’m a big Al Franken fan, so that made this an enjoyable listen as well.

    Good job Tom! Thanks Will.

  6. Glenn Reply

    Tom,

    Very interesting podcast. A lot to take in — I’m still trying to process it all. Incidently, I went on to itunes almost immediately and purchased the audio version of Mark Twain’s “Letter from the Earth” — I look forward to listening to it.

    I guess from the MMM perspective, I wish that this would have been more of a “for dummies” type presentation, laying out step-by-step what the events were and what the historical evidence is. I don’t know as much about MMM as either you or Will. But for others who are more well versed in the details, this was probably alright.

    Also, as I was listening I kept thinking that Will has an Al Franken quality to his voice, and I’m a big Al Franken fan, so that made this an enjoyable listen as well.

    Good job Tom! Thanks Will.

  7. Clay Painter Reply

    Bagley you are a complex character and an important figure in the canvas of those who contribute to the unraveling of Mormon history. You are also a great story teller, even if I disagree with many of your assertions. I raise my glass to you.

    There is one thing that bothered me though. You pepper your stories with compliments combined with insults of those around you. Things like, “I really like _____, not a very good historian, but I like ______” or “so and so is my friend but here is this embarrassing story about him.” This bothered greatly. You offer a man a piece of bread with one hand and steal his wallet with the other.

  8. Clay Painter Reply

    Bagley you are a complex character and an important figure in the canvas of those who contribute to the unraveling of Mormon history. You are also a great story teller, even if I disagree with many of your assertions. I raise my glass to you.

    There is one thing that bothered me though. You pepper your stories with compliments combined with insults of those around you. Things like, “I really like _____, not a very good historian, but I like ______” or “so and so is my friend but here is this embarrassing story about him.” This bothered greatly. You offer a man a piece of bread with one hand and steal his wallet with the other.

  9. Joseph Reply

    I really liked this podcast. Bagley is one interesting character: a real cowboy who writes about real cowboys. I would love hearing more from him (and hope to get through his books as I have time).

  10. Joseph Reply

    I really liked this podcast. Bagley is one interesting character: a real cowboy who writes about real cowboys. I would love hearing more from him (and hope to get through his books as I have time).

  11. M Cooper Reply

    Tom you could have left to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, take a nap, or even re-shingle your roof during this interview and we (and Will) would have never known.

  12. M Cooper Reply

    Tom you could have left to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, take a nap, or even re-shingle your roof during this interview and we (and Will) would have never known.

  13. Allen Reply

    Will,
    There was a general distrust of strangers in Utah because of the climate that Brigham Young created, before, during and after the MMM. I was curious if you had done any research on the 3 members (O.G. Howland, his brother Senaca, and Bill Dunn) of the 1869 John Wesley Powell Colorado River expedition, who reached the end of their endurance and left the group at “Seperation Canyon,” two days journey from the confluence of the Virgin River,

    The Howland Brothers And Bill Dunn hiked out of the canyon towards civilization and the official story is that they met their death at the hands of the Shivwit Indians, because they were mistook for 3 miners who killed a Shivwit squaw on the south side of the river.

    However, I have read some evidence in the book: “Under the Banner of Heaven” by John Krakauer, (pgs 235-246) that these 3 members of the expedition were killed by the Mormons in a church at Toquerville because they didn’t believe their story of hiking out of the Grand Canyon and thought they were Federal spies. Krakauer says that the evidence is far greater they were killed by the Mormons rather than the Shivwit Indians.

    Will, have you done any research into this incident?

  14. Allen Reply

    Will,
    There was a general distrust of strangers in Utah because of the climate that Brigham Young created, before, during and after the MMM. I was curious if you had done any research on the 3 members (O.G. Howland, his brother Senaca, and Bill Dunn) of the 1869 John Wesley Powell Colorado River expedition, who reached the end of their endurance and left the group at “Seperation Canyon,” two days journey from the confluence of the Virgin River,

    The Howland Brothers And Bill Dunn hiked out of the canyon towards civilization and the official story is that they met their death at the hands of the Shivwit Indians, because they were mistook for 3 miners who killed a Shivwit squaw on the south side of the river.

    However, I have read some evidence in the book: “Under the Banner of Heaven” by John Krakauer, (pgs 235-246) that these 3 members of the expedition were killed by the Mormons in a church at Toquerville because they didn’t believe their story of hiking out of the Grand Canyon and thought they were Federal spies. Krakauer says that the evidence is far greater they were killed by the Mormons rather than the Shivwit Indians.

    Will, have you done any research into this incident?

  15. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Tom, thank you for doing this interview. Will (Bagley) was an intriguing guest and has clearly worked long and hard in his historian profession. I have not finished his book, Blood of the Prophets yet, but I will.

    As for the interview, both of you two (Will and Tom) were engaging to listen to. I will have to go over this a few more times so I can absorb what was said.

    Keep the fascinating perspectives coming. The tapestry of human experience and stories just keeps getting more interesting. I feel lucky to live in a time where having information does not usually endanger my life, I suppose the same could not be said in Utah in the past.

  16. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Tom, thank you for doing this interview. Will (Bagley) was an intriguing guest and has clearly worked long and hard in his historian profession. I have not finished his book, Blood of the Prophets yet, but I will.

    As for the interview, both of you two (Will and Tom) were engaging to listen to. I will have to go over this a few more times so I can absorb what was said.

    Keep the fascinating perspectives coming. The tapestry of human experience and stories just keeps getting more interesting. I feel lucky to live in a time where having information does not usually endanger my life, I suppose the same could not be said in Utah in the past.

  17. Eric Comstock Reply

    Loved the interview. Maybe its just Will’s style but through all of his laughter it seemed like he was pretty irritated with the church and with fellow historians that tend to side with the church. I’m probably wrong about the assessment but that was the vibe I got.

  18. Eric Comstock Reply

    Loved the interview. Maybe its just Will’s style but through all of his laughter it seemed like he was pretty irritated with the church and with fellow historians that tend to side with the church. I’m probably wrong about the assessment but that was the vibe I got.

  19. DuzTruthMatter Reply

    Outstanding podcast, Tom! Great job getting Will to come on. I remember back in seminary how the teacher told us that the MMM was the result of a bunch of rogue Indians. It is so nice to finally be getting the truth to all the BS we used to be taught.

    Thank goodness it wasn’t Mike doing this interview!!

  20. DuzTruthMatter Reply

    Outstanding podcast, Tom! Great job getting Will to come on. I remember back in seminary how the teacher told us that the MMM was the result of a bunch of rogue Indians. It is so nice to finally be getting the truth to all the BS we used to be taught.

    Thank goodness it wasn’t Mike doing this interview!!

  21. Tom Perry Reply

    Thanks to all of you for the kind words.

    M Cooper, “Tom you could have left to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, take a nap, or even re-shingle your roof during this interview and we (and Will) would have never known.”

    I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 Easiest interview I’ve ever done.

  22. Tom Perry Reply

    Thanks to all of you for the kind words.

    M Cooper, “Tom you could have left to make a sandwich, go to the bathroom, take a nap, or even re-shingle your roof during this interview and we (and Will) would have never known.”

    I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 Easiest interview I’ve ever done.

  23. Sharyn Larsen Reply

    I have a historical question for Will unrelated to the broadcast and would like to contact him. Can you give me contact info or give him mine and ask him to get in touch? I’d really appreciate it.
    Sharyn

  24. Sharyn Larsen Reply

    I have a historical question for Will unrelated to the broadcast and would like to contact him. Can you give me contact info or give him mine and ask him to get in touch? I’d really appreciate it.
    Sharyn

  25. In The Back Reply

    As usual great podcast. Are there any articles or links regarding the letters the church just purchased that was discussed at the beginning of the podcast?

  26. In The Back Reply

    As usual great podcast. Are there any articles or links regarding the letters the church just purchased that was discussed at the beginning of the podcast?

  27. George Reply

    I have a question about the personality of Will. No doubt, he has a vast amount of experience, but I was left wondering a few times as to the actual validity of his stories. It felt like he was constantly trying to out-do himself and impress his audience with his credentials, or background.

    “I had to walk up hill in the snow to school, both ways. One day I found a rock, it was a moon rock, the very moon rock that Kennedy was holding in his lap the day he was killed. I was there and held him in my lap as he passed away as he looked in my eyes”
    I was just left thinking “Really?”

    I think he is a fantastic story teller, but one story led to another, that led to another and each one had to top the previous. Did anyone else find this?

    The cowboy part of him made me really like him a ton. I know lots of cowboy types like him. My dad was one and we had a “Mormon Cowboy” talk at his funeral. It really reminded me of this part of culture that is surprisingly still around. Wyoming is full of these characters and they are a kick.

    Good job Tom. I agree about the taking a nap comment from before. He can talk your socks off.

  28. George Reply

    I have a question about the personality of Will. No doubt, he has a vast amount of experience, but I was left wondering a few times as to the actual validity of his stories. It felt like he was constantly trying to out-do himself and impress his audience with his credentials, or background.

    “I had to walk up hill in the snow to school, both ways. One day I found a rock, it was a moon rock, the very moon rock that Kennedy was holding in his lap the day he was killed. I was there and held him in my lap as he passed away as he looked in my eyes”
    I was just left thinking “Really?”

    I think he is a fantastic story teller, but one story led to another, that led to another and each one had to top the previous. Did anyone else find this?

    The cowboy part of him made me really like him a ton. I know lots of cowboy types like him. My dad was one and we had a “Mormon Cowboy” talk at his funeral. It really reminded me of this part of culture that is surprisingly still around. Wyoming is full of these characters and they are a kick.

    Good job Tom. I agree about the taking a nap comment from before. He can talk your socks off.

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