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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Brigham Young
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Blood Atonement








As early as 1853 intimations of the doctrine that an offending
member might be put out of the way were given from the Tabernacle
pulpit. Orson Hyde, on April 9 of that year, spoke, in the form
of a parable, of the fate of a wolf that a shepherd discovered in
his flock of sheep, saying that, if let alone, he would go off
and tell the other wolves, and they would come in; "whereas, if
the first should meet with his just deserts, he could not go back
and tell the rest of his hungry tribe to come and feast
themselves on the flock. If you say the priesthood, or
authorities of the church here, are the shepherd, and the church
is the flock, you can make your own application of this figure."

In September, 1856, there was a notable service in the bowery in
Salt Lake City at which several addresses were made. Heber C.
Kimball urged repentance, and told the people that Brigham
Young's word was "the word of God to this people." Then Jedediah
M. Grant first gave open utterance to a doctrine that has given
the Saints, in late years, much trouble to explain, and the
carrying out of which in Brigham Young's days has required many a
Mormon denial. This is, what has been called in Utah the doctrine
of "blood atonement," and what in reality was the doctrine of
human sacrifice.

Grant declared that some persons who had received the priesthood
committed adultery and other abominations, "get drunk, and wallow
in the mire and filth." "I say," he continued, "there are men and
women that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and
ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then
let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood.
We have those amongst us that are full of all manner of
abominations; those who need to have their blood shed, for water
will not do; their sins are too deep for that."* He explained
that he was only preaching the doctrine of St. Paul, and
continued: "I would ask how many covenant breakers there are in
this city and in this kingdom. I believe that there are a great
many; and if they are covenant breakers, we need a place
designated where we can shed their blood.... If any of you ask,
Do I mean you, I answer yes. If any woman asks, Do I mean her, I
answer yes.... We have been trying long enough with these people,
and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty be unsheathed,
not only in word, but in deed."**

* Elder C. W. Penrose made an explanation of the view taken by
the church at that time, in an address in Salt Lake City on
October 12, 1884, that was published in a pamphlet entitled
"Blood Atonement as taught by Leading Elders." This was deemed
necessary to meet the criticisms of this doctrine. He pleaded
misrepresentation of the Saints' position, and defined it as
resting on Christ's atonement, and on the belief that that
atonement would suffice only for those who have fellowship with
Him. He quoted St. Paul as authority for the necessity of blood
shedding (Hebrews ix. 22), and Matthew xii. 31, 32, and Hebrews
x. 26, to show that there are sins, like blasphemy against the
Holy Ghost, which will not be forgiven through the shedding of
Christ's blood. He also quoted 1 John v. 16 as showing that the
apostle and Brigham Young were in agreement concerning "sins unto
death," just as Young and the apostle agreed about delivering men
unto Satan that their spirits might be saved through the
destruction of their flesh (1 Corinthians v. 5). Having justified
the teaching to his satisfaction, he proceeded to challenge proof
that any one had ever paid the penalty, coupling with this a
denial of the existence of Danites.

Elder Hyde, in his "Mormonism," says (p. 179): "There are several
men now living in Utah whose lives are forfeited by Mormon law,
but spared for a little time by Mormon policy. They are certain
to be killed, and they know it. They are only allowed to live
while they add weight and influence to Mormonism, and, although
abundant opportunities are given them for escape, they prefer to
remain. So strongly are they infatuated with their religion that
they think their salvation depends on their continued obedience,
and their 'blood being shed by the servants of God.' Adultery is
punished by death, and it is taught, unless the adulterer's blood
be shed, he can have no remission for this sin. Believing this
firmly, there are men who have confessed this crime to Brigham,
and asked him to have them killed. Their superstitious fears make
life a burden to them, and they would commit suicide were not
that also a crime."

** Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 49, 50.


Brigham Young, who followed Grant, said that he would explain how
judgment would be "laid to the line." "There are sins," he
explained, "that men commit, for which they cannot receive
forgiveness in this world nor in that which is to come; and, if
they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would
be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground,
that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven for their sins...I
know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off
from the earth, that you consider it a strong doctrine; but it is
to save them, not to destroy them."

That these were not the mere expressions of a sudden impulse is
shown by the fact that Young expounded this doctrine at even
greater length a year later. Explaining what Christ meant by
loving our neighbors as ourselves, he said: "Will you love your
brothers and sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that
cannot be atoned for without the shedding of blood? Will you love
that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what
Jesus Christ meant.... I have seen scores and hundreds of people
for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection
there will be) if their lives had been taken, and their blood
spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but
who are now angels to the devil."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 219, 220.


Stenhouse relates, as one of the "few notable cases that have
properly illustrated the blood atonement doctrine," that one of
the wives of an elder who was sent on a mission broke her
marriage vows during his absence. On his return, during the
height of the "Reformation," she was told that "she could not
reach the circle of the gods and goddesses unless her blood was
shed," and she consented to accept the punishment. Seating
herself, therefore, on her husband's knee, she gave him a last
kiss, and he then drew a knife across her throat. "That kind and
loving husband still lives near Salt Lake City (1874), and
preaches occasionally with great zeal."*

* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 470.


John D. Lee, who says that this doctrine was "justified by all
the people," gives full particulars of another instance. Among
the Danish converts in Utah was Rosmos Anderson, whose wife had
been a widow with a grown daughter. Anderson desired to marry his
step-daughter also, and she was quite willing; but a member of
the Bishop's council wanted the girl for his wife, and he was
influential enough to prevent Anderson from getting the necessary
consent from the head of the church. Knowing the professed horror
of the church toward the crime of adultery, Anderson and the
young woman, at one of the meetings during the "Reformation,"
confessed their guilt of that crime, thinking that in this way
they would secure permission to marry. But, while they were
admitted to rebaptism on their confession, the coveted permit was
not issued and they were notified that to offend would be to
incur death. Such a charge was very soon laid against Anderson
(not against the girl), and the same council, without hearing
him, decided that he must die. Anderson was so firm in the Mormon
faith that he made no remonstrance, simply asking half a day for
preparation. His wife provided clean clothes for the sacrifice,
and his executioners dug his grave. At midnight they called for
him, and, taking him to the place, allowed him to kneel by the
grave and pray. Then they cut his throat, "and held him so that
his blood ran into the grave." His wife, obeying instructions,
announced that he had gone to California.*

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 282.


As an illustration of the opportunity which these times gave a
polygamous priesthood to indulge their tastes, may be told the
story of "the affair at San Pete." Bishop Warren Snow of Manti,
San Pete County, although the husband of several wives, desired
to add to his list a good-looking young woman in that town When
he proposed to her, she declined the honor, informing him that
she was engaged to a younger man. The Bishop argued with her on
the ground of her duty, offering to have her lover sent on a
mission, but in vain. When even the girl's parents failed to gain
her consent, Snow directed the local church authorities to
command the young man to give her up. Finding him equally
obstinate, he was one evening summoned to attend a meeting where
only trusted members were present. Suddenly the lights were put
out, he was beaten and tied to a bench, and Bishop Snow himself
castrated him with a bowie knife. In this condition he was left
to crawl to some haystacks, where he lay until discovered "The
young man regained his health," says Lee, "but has been an idiot
or quiet lunatic ever since, and is well known by hundreds of
Mormons or Gentiles in Utah."* And the Bishop married the girl.
Lee gives Young credit for being very "mad" when he learned of
this incident, but the Bishop was not even deposed.**

* Ibid., p. 285.

** Stenhouse quotes the following as showing that the San Pete
outrage was scarcely concealed by the Mormon authorities: "I was
at a Sunday meeting, in the spring of 1857, in Provo, when the
news of the San Pete incident was referred to by the presiding
Bishop, Blackburn. Some men in Provo had rebelled against
authority in some trivial matter, and Blackburn shouted in his
Sunday meeting--a mixed congregation of all ages and both sexes:
'I want the people of Provo to understand that the boys in Provo
can use the knife as well as the boys in San Pete. Boys, get your
knives ready.'" "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 302.





Next: The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience

Previous: Some Church-inspired Murders



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