LDS and Blood Atonement


#1

In 1856, Brigham Young (LDS Prophet) delivered a teaching on blood atonement to the Mormon faithful. This doctrine was based on the idea that some sins are so serious that God can only forgive them if the perpetrator spills their own blood and dies to atone for the wrong committed.

Prophet Young stated, " There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or 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 split upon the ground, that the smoke there of might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins."

Brigham Young, September 21, 1856, in JOD, vol. 4, 53 cf. Brigham Young, March 16, 1856, JOD vol 3, 247.

Also in 1856 Prophet Brigham Young told the Saints, " There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgements of the Almight will come, sooner or later, and every man or woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants."

Brigham Young, March 16, 1856, In JOD, Vol 3, 247

Joseph Fielding Smith (LDS Prophet) wrote: “Man may commit certain grievous sins-according to his light and knowledge-that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he is to saved, he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone-…”

Doctrines of Salvation, vol 1, pp 133-138

**Bruce R. McConkie **( Mormon Apostle?) in his book Mormon Doctrine states: " *But under circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate, and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins. Murder, for instance, is one of these sins; hence we find Lord commanding capital punishment. *

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p 92.

then if he gains forgiveness for certain grievous sins, he must “be destroyed in the flesh,” and “delivered unto the day of redemptioin saith the Lord God.” (D and C 132: 19-27,)

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966 p 93

At this present time the state of Utah does have the firing squad as a means to kill a inmate sentenced to death.

Question: Does the LDS church teach this doctrine openly to new converts to their religion?


#2

I’m guessing that every single LDS on these boards is going to tell you that the LDS church does not teach that. I’m also guessing that most will tell you that the LDS church never taught that.


#3

RE: I’m guessing that every single LDS on these boards is going to tell you that the LDS church does not teach that. I’m also guessing that most will tell you that the LDS church never taught that.

If I post some of the strange things Popes have said over the centuries, perhaps out of context, what will your response be? Will you say the Catholic Church “does not teach that?” Will you say the Catholic Church never taught that?

Do you really want to get into this battle? I could start with Pope Leo X calling Jesus a myth. I’m ready if you really want it but I don’t think it will lead anywhere productive.


#4

BTW - Here’s a link to a letter by Elder Bruce R. McConkie acting under the direction of the President Kimball and the First Presidency, responding to the issue of Blood Atonement. Just in case you really wanted to know…

shields-research.org/General/blood_atonement.htm


#5

No


#6

[quote=Casen]RE: I’m guessing that every single LDS on these boards is going to tell you that the LDS church does not teach that. I’m also guessing that most will tell you that the LDS church never taught that.

If I post some of the strange things Popes have said over the centuries, perhaps out of context, what will your response be? Will you say the Catholic Church “does not teach that?” Will you say the Catholic Church never taught that?

Do you really want to get into this battle? I could start with Pope Leo X calling Jesus a myth. I’m ready if you really want it but I don’t think it will lead anywhere productive.
[/quote]

I was not trying to say that LDS would lie about whether or not this ever been taught. I was trying to explain what an LDS would say because no one was responding to his original post.


#7

RE: I was not trying to say that LDS would lie about whether or not this ever been taught. I was trying to explain what an LDS would say because no one was responding to his original post.

Fair enough. Apparently I took it the wrong way and got a bit defensive.


#8

[quote=Casen]RE: I was not trying to say that LDS would lie about whether or not this ever been taught. I was trying to explain what an LDS would say because no one was responding to his original post.

Fair enough. Apparently I took it the wrong way and got a bit defensive.
[/quote]

I went back and read it. Wasn’t worded in the most “positive” way (and I probably did let my bias slip in). I apologize.


#9

Hyrum L. Andrus, of Brigham Young University made this statement concerning blood atonement: " The concept here voiced, known more popularly as the doctrine of blood atonement, laid the foundation for the establishment of capital punishment in Utah for murder. It basis is theological, asserting that there are certain crimes which the atonement of Christ will not cover,… the Individual himself must pay the debt either here or hereafter. Hence, in some cases it was deemed prroper to take the life of such persons through the shedding of their blood, that mercy might have claim upon them in the days of redemption."

Joseph Smith and World Government, by Hyrum L. Andrus, Salt Lake City, 1963, p 107.

The late great **B.H. Roberts, **who was the Assistant LDS Church Historian described the doctrine of blood atonement s follows:
"…what is needful for the salvation of the soul where one’s sins place him beyond the reach of vicarious means of salvation-then it is the shedding of the sinners own blood that must here be referred to."

A Comprehensive History of the Church, by B.H. Roberts, 1965 ed., Vol. 4, p 129.

Again Joseph Fielding Smith (Prophet) states “Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf…And men for certain crimes have had to atone as far as they could for their sins wherin they have placed themselves beyond the redeeming power of the blood of Christ.”

Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith , Salt Lake city, 1954, V0l. 1. pp 133-136

In response to post #3 and #4 read the references provided. All the references come from the lips of (true blue) LDS church members. If this material is anti-mormon then Brigham Young and Jospeh Fielding Smith are guilty. These gentlemen explain themselves very well concerning this subject.

If you want me to continue and show what sins where considered by Brigham Young to warrant blood atonement I will.

Respectfully


#10

All the references come from the lips of (true blue) LDS church members.

JRR,
I’m not disputing the quotes but keep in mind that the first reference is from a BYU professor and the second is from a historian. Don’t assume they speak for the church any more than you would assume a professor at Notre Dame was speaking for the Catholic Church as a whole. Even LDS Apostles and Prophets can speculate about things and their comments aren’t considered canonized doctrine unless it is proclaimed as such. If I found a questionable quote from a Catholic University professor (would not be hard to do) or even a priest and posted it all over they web claiming that is the official doctrine of the Catholic church I don’t think that would be fair. Even if the quotes were from “true blue” Catholics.

The link I posted earlier is to a letter considered the Church’s OFFICIAL position on Blood Atonement.


#11

[quote=JRR]**
In response to post #3 and #4 read the references provided. All the references come from the lips of (true blue) LDS church members. If this material is anti-mormon then Brigham Young and Jospeh Fielding Smith are guilty. These gentlemen explain themselves very well concerning this subject.**

Here is the complete explanation of this subject by two people, one of which was quoted above. We will not find this in the books or tracts written by paid antagonists of the LDS message.

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, Pg.93 BLOOD ATONEMENT DOCTRINE
This doctrine can only be practiced in its fulness in a day when the civil and ecclesiastical laws are administered in the same hands. It was, for instance, practiced in the days of Moses, but it was not and could not be practiced in this dispensation, except that persons who understood its provisions could and did use their influence to get a form of capital punishment written into the laws of the various states of the union so that the blood of murderers could be shed.

Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.3, Pg.345 - Pg.346
. This principle can only operate in a day, as that of Moses, when there is no separation of Church and state and when the Church has power to take life. Of conditions in our day, and as to how this law applies to us, President Joseph Fielding Smith says: “We cannot destroy men in the flesh, because we do not control the lives of men and do not have power to pass sentences upon them which involve capital punishment. In the days when there was a theocracy on the earth, then this decree was enforced. What the Lord will do in lieu of this, because we cannot destroy in the flesh, I am unable to say, but it will have to be made up in some other way.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 97.)

Paul
[/quote]


#12

Please look at the quotes from Brigham Young and Jospeh Fielding Smith. These statements are taken from the JOD, Doctrine of Salvation, and Mormon Doctrine. Josesph Fielding Smith supports Brigham Young concerning the doctrine of blood atonement. If you cannot believe these books or what these men say then what else might be in question!

McConkie and Roberts were big guns in the LDS Church and they did not question the doctrine of blood atonement. They acknowledge Brigham Young taught this doctrine. As does Joesph Fielding Smith acknowleges Brigham Young.

If you question the doctrine of blood atonement then do research! Start with the references within this thread. These references are available and are written by mormons for mormons. There is no anti-mormon twist to them.

Respectfully


#13

JRR,
Did you read the official letter I linked to? I thought that would settle this once and for all. There is lots of speculation in books such as Mormon Doctrine and JOD which are not cannonized but the letter I linked to is the official position of the church.


#14

The following is a copy of a letter from Elder Bruce R. McConkie, acting under the direction of the President Kimball and the First Presidency, responding to this issue.

** There is no such a doctrine as blood atonement in the Church today nor has there been at any time. Any statements to the contrary are either idle speculation or pure fantasy. It is certainly not the current teaching of the Church and I have never in over 60 years of regular church attendance heard a single sermon on the subject or even a discussion in any church class.

You asked if the statements of our leaders of the past, including those found in the Journal of Discourses, represent the official stand of the Church. The answer, as indicated in the comments above set forth, is that they do not. The statements pertain to a theoretical principle that has been neither revealed to nor practiced by us.

If by blood atonement is meant capital punishment, then any proper analysis of the subject would call the matter by the name capital punishment and not by the name blood atonement. To use this latter term is wholly misleading and stirs up the idea that we believe in that which we most emphatically do not believe. (a portion of a longer letter)**

J.F. Smith was quoted in the JOD. I gave his explanation in the DOS. It couldn’t be more plain. I don’t believe it is right to make more of a thing, than it purports to be, to support one’s world view.

There isn’t anything esle to say. Any thing would be twisting the donkey’s tail.

Paul


#15

Indeed writings in the JOD are written by a Mormon for Mormons. As such they knew the doctrines and principles of the Gospel, and knew the context of what was being said, not needing an exhaustive explanation of every utterance.

This and other collections of writings, consequently, are a play ground for those who want to make mountains out of mole hills.

Paul


#16

Let us hear from Jedediah M. Grant who called himself “Mormon Thunder.” Other LDS members called him the “sledgehammer of Brigham.” Mr Grant was the second counselor to Brigham Young. Mr. Grant taught the doctrine of blood atonement given to him by Brigham Young.

“*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 committe 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 of too deep a dye. 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.” *

Jedehiah M. Grant, September 21, 1856, in JOD, 4, 49-50
Deseret New, Vol. 6, page 235.

Heber C. Kimball, who was the first counselor to Brigham Young, stated "…for if men turn traitors to God and His servants, Their Blood Will Surely Be Shed, or else they will be damned, and that too according to their covenants."

Journal of Discourses, Vol.4 p. 375.
(Heber C. Kimball is teaching blood atonement.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith stated; “the founders of Utah incorporated in the laws of the Territory provsisions for the capital punishmentof those who wilfully shed the blood of their fellow men. This law, which is now the law of the State, granted unto the condemned murderer the privilege of choosing for himself whether he die by hanging, or whether be Be Shot, And Thus Have His Blood Shed In Harmony With The Law OF God; And Thus Atone, so far as it is without exception the condemned party chooses the latter death.”

Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Vol.1, p 1`36.
(This day the Prophet was teaching blood atonement.)
**
Bruce R. McConkie, of the First Council of the Seventy, stated: “As a mode of capital punishment, hanging or execution on a gallows does not comply with the law of blood atonement, for the blood is not shed.”
**
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, 1958 ed., p. 314.
(Bruce R. McConkie is teaching blood atonement.)

Gustive O. Larson, Professor of Church History at BYU, states;
*"To whatever extent the preaching on Blood Atonement may have influenced action, it would have been in relation to Mormon disciplinary action among its own members. In point would be a verbally reported case of Mr. Johnson in Cedar City who was found guility of adultery with his step-daughter by a Bishops Court and Sentenced to Death For Atonement of His Sin. According to the report of reputable Eyewitnesses, judgement was executed with consent of the offender who went to his *Unconsecerated Grave In Full Confidence of Salvation Through The Shedding of His Blood. ** Such a case, however primitive, is understandable within the meaning of the doctrine and the emotional extremes of the Reformation."

Utah Historical Quarterly, January 1958, p 62, footnote

Finally in closing let Brigham Young speak to the Mormons who read this thread.

“It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet Men Can Commit Sins Which It Can Never Remit. As it was in ancient days, so it is in our day; and though the principles are taught pubicly from this stand, still the people do not understand them; yet the law is precisely the same. There are sins that can be Atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of the lamb, of a calf, or a turtle doves, cannot remit, but **They Must Be Atoned For By The Blood Of The Man. **That is the reason why men talk to you as they do from this stand; they understand the Doctrine and throw out a few words about it not understanding it.”

Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 53-54; also published in the Deseret News, 1856, page 235

Please note that the Deseret News was the official organ of the Mormon Church during this time period. After being published in the Deseret News it was reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, which was also a Mormon publication. Therefore, there can be no doubt that this was a doctrine of the Church.


#17

*Let us hear from Jedediah M. Grant *

**There is a difference between rhetoric and doctrine. **

**Here Grant is rhetorically speaking to those who were committing consistent and habitual sins, and who were expecting to be fellowshipped as worthy Saints.

Again, he is talking to an audience that understands the context in what he is trying to say.**

*Heber C. Kimball, who was the first counselor to Brigham Young, stated

“…for if men turn traitors to God and His servants, Their Blood Will Surely Be Shed, or else they will be damned, and that too according to their covenants.”*

**This is the sentence preceding your quote.

“I have not a doubt but there will be hundreds who will leave us and go away to our enemies. I wish they would go this fall: it might relieve us from much trouble…”

I sounds here as though he prefers that they get out of “Dodge” rather than spill their blood…

He goes on to say a little later in his address.

“God will deal with our enemies. The day of God Almighty is at hand, when He will show forth His power, and when He will deliver His people from all their enemies.”

This is who Brigham believed would take care of the enemies of the Church.

**

Paul


#18

*Bruce R. McConkie, of the First Council of the Seventy, stated: “As a mode of capital punishment, hanging or execution on a gallows does not comply with the law of blood atonement, for the blood is not shed.”

Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, 1958 ed., p. 314.
(Bruce R. McConkie is teaching blood atonement.)*

**Taken directly from Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie

Several early Church leaders, most notably Brigham Young, taught that in a complete theocracy the Lord could require the voluntary shedding of a murderer’s blood–presumably by capital punishment–as part of the process of Atonement for such grievous sin.
**
**This was referred to as “blood Atonement.” Since such a theocracy has not been operative in modern times, the practical effect of the idea was its use as a rhetorical device to heighten the awareness of Latter-day Saints of the seriousness of murder and other major sins.

This view is not a doctrine of the Church and has never been practiced by the Church at any time.

Doesn’t seem like he is teaching blood atonement.

Paul**


#19

Gentlemen,

Please comment on the sermon given by Brigham Young located on post #16.

Brigham Young say it all. He explains what blood atonement is and what must be done to atone for certain sins that cannot be forgiven. He is speaking to the LDS "from this stand". Young even states this is a doctrine. Brigham Young is teaching LDS faithful what is blood atonement just as a prophet teaches the faithful. If this was not a doctrine then why say it is a doctrine.

You need to address Brigham Young your prophet! He teaches blood atonement.

Respectfully


#20

**I really didn’t feel the need to proceed any further but since you require it

I don’t usually like to post long extracts, but I think it might be informative to answer the present assertion.
**
Sermon by Brigham Young (broader extract)

*I could give you a logical reason for all the transgressions in this world, for all that are committed in this probationary state, and especially for those committed by men.

There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or 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 as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.*

To our understanding he is trying to get across the idea of a lack of understanding of the consequences of the persistent sins being committed by some in his charge. The line of thought being “If they really knew what they were doing, and understood the end result of their behaviour, they would be willing to do anything to prevent it”(paraphrase)

I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them.

Trying to bring those in sin to an understanding of their predicament

*Of all the children of Israel that started to pass through the wilderness, none inherited the land which had been promised, except Caleb and Joshua, and what was the reason? It was because of their rebellion and wickedness; and because the Lord had promised Abraham that he would save his seed.

They had to travel to and fro to every point to the compass, and were wasted away, because God was determined to save their spirits.  But they could not enter into His rest in the flesh, because of their transgressions, consequently He destroyed them in the wilderness.*

A description of the doctrine in ancient times

*I do know that there are sins committed, of such a nature that if the people did understand the doctrine of salvation, they would tremble because of their situation.  And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course.  I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.*

**Again restating “If they only knew what they were doing they would tremble because of their situation”(paraphrase) **

*It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. As it was in ancient days, so it is in our day; and though the principles are taught publicly from this stand, still the people do not understand them; yet the law is precisely the same. There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, of a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man. That is the reason why men talk to you as they do from this stand; they understand the doctrine and throw out a few words about it. You have been taught that doctrine, but you do not understand it.
*
When talking about the doctrine, there is no mention of it being an LDS practice. His states that it is the principles on which it is based that are taught.

**In his preaching his used the conceptions in relation to the sin that he say around him, in the context of “If they only knew what they were doing to the eternal salvation they would ….” In this he is saying that they really don’t know what they are getting them selves into.

He states that although these principles have been taught, many still don’t not know their meaning.

So in the end it comes down to the question is there sin that is not covered by the sacrifice of our Lord.**

*Romans 6:15-16

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?*

*Hebrews 10:18
Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:26
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
*
**These are the same things Brother Brigham was preaching on.

Paul**


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