BLOOD ATONEMENT and the Mormon Church

For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19-20). The Bible says a lot about the precious blood of Christ, Peter wrote, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Peter 1:18-19). It is the blood shed on the cross of Christ that provides remission of sins, and also provides us with peace with God: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1) The marvelous promise of the Scriptures is that all our sins were nailed to Christ’s cross: …blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; (Colossians 2:14). We can plainly see that it is true that if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7).

However, is this what is taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Lets examine the teachings of the early Mormon prophets such as Brigham Young and see. (all emphases ours).

Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case… 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; (Journal of Discourses 3:247).

I say that 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 been trying long enough with this people, and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty be unsheathed, not only in word, but in deed. (Journal of Discourses 4:49-50).

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… I know, when you hear the brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not destroy them… 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 know themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood… 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. (Journal of Discourses 4:53-54).

I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their
sins… I know a great many men who have left the Church for whom there is no chance whatsoever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them… This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it …This is the way to love mankind. (Journal of Discourses 4:220).

When will we love our neighbour as ourselves?…suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, “shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?”…Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant. (Journal of Discourses 4:219-220).

However, some might say that this was only the teaching of the Mormon Church many years ago, and all the sources quoted so far are at least 100 years old. This is true. But does the Mormon Church still teach Blood Atonement?

Yes! For instance, read the comments of Joseph Fielding Smith, prophet of the Mormon Church from 1970 to 1972, in his book Doctrines of Salvation, volume 1, pages 134 and 135, 1980 edition:B

But 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 would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone – so far as in his power lies – for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail… 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.

In light of this, it is amazing to note the words of Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine, pages 92-93. Here, Mr. McConkie quotes the above passage by Joseph Fielding Smith, yet he also writes the following!

“…wicked and evilly-disposed persons have fabricated false and slanderous stories to the effect that the
church, in the early days of this dispensation, engaged in a practice of blood atonement where under the blood of apostates and others was shed by the church as an atonement for their sins… There is not one historical instance of so-called blood atonement in this dispensation, nor has there been one event or occurence whatever, of any nature, from which the slightest inference arises that any such practice either existed or was taught.”

He then goes on to say that there are certain statements in the writings of early church leaders that, when taken out of context, seemed to teach blood atonement. We challenge you to read the above quotations in the Journal of Discourses and see if they do not teach blood atonement in context. In response to McConkie’s claim that there is not one historical instance of blood-atonement, we quote from The Confessions of John D. Lee, pages 282-283.

Rosmos Anderson was a Danish man who had come to Utah with his family to receive the benefits arising from an association with the Latter-day Saints. He had married a widow lady somewhat older than himself, and she had a daughter that was fully grown at the time of the (Mormon) reformation. The girl was very anxious to be sealed to her stepfather, and Anderson was equally anxious to take her for a second wife, but as she was a fine looking girl, Klingensmith (the Mormon Bishop of Cedar City) desired her to marry him, and she refused. At one of the meetings during the reformation, Anderson and his step-daughter confessed that they had committed adultery, believing when they did so that Brigham Young would allow them to marry when he learned the facts. Their confession being full, they were rebaptized and received into full membership. They were then placed under covenant that if they again committed adultery, Anderson should suffer death. Soon after this a charge was laid against Anderson before the Council, accusing him of adultery with his step-daughter. This Council was composed of Klingensmith and his two counselors; it was the Bishop’s Council. Without giving Anderson any chance to defend himself or make a statement, the Council voted that Anderson must die for violating his covenants. Klingensmith went to Anderson and notified him that the orders were that he must die by having his throat cut, so that the running of his blood would atone for his sins. Anderson, being a firm believer in the doctrines and teachings of the Mormon Church, made no objections, but asked for half a day to prepare for death. His request was granted. His wife was ordered to prepare a suit of clean clothing in which to have her husband buried, and was informed that he was to be killed for his sins, she being directed to tell those who should inquire after her husband that he had gone to California.

Klingensmith, James Haslem, Daniel McFarland, and John M. Higbee dug a grave in the field near Cedar City, and that night, about 12 o’clock, went to Anderson’s house and ordered him to make ready to obey the Council. Anderson got up, dressed himself, bid his family good-bye, and without a word of remonstrance accompanied those that he believed were carrying out the will of the “Almighty God.” They went to the place where the grave was prepared. Anderson knelt upon the side of the grave and prayed. Klingensmith and his company then cut Anderson’s throat from ear to ear and held him so that his blood ran into the grave.

As soon as he was dead they dressed him in his clean clothes, threw him into the grave and buried him. Then they carried his bloody clothing back to his family, and gave them to his wife to wash, when she was again instructed to say that her husband was in California. She obeyed their orders.

Friend, such a teaching is blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ and certainly is not Christian. The Bible condemns anyone who would “preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received…” (Galatians 1:9).

If you are LDS, please accept the true Jesus Christ, whose blood cleanses from all sin, into your life. Remember, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).Make sure you believe on the real Jesus, and not the false one taught by the LDS church! If you are not LDS, you too are invited to accept the real Jesus. If you are a Christian, join us in praying and witnessing to the LDS people, so that they might come to know Jesus.

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