Mormon Quotes

Apostasy

Brigham Young
I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath [sic] my bowie knife, and conquer or die! [Great commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of feeling, assenting to the declaration] Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet! [Voices, generally, 'go it, go it.'] If you say it is right, raise your hands! [All hands up.] Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work!
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:83
Brigham Young
Make them soap‑boilers and kitchen flunkeys, we are not going to send them into hell fire, for it takes a good Latter‑day Saint apostatized to get down that deep (did I say bottomless?) pit. A person, to become an angel of the Devil, has first to be a good Saint, and then deny the Lord who bought him.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:179
Wilford Woodruff
I presented before the meeting the case of Orson Pratt who did not believe in some of the teachings of President Young [the Adam‑God doctrine] and thought President Young reproved him unjustly.
Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Wilford Woodruff, March 24, 1858
Bruce R. McConkie
From the days of Joseph Smith to the present, 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 whereunder 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 occurrence whatever, of any nature, from which the slightest inference arises that any such practice either existed or was taught.... But under certain 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."
Bruce R. McConkie, Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 92
Boyd K. Packer
Save for those few who defect to perdition after having known a fulness [sic], there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.
Boyd K. Packer, "The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness"
Boyd K. Packer
Remember: when you see the bitter apostate, you do not see only an absence of light, you see also the presence of darkness. Do not spread disease germs.
Boyd K. Packer, "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," speech given August 1981 at BYU, Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1981
Melvin J. Ballard
Any man or woman who has heard the Gospel and rejected it — not only those in the days of Noah, but any man or woman in this day who has had a good chance to receive and embrace the Gospel and enjoy its blessings and privileges, but who has been indifferent to these things, ignoring and neglecting them — such a person need not hope or anticipate that when he is dead the work can be done for him and he can gain celestial glory. Don't you Latter‑day Saints get the notion that a man can live in defiance or total indifference, having had a good chance — not just a casual chance or opportunity — to accept the Gospel and that when he dies you can go and do the work for him and have him receive every blessing that the faithful ones are entitled to.
Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, p. 221
Heber C. Kimball
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; 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.
Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:375
Sidney Rigdon
It was the imperative duty of the Church to obey the word of Joseph Smith, or the presidency, without question or inquiry, and that if there were any that would not, they should have their throats cut from ear [to] ear.
Sidney Rigdon, Sidney Rigdon letter to Apostle Orson Hyde, October 21, 1844, in Nauvoo Neighbor, December 4, 1844; see also Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p. 94
Daniel C. Peterson
Suffice it to say that I was once sent out, a number of years ago, as a kind of "agent" of the Strengthening Church Members Committee. My mission? To try to help a member of the Church whose apostasy was threatening his marriage and causing anguish to his very active wife, children, and parents. (The wife and parents, and his stake president, has asked for help.) The weapons of choice? Talking with him for about four hours in Salt Lake City, in the presence of his wife and stake president, and recommending some readings.
Daniel C. Peterson, Mormon Dialogue
Daniel C. Peterson
There aren't many [reasons for excommunication], really. Flat out saying Joseph Smith was a liar, I think, yeah, there's no reason for you to be a Latter‑day Saint. ... It gets a little fuzzier after that. Advocating a nonhistorical Book of Mormon, for example, advocating it in the church, I'd probably say you can't do that. If you believe it privately, that's your business. ... If they're not talking about it, if they're not advocating it, then I would say leave them alone. Work with them, if nothing else, but leave them alone. So I don't see a really clear line there. Obviously there's no room in the church for, say, a vibrant Mormon atheist movement or something like that. ...
Daniel C. Peterson, PBS, The Mormons
Daniel C. Peterson
In any event, it seems clear that immorality (not merely of the homosexual variety) and intellectual apostasy are, and always have been, frequent (though not invariable) companions. (Joseph Smith's famous announcement of a link between adultery and sign‑seeking is apropos here.) Sodom and Cumorah are apparently not compatible.
Daniel C. Peterson, "Text and Context"
Daniel C. Peterson
Another issue that comes up is Joseph Smith and plural marriage. ... If you deal with the problem up front and say, "Look, here is this issue; this is what we have to say about it," people then are confronted with it later on and they say, "Oh, okay, I've heard that before." But if they think the church is hiding something from them, well then they think, "Well, what else am I not being told? This is maybe just the tip of the iceberg; there's a lot more out there." And then confidence in the teaching authority of the church is decreased, and I think that's a mistake. I think we can handle these issues. But I understand the impulse.
Daniel C. Peterson, PBS, The Mormons
John D. Lee
Punishment by death is the penalty for refusing to obey the orders of the Priesthood. I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites. It was then the rule that all enemies of the Prophet Joseph should be killed, and I knew of many a man who was quietly put out of the way by the orders of Joseph and his apostles while the church was there.
John D. Lee, John D. Lee Diaries
Orson Hyde
I would have a tendency to place terror on those who leave these parts [Utah], that may prove their salvation when they see the heads of thieves taken off, or shot down before the public... I believe it would be pleasing in the sight of heaven to sanctify ourselves and put these things out of our midst.
Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses 1:73
Jedediah M. Grant
We would not kill a man, of course, unless we killed him to save him...
Jedediah M. Grant, Deseret News, July 27, 1854
Hosea Stout
I always feel that it is my duty to look to myself, for I am in as much danger of apostatizing as any in the Church. If I ever do get led astray and depart from the principles of the gospel of salvation, it will be because I led myself off from the path; it was not my brethren who led me away, it was my own doing.
Hosea Stout, General Conference, 1858
D. Michael Quinn
Just last month, attorneys for condemned child‑killer James Edward Wood in Pocatello, Idaho, argued that his defense was undermined by a visit from local [Mormon] church leaders who talked to him about shedding his own blood.... His [Wood's] attorneys contend Wood is a victim of a Mormon belief in 'blood atonement.' ... Judge Lynn Winmill... heard hours of testimony during the past week about Mormon doctrine on apostasy and forgiveness of sin. Wood's lawyers even asked the bishop who presided over the church court that excommunicated Wood about secret temple rituals involving symbolic throat and slashing or disembowelment, but Winmill did not require him to respond.
D. Michael Quinn, Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 5, 1994
Thomas Ferguson
I believe that Judaism was an improvement on polytheism; Christianity was an improvement on Judaism (to some degree and in some departments only); that Protestantism is an improvement on Catholicism; that Mormonism is an improvement on Protestantism. So I give Joseph Smith credit as an innovator and as a smart fellow.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to James Still, December 3, 1979; see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, p. 269
Thomas Ferguson
Why not say the right things and keep your membership in the great fraternity, enjoying the good things you like and discarding the ones you can't swallow (and keeping your mouths shut)? Hypocritical? Maybe. But perhaps a realistic way of dealing with a very difficult problem. There is lots left in the Church to enjoy — and thousands of members have done, and are doing, what I suggest you consider doing.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Lawrence, February 9, 1976, Ferguson Collection, University of Utah
Thomas Ferguson
Right now I am inclined to think that all of those who claim to be 'prophets,' including Moses, were without a means of communicating with deity — I'm inclined to think that when Moses was on top of the mount, he was talking to himself and decided that the only way he could get the motley crowd at the bottom of the slope to come to order and to listen to him and to heed him was to tell them that he had talked to God on the mount. If this view is correct, then prophets are nothing more than mortal men like the rest of us, except they saw a great need for change and had the courage to say they had communicated with God and had received a message for man, and were believed (though false in the basic claim that the message came from God and not from man).... Right now I think Hoffer [author of True Believer] comes very close to the truth about prophets and organized religions. Right now I am inclined to think that all who believe in 'prophets' as true agents of God are being spoofed — but perhaps for their own good and welfare. When Joseph Smith crash‑landed, a lot came down with him, as I see it.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to Wesley P. Walters, July 6, 1971, Ferguson Collection, University of Utah; see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, p. 263
Thomas Ferguson
Belonging, with my eyes wide open, is actually fun, less expensive than formerly, and no strain at all. I am now very selective in the meetings I attend, the functions I attend, the amounts I contribute etc. etc. and I have a perfectly happy time. I never get up and bear testimony — but I don't mind listening to others who do. I am much more tolerant of other religions and other thinking and feel fine about things in general. You might give my suggestions a trial run — and if you find you have to burn all the bridges between yourselves and the Church, then go ahead and ask for excommunication. The day will probably come — but it is far off — when the leadership of the Church will change the excommunication rules and delete as ground non‑belief in the 2 books mentioned [the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon] and in Joseph Smith as a prophet etc.... but if you wait for that day, you probably will have died. It is a long way off — tithing would drop too much for one thing.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Lawrence, February 9, 1976, Ferguson Collection, University of Utah
Thomas Ferguson
All elements of religion that are supernatural (including endless string of miracles in the New Testament) are fabrications of men like Joseph Smith.... Further, I presently believe that Mormonism is as good a brand of supernatural religion (which sells well) as any other — including Protestantism. At the present time I am inclined to believe that supernatural religion, selling as it does, does more good than it does harm (although this is highly debatable).... In my opinion the average Protestant and the average Catholic is as blind to basic truths as is the average Mormon. If I were going to attack Joseph Smith, I would want to attack your beliefs, involving the supernatural, as well as the Mormon beliefs.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to Hougey, June 26, 1975, Ferguson Collection, University of Utah; see Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, p. 263
Gordon Douglas Pollock
Defectors became a kind of bogey to haunt all inhabitants of the Mormon Kingdom. Without vigilance and strength of character they [other members], like the defectors, could become overwhelmed by the baseness of their character and, thus, open to Satan's enticements. In this way blame was shifted from the Kingdom to the individual defector. More importantly, dissent was portrayed as the outward sign of personal weakness and sin. Dissent, therefore, could no more be tolerated than sin itself. This attitude within the Kingdom militated against any legitimate expression of doubt. There was no loyal opposition within the Kingdom of God. As no dissent from orthodox opinion was allowed, either the inhabitant accepted it or he was compelled to withdraw.
Gordon Douglas Pollock, "In Search for Security: The Mormons and the Kingdom of God on Earth, 1830‑1844," p. 22‑23, Ph.D dissertation, Queen's University, 1977
Steve Johnson
In 1949 [actually 1946] California lawyer, Tom Ferguson, rolled up his sleeves, threw a shovel over his shoulder, and marched into the remote jungles of southern Mexico. Armed with a quote by Joseph Smith that the Lord had 'a hand in proving the Book of Mormon true in the eyes of all people,' Ferguson's goal was: Shut the mouths of the critics who said such evidence did not exist. Ferguson began an odyssey that included twenty‑four trips to Central America, eventually resulting in a mountain of evidence supporting Book of Mormon claims.
Steve Johnson, Transcript of the advertisement for The Messiah in Ancient America by Thomas Ferguson, 1988
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