Mormon Quotes

Capital punishment

Brigham Young
The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broad sword and ask, 'Are you of God?' and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:226
Brigham Young
The time has been in Israel under the law of God, the celestial law, or that which pertains to the celestial law, for it is one of the laws of that kingdom where our Father dwells, that if a man was found guilty of adultery, he must have his blood shed, and that is near at hand.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:219
Brigham Young
If you want to know what to do with a thief that you may find stealing, I say kill him on the spot, and never suffer him to commit another iniquity. I will prove by my works whether I can mete out justice to such persons, or not. I would consider it just as much my duty to do that, as to baptize a man for the remission of his sins.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:108
Brigham Young
For the first act of adultery you may forgive a man, but if a man beds with a woman and does it 10 times he is guilty.
Brigham Young, Mormon apologist D. Michael Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy
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
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 [the blood of Christ] can never remit.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:54
Brigham Young
Will you love your brothers and 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.
Brigham Young, Deseret News, April 16, 1856
Brigham Young
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 might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:43
Brigham Young
I will tell you how much I love those characters. If they had any respect to their own welfare, they would come forth and say, whether Joseph Smith was a Prophet or not, 'We shed his blood, and now let us atone for it;' and they would be willing to have their heads chopped off, that their blood might run upon the ground, and the smoke of it rise before the Lord as an incense for their sins.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:179
Brigham Young
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; and under the circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands.... 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.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:108
Brigham Young
This is loving your 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.
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:220
Brigham Young
Any of you who understand the principles of eternity — if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death — would not be satisfied or rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain the salvation you desire. This is the way to love mankind.
Brigham Young, Deseret News, April 16, 1856
Brigham Young
Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved... and suppose 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 blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin and may be saved and exalted with the God, 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?'
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:219
Joseph Smith
I [am] opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God; and if ever I have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, v. 5, p. 296, 1949
Wilford Woodruff
And if any man mingle his seed with the seed of Cain the only way he could get rid of it or have Salvation would be to come forward and have his head cut off and spill his blood upon the ground ‑‑ it would also take the life of his children.
Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's personal diary, 4:97
Joseph Fielding Smith
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 blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, v. 1, pp. 135‑136, 1954
Orson Pratt
The people of Utah are the only ones in this nation who have taken effectual measures... to prevent adulteries and criminal connections between the sexes. The punishment, for these crimes is death to both male and female. And this law is written on the hearths and printed in the thoughts of the whole people.
Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 223
Gerald N. Lund
There is another lesson that Mormon draws from the story of Korihor. After Korihor is confounded by Alma, he demands a sign before he will believe. Korihor receives his sign—he is struck dumb, and evidently deaf as well. (See Alma 30:51.) In that pitiable state, Korihor resorts to begging for his livelihood. He finally goes among a people called the Zoramites, and there he is "run upon and trodden down" until he dies. (Alma 30:59.)
Gerald N. Lund, Ensign, Countering Korihor's Philosophy, July 1992
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
Heber C. Kimball
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
John D. Lee
The Mormons believe in blood atonement. It is taught by the leaders, and believed by the people, that the Priesthood are inspired and cannot give a wrong order. It is the belief of all that I ever heard talk of these things — and I have been with the Church since the dark days in Jackson County — that the authority that orders is the only responsible party and the Danite who does the killing only an instrument, and commits no wrong.... Punishment by death is the penalty for refusing to obey the orders of the Priesthood.
John D. Lee, John D. Lee Diaries
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
Amasa M. Lyman
Has Jesus done anything that will bring salvation to you and me? The chief of what he has done is that he has revealed the plan of the Gospel ‑‑ the scheme of human redemption, and manifested himself among his brethren; and we may say he has done a great deal more, for he has shed his blood for it. So have others shed their blood. But whose blood has cleansed you and me? It is said that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sins. Then why is it that we remain sinners? It is simply because the blood of Jesus has not cleansed us from sin ‑‑ because it has not reached us.
Amasa M. Lyman, Journal of Discourses 7:298
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
William Smith
[My life was in danger] if I remained there, because of my protest against the doctrine of Blood Atonement and other new doctrines that were brought into the Church.
William Smith, Temple Lot Case, p. 98
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
D. Michael Quinn
In the past decade, potential jurors in every Utah capital homicide were asked whether they believed in the Mormon concept of 'blood atonement.'
D. Michael Quinn, Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 5, 1994, p. D1
Bill Hickman
It was one of the hot‑beds of fanaticism, and I expect that more men were killed there, in proportion to population, than in any other part of Utah. In that settlement it was certain death to say a word against the authorities, high or low.
Bill Hickman, Brigham Young's Destroying Angel, 1964, p. 284
Gustive O. Larson
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 a Mr. Johnson in Cedar City who was found guilty of adultery with his step‑daughter by a bishop's court and sentenced to death for atonement of his sin. According to the report of reputable eyewitnesses, judgment was executed with consent of the offender who went to his unconsecrated grave in full confidence of salvation through the shedding of his blood. Such a case, however primitive, is understandable within the means of this doctrine and the emotional extremes of the [Mormon] reformation.
Gustive O. Larson, Dr. Gustive O. Larson, BYU Professor, Utah Historical Quarterly, Jan. 1958, p. 62, note 39
R. N. Baskin
In the excavations made within the limits of Salt Lake City during the time I have resided there, many human skeletons have been exhumed in various parts of the city.... I have never heard that it was ever the custom to bury the dead promiscuously throughout the city; and as no coffins were ever found in connection with any of these skeletons, it is evident that the death of the persons to whom they once belonged did not result from natural causes, but from the use of criminal means.
R. N. Baskin, Reminiscences of Early Utah, 1914, pp. 154‑155
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