Mormon / LDS Blood Atonement

Blood atonement is a disputed doctrine in the history of Mormonism, under which the atonement of Jesus does not redeem an eternal sin. To atone for an eternal sin, the sinner should be killed in a way that allows his blood to be shed upon the ground as a sacrificial offering, so he does not become a son of perdition. The largest Mormon denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), has denied the validity of the doctrine since 1889 with early church leaders referring to it as a "fiction" and later church leaders referring to it as a "theoretical principle" that had never been implemented in the LDS Church. Source: Wikipedia

Below is some historical documentation with references to blood atonement mentioned within the Mormon religion. This information is not published to contain all references to blood atonement in the Mormon / LDS Church. The information is some of the more prominent references.


2nd LDS church president. Years served: 1847-1877

"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.... 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, or a calf, or of turtle dove, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man." - Brigham Young

  • Journal of Discourses Vol. 4, page 54 (1857 Original Document) BYU Library
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  • Mentioned in this book: Congressional Edition, Volume 1434
    U.S. Government Printing Office, 1870
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  • Sermon by Brigham Young published in the Deseret News, 1856. Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the bowery, Great Salt Lake City, September 21, 1856; Journals of Discourse, vol.iv, pp.53,54.


"This is loving our neighbor 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 Vol. 4, page 220 (1857 Original Document Scan) BYU Library
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  • A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, February 8, 1857.


A leader during the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement.

"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 they would not, they should have their throats cut from ear to ear." - Sidney Rigdon

  • Mentioned in a letter published in The Prophet newspaper on November 9th, 1844. Vol. 1 No. 25.The letter was from Elder Hyde to his brother. The Prophet was a local Latter Day Saint newspaper published in New York City, New York, USA. The first editor of the paper was William Smith and the periodical was printed from 1844 to 1845.
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A prominent early member of the Latter Day Saint Movement and was the adopted son of Brigham Young and also a member of the Danites. Lee was later convicted as a mass murderer for his complicity in the Mountain Meadows massacre, sentenced to death and was executed in 1877.

"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.

I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites. It was then the rule that all the enemies of the Prophet Joseph should be killed, and I know 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. It has always been a well understood doctrine of the Church that it is right and praiseworthy to kill every person who speaks evil of the Prophet. This doctrine was strictly lived up to in Utah... " - John D. Lee

  • From the book Mormonism Unveiled: J. H. Mason, 1891 - Including the Remarkable Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee; (written by Himself).

Mormonism Unveiled - Pages 279 & 284 (1891 Original Document Scan)
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Blood Atonement Execution of John D Lee

John D. Lee was the only person detained and punished for the Mountain Meadows Massacre attack on the Francher party in southern, Utah. The words of John D. Lee, Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young rang true when John D. Lee was brought back to the site of the attack after his trial and was shot by a firing squad, spilling his blood upon the ground atoning him of his sins.

John D. Lee can be seen sitting on his coffin (left) shorty before his execution on March 23, 1877, for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.


"According to Marsh, Smith taught his followers that they would 'tread down his enemies and walk over their dead bodies."

- Affidavit of Thomas Marsh, October 24, 1838, Missouri State Archives-Mormon War

Mentioned in the book Uncle Sam's Abscess By William Jarman Printed at H. Leduc's Steam Printing Works, 1884

Horrors of Polygamy subtitle: The Terrors of Blood Atonement; Two Hundred "Sanctified" Murders-A Pen Picture of Delegate George Q. Cannon-An Overflowing Treasury From the Rack Tithe

The Mormons are bragging about their preparation for battle with the government. Utah is full of violence: the Mormons murder and maim Gentiles under the pretense of making a "blood atonement" to save Gentile souls. An attack on the character of George Q. Cannon. The Mormon leaders live off of the tithing of Church members and use the law of tithing to manipulate followers. Those with business interests in Utah have thus far kept anti-Mormon legislation from passing in Congress, but their interference will ultimately cost them. The Mormons use money to influence Congressmen.

Chicago Herald
February 25th, 1882

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George Q. Cannon talks about blood atonement in the Mormon Church
Hand-book on Mormonism - 1882 Page 50

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The Mormon country: A summer with the "Latter-day Saints"
United States Pub. Co., 1874 Page 154

Mentions blood atonement not being used as it once was.
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Revival of the Mormon Problem
The North American review - 1899

Mention of blood atonement
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New light on Mormonism
1885 - Page 192

"P.W. Penrose, a well-known Mormon leader, has recently denied that "blood atonement" has ever been practiced among the Saints, but adds, "in the good time coming it will be."
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