FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice.
Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/D and C 98 justifies murder
Does Doctrine and Covenants 98:31 justify the murder of personal enemies?
|Joseph hit a Baptist preacher||
A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes
|Rockwell admitting to shooting Boggs|
One Nation under Gods, page 191 (hardback and paperback)
- The author mentions "[Joseph] Smith's 1833 revelation justifying murder of personal enemies (D&C 98:31)."
Other source(s) of the claim
- D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Signature Books, 1994), 113.
Question: Does Doctrine and Covenants 98:31 justify the murder of one's personal enemies?
This scripture describes when a just war may be entered into - it has nothing to do with justifying murder
This scripture describes when a just war may be entered into—it requires that the Christian suffer unprovoked attack three times, and then one has the option of going to war. It says nothing about murder of personal enemies:
29 And then [after three attacks, and having warned your enemy in the name of the Lord], if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children's children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands;
30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children's children unto the third and fourth generation.
31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.
33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;
35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people. (DC 98:29-36) (emphasis added)
Any implementation of this principle requires yet another unprovoked attack in which the Christian or his family are at risk of their lives, to which one may then respond with deadly force. It says nothing at all about murder.