Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife)/Chapter 9

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Response to "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 9 - Blood Atonement

A FairMormon Analysis of: For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife), a work by author: Anonymous
Chart LTMW blood atonement.png

Response to claims made in "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 9 - Blood Atonement

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Response to claim: "Brigham inspired his followers to murder in God’s name, both Mormons and non-Mormons alike"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Brigham inspired his followers to murder in God’s name, both Mormons and non-Mormons alike....

Brigham Young: “All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. 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? I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp.219-20) Take special note of the underlined.

Author's sources:
  1. President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol. 1, pp. 135-136.
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:108-109.
  3. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:219-220.
  4. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:53.
  5. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:220.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The author needs to recheck his sources. For some reason, the author has omitted, without any indication, a large portion of the quote by Brigham Young. Here is the complete quote, as well as the portion following it in which Brigham states that "The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force."


The portions omitted by the author, including the part where Brigham states that the principle is currently not "in full force", are highlighted in blue:

All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shed[d]ing of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?

That is what Jesus Christ meant. He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness, never. He never intended any such thing; his language is left as it is for those to read who have the Spirit to discern between truth and error; it was so left for those who can discern the things of God. Jesus Christ never meant that we should love a wicked man in his wickedness.

Now take the wicked, and I can refer to where the Lord had to slay every soul of the Israelites that went out of Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua. He slew them by the hands of their enemies, by the plague, and by the sword, why? Because He loved them, and promised Abraham that He would save them. And He loved Abraham because he was a friend to his God, and would stick to Him in the hour of darkness, hence He promised Abraham that He would save his seed. And He could save them upon no other principle, for they had forfeited their right to the land of Canaan by transgressing the law of God, and they could not have atoned for the sin if they had lived. But if they were slain, the Lord could bring them up in the resurrection, and give them the land of Canaan, and He could not do it on any other principle.

I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil, until our elder brother Jesus Christ raises them up—conquers death, hell, and the grave. I have known a great many men who have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them. The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:219-220.)

Response to claim: "President Young acknowledges that elders in the church have murdered, in the name of God, those assumed to have sinned"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

President Young acknowledges that elders in the church have murdered, in the name of God, those assumed to have sinned.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

No, he didn't. Brigham's statement, "I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins" says nothing at all about the "elders in the church" having "murdered, in the name of God, those assumed to have sinned."


Response to claim: "Many terrorist organizations around the world commit terrible acts in the name of God. Should they get a free pass for their actions? Should our Church?"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Many terrorist organizations around the world commit terrible acts in the name of God. Should they get a free pass for their actions? Should our Church?

Author's sources:
  1. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:375.
  2. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 6:125-126.
  3. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 7:20.
  4. Jedediah M. Grant, Journal of Discourses 4:49-51.
  5. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol.1, pp.135-136

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author quotes Heber C. Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant and Joseph Fielding Smith speaking on the subject of "blood atonement," and yet ignores Brigham's statement that "The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force." The author offers no evidence that such a practice was actually ever implemented. Instead, he simply compares the Church with "terrorist organizations around the world" whose "terrible acts" are visible for all to see and relies on the emotional response of such a comparison to prove his point.


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