Question: Did Brigham Young advocate that apostates have their throats cut?

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Question: Did Brigham Young advocate that apostates have their throats cut?

Nowhere in this statement of Brigham's is he advocating the cutting of anyone's throat

The book One Nation Under Gods claims that "Apostates certainly were viewed as the worst sinners, although every reprobate, risked similar justice. Young once said: 'It was asked this morning how we could obtain redress for our wrongs; I will tell you how it could be done, we could take the same law they have taken...and if any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats.'" [1]

We note that the paperback corrects the erroneous statement that Brigham "instructed" people to "cut their throats." Here is the more complete quote from Brigham's discourse, in context (the portion ONUG quotes is in bold):

It was asked this morning how we could obtain redress for our wrongs; I will tell you how it could be done, we could take the same law they have taken, viz., mobocracy, and if any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats. (All the people said, Amen.) This would be rooting out that treatment to wicked men, which they had measured to innocent persons. We could meet them on their own ground, when they will not honor the law, but will kill the Prophets and destroy the innocent. They could drive the innocent from their homes, take their houses and farms, cattle and goods, and destroy men, women, and children, walking over the laws of the United States, trampling them under their feet, and not honoring a single law. Suppose I should follow the example they have shown us, and say, "Latter-day Saints, do ye likewise, and bid defiance to the whole clan of such men?"

So, was Brigham giving instructions? No! When the matter was put before him, regarding what should be done to those who had come and robbed, murdered and destroyed (he had just been asked that morning), Brigham said "here's how we COULD approach it," so to speak. "Suppose I should follow the example they have shown us," he says. "I will tell you how it COULD be done." These were not instructions, by any means. Nowhere in this statement of Brigham's is he advocating the cutting of anyone's throat.

Notes

  1. ↑ Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, Endnote 53, page 563 (hardback); page 561 (paperback).