Question: Did Brigham Young set the stage for the Mountain Meadows Massacre by teaching the concept of "blood atonement"?

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Question: Did Brigham Young set the stage for the Mountain Meadows Massacre by teaching the concept of "blood atonement" for the "unpardonable sin"?

The Fancher party cannot have been killed for this reason, since none were Mormons whose "calling and election" had been "made sure," and therefore could not have committed the "unpardonable sin"

It is claimed that Brigham Young and others teaching blood atonement for the "unpardonable sin" set the stage for the Mountain Meadows Massacre.[1]

Even if this was a doctrine that was implemented (of which there is scant evidence), the Fancher party cannot have been subject to it, since none were Mormons whose "calling and election" had been "made sure"—the only ones who can commit the unpardonable sin.

The claim is thus illogical.

Noted one reviewer:[2]

Even assuming that Bagley is right and that Brigham Young and others believed in blood atonement as something more than a rhetorical device, the doctrine would have called for the death of only those very few individuals whose calling and election had been made sure by being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise and who afterward committed murder. This meaning is clear in the scripture that Bagley cites, D&C 132:26-27, which itself never mentions atonement. Ignoring his source, however, in a rhetorical flourish he argues, "Whatever the doctrine's precise practice, the sermons of Brigham Young and Jedediah Grant helped to inspire their followers to acts of irrational violence." [3]

Thus, even if this was a doctrine that was implemented (of which there is scant evidence), the Fancher party cannot have been subject to it, since none were Mormons whose "calling and election" had been "made sure."

The author's stance is inconsistent, and does not follow.


Notes

  1. Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002), 51-52.
  2. Robert D. Crockett, "A Trial Lawyer Reviews Will Bagley's Blood of the Prophets," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 199–254. off-site
  3. Thomas G. Alexander, "Review of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows," Brigham Young University Studies 31 no. 1 (January 2003), 167–. off-site (Scripture citation converted to wiki format.)