Question: Did the concept of "blood atonement" include a long list of crimes that were considered "worthy of death"?

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Question: Did the concept of "blood atonement" include a long list of crimes that were considered "worthy of death"?

The historical record shows that in reality people were not being killed for committing the crimes listed by the critics

Critics have created a long list of crimes for which they claim the 19th century church required death through blood atonement. The critics conflate blood atonement with capital punishment in order to promote the idea that the 19th century church was willing to kill anyone who disobeyed the law.

There is no doubt that Brigham Young had strong words for those who committed crimes. One should note, however, that although Brigham had very distinct (and rather harsh) opinions on what should be done, he always deferred to God's opinion. The historical record shows that in reality people were not being killed for committing the crimes listed by the critics. Critics wish to conflate the concept of "blood atonement" with a variety of comments mined from various sources in order to portray the 19th century church as a bloodthirsty, violent organization.

Blood atonement: what is it?

Main article: Blood atonement

Blood atonement is a concept taught by Brigham Young and several other early Church leaders. It states that:

1. There are certain sins of apostasy that may not be covered by Christ's atonement. Such apostasy would involve church members who had already been endowed and made covenants in the temple.

2. That a person willing to repent of such sins might need to be 'willing allow their own blood to be shed to do so.

Critics expand "blood atonement" to include a list of unrelated crimes

Critics of the Church like to mine statements from early church leaders to make it appear that "blood atonement" was being applied to others for a variety of crimes against their will. The following table lists the crimes that the some claim were "worthy of death," and the sources that they use to support this assertion.

Crime that some claim was "worthy of death" Critics' use of sources
Murder History of the Church, 5:296. Volume 5 link; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 136. Mormon Doctrine, [1st ed.] 1958, p.314
Adultery and immorality JD 3:247. .wiki; JD 7:20. .wiki; JD 6:38. .wiki; JD 7:19. .wiki; JD 1:97. .wiki
Stealing Times and Seasons, vol. 4, pp.183-84; History of the Church 7:597; JD 1:108-9. .wiki; JD 1:73. .wiki
Using the name of the Lord in vain Journal of Hosea Stout, vol. 2, p.71; p.56 of the typed copy at Utah State Historical Society
Not receiving the Gospel JD 3:226. .wiki
Marrying an African JD 10:110. .wiki; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, January 16,1852; Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, p.26
Lying "Manuscript History of Brigham Young," December 20, 1846
Counterfeiting "Manuscript History of Brigham Young," February 24,1847
Condemning Joseph Smith Quest for Empire—The Political Kingdom of God and the Council of Fifty in Mormon History, p.127; Daily journal of Abraham H. Cannon, December 6, 1889, pp.205-6

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