Question: Was "not receiving the Gospel" a crime that was "worthy of death" among 19th century Mormons?

Table of Contents

Question: Was "not receiving the Gospel" a crime that was "worthy of death" among 19th century Mormons?

The critics of the Church would like us to believe that Brigham was literally talking about killing those who were opposed to the Gospel

The Tanners use the following quote from Brigham Young to conclude that those who do not receive the gospel should be killed:

The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall ask, 'Are you for God?' and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down.[1]

The critics would like us to believe that Brigham was literally talking about killing those who were opposed to the Gospel. The first thing to note is that the Tanner have removed a phrase from the quote without indicating it's absence. The actual quote says:

The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broad sword and ask, "Are you for God?" and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down. (emphasis added)

Brigham is clearly not advocating that anyone who does not receive the gospel should be put to death

One wonders why the critics felt they needed to remove the reference to "the old broad sword"—Perhaps it is because this phrase clearly indicated that Brigham was speaking figuratively rather than literally? Consider also, that just prior to the statement shown above, Brigham said:

I would rather that this people should starve to death in the mountains, than to have the Lord Almighty hand us over to a cursed, infernal mob. I would rather go down to the grave in peace than to fight a mob, unless the Lord would give me enough Saints to fight and kill the poor devils; in such case I wish to live and fight them.[2]

Brigham is clearly not advocating that anyone who does not receive the gospel should be put to death.

Notes

  1. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:226.
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:224.