Mormons are decent people in my experience but they do have their problems. This is from someone who passed that way and dug into the whole thing. John D. Lee and the Mountain Meadows massacre are written up below.

Why I Left The Mormon Church

Why I left Mormonism

The reasons are numerous and difficult to confine to a few words in a post on this web site. This was originally written as a letter to a friend, a Mormon, who wanted to know why I left Mormonism. She too later left Mormonism.

This is a listing of what is in this post:

A Brief Background of My Years as a Mormon
I joined the Mormon Church when I was 20 years old and living in Upper Michigan. I was a college student and was introduced to the church by a roommate. I graduated with a BS degree in metallurgical engineering and I went on to graduate school at the University of Utah. At the UofU I was asked to go on a mission for the church. I served a 2 year mission in Finland from 1974-1976, which I fully paid for myself. On return from my mission, I went back to graduate school and received an MS in engineering at Michigan Technological University. One month later I was married in the temple in Washington D.C. I served for the next 18 years in numerous callings such as the Elders' Quorum President, Young Mens' President, clerk etc. I was fully committed to the church and believed in it with all my heart, mind and money.


Leaving Mormonism
Leaving Mormonism was not a step I took lightly. It is extremely painful finding out that Mormonism is a fraud. I was a member for over 20 years. The realization that we (my whole family) had been deceived also made me angrier than I had ever experienced.

When I studied my way out of Mormonism it occurred in distinct layers or stages. The first stage was the Book of Abraham. This has the only physical evidence (the papyri) that can be studied of the unique LDS scriptures. I read everything I could find both pro and con. The LDS position was clearly unsustainable and absurd. Next was studying LDS history. I even used the official LDS materials and then acquired the pre-edited source materials the official LDS history has been based on. I got the Journal of Discourses on CD-ROM. What is amazing is the wealth of documents. There perhaps is no other religion that can have its official history be refuted so thoroughly. Next was the Book of Mormon. I kept wanting to cling to that for some reason. The archaeological evidence, materials readily available in Joseph Smith's time (which I had not known before) and on and on had the BofM crashing to the floor too. The last and most puzzling stage was the general authorities. Are these men liars or dupes? It appears they are a mixture of both.

President Kimball and his wife toured Finland in 1975 when I was a missionary and spoke to small groups of us. What really struck me were two observations that I never acted on until I began seriously questioning the church. The first was of Pres. Kimball. He was clearly a humble man, but of very limited intelligence, at least when he was 80 some years old. I was a little disturbed, but trusted everything was in the Lord's hands. He spoke on how we will become gods and the normal missionary motivational stuff. What was really striking was when Sister Kimball spoke to us. In part of her talk she digressed from an apparently memorized (from being given so many times) speech and talked about an experience at the University of Utah. She took an institute class there while her husband was an apostle and was troubled by what the instructor (an LDS liberal evidently) was presenting to the class. She expressed her troubles with her husband who lightly dismissed them. The casual dismissal was a problem for her. What is fascinating now is that she would have expressed any doubt at all to us and it was clearly out of context with the talk she was giving. This digression occurred in mid-thought on another subject. When we got our transcripts of the talk, I noticed that this was not included. Here was history being rewritten right before my eyes. I did not act on it nor express to anyone my concern. I let it go.

Another disturbing item was the Hofmann forgeries in the 1980s. In the Ensign there was a picture showing the Prophet President Kimball with, if I remember right, President Hinkley and other General Authorities looking at the Anton manuscript, which was a forgery. They believed it to be legitimate. The lack of revelation was clearly shown by these same men who are trying to tell us they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon or of Joseph Smith. They could not detect a bogus document of great importance. Again, I let it go.

The fact that the general authorities go to great pains to cover embarrassing historical events shows to me they know what is going on. There are perhaps a few sincere ones who dismiss the evidence of its origins by not looking at or thinking about it. This appears to have been the case with President Kimball.

We officially left the church in March of 1994 through a letter requesting our names be removed from the church records. Since that time, in all too typical mind control like fashion, members of the church have avoided us. The Regional Representative even came up from Alabama and spoke out against us in a Sacrament meeting three weeks after we left and told the members that if they ever talk to us or if we give them materials, they are to contact their Bishop. Only an organization that had something to hide would be paranoid about the truth being revealed about itself. It is interesting that we would be considered such a threat. We had done nothing except request our names be removed from the records of the church. That was all. We learned that we really had few friends within Mormonism.


LDS History
The visitation of 1820 of God and Jesus to Joseph Smith has been shown by the mass of information on the supposed event, to have never occurred. The date conflicts with other recorded historical events and even with Joseph Smith's mother's account of her son's history! No one ever mentioned this revelation until Smith dictated it 18 years later! It plays no role at all in Mormon history until the 1860s. His early hand written account (1831-1832 diary) does not even mention God the father visiting. He forgot that God visited him? That is absurd. As Smith got older, he got bolder in his claims of power and visitations and the creating of an imaginary history is just part of that. He did this when there were fewer eyewitnesses around who could claim such events never happened or did not happen the way he testified to. When a Mormon reads the official history today it appears everything occurred in a certain order when in reality most items were back dated and created out of thin air to lend credibility to the ever increasing stories.

The official Mormon history has been heavily rewritten. This is one of the most disturbing things I discovered in our research of the church. Even the official History of the Church is only 40% Joseph Smith's writings when it is still claimed to be 100%. The 40% has been rewritten so as to be "faith promoting" and the 60%, which was not his writing at all, was selectively chosen from other people's writings and rewritten to make him out to be something he was not.

Here is a simple example of how Joseph Smith was a fraud. You can read this in the official Mormon History, but few Mormons ever bother to read it. Some farmers in Kinderhook devised a hoax in 1843 and made up some copper plates which they claimed contained ancient writings. They planted them in an Indian burial mound and later dug them up again. When Smith saw the plates, he immediately "translated" part of them, which (he claimed in his diary) identified the writings as from "a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh...". Here is the exact quote from the Documentary History of the Church:

"I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters."

"I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth. "

For many years, the church claimed that these plates were authentic ancient writings, in spite of the fact that the farmers later admitted the hoax - evidently the fact that Smith had translated part of them made it too embarrassing to accept the hoax. After resorting to more and more implausible and desperate arguments, the church flip-flopped about 10 years ago, and now admits that the plates are phony. The 1981 August Ensign has the statement where the church admits that the plates were a hoax. Of course, this leaves them with the embarrassing quote from Smith's diary.... In spite of the fact that this quote is confirmed by contemporary newspaper reports, they conclude that THIS has to be a false report (indeed, many supposed entries in Smith's diary are generally regarded as fraudulent -- something that church historians don't like to emphasize).

The essential problem here is not the Kinderhook plates themselves, of course. The problem is that since Smith is revealed as credulous or deceitful in cases where he CAN be checked, the Book of Mormon translation, where he cannot be checked, is rendered highly suspicious.

The church has been deceitful in its creating the image of Joseph Smith as an unlearned country boy. He was very intelligent and capable of reading at a high level and memorizing enormous materials. The primary source for the Book of Mormon was a book written by a man named Ethan Smith (no relation) who lived a short distance from Joseph and was a minister to a family none other than Oliver Cowdery's. This book is called the View of the Hebrews and was written in 1823 and republished in 1825. This book contained everything Joseph Smith needed to create the Book of Mormon.


The Book of Mormon
The "keystone" of the church is unquestionably the Book of Mormon. If the book can be shown to be a product of the 19th century, the church is then not what it claims to be. Archaeology in the old world continues to uncover physical evidence of biblical history. This is not the case with new world archaeology and the Book of Mormon. In fact, archeologists have stated that the last 2 decades have been devastating to Book of Mormon archeology. Mormon apologists are now resorting to "internal evidences" which are addressed elsewhere on this site since they realize there is no hard evidence at all for the Book of Mormon.

The most compelling evidence of the fictional nature of the Book of Mormon, from an archaeological view, is the things which have not been found. This part of my post is liberally copied from some documents on Mormon archeology.


Numerous books and papers, of which I have many, describe proposed Book of Mormon locations for cities and for the "narrow neck of land". All of them differ significantly. No city has yet been identified as being Nephite or Lamanite. This is significant in that Zarahemla was occupied for hundreds of years. Almost all geography mentioned in the Book of Mormon is in Mormon's abridgment of the plates. He would have known which locations would have been destroyed by the crucifixion. Therefore, the weak LDS apologist stance that the cities were destroyed is not valid. Remember we are talking about a time period from 2000 BC to 400 AD and millions of people and these cities they occupied have yet to be found.

A curious note is that when the Nephites landed in the Americas there were already millions of inhabitants in the land with large cities and infrastructure. Why are these peoples not mentioned?


Plant and Animal Life
There are four major crops mentioned in the Nephite records. These are:

Archeological findings for the time period of the Book of Mormon:

This negative score on the plant-life test should not be treated too lightly. An abundance of evidence supporting the existence of these plants has been found in other parts of the world of antiquity. The existence of numerous non-Book-of-Mormon plants (maize, lima beans, tomatoes, squash, etc.) has been supported by abundant archeological findings. Quoting from Tom Ferguson: "I (Tom Ferguson) participated in excavating a trench a the edge of the Grijalva river in which we found a ceramic vessel is a stratum dating to about 200 BC. The vessel contained lima beans that had been burned anciently and discarded--pot and beans--as too badly burned to be edible. And yet they were still in their pristine and perfect form. The beans were carbon-14 dated helping to place the whole stratum on a true time scale. Art portrayals in ceramics, murals, and sculptured works--of ancient plant life--are fairly commonplace. Thousands of archeological holes in the area proposed have given us not a fragment of evidence of the presence of the plants mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The holes include the great one dug by Edwin Shook at Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico. He excavated a cave -- going back to 5000 BC., finding most of the major plants of the area. But no wheat, barley, figs or grapes."

I would like to note that wheat is very durable. Wheat in near perfect condition has been frequently found in the Egyptian pyramids dating back thousands of years. There is absolutely no evidence from any source that wheat was ever used in the ancient Americas. This alone brings the Book of Mormon into serious doubt.


Animal Life
This section is fun and Mormons are derided here for claiming horses and elephants were used by the ancients in America. This derision is for good reason, for they have never been found! There are more animals mentioned which reinforces the fictional nature of the Book of Mormon.

There are many animals mentioned in the Nephite records. These are:

Archeological findings for the time period of the Book of Mormon:

Again from Tom Ferguson: "Evidence of the foregoing animals has not appeared in any form -- ceramic representations, bones or skeletal remains, mural art, sculptured art or any other form. However... evidence has been found in several forms of the presence in the Book-of-Mormon times of other animals--deer, jaguars, dogs, turkeys etc. The zero score presents a problem that will not go away with the ignoring of it. Non-LDS scholars of first magnitude, some who want to be our friends, think we have real trouble here. That evidence of the ancient existence of these animals is not elusive is found in the fact that proof of their existence in the ancient old-world is abundant. The absence of such distressing and significant, in my view."


I will be briefer on the metals, but this is fascinating to me as I have both a BS and MS in metallurgical engineering.

Evidence supporting the existence of these metals, skills and this time as follows:

Again from Tom Ferguson: "Metallurgy does not appear in the region until about the 9th century A.D. ...I regard this as a major weakness in the armor of our proponents and friends". ...Art does not portray the existence of metallurgical products or metallurgical activity. Again, the score is zero.

There are so many items archeologically, historically and using textual criticism to show the Book of Mormon to be fictional, that anyone willing to do a little study will reach the same conclusion.

There is a lot of Mormon mythology that states that the Book of Mormon has been "proven" by such and such a find or the uncovering of a city. When investigated ALL of these claims have been shown to be false. The myths are circulated in the Mormon culture by Sacrament meeting talks, Priesthood meeting discussions and in LDS social circles so much, that Mormons who do not investigate the source of the information, believe the stories to be true. They use these false stories to "strengthen their testimonies". Please see section on Problems with believing in Mormonism / Mormon Apologetics on this site for a letter from the Smithsonian which verifies these statements.


Book of Abraham

The Book of Abraham is another document where Smith is a perpetrator of a fraud. This is the translation of an Egyptian papyrus which came into Smith's possession, and which he claimed to have been written by Abraham in Abraham's own handwriting and with his signature!. Note, that these papyri were too new to be Abraham's by almost 1500 years!! There was no one in Joseph Smith's time who could refute the "translation" as can be done today. So he was able to take advantage of people's ignorance of Egyptian. Smith charged admission to see the papyrus. Smith even prepared an Egyptian Grammar based on this papyrus. Smith's Egyptian Grammar was not published until the 1960's, and needless to say, it bears no resemblance to what we now know of actual Egyptian grammar.

The papyrus disappeared and was believed to be lost, but it turned up again in the Metropolitan Museum in NY, in 1967. Alas, the papyrus, which can be easily read by Egyptologists, is an ordinary Egyptian funerary papyrus from the 1st century A.D. and the text has absolutely nothing to do with the Book of Abraham! The attempts by the church to rescue this book are not much more plausible than the arguments used to support the Kinderhook Plates. Some Mormon scholars claim, for example, that the text of the Book of Abraham was somehow secretly encoded into this Egyptian papyrus or that the text somehow "inspired" Smith, in spite of the fact that there is no resemblance in content. Again, in a case where Smith can be checked, he comes up wanting.


The temple ceremony or the endowment is nothing less or more than Joseph Smith's copying of Masonic rituals. Joseph Smith received the first three degrees of Masonry on March 15th and 16th of 1842. Less than two months later (May 4, 1842) he gave the endowment ceremonies. (see History of the Church, vol. 5 pp. 1-2).

The three bloody oaths that Mormons used to make in the temple and changed in 1990 (the two oaths that go with the two tokens of the Aaronic priesthood and the oath that goes with the first token of the Melchizedek priesthood) appeared in the temple ceremony in the same order as in Masonry. In both cases (temple and Masonry) the first oath mentioned the slitting of the throat. The second spoke of the cutting open of the breast so that the heart and vitals could be removed and the third mentioned disembowelment. In all three cases the same penalties were demonstrated. This all appears to be too similar to be a coincidence.

I met Reed Durham, who was president of the Mormon History Association, when I was at the University of Utah in 1973-1974 working on my masters degree in engineering. He wrote the following. "...I am convinced that in the study of Masonry lies a pivotal key to further understanding Joseph Smith and the Church... The many parallels found between early Mormonism and the Masonry of that day..." Joseph Smith was adept at copying and using other materials to create what he needed. The temple ceremony is just Masonry modified. It is copied from the book "Freemasonry Exposed" by William Morgan who published it in 1827. The wording in the Mormon temple ceremony, in many cases, is exactly the same as from this book. I will quote from Morgan's book page 84. "He (the candidate) is raised on what is called the five points of fellowship.... This is done by putting the inside of your right foot to the inside of the right foot of the person to whom you are going to give the word, the inside of your knee to his, your left hands on the back of each other..." Mormons who went to the temple before 1990 will find this quite striking. There are many more examples, but this one will do to make the point. The 1990 version of the temple ceremony removed this section since it was an obvious copy from Morgan's book and women objected to being held so closely by a stranger while at the veil.


I believe deceit goes on at all levels of the church by seasoned members, with much of it well intended, but done with incredible ignorance. The degree of deceit varies with the intelligence, knowledge and church position of the seasoned members involved. When a member of the church brings up a historical or doctrinal problem, a seasoned member has learned how to give pat answers which give a superficially satisfactory resolution. For example, the question of why is the temple so similar to Masonry may get asked. The standard answer is that Masonry goes back to Solomon's temple. Any reasonable inquiry into that myth will show it to be absurd historically. This does seem however to satisfy one who does not dig any deeper and does not want to be troubled. Senior members of the church dole out such dribble all the time. In many cases they do not know themselves and give such a response because it was satisfactory to them. More intelligent individuals, such as Hugh Nibley, use their prolific creation of unrelated materials to confuse the question and the normal church member then concludes all must be well because someone wrote so much about it and the member is too overwhelmed to be troubled anymore. Is this deceit? I think it is. A seasoned member usually wants to give the impression of having superior knowledge and spirituality with no doubts expressed verbally about his or her faith. This facade is required in leadership positions and is also required in most Mormon social circles. The senior levels of the church are composed of individuals who hide behind their positions of trust and are experts at giving great impressions. This is subtle and powerful deception.


Glad to be Out
Mormons have a lot of fear when thinking about leaving the church. All authoritarian organizations put fear into its members teaching that terrible things will happen to you if you ever leave. The Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups are actually worse than Mormonism in creating fear. Actually life outside of Mormonism is much better than I could have imagined. I wish I would have done this years ago when I first began to realize there were problems with Mormonism. I would have been better yet, to have never joined.

References for all these comments are found in the books and links listed on this web site.

Documentation in a format for non-Mormons
Documentation in a format for Mormons

Return to Recovery from Mormonism Web Site


E-Mail to Webmaster: Eric Kettunen



This is unsourced. Read for yourself. Think for yourself. Decide for yourself.

On 10/3/2012 3:26 PM, sully wrote:
> On Wednesday, October 3, 2012 10:59:01 AM UTC-7, wrote:
>> I know that the current Republican nominee is a Mormon, but this is not
>> a political NG. Can we try to stay on topic? If you believe Mitt's LDS
>> faith disqualifies or qualifies him for the Presidency, let's talk
>> about THAT. But this group just isn't meant as a public-policy forum.
> Got some Mormon topic? political stuff can always be ignored and Mormonism discussed.
> The ones that get brought up here are largely ignored. I posted a couple not too long ago.
> <crickets><tumbleweed>

Killing and Castration in the early Mormon Church - Documented

- In 1877, John D. Lee instanced the case of Bishop Warren Stone Snow of
Manti, San Pete County, Utah. "He had several wives, but there was a
fair, buxom young woman in the town that Snow wanted for a wife. She
thanked him for the honor offered, but told him she was then engaged to
a young man, a member of the church, and consequently could not marry
the old priest.

He told her it was the will of God that she should marry him, and she
must do so; that the young man could be got rid of, sent on a mission .
. . that, in fact, it was contrary to do the wishes of the authorities,
so a promise made to the young man was not binding."

The girl and her fiance both refused to give her up. Ordered to go on a
mission, the man refused. Snow decided that he should be castrated,
saying, 'When that is done, he will not be liable to want the girl
badly, and she will listen to reason when she knows that her lover is no
longer a man.'"

The bishop called a meeting of the priests. The young man refusing
again, the lights were put out, and an attack was made. "He was severely
beaten, and then tied with his back down on a bench, when Bishop Snow
took a bowie-knife, and performed the operation in a most brutal manner,
and then took the portion severed and hung it up in the school-house on
a nail." The man dragged himself away to some haystacks, where his
friends found him the next day.

Later Snow talked to the people about their duty to the church, and
their duty to obey counsel, and the dangers of refusal, and then
publicly called attention to the mangled parts of the young man . . .
and stated that the deed had been done to teach the people that the
counsel of the Priesthood must be obeyed." The young woman was then
forced to marry him.

A few weeks later, a Bishop Blackburn shouted in a Sunday meeting of all
ages and both sexes, "I want the people of Provo to understand that the
boys in Provo can use the knife as well as the boys in San Pete. Boys,
get your knives ready, there is work for you!"

According to Young's counselor Wilford Woodruff, "When the circumstances
were told, President Brigham Young sustained the brethren who presided
at Provo."

"In May 1857 Bishop Warren S. Snow's counselor wrote that
twenty-four-year-old Thomas Lewis 'has now gone crazy' after being
inflicted by Bishop Snow. When informed of Snow's action, Young said 'I
feel to sustain him.'"

Brigham Young did nothing against Snow. He left him in charge as Bishop
at Manti, and ordered the matter to be hushed up.

Snow was ... given a personal blessing by Young in 1861, and in 1867 was
given the opportunity to preach in the Mormon tabernacle. So Lee's
conclusion that "Brigham Young did nothing against Snow" has been proved
to be truthful.

References to the Thomas Lewis castration:

Pages 284-286 of John D. Lee's Confession in MORMONISM UNVEILED, or THE
LIFE AND CONFESSIONS of the Late Mormon Bishop JOHN D. LEE [ Confessions of John D. Lee  ] contain a
very good account of the crime

Wilford Woodruff's Diary for 2 June 1857 and later, vols. 5:54-55, 571,
and 6:319

The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Vol. 2, pp. 250-51.

Pages 301-302, The Rocky Mountain Saints by T. B. Stenhouse, 1873

Vol. 5, pages 54-55, Wilford Woodruff's Diary, June 2, 1857

Blood Atonement and Castration

While many Mormon scholars would like to scoff at those who have
seriously studied this matter, there is incontrovertible proof that
Brigham Young, the second prophet of the Mormon Church, publicly
preached a doctrine called "blood atonement."

Although one might think that the name of this doctrine came from the
atonement of Jesus on the cross, the truth of the matter is that it
relates to people being put to death. Brigham Young explained this in a
sermon given on September 21, 1856:

"There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive
forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had
their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly
willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke
thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the
smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the
case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.

"I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people
off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is
to save them, not to destroy them....

"And further more, I know that there are transgressors, who, if
they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain
forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the
smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath
that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I
will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to
atone for their sins.

"It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins
through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins
which it can never remit.... There are sins that can be atoned for by an
offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the
blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they
must be atoned for by the blood of the man."

~~ Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 53-54;
also published in the Mormon Church's Deseret News, 1856, page 235

On another occasion Brigham Young made this chilling statement regarding
a person's obligation to spill the blood of those who committed serious

"Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with
regard to being saved... and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross
fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of
that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it
without the shedding his blood, and also knows that by having his blood
shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods,
is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, 'shed my blood
that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?'

"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? That is what
Jesus Christ meant....

"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... 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...
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....

"This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help,
help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his
blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it.... if you
have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto
death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be
spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way
to love mankind."

~~ Sermon by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Mormon
Tabernacle, February 8, 1857; printed in the Deseret News, February 18,
1857; also reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pages 219-220

In 1958, Gustive O. Larson, Professor of Church History at the church's
Brigham Young University, acknowledged that blood atonement was actually
practiced. He related the following:

"To whatever extent the preaching on blood atonement may have
influenced action, it would have been in relation to Mormon disciplinary
action among its own members. In point would be a verbally reported case
of a Mr. Johnson in Cedar City who was found guilty of adultery with his
stepdaughter by a bishop's court and sentenced to death for atonement of
his sin. According to the report of reputable eyewitnesses, judgment was
executed with consent of the offender who went to his unconsecrated
grave in full confidence of salvation through the shedding of his blood.
Such a case, however primitive, is understandable within the meaning of
the doctrine and the emotional extremes of the [Mormon] Reformation."

~~ Utah Historical Quarterly, January, 1958, page 62, note 39 [is] spoken of by John D. Lee, who was sealed to Brigham
Young and was a member of Young's secret Council of Fifty:

"The most deadly sin among the people was adultery, and many
men were killed in Utah for the crime.

"Rasmos Anderson was a Danish man who came to Utah... He had
married a widow lady somewhat older than himself... At one of the
meetings during the reformation Anderson and his step-daughter confessed
that they had committed adultery... they were rebaptized and received
into full membership. They were then placed under covenant that if they
again committed adultery, Anderson should suffer death. Soon after this
a charge was laid against Anderson before the Council, accusing him of
adultery with his step-daughter.

"This Council was composed of Klingensmith and his two
counselors; it was the Bishop's Council. Without giving Anderson any
chance to defend himself or make a statement, the Council voted that
Anderson must die for violating his covenants. Klingensmith went to
Anderson and notified him that the orders were that he must die by
having his throat cut, so that the running of his blood would atone for
his sins. Anderson, being a firm believer in the doctrines and teachings
of the Mormon Church, made no objections... His wife was ordered to
prepare a suit of clean clothing, in which to have her husband buried...
she being directed to tell those who should inquire after her husband
that he had gone to California.

"Klingensmith, James Haslem, Daniel McFarland and John M.
Higbee dug a grave in the field near Cedar City, and that night, about
12 o'clock, went to Anderson's house and ordered him to make ready to
obey Council. Anderson got up... and without a word of remonstrance
accompanied those that he believed were carrying out the will of the
"Almighty God." They went to the place where the grave was prepared;
Anderson knelt upon the side of the grave and prayed. Klingensmith and
his company then cut Anderson's throat from ear to ear and held him so
that his blood ran into the grave.

"As soon as he was dead they dressed him in his clean clothes,
threw him into the grave and buried him. They then carried his bloody
clothing back to his family, and gave them to his wife to wash... She
obeyed their orders.... Anderson was killed just before the Mountain
Meadows massacre. The killing of Anderson was then considered a
religious duty and a just act. It was justified by all the people, for
they were bound by the same covenants, and the least word of objection
to thus treating the man who had broken his covenant would have brought
the same fate upon the person who was so foolish as to raise his voice
against any act committed by order of the Church authorities."

~~ Confessions of John D. Lee, Photo-reprint of 1877 edition, pages 282-283

In the same book John D. Lee made this startling statement:

"I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo... and I know of
many a man who was quietly put out of the way by the orders of Joseph
and his Apostles while the Church was there."

~~ Ibid., page 284

Lee also revealed another very cruel practice which took place both in
Nauvoo, Illinois, and in early Utah:

"In Utah it has been the custom with the Priesthood to make
eunuchs of such men as were obnoxious to the leaders. This was done for
a double purpose: first, it gave a perfect revenge, and next, it left
the poor victim a living example to others of the dangers of disobeying
counsel and not living as ordered by the Priesthood.

"In Nauvoo it was the orders from Joseph Smith and his apostles
to beat, wound and castrate all Gentiles that the police could take in
the act of entering or leaving a Mormon household under circumstances
that led to the belief that they had been there for immoral purposes....
In Utah it was the favorite revenge of old, worn-out members of the
Priesthood, who wanted young women sealed to them, and found that the
girl preferred some handsome young man. The old priests generally got
the girls, and many a young man was unsexed for refusing to give up his
sweetheart at the request of an old and failing, but still sensual
apostle or member of the Priesthood.

~~ Ibid., pages 284-286

On November 30, 1871, T. B. H. Stenhouse received a letter by an
individual who was present at a meeting in Provo, Utah. The letter
indicated that Bishop Blackburn was also strongly pushing for the
emasculation of men who were disobedient to their leaders:

"'Dear Stenhouse: I Have read carefully the accompanying
statement about the "Reformation."... If you want to travel wider and
show the effect in the country of the inflammatory speeches delivered in
Salt Lake City at that time, you can mention the Potter and Parrish
murders at Springville, the barbarous castration of a young man in San
Pete, and, to cap the climax, the Mountain-Meadows massacre... Threats
of personal violence or death were common in the settlements against all
who dared to speak against the priesthood, or in any way protest against
this "reign of terror."

"'I was at a Sunday meeting in the spring of 1857, in Provo,
when the news of the San Pete castration was referred to by the
presiding bishop -- Blackburn. Some men in Provo had rebelled against
authority in some trivial matter, and Blackburn shouted in his Sunday
meeting -- a mixed congregation of all ages and both sexes -- "I want
the people of Provo to understand that the boys in Provo can use the
knife as well as the boys in San Pete. Boys, get your knives ready,
there is work for you! We must not be behind San Pete in good works."
The result of this was that two citizens, named Hooper and Beauvere,
both having families at Provo, left the following night... Their only
offence was rebellion against the priesthood.

"'This man, Blackburn, was continued in office at least a year
after this...

" 'The qualifications for a bishop were a blind submission and
obedience to Brigham and the authorities, and a firm, unrelented
government of his subjects."

~~ The Rocky Mountain Saints, by T. B. H. Stenhouse, 1873, pages 301-302

This is a very important letter because it throws additional light upon
President Brigham Young's knowledge regarding emasculation in early
Utah. According to Wilford Woodruff's journal, not long after Warren S.
Snow's cowardly attack on Thomas Lewis, President Young discussed the
matter of castration being used to save people:

"I then went into the president office & spent the evening.
Bishop Blackburn was present. The subject Came up of some persons
leaving Provo who had Apostatized. Some thought that Bishop Blackburn &
President Snow was to blame. Brother Joseph Young presented the thing to
presidet Young. But When the Circumstances were told Presidet Brigham
Young sustained the Brethren who presided at Provo....

"The subjects of Eunuchs came up... Brigham Said the day would
Come when thousands would be made Eunochs in order for them to be saved
in the kingdom of God."

~~ Wilford Woodruff's Diary, June 2, 1857, Vol. 5, pages 54-55

In a public discourse President Young acknowledged that the church had
use for some very mean devils who resided in early Utah:

"And if the Gentiles wish to see a few tricks, we have
'Mormons' that can perform them. We have the meanest devils on the earth
in our midst, and we intend to keep them, for we have use for them; and
if the Devil does not look sharp, we will cheat him out of them at the
last, for they will reform and go to heaven with us."

~~ Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 176

Orrin Porter Rockwell was certainly one of Brigham Young's "meanest
devils." Rockwell, who had served as a bodyguard for Joseph Smith, did
not hesitate to shed blood. The reader will find a photograph of
Rockwell on the first page of this newsletter. Bill Hickman was another
ruthless man who killed many people. In his book Brigham's Destroying
Angels, Hickman confessed that he had committed murders for the church.

In 1858, an extremely grotesque double murder was committed. Henry Jones
and his mother were both put to death. These murders were obviously the
direct result of Brigham Young's doctrine of "blood atonement."

Two months before Henry Jones was actually murdered, he was viciously
attacked. Hosea Stout, a very dedicated Mormon defender, wrote the
following regarding the first attack on Jones:

"Saturday 27 Feb 1858. This evening several persons disguised
as Indians entered Henry Jones' house and dragged him out of bed with a
whore and castrated him by a square & close amputation."

~~ On the Mormon Frontier; The Diary of Hosea Stout, Vol. 2, page 653

One would think that this would have ended the vendetta against Jones.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. On April 19, 1859, the newspaper
Valley Tan printed an affidavit by Nathaniel Case which contained a
statement implicating a bishop and other Mormons who lived in Payson:

"Nathaniel Case being sworn, says: that he has resided in the
Territory of Utah since the year 1850; lived with Bishop Hancock
(Charles Hancock) in the town of Payson, at the time Henry Jones and his
mother were murdered... The night prior to the murder a secret council
meeting was held in the upper room of Bishop Hancock's house; saw
Charles Hancock, George W. Hancock, Daniel Rawson, James Bracken, George
Patten and Price Nelson go into that meeting that night.... About 8
o'clock in the evening of the murder the company gathered at Bishop
Hancock's... They said they were going to guard a corral where Henry
Jones was going to come that night and steal horses; they had guns.

"I had a good mini rifle and Bishop Hancock wanted to borrow
it; I refused to lend it to him. The above persons all went away
together... Next morning I heard that Henry Jones and his mother had
been killed. I wnet [sic] down to the dug-out where they lived... The
old woman was laying on the ground in the dug-out on a little straw, in
the clothes in which she was killed. She had a bullet hole through her
head... In about 15 or 20 minutes Henry Jones was brought there and laid
by her side; they then threw some old bed clothes over them and an old
feather bed and then pulled the dug-out on top of them....

"The next Sunday after the murder, in a church meeting in
Payson, Charles Hancock, the bishop, said, as to the killing of Jones
and his mother he cared nothing about it, and it would have been done in
daylight if circumstances would have permitted it. -- This was said from
the stand; there were 150 or 200 persons present. He gave no reason for
killing them. And further saith not.

Nathaniel Case.
"Sworn to and signed before me this 9th day of April, 1859.
John Cradlebaugh,
Judge 2nd Judicial District."

"During this period Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders also
repeatedly preached about specific sins for which it was necessary to
shed the blood of men and women. Blood-atonement sins included adultery,
apostasy, 'covenant breaking,' counterfeiting, 'many men who left this
Church,' murder, not being 'heartily on the Lord's side,' profaning 'the
name of the Lord,' sexual intercourse between a 'white' person and an
African-American, stealing, and telling lies....

"Some LDS historians have claimed that blood-atonement sermons
were simply Brigham Young's use of 'rhetorical devices designed to
frighten wayward individuals into conformity with Latter-day Saint
principles' and to bluff anti-Mormons. Writers often describe these
sermons as limited to the religious enthusiasm and frenzy of the Utah
Reformation up to 1857. The first problem with such explanations is that
official LDS sources show that as early as 1843 Joseph Smith and his
counselor Sidney Rigdon advocated decapitation or throat-cutting as
punishment for various crimes and sins.

"Moreover, a decade before Utah's reformation, Brigham Young's
private instructions show that he fully expected his trusted associates
to kill various persons for violating religious obligations. The LDS
church's official history still quotes Young's words to 'the brethren'
in February 1846: 'I should be perfectly willing to see thieves have
their throats cut.' The following December he instructed bishops, 'when
a man is found to be a thief, he will be a thief no longer, cut his
throat, & thro' him in the River,' and Young did not instruct them to
ask his permission. A week later the church president explained to a
Winter Quarters meeting that cutting off the heads of repeated sinners
'is the law of God & it shall be executed...' A rephrase of Young's
words later appeared in Hosea Stout's reference to a specific sinner,
'to cut him off -- behind the ears -- according to the law of God in
such cases.'...

"When informed that a black Mormon in Massachusetts had married
a white woman, Brigham Young told the apostles in December 1847 that he
would have both of them killed 'if they were far away from the Gentiles.'"

~~ The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Vol. 2, pages 246-247