Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Blood atone Washington politicians

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Brigham calls to blood atone Washington politicians?

A FAIR Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims

One Nation under Gods, page 260 (paperback)

  • Did Brigham Young call for blood atonement in order to punish Washington politicians?

Author's Sources

Endnote 16 page 569 (hardback); page 567 (paperback)

Neither of the author's citation support his claims at all.

Question: Did Brigham Young call for blood atonement in order to punish Washington politicians?

Brigham speaks about the choice between being "trodden under foot...and die," or self-defense. He says nothing about blood atonement

Two of Brigham's speeches in the Journal of Discourses are cited by critics of the Church as evidence that he called for "blood atonement" upon the heads of Washington politicians. There is, however, no evidence in these discourses to support this claim. It should be remembered that the United States was sending troops to Utah to put down a supposed rebellion. Brigham is announcing that like other Americans before them, they will not let their lives and rights be trampled. But, there is no call for attack or blood atonement, much less any mention of "Washington politicians."

Journal of Discourses Vol. 2

Nothing in the Journal of Discourses from 18 February 1855 speaks of blood atonement. The entire page reads:

A portion of this congregation have been brought up in America, and are more or less acquainted with the Constitution, with the Constitutional rights of the people, with the institutions of the country, with the State governments, laws, &c.; and if they have paid particular attention, and have heard brother Bullock read my written discourse, so that they could understand it, they know whether their minds, feelings, and judgments coincide with mine, upon the views that have just been presented.

For one, I can say they are true; they are the sentiments of this people, so far as they are acquainted with the principles of the government of the United States; though a part of our present community have not been reared under the benign influences of the institutions of our parent government. But as far as they understand, I will venture to say that these are the sentiments of all the Latter-day Saints.

In my conversation, I shall talk and act as I please. Still I am always aware, when speaking in public, that there are those present who are disposed to find fault with this people, and to try to raise a prejudice against them; and they will pick up isolated words and sentences, and put them together to suit themselves, and send forth a garbled version to prejudice the world against us. Such a course I never care anything about; for I have frequently said, spoken words are but wind, and when they are spoken are gone; consequently I take liberties in speaking which I do not allow when I commit my sentiments to writing.

The discourse that has just been read, pointing out the path this people have walked in, is merely a brief summary of our experience, of what we have borne, and of what we believe.

Before the Book of Mormon was printed, and immediately after Joseph Smith obtained the plates, and the revelations he received concerning this record being the record of the Nephites, and of the Lamanites, who are the fathers of the present aborigines of our country, and in which the Lord told him that He was about to set to His hand the second time to gather Israel, the war commenced against him; this was long before the book was printed. I will now tell you all a secret, although it has already been read to you; it is this, Christ and Belial are not friends, they are enemies. We ask where Christ's Church is. My conclusive answer is, if the Latter-day Saints do not constitute the Kingdom of God on the earth, the Church of Jesus Christ, it is no where to be found upon it. It is easily proved by the Scriptures that no other church, professing to believe in the Old and New Testament, bears hardly a resemblance to the ancient true Church in the fulness of the doctrines of the Lord Jesus.

So far as morality goes, in many instances I have no complaints to make. Thousands and millions of people live according to the best light they have, but the Holy Priesthood is not on the earth, unless the Latter-day Saints have it. It is the Priesthood again given to the children of men—shall I say it out? ["Yes."] That raises the devil, and makes all hell angry; and the servants of the devil will run to and fro, and publish his lies about Christ and his Church on the earth. They are not angry with me or with you; and the professors of Christianity, the priests, are not angry with us, but they are filled with wrath and indignation with themselves, and with the Almighty. Why are they angry? Because they are men, and like other men. If a man sees his house about to fall, if he sees something or other continually gnawing, and gnawing, and picking, and operating upon the foundation, and discovers that by and bye his house must fall, perhaps when he is asleep, or when he is gone from home, and destroy his women and children, he is all the time worried, and in a stew; all the time watching with a fearful looking for the time when it will crumble to pieces. This is the difficulty with the professing Christian world. Is it so with the Infidel? No, he does not care anything about the matter; but those sweet, loving, blessed Christians, the priest in the pulpit, and the deacon under it, and the sage followers of their own nonsense and the traditions of their fathers are the ones who are at war with the Eternal Priesthood of God.[1]

Brigham speaks of the world being "at war" against Christ's Church, but says nothing about blood atonement, or any action by the Saints at all. There is no mention of "Washington politicians."

Journal of Discourses Vol. 5

On 7 October 1857, Brigham said the following:

The time has arrived when we have either to be trodden under foot by our enemies and die, or to defend ourselves and our rights; and which will it be? Every man and woman feel their hearts fail them when they think of submitting to the oppression and unlawful abominations practised by our enemies, and sought by them to be introduced into our society; and we will not submit to such wicked and unlawful treatment, whether it comes from United States or united hell, for the terms are synonymous as the Government is now conducted. I tell you and I tell our enemies that we are here, and we intend to stay here. [The congregation responded, Amen."] They have a job on hand, if they persist in their efforts to deprive American citizens of their rights. I told Captain Van Vliet that I did not care how many troops they sent. "Why," said he, "The United States, with an overflowing treasury, can send out ten, twenty, or fifty thousand troops." I replied, "I do not care anything about that." The Captain then asked whether I had counted the cost; and I said, "Yes, for this people I have; but I cannot estimate it for the United States; for if they actually persist in their present tyrannical course, before they get through they will want to let the job to sub-contractors." They do not know the Captain of the armies of Israel; and although they profess to believe in him, they do not realize that he is about to hold a controversy with them for their iniquity.[2]


  1. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:179.
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:331.