Question: Did Heber C. Kimball claim that the apostles killed Judas?

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Question: Did Heber C. Kimball claim that the apostles killed Judas?

Heber did not claim the apostles carried out the killing, saying instead that he was "trodden under foot of men"

Heber did not claim the apostles carried out the killing, saying instead (all emphasis added to original):

Jesus said to his disciples, "Ye are the salt of the earth; and if the salt loses its saving principle, it is then good for nothing but to be cast out." Instead of reading it just as it is, almost all of you read it just as it is not. Jesus meant to say," If you have lost the saving principles, you Twelve Apostles, and you that believe in my servants the Twelve, you shall be like unto the salt that has lost its saving principles: it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men." Judas lost that saving principle, and they took him and killed him. It is said page 126 in the Bible that his bowels gushed out; but they actually kicked him until his bowels came out.

The reference to the apostles is preparatory material; it introduces to whom Jesus said if they lost their savor, they would be "trodden under foot of men." Judas is described as being trampled, but the "they" referred to is not the apostles, but the "men," he will be trodden by; i.e., a generic group or mass of others.

Heber then continues:

I will suffer my bowels to be taken out before I will forfeit the covenant I have made with Him and my brethren." Do you understand me? Judas was like salt that had lost its saving principles—good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. It is just so with you men and women, if you do not honour your callings and cultivate the principles you have received. It is so with you, ye Elders of Israel, when you forfeit your covenants. Brethren and sisters, as the Lord liveth, and as we live and exist in these mountains, let me tell you the world is ripe, and there are no saving principles within them, with a very few exceptions; and they will gather out, and the rest of mankind are ready for destruction, for they will have no salt to save them. I know the day is right at hand when men will forfeit their Priesthood and turn against us and against the covenants they have made, and they will be destroyed as Judas was.

This is not a threat that Heber's bowels will "be taken out," but simply a vivid metaphor for describing the consequences of failing to keep his covenants, which he then extends to the entire congregation. What does Heber fear will be the cause and consequence of this covenant breaking?

Ye Elders, Apostles, Seventies, High Priests, Bishops, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, never be guilty of that which you have been guilty of once before. If it were not for your ignorance, you would have been cut off from the earth; but, in consequence of your ignorance, I feel as though God would forgive you, if you will never do it again. But if you do it again, your time for repentance is past, and you do not again get pardon.

I do feel bad to think that men will enter into the new and everlasting covenant of our God, and then defile themselves with uncleanness. Is there a woman in this city that could have committed the sin of debauchery, if there had been no person to debauch her? No. Who is guilty? The man, who should have the saving principles of God Almighty in him; and he is the man who must pay the debt.

Again: If the woman would never consent, the man could not accomplish his vile purpose. You have been taught different all the day long. You have been taught, from your mother's womb that these things are wrong. Would the Devil have power to make you tell a lie, if you did not yield to him? No. When you consent to it, the Devil then has seduced you, debauched you, just as much as a man goes to work and debauches a woman after she has consented to him. We are agents to refuse or to accept. Who is the most to blame? The man holding the Priesthood of God.

Heber fears that if they again commit sexual sins, they will be unable to be forgiven, since they will have twice broken their covenants. This is taught in the Doctrine and Covenants:

23 And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.

24 Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out.

25 But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive;

26 But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out. (DC 42:23-26)

Heber's message is not about murder or the early apostles killing people—it is about the natural consequences of serious sin, and the need to keep covenants made with God, not with other mortals

Heber concludes:

I talk about these things because I am led so to do. They may be considered small things, but they are the things that destroy this people—that is, all that will be destroyed. You can lose your saving principles as much as salt or sugar can. Sugar can be placed in a state that it will become sour—have no sweetness about it; and bread will become sour through the power of leaven put into it; and if the leaven was not sour, it could not sour the bread. When sugar becomes sour, it has lost the saving principles of sugar, just the same as salt. Be cautious that you do not receive filthy leaven. Stop your tattling, your lying, and mischief-making....

I want you to understand that you make covenants with God, and not with us. We were present and committed those covenants to you, and you made them with God, and we were witnesses. When you got your endowments, did you not make a covenant not to speak against the anointed? And every woman that received this ordinance made a covenant with her husband that she would be true and faithful to him, be a guardian angel to him, and watch over his pillow by night and by day, and be true to her God and to the anointed.