11 August 2012

Blood Atonement

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

“Joseph Smith bequeathed his followers a troublesome legacy, the conviction that it was “the Kingdom or nothing” and the belief that any act that promoted or protected God’s work was justified. Some have tried to dismiss Mountain Meadows as an isolated event, an aberration in the otherwise inspiring history of Utah and Mormonism, but it was much more a fulfillment of Smith’s radical doctrines. Brigham Young’s relentless commitment to the Kingdom of God forged a culture of violence from Joseph Smith’s theology that bequeathed a vexatious heritage to his successors. Early Mormonism’s peculiar obsession with blood and vengeance created the society that make the massacre possible if not inevitable. These obsessions had devastating consequences for Young’s own family. In New York in 1902, William Hooper Young, the prophet’s grandson, slit the abdomen of an alleged prostitute and wrote the words “Blood Atonement” in his father’s apartment.” Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets

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