I had a food stain on my shirt. My wife said something she thought rather funny: ‘How could you miss a mouth that big?’
I didn’t laugh, but rather I was perturbed that I now had a bright red stain on my new white shirt. My wife reassured me that she had a stain remover that can eradicate any blemish. Hearing this made me feel better, and less concerned when I missed my huge mouth for the second time. And she was right, once the stain remover was rubbed into the stains they vanished.
The Bible teaches us that we are all ‘stained’ with sin, but the good news is there is a ‘stain’ remover. Through His blood shed on the cross of Calvary, Jesus removed the stain of sin so that we, who have repented of our sin and put our hope in him, are now without blemish. What good news! But some may ask, can Jesus remove every stain? The Bible says yes:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
But, as is often the case, that which the Bible teaches is flatly denied by the cults.
Thus saith the Prophet
The current teaching within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would agree that the blood atonement of Jesus Christ is sufficient to cleanse from all sin, but how does this square with its past teachings?
Jospeh Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration, taught that there were certain sins beyond the reach of the atoning work of Christ; he reckoned that a person’s own blood needed to be shed to atone for some personal iniquities. He taught that the shed blood of the guilty sinner would rise up and be acceptable to God, allowing the now deceased person to continue a path towards the Kingdom of God.
I [am] opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God; and if ever I have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so.
The idea that certain sins were so heinous that a person had to atone with their own blood, was not only taught by Joseph Smith, but the baton was picked up, and run with, by followers and future leaders alike.
Thus sayeth the next Prophet
Jedidiah M. Grant, a leader and apostle in the LDS church, who served under the second President, Brigham Young said:
“We would not kill a man, of course, unless we killed him to save him…”
He later when on to say that which is recorded for us in the Journal of Discourses:
“Some have received the Priesthood and a knowledge of the things of God, and still they dishonor the cause of truth…I say, that there are men and women that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood. We have those amongst us that are full of all manner of abominations, those who need to have their blood shed, for water will not do, their sins are of too deep a dye.”
Brigham Young, the second President of the LDS church, had perhaps the most to say on the topic of Blood Atonement. He clearly taught that the blood of Christ was insufficient for the forgiveness of sin. Speaking of those who killed Jospeh Smith, Young said:
“I will tell you how much I love those characters. If they had any respect to their own welfare, they would come forth and say, whether Joseph Smith was a Prophet or not, ‘We shed his blood, and now let us atone for it;' and they would be willing to have their heads chopped off, that their blood might run upon the ground, and the smoke of it rise before the Lord as an incense for their sins.”
But it wasn’t only those who slayed the prophet that must atone for their sin, any Mormon who violates the covenants of the Church must also do likewise:
“There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants.”
Young’s conviction that any Mormon who knowingly broke Latter-day Saint covenants, needed then to pay their own sin debt, prompted him to offer up an illustration of how that might play out if one of their members was caught in the act of breaking the marriage covenant:
“Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them. You would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the Kingdom of God. I would at once do so, in such a case; and under the circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands…. There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it.”
There is great irony here of course. It is said that Brigham Young had at least 55 wives, some of whom were still married to other men. Who was it that said: ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’?
It’s all in the past…or is it?
Of course, many modern Mormons will claim that blood atonement is not something they now believe in, nor teach, whilst others may claim that the Church never taught it at all. The fact that blood atonement still lies within the Mormon psyche is evident from the following:
“In the past decade, potential jurors in every Utah capital homicide were asked whether they believed in the Mormon concept of ‘blood atonement.'”
Like many cultic groups, the paper trail and historical witness accounts left behind mitigates denial. One such witness to the teaching of blood atonement was John D. Lee.
John D. Lee was Brigham Young’s adopted son, and here we have his words from the John D. Lee Diaries:
“The Mormons believe in blood atonement. It is taught by the leaders, and believed by the people, that the Priesthood are inspired and cannot give a wrong order. It is the belief of all that I ever heard talk of these things – and I have been with the Church since the dark days in Jackson County – that the authority that orders is the only responsible party and the Danite who does the killing only an instrument, and commits no wrong.... Punishment by death is the penalty for refusing to obey the orders of the Priesthood. I knew of many men being killed in Nauvoo by the Danites. It was then the rule that all the enemies of the Prophet Joseph should be killed, 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. It has always been a well understood doctrine of the Church that it is right and praiseworthy to kill every person who speaks evil of the Prophet. This doctrine was strictly lived up to in Utah...”
Jesus is Enough.
The notion that the atoning work of Christ is insufficient for the forgiveness of sin is widespread in faux Christianity. Jesus is never enough to any of these groups and the Jesus of Mormonism is clearly deficient in his ability to atone for sin.
How wonderful is the reality! That in Jesus we can be forgiven of all sin.
“If we confess our sins, .He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Jesus is sufficient. Jesus is enough. He is our stain remover!
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14
 Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 5, p. 296, 1949
 Deseret News –Jedediah M. Grant, July 27, 1854
 Journal of Discourses 4:49-50: Jedidiah Morgan Grant, Salt Lake City, September 21, 1856
 Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 179, February 18, 1855
 Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 385
 Journal of Discourses 1:108: Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, May 8, 1853
 Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 5, 1994, p. D1