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Brigham Young taught the doctrine of Blood Atonement that indicated the blood of Christ was insufficient to provide forgiveness for some sins. What are the specifics regarding the doctrine of Blood Atonement that Brigham Young taught? Where is this teaching found? What sins could be atoned for by the cross of Christ and which could not?

Is this doctrine still believed today?

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Wow...I haven't thought about Blood Atonement in 20-25 years. I'll have to go do some digging. –  HTG Dec 23 '11 at 3:37

2 Answers 2

I found this article at Desert News concerning the topic:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement Wednesday:

In the mid-19th century, when rhetorical, emotional oratory was common, some church members and leaders used strong language that included notions of people making restitution for their sins by giving up their own lives.

However, so-called "blood atonement," by which individuals would be required to shed their own blood to pay for their sins, is not a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe in and teach the infinite and all-encompassing atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes forgiveness of sin and salvation possible for all people.

That same site states the date of this announcement as June 18, 2010.

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This is good information, but it doesn't address the main question regarding what Brigham Young taught about it. –  Narnian Dec 23 '11 at 14:25
Sure it does. He was a "church member and leader" during the 19th century. It's clear from this statement that that "doctrine" was never taught nor endorsed by Brigham Young or by the Church and that the idea spawns from twisted interpretations of archaic language. Thus, further of your original questions such as "Where is this teaching found?" or "Is this doctrine still believed today?" are invalid, any answer simply implying that at once the doctrine used to be taught and endorsed. I see this as a comprehensive and accurate answer to your question. –  Matt Dec 23 '11 at 16:25
Further, this is informative: newsroom.lds.org/article/… under the "Violence in Mormon History" heading. –  Matt Dec 23 '11 at 16:28
@Narnian: To tell the truth, I don't know what (if anything) was taught on this topic by Brigham Young. I was able to find webpages that contained "sermons" on the subject that were attributed to Brigham Young, but not with references I deemed valid. If he did you language that could be interpreted in terms of Blood Atonement, then it would probably be in the Journal of Discourses. That book has historical significance, but is not part of the LDS canon (though some members treat it like scripture). That's why I stuck with the quoted piece above. –  HTG Dec 24 '11 at 15:04

I don't know the details on the Blood Atonement, but the LDS Church does continue to hold some sins as "unpardonable" and that forgiveness cannot be received in this life.

  • Sons of Perdition - Those who served Satan and turned utterly against God.
  • Shedding of innocent blood (murder)
  • Denying the Holy Ghost after receiving a sure knowledge

Denying the Holy Ghost after receiving a sure knowledge is not a very common sin to occur. Most of us will not receive a sure knowledge in this lifetime (based on my understanding).

Oftentimes suicide is grouped into shedding of innocent blood, but the reality is that taking of ones own life is much more complicated and may actually be considered murder by a 3rd party in the eyes of the Lord. The point being that we cannot judge those as God would.

Likewise abortion is the shedding of innocent blood. Again this is a complicated matter when the life of the mother is at issue, or cases of incest or rape.

There is a scriptural & doctrinal support for capital punishment for example in the case of murder, but the LDS Church does not have an official stance on it. The LDS Church does however officially oppose elective abortions (follow link for full details).

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