Searching Google to learn more about the Danites, I ran across this at In this article the 
following is stated about so-called "blood atonement."

"The Danites originated the practice of "blood atonement" in the Mormon 
Church. (This doctrine was promoted by Church officials as late as 1961, 
but is now officially regarded as unorthodox.) The basic idea here is 
that there are certain sins for which the blood of Christ cannot cover 
the sinner; the sinner must have his own blood mingle with the soil to 
atone for that sin.

These sins included: dissent, murder, adultery, theft, miscegenation, 
taking the Lord's name in vain, breaking covenants, leaving the Church, 
lying, counterfeiting, and condemning Joseph Smith, his Church, or any 
of its leaders.

Spilling blood specifically meant: "his throat cut from ear to ear, his 
tongue torn out by its roots, his breast cut open and his heart and 
vitals torn from his body and given to the birds of the air and the 
beasts of the field and his body cut asunder in the midst and all his 
bowels gush out." In practice, slitting a throat usually proved 

Concerning this doctrine, Brigham Young later said:

               I could refer you to plenty of instances where
          men have been righteously slain in order to atone for
          their sins. ... I have known a great many men who have
          left this church for whom there is no chance whatever
          for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled,
          it would have been better for them. ... This is loving
          our neighbours as ourselves; if he needs help, help
          him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to
          spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be
          saved, spill it.


What took place in 1961 officially making this doctrine "unorthodox?"

Aren't there scriptures that buttress the idea that certain sins are of 
so heinous a nature that to obtain maximum forgiveness, the sinner must 
be put to death by the shedding of blood?  

Didn't Utah once offer a condemned murderer the choice of death by 
hanging or death by firing squad, the thought being that death by 
hanging sheds blood while hanging does not?  What has changed in 
doctrine that makes this choice no longer necessary or desireable?  My 
understanding is that Utah now executes murderers by lethal injection 
just like many other states.  Why the change?  Does a lethal injection, 
which does not shed blood, kill a person faster and more mercifully than 
a bullet through the heart?

Your friend and brother,
John W. Redelfs, [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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