As a Mormon I was always taught that there were certain sins that were so grievous that even Christ’s atonement would not be sufficient. I think if you were to poll Mormons and they were honest with you and didn’t dance around the issue or try and give you “Milk before Meat” they would admit that the above is generally accepted as part of the Mormon belief in the plan of salvation and exaltation.
The LDS Church thinks that dismissing this belief publicly as simply being remarks made by “SOME” Members and Leaders is preposterous early remarks claiming
“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.”
It is clear even the Apostles and Prophets of the Church taught that there were certain sins NOT covered by the atonement of Christ but have the gall to make this statement claiming
“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.”
Below is just but a few many remarks I found from Church Authorized Sources. (The resource library I use for all my research is a CD called LDS Library 2006 that was distributed by Deseret Books.)
B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols., 2:, p.454
Another matter, in connection with this, might be dwelt upon at greater length, and that is an accusation to the effect that we believe in what is called “blood atonement.” So, indeed, we do; and so also do the Christian world. Is it not the belief of the Christian world that they will be saved through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Most assuredly; and so, too, do we believe in the atonement of the Christ-aye, and in the manner of the atonement of the Christ-that the very form of it was necessary to the salvation of men. We believe that there is no other means that could be devised to make adequate satisfaction to justice and preserve in its integrity the moral law of the universe. Just what was done in the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, his death, and the manner of his death, the shedding of his blood was necessary to the salvation of the world, for in the gospel, as in the law, “without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins.” (Heb. ix:21). Yet it would appear that there are some things for which not even this atonement can bring forgiveness. For example, it is said by the Master himself, that “every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost shall not he forgiven unto men. If men speak a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven them, but if they speak a word against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven them, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matt. xii:31-32); and that notwithstanding the atonement of the Christ. Again it is written, “The murderer hath not eternal life abiding in him.” (I John iii :15). Again it is written, “He that sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Gen. ix :6). Blood for blood was the doctrine of that Scripture. Now we believe in that doctrine; that is, we believe that those who so far transgress that they imbrue their hands in the blood of their fellow men, that their lives are necessary to the complete atonement; and that their execution should be such that it admits of the shedding of their blood. And it is because of this belief that the laws of Utah permit such method of execution for capital offenses as sheds the blood of the murderer.
Elder Ben E. Rich, Conference Report, October 1902, First Day—Morning Session, p.7 – 8
They say that the “Mormons” believe in blood atonement. We do believe in blood atonement; and so does all the Christian world believe in blood atonement. We believe in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it will cleanse mankind from all sin, upon condition of obedience to the laws of the Gospel. There is not a Christian nation on earth who does not believe or pretend to believe in blood atonement just as the Latter-day Saints believe in it. Oh, but the “Mormons” believe in another kind of blood atonement it is said. Well, we do, in the same way that this nation believes in it, and in no other way-in the way that God revealed it to the ancients, that if man spilt man’s blood, by man should his blood be spilt. There is not a state in this glorious Union of ours that does not believe in that kind of blood atonement. So far as putting a murderer to death is concerned, we believe that if the right punishment were inflicted upon the individual it would not be by strangling him to death or by placing him in an electric chair, but it would be an execution whereby his blood would be shed. Thank God, in this state there were enough in the Constitutional Convention who believed in that principle to wisely place in that constitution a clause which provided that in dealing out the death penalty the murderer should have a choice between being shot and being hung; and if there were a particle of belief in the law of God in the heart of the convicted murderer the law would give him the chance to choose a death whereby his blood could be spilt by man legally, seeing that he had spilt the blood of his fellow man. But this being the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, we believe in the doctrines laid down by Him, and therefore we believe in rendering unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and unto God that which belongs to Him.
Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1902, Afternoon Session., p.24
If I had been called upon to speak yesterday, I felt in my soul that I would liked to have spoken upon the subject that is causing so much comment in the newspapers of the United States-the subject of blood atonement; but as Brother Ben E. Rich spoke upon it and explained to a certain extent the position of our Church in reference to it, I will be content in saying that I endorse every word uttered by him on that point, and I ask every Latter-day Saint to read his remarks.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., 1:, p.189
This divine law for shedding the blood of a murderer has never been repealed. It is a law given by the Almighty and not abrogated in the Christian faith. It stands on record for all time-that a murderer shall have his blood shed. He that commits murder must be slain. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” I know there are some benevolent and philanthropic people in these times who think that capital punishment ought to be abolished. Yet I think the Lord knows better than they. The law he ordained will have the best results to mankind in general.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 1:, p.134
TRUE DOCTRINE OF BLOOD ATONEMENT. Just a word or two now, on the subject of blood atonement. What is that doctrine? Unadulterated, if you please, laying aside the pernicious insinuations and lying charges that have so often been made, it is simply this: Through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Salvation is twofold: General-that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ-and, Individual-that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
But man may commit certain grievous sins-according to his light and knowledge-that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone-so far as in his power lies-for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail.
MURDERERS AND THE ATONEMENT. Do you believe this doctrine? If not, then I do say you do not believe in the true doctrine of the atonement of Christ. This is the doctrine you are pleased to call the “blood atonement of Brighamism.” This is the doctrine of Christ our Redeemer, who died for us. This is the doctrine of Joseph Smith, and I accept it.
In whose stead did Christ die? I wish your church members could be fair enough to discuss this subject on its merits. I again recommend you to a careful reading of the quotations in my open letter. You will find them as follows: Book of Mormon-2 Nephi 9:35; Alma 1:13-14 and 42:19. Bible-Inspired Version, Genesis 9:12-13; Luke 11:50; Hebrews 9:22 and 10:26-29; 1 John 3:15 and 5:16. Doctrine and Covenants 42:18-19, 79; 87:7; 101:80.
To these I will add: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses; but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death; but he shall be surely put to death…. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood it defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.”
ATONEMENT AND SINS UNTO DEATH. Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church. The doctrine was established in the beginning, that “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for man shall not shed the blood of man. For a commandment I give, that every man’s brother shall preserve the life of man, for in mine own image have I made man.”
Elder William J. Critchlow, Jr., April 28, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, p.7
Of course,” I said-“the shedding of human blood is murder-you’ll be murdering yourself. Murderers are forced to atone by giving up their lives. Suicides have no other lives to offer in atonement for their murderous acts.”
“Thank you,” he said, “I don’t want to commit murder now that I know it’s an unforgivable sin.”
Discourse By President George Q. Cannon Delivered in the Tabernacle, Provo, Sunday Afternoon, Nov 20th, 1884.
because it will be the damnation of shedding innocent blood, for which there is no forgiveness
Joseph Smith, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton, p.221
“Remission of sins by baptism was not to be preached to murderers. All the priests of Christendom might pray for a murderer on the scaffold forever, but could not avail so much as a gnat towards their forgiveness. There is no forgiveness for murderers; they will have to wait until the times of redemption shall come, and that in hell. Peter had the keys of eternal judgment, and he saw David in hell, and knew for what reason, and that David would have to remain there until the resurrection at the coming of Christ. (Romans 9.) All election that can be found in the scriptures is according to the flesh, and pertaining to the priesthood. (Richards and Little, A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel, pp. 271-72.)
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.520
See APOSTASY, CAIN, SECRET COMBINATIONS, SIGNS OF THE TIMES. “Thou shalt not kill.” (Ex. 20:13.) “Thou shalt do no murder.” (Matt. 19:18.) Murder, the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought or under such circumstances of criminality that the malice is presumed, “is a sin unto death” (1 John 5:16-17), a sin for which there is “no forgiveness” (D. & C. 42:79), meaning that a murderer can never gain salvation. “No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15.) He cannot join the Church by baptism; he is outside the pale of redeeming grace.
The call to repentance and baptism which includes murderers (3 Ne. 30) has reference to those who took life while engaged in unrighteous wars, as did the Lamanites, because they were compelled to do so, and not because they in their hearts sought the blood of their fellow men. On the other hand, the Jews on whose hands the blood of Christ was found were not invited to repent and be baptized. (Acts 3:19-21.)
Book of Mormon Reference Companion
2. A remission of sins. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance , and baptism, a sinner applies the atonement of Jesus Christ to sins for which he is accountable, and he is forgiven, being made pure and clean before the Lord (Mosiah 4:2,10; 3 Ne. 27:19-20). There is one sin for which forgiveness is unavailable: denying the Holy Ghost (Alma 39:6; D&C 76:30-38; 132:27). Though “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” except “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 12:31-32; cf. Smith, 356-57), one can sin seriously enough that forgiveness cannot be granted on the same basis it is granted for less serious sins. Murderers, for instance, must traverse a different path than others to obtain forgiveness. Faith, repentance, ordinances, and grace by virtue of the atonement of Christ are not enough in their case. These things are necessary but not sufficient; they must also suffer “through hell” (Smith, 339) even “until they have paid the last farthing” (Smith, 189; cf. 359; Alma 39:6). President Boyd K. Packer taught that “forgiveness does not, however, necessarily assure exaltation, as is the case with David (see D&C 132:38-39; see also Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:25-27)” (21 n. 15).
Times and Seasons. City of Nauvoo, Monday, July 15, 1844 584the Murder., Times and Seasons, vol. 5 (January 1844-January 1, 1845), No. 13. Nauvoo, Illinois, July 15, 1844. Whole No. 97, p.585
In thus descanting upon the glory of General Joseph Smith and the cowardly disgrace of his assassins, let his noble minded brother Hyrum have no less honor shown him: he lived so far beyond the ordinary walk of man, that even the tongue of the vilest slanderer could not touch his reputation. He lived godly and he died godly, and his murderers will yet have to confess that it would have been better for them to have a mill stone tied to them, and they cast into the depths of the sea, and remain there while eternity goes and eternity comes, than to have robbed that noble man of heaven, of his life. If there be such a thing as the greatest and least crimes, among the archives of the better world, the wilful murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith will be first and worst, without forgiveness in this world or the world to come;-“for no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”