September 11th Massacre
Prelude to Murder - After the Massacre - Why Participate? - Brigham Young Responsible? - The Scapegoat - Cover-Up - LDS Church Suppresses Documents - Second Anointing - Innocent Blood? - Husband to Call Wife from the Grave - Temples and the Bible - Eternal Marriage - Extracts from Letters and Email
September 11, 2001 will forever be an important date to Americans. On that day over 3,000 people on the east coast were killed by foreign terrorists. However, there is another reason this date will never be forgotten. On September 11, 1857, in southern Utah, approximately 120 unarmed non-Mormon men, women and children were murdered in cold blood by Mormons and Indians. This massacre of Americans by Americans was surpassed only by the Oklahoma bombing in 1995. The Provo Herald reported that the 1857 massacre was perpetrated "by the Iron County Mormon militia and a band of Indians at the meadow,..." (Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, December 29, 1996, p. A-1) The article goes on to state:
It was undoubtedly one of the most lamentable tragedies to ever occur in the history of the American West - a debacle the reverberations from which have echoed down through several generations and are still being felt by the descendants of both the perpetrators and those who died.
The attack on the Fancher wagon train at Mountain Meadows was once again in the newspapers this year when a metal plate was discovered that was supposedly written by John D. Lee, one of several local LDS leaders in southern Utah during the 1850's, who participated in the massacre. The Salt Lake Tribune reported:
On Jan. 22, a National Park Service volunteer cleaning out Lee's Fort at Lee's Ferry along the Colorado River discovered a thin sheet of weathered metal inscribed with what purports to be a deathbed confession and blame-fixing of John D. Lee, the only person convicted in the conspiracy and mass murders of California-bound emigrants at Mountain Meadows in Washington County [Utah].
Lee hid out at Lee's Ferry before he was convicted and executed by firing squad in 1877, going to his grave claiming that LDS Church President Young had scape-goated him. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 16, 2002, p. B3)
In another article, the Tribune reported:
The National Park Service is attempting to determine the authenticity of the rolled message... The misspelled text is dated Jan. 11, 1872, and states that "the time is closing and am willing to tak the blame for the Fancher [wagon train]- Col. Dane - Maj. Higby and me - on orders from Pres. Young thro Geo Smith took part..."
Although other sources attributed to Lee had inferred LDS President Brigham Young's complicity in the crime, the inscription's discovery triggered worldwide media coverage. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 20, 2002, p. B8)
While document experts are questioning the plate's authenticity (see Salt Lake Tribune, May 1, 2002, pp. B1 & 3), the text is consistent with John D. Lee's statements in his book, Mormonism Unveiled, reprinted as Confessions of John D. Lee.
Prelude to Murder
The attack on the Fancher wagon train in 1857 is a sad example of innocent people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Richard Abanes explained that the group came through Utah during a particularly tense time:
Conflict between Mormons and federal appointees to various government posts in Utah was inevitable. These began almost immediately after the region was declared a U.S. Territory in 1850, as federal officers were subjected to threats, harassment, and physical violence at the hands of Young and his security forces....
Washington officials finally decided that only a military expedition sent to Utah would be able to restore territorial order to the region....
On May 28, 1857, marching orders to Utah were given to three full regiments (at least 2,500 men), or one-sixth of the U.S. Army, with a compliment of artillery. President James Buchanan's justification to Congress for the decision came in the form of nearly five dozen letters and reports written over a six-year period, "alleging treason, disloyalty, or other serious offenses," against Mormon leaders. The president's detachment of soldiers,...would eventually be led by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston of the Second U.S. Cavalry,... (One Nation Under Gods, by Richard Abanes, Four Walls Eight Windows Press, 2002, pp. 227-231)
Abanes further comments:
Barely a year had transpired since the inauguration of Brigham's reformation. Moreover, winter was coming, which always meant additional hardship for the Saints. And Johnston's approaching [U.S.] army was almost within striking distance of the territory. "We are invaded by a hostile force who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction," Young announced on August 5 [1857). Anticipating an attack [by the U.S. Army], he then declared martial law, ordering all his forces to "hold themselves in readiness to march, at a moment's notice, to repel any and all such threatened invasion." (One Nation Under Gods, by Richard Abanes, pp. 243-244)
Emotions ran high among the Mormons. Some had taken an oath to avenge the deaths of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, and held the gentiles [non-Mormons] responsible for their being driven out of their homes. Apostle Abraham H. Cannon recorded in his journal that his father, George Q. Cannon (a member of the First presidency) admitted that when "he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs." (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, p. 205, original at BYU; photocopy at University of Utah)
This oath took on added meaning when word was received that Apostle Parley P. Pratt had been murdered in Arkansas on May 13, 1857. Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal for June 23, 1857:
The Eastern mails arived at 5 past 2 oclok 23 days from Indipendance....We learn that all Hell is boiling over against the saints in Utah. We also are informed that Elder Parley P Pratt was Murdered By [ ] MCLain who shot him in Arkansaw. This was painful news to his Family. The papers of the United States are filled with bitter revileings against us. The devil is exceding mad. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, edited by Scott Kenney, Signature Books, Vol. 5, p. 61)
It appears that this murder helped to seal the fate of the peaceful, wealthy group of non-Mormon farmers from Arkansas. Besides the Mormons avenging the blood of the prophets, there was the added incentive of money, property and livestock to be gotten from the group. A description of the wagon train is given by David Bigler:
Led by 52-year-old John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, 45, the company was made up mainly of farm families from northwest Arkansas moving west to make new homes in California. Among an estimated 135 members, it numbered at least fifteen women, most young mothers. Dependent children made up the largest age group, more than sixty, or roughly half the total. Of these, more than twenty were girls between the ages of seven and eighteen. The rest were adult males, mostly heads of families, but they also included some teamsters and other hired hands.
The Arkansas company was relatively affluent. Most of its wealth took the form of a large herd of cattle, estimated by various observers to number from three hundred to a thousand head, not including other animals, work oxen, horses, or mules....
Since they were moving permanently, Baker-Fancher train members were also better off in other worldly possessions than typical emigrant parties on the California Trail. John W. Baker later placed the value of property his father took on the journey at "the full sum of ten thousand dollars." Besides animals, some thirty or forty wagons and equipment, members also carried varying amounts of cash to cover unforeseen costs on the journey. (Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847-1896, by David Bigler, Utah State University Press, 1998, pp.159-160)
At first the large wagon train was traveling south at the rate of about seven miles a day. But after a troubling meeting with a Mormon Apostle and some Indian chiefs on August 25th, they increased their speed to twelve miles a day (see Forgotten Kingdom, p.167). Bigler commented:
As they [the wagon train] hurried to get away, [newly appointed Santa Clara Indian Mission president Jacob] Hamblin and some twelve Indian chiefs on September first met with Brigham Young and his most trusted interpreter, 49-year-old Dimick B. Huntington, at Great Salt Lake. Taking part in this pow-wow were...leaders of desert bands along the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers.
Little was known of what they talked about until recently when it came to light that Huntington (apparently speaking for Young) told the chiefs that he "gave them all the cattle that had gone to Cal[ifornia by] the south rout[e]." The gift "made them open their eyes," he said. But "you have told us not to steal," the Indians replied. "So I have," Huntington said, "but now they have come to fight us & you for when they kill us they will kill you." The chiefs knew what cattle he was giving them. They belonged to the Baker-Fancher train. (Forgotten Kingdom, pp.167-168)
Mormon writers have claimed that some in the Fancher group had been boasting that they had been involved in the murder of Smith (see Comprehensive History of the Church, vol.4, pp.154-155). However, this may have just been a rumor used to justify the killings. In her biography of John D. Lee, Juanita Brooks tells of the meeting of the local LDS leaders in Cedar City, on September 6th, to discuss the fate of the wagon train. She concludes:
So the discussion went on, some in favor of "doing away with" the men who had been the chief offenders, others preferring to let them all go...
Thus events followed one another, leading inexorably to the final tragedy....Strong hatred, deep-seated beliefs, and greed were all combined in the drama. That this was a wealthy train with good wagons and ox teams and horses; with a large herd of cattle; and with loads of household goods and necessities was without doubt a factor with some who were involved. Their own deep religious convictions increased in potency—that "the blood of the Prophet should be avenged" and that by their own covenants, taken in the Nauvoo Temple or in the Endowment House, they were bound to help carry out God's will. (John Doyle Lee, by Juanita Brooks, Utah State University, pp. 207-208)
The initial attack on the group was started on September 7th, but the immigrants held their ground. It became apparent that it would take a greater effort to conquer the wagon train. When the first attempt was not successful, the Mormon leaders called a meeting and developed a new strategy. Richard Abanes writes:
So on September 11, John D. Lee and William Bateman approached the wagon-train under a white flag. After entering the camp, they convinced the Arkansans that their only chance was to surrender their arms and exit the area under the protection of the Mormon militia that had arrived and was waiting to serve as an escort. Soon afterward, the men of the Baker-Fancer party gave up their weapons and fell into a processional suggested by their Mormon rescuers.
The first wagon, carrying children under six years old, was driven by Samuel McCurdy. The second wagon, driven by Samuel Knight, carried two or three wounded men and a woman. The remaining women and older children marched at a slight distance. About a quarter of a mile farther back walked the unarmed men, formed in a single line, each one escorted by an armed Mormon guard. Then without warning, the wagons stopped between some hills thick with brush.
Higbee, on horseback at the rear flank of the male emigrants, also halted. "Do your duty," he shouted. With sudden fury, the Mormon soldiers shot and/or knifed the men they were escorting, as the women and children up ahead looked back and began screaming in horror. At that same moment, the gunfire cued Indians hiding in the nearby brush to emerge and begin their attack against the defenseless children and their mothers, all of whom finally understood with terrible clarity what was happening. The Indians, along with several Mormons disguised by native clothes and war-paint, butchered their victims...The screams and gunshots continued, as the wounded emigrants [from the earlier attack] in the wagons were executed at point blank range. A few of the Arkansas men, who had managed to avoid the initial assault by their escorts, desperately tried to run to the aid of their families. But they were cut down by Mormons on horseback almost as soon as they began racing toward the carnage....
The brutal assault lasted but a few minutes. The only survivors were seventeen children and infants, all six years old or younger, some of whom had been wounded by the gunfire. They had been spared because their blood, according to the Mormon doctrine, was still innocent. Fifty men, about twenty women, and approximately fifty children between the ages of seven and eighteen, had been slaughtered. Their bodies were left exposed until the next day, when [John D.] Lee, Haight, and other local church leaders rode back to the location and dumped the corpses into shallow trenches, covered by a thin layer of dirt. (One Nation Under Gods, pp. 247-250)
After the Massacre
After the massacre the surviving children were rounded up and taken to Jacob Hamblin's home. A few were later placed in various LDS families. The goods and wagons were later distributed among the Mormons and Indians. Mr. Abanes explains:
Regarding the property taken from the train, it was divided up throughout the various Mormon communities via a public auction at Cedar City. Nothing was discarded. According to [U.S. Army Maj. James] Carleton's report, the Mormons even took "[t]he clothing stripped from the corpses, bloody and with bits of flesh upon it, shredded by the bullets." ...As for the seventeen remaining children, they were finally returned in 1859 to Arkansas relatives, after being located and claimed by federal agent Jacob Forney. The Mormons, in turn, actually billed the U.S. government thousands of dollars in reimbursements for boarding, clothing and schooling the children during their time in Utah. (One Nation Under Gods, p. 251)
Outsiders often wonder why a person would have agreed to participate in such a horrible act. Weber State University professor Gene Sessions commented on the pressure to go along with the crowd:
Somebody made a terrible decision that this has got to be done...I don't justify it in any way. But I do believe it would have taken more guts to stay home in Cedar City on those days in 1857 than it would to go out there to the meadows and take part. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 2000, p. A-4)
To understand that type of fanaticism, one must understand early Mormon trials, fears, prejudices, oaths of obedience sworn in the temple and Brigham Young's teachings on "blood atonement." Historian David Bigler, author of Forgotten Kingdom, says:
When you have 50 to perhaps more than 70 men participate in an event like this, you can't just say they got upset.... We have to believe they did not want to do what they did any more than you or I would. We have to recognize they thought what they were doing is what authority required of them. The only question to be resolved is did that authority reach all the way to Salt Lake City? (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 2000, p. A-4)
Brigham Young Responsible?
Whether or not Brigham Young directly ordered the massacre may never be known. However, he seemed to have no problem with the bloody deed after the fact. When Young visited the site in 1861 Apostle Wilford Woodruff wrote in his diary:
May 25  A very cold morning much ice on the creek. I wore my great coat & mittens. We visited the Mt. Meadows Monument not up at the burial place of 120 persons killed by Indians in 1857. The pile of stone was about twelve feet high but beginning to tumble down. A wooden cross is placed on top with the following words, Vengeance is mine and I will repay saith the Lord. Pres. Young said it should be Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little. (The Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Juanita Brooks, University of Oklahoma, p. 182).
David Bigler adds:
One of Young's escort lassoed the cross [on the burial site] with a rope, turned his horse, and pulled it down. Brigham Young "didn't say another word," recalled Dudley Leavitt. "He didn't give an order. He just lifted his right arm to the square [a temple gesture], and in five minutes there wasn't one stone left upon another. He didn't have to tell us what he wanted done. We understood." (Forgotten Kingdom, p.178)
Juanita Brooks observed:
While Brigham Young and George A. Smith, the church authorities chiefly responsible, did not specifically order the massacre, they did preach sermons and set up social conditions which made it possible.... Brigham Young was accessory after the fact, in that he knew what had happened, and how and why it happened. Evidence of this is abundant and unmistakable, and from the most impeccable Mormon sources.
Knowing then, why did not President Young take action against these men?... He did have the men chiefly responsible released from their offices in the church following a private church investigation, but since he understood well that their acts had grown out of loyalty to him and his cause, he would not betray them into the hands of their common "enemy."...Someone assuredly warned all the participants, so that for many years they were all able to evade arrest.
The church leaders decided to sacrifice Lee only when they could see that it would be impossible to acquit him without assuming a part of the responsibility themselves.... this token sacrifice had to be made. Hence the farce which was the second trial of [John D.] Lee. The leaders evidently felt that by placing all the responsibility squarely upon him, already doomed, they could lift the stigma from the church as a whole. (The Mountain Meadows Massacre, p. 219-220)
Twenty years after the massacre John D. Lee, one of dozens of men involved in the attack, was the only man convicted and executed by the U.S. government for the crime. Mr. Bigler comments:
But too many had been involved to cover up the atrocity by tearing down monuments, taking oaths of secrecy, or swearing to falsehoods, however artfully contrived. As more and more of the story was revealed, protests spread and outrage grew....So it came about that one man was chosen to pay the price for many.
The most likely candidate, John D. Lee, was excommunicated by his church in 1870 as a show of punishment and sent to operate a ferry at a remote location... In November 1874 Lee was arrested. He was tried a year later at Beaver, Utah, for his part in the massacre, but the trial was abortive. Others included on the indictment could not be found. Missing, too, were key witnesses, and those who did appear suffered lapses in memory....as a result, while all four non-Mormon jury members voted for conviction, eight Mormon jurors chose acquittal.
In a second trial, restricted by agreement to Lee's role, witnesses found their memories restored and an all-Mormon jury unanimously found him guilty. On March 23, 1877, he was taken to Mountain Meadows, the scene of the crime, where at age 64 he was perched on the edge of his coffin and shot to death by a firing squad. (Forgotten Kingdom, pp.178-179)
The Mormon efforts to cover-up the details and white-wash the massacre continues even today. In March of 2000 the Salt Lake Tribune told of the accidental unearthing of "the skeletal remains of at least 29 slain emigrants" at Mountain Meadows in Southern Utah. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2000, p. A1)
Scientists wanted to do a full study of the remains. However, Gov. Mike Leavitt, a descendent of one of the participants of the massacre, "encouraged state officials to quickly rebury the remains, even though the basic scientific analysis required by state law was unfinished.... the governor's intercession was one of many dramas played out last summer, all serving to underscore Mountain Meadows' place as the Bermuda Triangle of Utah's historical and theological landscape. The end result may be another sad chapter in the massacre's legacy of bitterness, denial and suspicion. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 2000, p. A-1)
A rushed examination of the bones prior to reburial in 2000 showed:
At least five adults had gunshot exit wounds in the posterior area of the cranium — a clear indication some were shot while facing their killers....Women also were shot in the head at close range....At least one youngster, believed to be about 10 to 12 years old, was killed by a gunshot to the top of the head. ... Virtually all of the "post-cranial" (from the head down) bones displayed extensive carnivore damage, confirming written accounts that bodies were left on the killing field to be gnawed by wolves and coyotes. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2000, p. A-5)
The Salt Lake Tribune quoted the following from Gene Sessions, president of the Mountain Meadows Association:
It raises the old question of whether Brigham Young ordered the massacre and whether Mormons do terrible things because they think their leaders want them to do terrible things. (Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 14, 2000, p. A-4)
The paper went on to report:
Noted Mormon writer Levi Peterson has tried to explain the difficulty that Mormons and their church face in confronting the atrocity of Mountain Meadows.
"If good Mormons committed the massacre, if prayerful leaders ordered it, if apostles and a prophet knew about it and later sacrificed John D. Lee, then the sainthood of even the modern church seems tainted," he has written. "Where is the moral superiority of Mormonism, where is the assurance that God has made Mormons his new chosen people?" ...
But acknowledging any complicity in Mountain Meadows' macabre past is fundamentally problematic for the modern church.
"The massacre has left the Mormon Church on the horns of a dilemma," says Utah historian Will Bagley, author of a forthcoming book on Mountain Meadows. "It can't acknowledge its historic involvement in a mass murder, and if it can't accept its accountability, it can't repent." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 2000, p. A-4)
(To date the most thorough research on the 1857 attack has been The Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Juanita Brooks. However, Oklahoma University Press has just announced the forthcoming book, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by Will Bagley. Publication date is set for September 2002, price will be $39.95 in hardcover.)
LDS Church Suppresses Documents
In October, 2001, controversy erupted over who had the rights to various research papers of Dr. Leonard Arrington. Arrington, a well-respected historian and former professor at Utah State University, served as the official LDS Church historian from 1972-1982 and was then transferred to the Brigham Young University. During his lifetime of research he collected a vast amount of photos and documents relating to sensitive areas of Mormon history. After his death in 1999, his papers and research were placed in the Utah State University Library in Logan, Utah, but were not opened to the public until October 2001. The Salt Lake Tribune explained:
The LDS Church contended Thursday it has an "ironclad" document giving it full ownership of some of the papers historian Leonard Arrington deeded to Utah State University before his death. USU isn't so sure. ...
On Oct. 11, the Arrington Collection, containing 658 boxes, was opened to the public.
Within days, eight LDS Church employees went through the entire collection, some boxes more than once, over four days, said Ann Buttars, director of USU's special collections. ...
After that initial search, the church asked the university to set aside about 148 boxes of papers. ... Some of the items in the collection, such as minutes of meetings of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, are copies of documents the church does not make available to researchers, [Richard] Turley [managing director of the LDS Church's Historical Dept.] said.
"We consider they are of a sacred, private and confessional nature," he said. (Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 26, 2001, p. A1 &A11)
The Tribune article on October 26th contained a long list of disputed documents, minutes of various Council of Twelve meetings, items relating to the temple ceremony, private letters of church leaders, etc.
Then, on Nov. 4, 2001, University of Utah Professor Dean May wrote to the Tribune protesting that the Arrington papers did not belong to the LDS Church and should be given to the Utah State University as Arrington requested (Salt Lake Tribune, Editorial page p. AA3).
In a letter to the Tribune, Steven Sorensen, director of LDS Church Archives, argued that Arrington's papers included items owned by the LDS Church and they should be returned to them. "Among those items were some 70 years of minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, temple records, employment files, and other materials considered by church officials to be sacred, private, or confidential." (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 11, 2001, p. AA11)
One wonders how the church determined what was "sacred, private, or confidential"? Or was the real criteria whether the documents were potentially embarrassing? After all, most of this material is about 150 years old and some of it is already available in college libraries.
On Nov. 25, 2001, the Salt Lake Tribune reported:
Barely a month after LDS Church officials said they owned up to 60 percent of a huge collection of papers donated to Utah State University by the late Mormon historian Leonard Arrington, the church graciously accepted a half-box of material....They include only a copy of a Book of Anointings, which describes sacred Mormon rituals; portions of LDS Apostle Heber C. Kimball's 1845-56 diaries discussing temple ceremonies, and partial copies of minutes from the church's Council of Twelve meetings between 1877 and 1950. (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 25, 2001, pp. A1and A15)
Ironically, the Book of Anointings material is already in the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, and Heber C. Kimball's diaries have been published (see On the Potter's Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball, edited by Stanley B. Kimball, Signature Books, 1987). Quotes from the Book of Anointings are also in the book, The Mysteries of Godliness, pp. 87-90.
The Deseret News described the non-temple documents as follows:
The other returned documents consist of a "smattering" of minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding a particular topic that Arrington was commissioned to research for a private church study. Daines [the Arrington family lawyer] declined to identify the topic....Daines said the issue regarding the minutes was not one of content, but of ownership, and that details of how these papers ended up in Arrington's collection are unclear." (Deseret News, Nov. 25, 2001)
Since the documents in question were copies and not the originals, one is forced to conclude that the issue is truly one of "content" rather than "ownership." Even the topic of the "private church study" is being suppressed.
Most people are aware of the LDS Church's expanding temple building program. To date, there are over 100 temples in operation around the world. Through the years there have been numerous published exposés of the endowment ritual (see Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990). However, there is another little known ceremony given by invitation from church leadership called the Second Anointing. In order to qualify for this anointing one must have proven him/herself worthy and already participated in the endowment ceremony.
LDS researcher David Buerger pointed out:
The higher ordinance was necessary to confirm the revealed promises of "kingly powers" (i.e., godhood) received in the endowment's initiatory ordinances. Godhood was therefore the meaning of this higher ordinance, or second anointing... (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1983, p. 21).
The couple receiving their second anointing were to go to the temple, and then dress in their temple robes. On December 26, 1866, LDS Apostle Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal:
I met with The Presidency and Twelve at President Youngs Office at about 12 oclok. The subject of the Endowments & 2d Anointings was presented when President Young said that the order of the 2n anointing was for the persons to be anointed to be cloathed in their Priestly robes the man upon the right hand and wife or wifes upon the left hand. The Administrator may be dressed in his usual Clothing or in his Priestly Robes as he may see fit. The meeting Should be opened by Prayer then the Administrator should Anoint the man A King & Priest unto the Most High God. Then he should Anoint his wife or wives Queens & Priestess unto her husband. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, vol. 6, p.307)
On Jan. 11, 1846, Brigham Young and his wife received their second anointing. Part of their anointing reads:
Brother Brigham Young, I pour this holy, consecrated oil upon your head, and anoint thee a King and a Priest of the Most High God... for princes shall bow at thy feet and deliver unto thee their treasures; ...And I seal thee up unto Eternal Life,...And thou shalt attain unto [the] Eternal Godhead... that thou mayest... create worlds and redeem them; so shall thy joy be full...
Elder Heber Chase Kimble then anointed Mary An Young, a Queen & Priestes unto her husband (Brigham Young) in the Church...Sister Mary Ann Young, I pour upon thy head this holy, consecrated oil, and seal upon thee all the blessings of the everlasting priesthood, in conjunction with thy husband: and I anoint thee to be a Queen and Priestess unto thy husband,... inasmuch as thou dost obey his counsel;... And I seal thee up unto Eternal Life, thou shalt come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and inherit with him all the honors, glories, and power of Eternal Lives, and that thou shalt attain unto the eternal Godhead, so thy exaltation shall be perfect,... (Book of Anointings, as quoted in The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, by David John Buerger, Smith Research Associates, 1994, pp. 88-90)
Originally, this ceremony seemed to be a guarantee of godhood. Mr. Buerger observed:
Because of the strict confidentiality surrounding second anointings, it is unclear precisely what long-term effect they had on recipients nor, for that matter, the degree to which the conferral of godhood was held to be conditional or unconditional. Most early nineteenth-century statements imply that the ordinance was unconditional. (The Mysteries of Godliness, p.112-3)
Today, the church leaders seem to be minimizing the importance of the second anointing and refer to it as a "special blessing" but not necessary for exaltation (godhood) (see The Mysteries of Godliness, p.165). The official LDS magazine Ensign, March 2002, p.18, emphasized the necessity of the endowment (as opposed to the second anointing) for "eternal exaltation." The article went on to state: "Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life..." According to Mormonism, a person's endowment and temple marriage starts one on the road to godhood (D&C 132:20 - "Then shall they be gods"). While some Mormons emphasize that the word "gods" in the revelation is not capitalized, editions prior to 1900 have it capitalized. Also an official statement of the LDS First Presidency used the capitalized form, and declared that man's ultimate goal was to evolve "into a God." (Ensign, Feb. 2002, p. 30)
Joseph Smith taught that men had the capacity to achieve Godhood and rule their own planets. He also taught that our God was originally a mortal who achieved Godhood under the direction of another God. (see History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 305-6, 474) While Mormons say they worship only one God, they believe there are countless Gods in the universe.
However the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God. Isaiah 44:8 says: "Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any."
While the Bible offers the repentant sinner forgiveness for any sin, including murder (see Matt. 12:31; Mark 3:28-29; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; 1 Tim. 1:15), the LDS Church maintains a murderer cannot achieve eternal life (which is different from merely going to heaven). One of the few conditions placed on those who received their temple endowment and second anointing was that they were not to shed innocent blood. The Doctrine and Covenants states:
Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. (D&C 42: 18)
It also states that those who have been married "in the new and everlasting covenant" will be forgiven of any sin except murder "wherein they shed innocent blood." (D&C 132:19 & 26) This was a major concern for those involved in planning the Mountain Meadows massacre. Mr. Buerger explains:
John D. Lee's recollection of the deliberations preceding the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre describes their concern that by killing the women and children, they might be guilty of shedding innocent blood. This task was left to the Indians so that "it would be certain that no Mormon would be guilty of shedding innocent blood—if it should happen that there was any innocent blood in the company that were to die." (John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled,...) ...Lee received his second anointing on 17 January 1846,... (The Mysteries of Godliness, p.124)
The LDS teaching on murder has led the Mormons to conclude that when King David, in the Bible, arranged to have Uriah killed (2 Samuel 11:15-17) he committed an unpardonable sin that would keep him from exaltation. Joseph Smith taught:
...no murderer hath eternal life. ... Now, we read that many bodies of the Saints arose at Christ's resurrection,... but it seems that David did not. Why? Because he had been a murderer.... the man who forfeited his life to the injured laws of his country, by shedding innocent blood;...cannot be forgiven,... (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book, 1977, p.188)
Evidently the LDS Church has now decided that John D. Lee did not shed "innocent blood" as they restored all of his temple blessings, which would include his sealings to his plural wives, in 1961 (see The Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Juanita Brooks, p.223). John D. Lee was married to nineteen women, and fathered 60 children. (see John Doyle Lee, Appendix) Three of his marriages were after the massacre, thus showing that the LDS leadership still considered him a faithful Mormon.
One wonders how the LDS Church makes a distinction between King David's sin being unforgivable and John D. Lee's actions acceptable? King David only conspired to have one innocent person killed. Lee helped orchestrate the murder of 120 innocent men, women and children.
Husband to Call Wife from the Grave
Early Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball recorded the second anointing ceremony in his diary:
February the first 1844. My self and wife Vilate was announted Preast and Preastest [Priestess] unto our God under the Hands of B[righam]. Young and by the voys [voice] of the Holy Order.
Apriel the first 4 day 1844. I Heber C. Kimball recieved the washing of my feet, and was annointed by my wife Vilate fore my burial, that is my feet, head, Stomach. Even as Mary did Jesus, that she mite have a claim on Him in the Reserrection. In the City of Nauvoo.
In 1845 I recieved the washing of my feet by \[which follows is in Vilate's hand:]\
I Vilate Kimball do hereby certify that on the first day of April 1844 I attended to washing and anointed the head, /Stomach/ and feet of my dear companion Heber C. Kimball, that I may have claim upon him in the morning of the first Reserrection. Vilate Kimball. (On the Potter's Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball, pp.56-7)
Mr. Buerger gave the following outline of the current second anointing ceremony:
In practice today the second anointing is actually the first of two parts comprising the fullness of the priesthood ceremony....In the Salt Lake temple, second anointings are usually administered on Sunday afternoons....The first part of the ceremony—being anointed and ordained a king and priest or queen and priestess—is administered in a Holy of Holies or special sealing room and is performed by or under the direction of the president of the church. There are usually but not always two witnesses. Only the husband and wife need to dress in temple robes. The husband leads in a prayer circle, offering signs and praying at an altar. He is then anointed with oil on his head, after which he is ordained a king and a priest unto God to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever... He is also blessed with the following (as the officiator determines): the power to bind and loose, curse and bless, the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Holy Spirit of Promise; to attain godhood; to be sealed to eternal life (if not done previously); to have the power to open the heavens; and other blessings.
Next the wife is anointed...to be an heir to all the blessings sealed upon her husband...to receive the blessings of godhood;...to have the power of eternal lives (of posterity without end);...
At the conclusion of this ordinance, the washing of the husband's feet by his wife is explained to the couple. It is a private ordinance, without witnesses. Its significance is related to the resurrection of the dead, as Heber Kimball noted. The couple is told to attend to the ordinance at a date of their choosing in the privacy of their home. At the determined time the husband dedicates the home and the room in which they perform the ordinance, which then follows the pattern of Mary's anointing Jesus in Matthew 12. The ordinance symbolically prepares the husband for burial, and in this way the wife lays claim upon him in the resurrection.....Kimball's journal entry derives from a speculative belief taught by early Mormons that Jesus married Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. (The Mysteries of Godliness, pp. 66-67)
The emphasis on the wife's assertion that "I may have claim upon him in the morning of the first Resurrection" seems to relate to the teaching in the temple that the woman is called from the grave to exaltation by her husband. Men and women are given new names in the temple and the wife is instructed not to tell her name to anyone other than her husband. Preaching in 1857, Apostle Erastus Snow declared:
Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord?...Can you get into the celestial kingdom without him?...No woman will get into the celestial kingdom, except her husband receives her... (Journal of Discourses, vol.5, p.291)
Apostle Charles Penrose, writing in 1897, explained:
In the resurrection, they stand side by side and hold dominion together. Every man who overcomes all things and is thereby entitled to inherit all things, receives power to bring up his wife to join him in the possession and enjoyment thereof.
In the case of a man marrying a wife in the everlasting covenant who dies while he continues in the flesh and marries another by the same divine law, each wife will come forth in her order and enter with him into his glory. ("Mormon" Doctrine Plain and Simple, by Charles W. Penrose, p.66)
Writing in 1846, one former Mormon woman described receiving her new temple name:
In one place [during the temple ritual] I was presented with a new name, which I was not to reveal to any living creature, save the man to whom I should be sealed for eternity. By this name I am to be called in eternity as after the resurrection. (As quoted in The Mysteries of Godliness, p. 94)
Temples and the Bible
One of the most important tenets of the LDS Church is the necessity of temple ordinances. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explained:
From the days of Adam to the present, whenever the Lord has had a people on earth, temples and temple ordinances have been a crowning feature of their worship. ... The inspired erection and proper use of temples is one of the great evidences of the divinity of the Lord's work....where these are not, the Church and kingdom and the truth of heaven are not. (Mormon Doctrine, p.780-781)
The LDS Church teaches that only those with proper priesthood authority can administer these essential rites. Joseph Smith supposedly restored the original temple ceremony of the Old Testament. The LDS temples are used for eternal marriages for both the living and the dead, as well as baptisms for the dead. A person must have a temple marriage in order to progress to godhood. LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball said:
Only through celestial marriage can one find the strait way, the narrow path. Eternal life cannot be had in any other way. (Deseret News, Church Section, November 12, 1977, Salt Lake City, Utah)
These ordinances, which are performed in special white clothing and a green apron, include secret handshakes and passwords. These are kept secret and are never to be discussed outside of the temple.
The LDS temple endowments and other rites are not based on biblical teaching. The temple in the Old Testament, with its High Priest and animal sacrifices, was a foreshadowing of Christ's role as both our final High Priest and last blood offering for sin (Hebrews, chapters 5-9). When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn in half (Luke 23:45) thus signifying that the Old Testament temple ritual had been replaced by the atonement of Christ.
There is nothing in the New Testament about "eternal marriages" and secret rituals in a Christian temple. The Jewish temple ceremonies had no baptisms or marriages and are clearly explained in the Old Testament (Exodus, chapters 26-30). The only eternal marriage in the Bible is the spiritual marriage of the believer to Christ. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth: "I have espoused you to one husband [Christ], that I may present you [the Christians] as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). Paul also wrote in Romans 7:4 that Christians are to be "married to another, even to him [Christ] who is raised from the dead,...." This is a spiritual union, not an actual marriage. Christ never mentions the need for an eternal marriage. In fact, he taught just the opposite. In Luke 20:34-36 Christ said:
The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: ...for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God,...
Notice that Christ equated those who are "the children of God" with angels, not married couples. Christians look forward to being with their loved ones in heaven. As brothers and sisters in Christ we will be together as one large family, the family of God (Galatians 3:26). However, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that this would include marriage relationships.
There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that the Christians were to build temples. Some of the early Jewish Christians met in the courtyard of the temple in Jerusalem for prayer but they certainly were not performing any rites like the Mormon ceremony. The New Testament teaches that God's temple is a spiritual building made up of all Christians, with Christ as the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:16). This is emphasized in Ephesians 2:19-22:
Now therefore ye are no more strangers...but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Contrary to the LDS teaching on the necessity of temple ritual, the Bible offers eternal life, in its fullest meaning, to all those who have placed their trust in Christ's atonement. (1 John 5:11-13)
Extracts from Letters and Emails
Nov. 2001 - It is almost a full year (come Dec.6th) since my release (FREEDOM) became final. I'm enjoying every minute of it. I am now 85....Wishing you continued success. Those posts which condemn you have their day coming...that will be when they get their eyes opened, and see for themselves how duped they were. Sincerely, Ever Onward!
Nov. 2001 - As apostates of the true Church of Jesus Christ, you will continue to spread your satanical lies and reap the reward of a life with the author of lies in the hereafter. Keep your lies to yourself!!! The lies are not worth refuting. This is obviously your evil livelihood.
Nov. 2001 - ...thanks for the wonderful site... my family left the church 1 year ago... and thanks to your site 8 other friends have followed as well as another family from Utah moving here... to finally find the truth... She has realized God of mormonism and God of the bible are 2 different Gods.. we worship the God of the bible and condemn Mormonism... thanks
Dec. 2001 - hey listen here you. how DARE you write false things about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Have you ever prayed and asked GOD if Joseph Smith was a Prophet, by the look of things i guess not!
whats the point of trying to prove the mormons wrong? do you really have nothing else going on in your life? you can try, but you'll never prove us wrong. you can't. you need to quit being so bitter.
the church will still accept you if you will repent. you must repent of your wrong doings. otherwise a fierce judgement will be in store for you. .... we know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of GOD and was called to restore the TRUE CHUCH to the earth in the last dispensation. pray about it and youll recieve your answer but pray sincerly with FAITH in CHRIST. by the power of the HOLY GHOST you may know the truth of all things.
Dec. 2001 - having wasted 15 years in the Mormon Church, it is still hard to live it down....I used to be a Bishop and when I converted to real Christianity, all of my Mormon friends treated me like I was the enemy... I read just about everything I can on the internet just for reasons I can't explain...but I am proud of the work that you do and the knowledge that you must have... thanks for being you....
Dec. 2001 - Your website is terrific! Its also amazing that anyone is still in the LDS Church after reading the information you've discovered concerning the church. After hearing the truth, those that stay in the LDS Church are determined to do so, with disregard to logic or The Gospel. Thanks again
Jan. 2002 - ....Thank You for your wonderful website. When I would ask questions about the Mormon religion I was told to "go on Faith" that it would be enough. When I gave "an act of Faith" as my reason for leaving the Mormon Church, suddenly Faith was not considered to be good enough. Your website has not only affirmed my decision but has helped me defend it.
Jan. 2002 - Personally, I think you are the people that are starting the great and abominal church. You start your own church becuase the real one is too hard for you to follow... How dare you mock Jesus, and act as a Prophet by translating your beleifs. Why don't you have followers. Why don't you have your own Buildings and temples of worship. I think if your the true church, god will help you. But you know what, your a false doctrine organization led by Satan and his followeres. There is no truth in what you say, just opinion!!! Sorry, your the whore of the Church!!!! That is in my opinion. Freedom of speech!!!!
Jan. 2002 - Congratulations for your web page!
You have been doing an excellent work, i guess you are of my favorite people....I left the mormon church 1 year ago, and was baptized on last sunday.
I have learned to recognize mormonism as the recombination of different and contradictory christian-like views of different times, with degeneration of masonic rituals, misuse of egyptian documents, etc.
That proves something: Combination of all kinds of truths or cool stuff doesn't add up to give all truth....overall if the man "restoring" has no idea of what truth is.
What i enjoy in the bible is that the real prophets are [n]ever talking about material things, nor they did try "their best", they just listened the words of God and spoke them.
As for Jesus, I have been learning to appreciate him as my savior.
I know how difficult is this work for both of you. but it is soo important!. Sometimes i have feel really stressed, since i am at BYU, but i have started to enjoy myself.... I try not to listen the stuff of everybody, since these youngsters are unexperienced. ....It can be soo difficult recognizing the truth! thanks
Jan. 2002 - I find it very sad that you must deceive people in order to make a buck! ... I find it comical that you "changed" your name to become a "non Profit " ministry. We all know that this entitles you to receive money from our government. How convenient!!!!!!
Your fore fathers must be sickened by your hatred for the religion and cause that they gave so much for! What a reunion you will have with them when you meet them in the hereafter!
If you want to discredit the Book Of Mormon then so be it but when you stand at your Masters feet, it will be you who is discredited for the frauds you are and I believe that you will be held responsible for anyone that you help lead astray. How about them apples?
Feb. 2002 - HI! I applaud you guys for your hard work and dedication at exposing mormonism for the false religion that it is. We need more people like you out there.
Anyways i was recently visiting the lds.org web site where i would go and look at the doctrine. to compare it with what the bible had to say. well just today i visited it again and they changed the whole format of the doctrine!!! They have left out so much of the BS that makes mormonism what it is. I'm afraid that many more people will fall victim to the lies of the church ...I'm just a little worried at the new tactics the church is using.
Feb. 2002 - What makes you so hateful. Hate is how the Jews were persecuted by the nazis. If hate is what your religion believes in I suggest you questions your own believes. You should try praying sincerely some time and at least try to feel an answer.
You draw near to god with your words but your heart is far from him. I have never hated someone for their beliefs I feel this is racist almost but instead of having to do with color it is the hate of other religions. You have probably been hurt by one person of this church and that is why your mind is not open to the good things of other religions especially the Mormons, will you really let one person swarm your life with hate towards others. I am only 14 and I have felt some of the most remarkable feelings due to this magnificent church. Why do you take every little sentence and alter its meaning in order to make people share your misery? ...love
Feb. 2002 - I just wanted to thank-you for the volumes of work that you have done in the name of our savior, Christ Jesus. I was raised LDS and last April my family and I left the church. By the grace of God we have been saved and delivered from our lives of deception.
Your website continues to be a valuable tool for me put my life back together. At this point I am still a little embarrassed to see just how wrong and deceived I was for so many years. Please be encourage that God is working through your ministry and you are touching lives in a positive manner. I pray that God will use the seed you are planting, especially in those that disagree with your site.
Feb. 2002 - Just going thru some old SL Messengers when I came across the term "antimormonoids". Are they sure they want to use such a term of derision? When you break the word down to it's component parts we have,
Anti: a suffix - to be in opposition to;
Mormon: believer in the writings of Joseph Smith
oid: a thing of unthinking robotic existence.
Undoubtedly the creator of this word was using it as a term of derision but if you/me are antimormonoids, does that make true believers Mormonoids? Unthinking, placid, robotic creatures? What a strange title to apply to oneself.
Feb. 2002 - I'm glad to see that LDS members are at least taking the time to read some of the things on your website.
I was wondering if any of them try to get in touch with you to dispute any of your documentation. It seems to me that all they can do is just write some hit and run letter with no documentation to support their claims that you guys are just "Satan Worshipers" and this website is full of lies and that you guys are just "Mormon bashing". I find these letters rather humorous.
I've spent hours and hours going through your website and I think I've read just about everything on it.
I check every day to see if a new month of "Letters to the Editor" has been posted. These hit and run Mormon letters have become my favorite thing to read here. I'm just waiting for some Mormon to write in with some documentation to support their claims. I'm sure it's going to be quite a while, if ever.
You're very courageous in your fight for Christ. (with documentation) Thanks for your time.
March 2002 - So what if the LDS Church did the temple work for Adolf Hitler. Why do you care? You probably don't believe in temple work anyway so why make a big deal about it? The reason the church would make those type of records not available to the public is because of dopes like you who make a big deal out of nothing.
March 2002 - What I find interesting about the letters from Mormon members to you, is how they claim to be believers in their "church" but yet they disobey their "teachings" and visit your site (and probably others as well) enough to read information to complain to you about. Sounds to me like they are in denial. To those that do this: If you believe your church so much, then why do you even visit? Obviously you are not as staunch as you claim to be or you are already in doubt. -Observant
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