The Law of Blood Atonement is a belief–a command–that some sins are so great that the sinner should be executed (or castrated, or otherwise destroyed) and only that way can he be forgiven. One of the greatest sins is for a Mormon to leave the church and then speak against it. These are “apostates.” While there are historical records of plenty of blood atonement murders carried out on the command of church leaders in the 19th Century. Mormons seem to have changed this practice. Now such people are shunned by friends and family, they lose their jobs, their businesses are not patronized, etc. In the fundamentalist Mormon community (not the mainstream church, but the culture has the same origins), people are evicted from their homes built on church controlled land. Bottom line, modern, mainstream Mormons believe that it is just fine to engage in real, damaging extra-judicial punishment when a believer stops believing. What’s really perverse is they believe that hurting people in this manner is for the benefit of the victim.

There’s a good, well-researched discussion of blood atonement here:

http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/bloodatn

By: Tim