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You are here: Greater Things > Topical > Mountain Meadows Massacre > John D. Lee Confessions

The Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee
(Written by Himself)


Excerpts Index

Title Page and Preface (Pages vii-ix) Wm. W. Bishop, Confidential Att'y of John D. Lee, explains the commission he was given by Lee to publish Lee's written account.


Chapter XVIII (Pages 213-248) - Last Confession and Statement

        "I had many to assist me at the Mountain Meadows. I believe that most of those who were connected with the Massacre, and took part in the lamentable transaction that has blackened the character of all who were aiders or abettors in the same, were acting under the impression that they were performing a religious duty. I know all were acting under the orders and by the command of their Church leaders; and I firmly believe that the most of those who took part in the proceedings, considered it a religious duty to unquestioningly obey the orders which they had received. That they acted from a sense of duty to the Mormon Church."


Chapter XIX (Pages 249-292) - The conclusion of Lee's testimony tells how church leaders attempted to cover-up the massacre at Mountain Meadows. When testimony from Mormons and Gentiles pointed to church leaders' involvement in the affair, Lee was used as a scapegoat to appease the American people, and protect "God's Anointed." Lee's testimony, given just seven days before his execution, gives additional information on the Danites or "Avenging Angels." He details the murders, and attempted murders, of both Gentiles and church members ordered by LDS leaders. Included are the willing "blood-atonement" of Rasmos Anderson for adultery, and the castration of a young man who would not give his fiancι as a plural wife to Bishop Snow of Manti, Utah.

Full Book

I think this title is unfortunate, as it implies "anti-Mormon," while Lee's reflections are more introspective than bent on revenge or attack.

Mormonism Unveiled or Life and Confessions of John D. Lee and Brigham Young
Available from

"Embracing a history of Mormonism from its inception down to the present time, with an exposition of the secret history, signs, symbols and crimes of the Mormon Church.  Also the true history of the horrible butchery known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre."


Related Links

Wording is taken from

Brigham Young and Wild Bill Hickman--Salt Lake City Messenger, February 1991: A comprehensive look into J. H. Beadle's Book on Bill Hickman. Included are answers to Mormon apologist's attempts to discredit Beadle's book, and a look at Hickman's great-granddaughter's book, "Wild Bill" Hickman and the Mormon Frontier, which confirms much of Beadle's work.

Brigham's Destroying Angel: Chapter V of Bill Hickman's autobiographical manuscript, edited by J. H. Beadle. Contains the full transcripts of many events referred to in the above article, including the murder of Richard Yates, the Massacre of the Aiken party from California, and other incidents related to Danite activities, "blood atonement," and the "Utah war" of 1857-58.

Mormon Blood Atonement: Fact or Fantasy?--Salt Lake City Messenger, April 1997: Brigham Young taught that there were certain sins not covered by the Atonement of Christ. In a speech given in 1856 he told the Latter-day Saints, "It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit . . . they must be atoned for by the blood of the man." (JD, Vol. 4, pages 53-54) Within a year he encouraged faithful church members to assist in this process: "All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?.... This is loving our neighbor 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...." (JD, Vol. 4, pages 219-220) Are these quotes out of context? What were these sins that Young referred to? Did the Latter-day Saints obey their leader's council? "Mormon Blood Atonement: Fact or Fantasy," answers these questions, and gives references to many early books, diaries, journals and newspaper articles that document the practice.

See also

John D. Lee -- Portrait of a Mormon Scapegoat; Again the Second Time
"Perhaps the most controversial figure in Mormon history" now incarnate as a modern spokesman for avoiding violence.  Foretold in Alphabetics Bible code.
Writings of John D. Lee; by John D. Lee; editor: Samuel Nile Henrie; publisher: Senestra Books.
Addresses his personal life.
Reburying the Dead of Mountain Meadows Massacre - index of relevant resources, commentary


This page created by SDA on June 23, 2003
Last updated on October 01, 2014



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