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Notorious Mormon Murderers


smac97

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Boy, lots of negative news coverage for the Church these days.  Even when the Church doesn't mess up, there seem to be ways to cast the Church in a terrible light.  The last few weeks we have seen the BYU-Duke Volleyball mess, in which the reputation and character of BYU (and, to an extent, the Church and its members) took some major hits.  

This week's theme: Notorious Mormon Murderers

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As far as religions go, the Mormons — or the Church of the Latter-Day Saints — are fairly new. Joseph Smith kicked off the movement in 1830, and according to the Smithsonian, their history has been a violent one from the beginning. After being kicked out of their initial strongholds in Ohio and New York, they headed west into areas that were, at the time, beyond U.S. territories.

"Their history has been a violent one from the beginning."

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Smith was hanged in 1844, and in 1847, they established a foothold in what would become Utah. Violence followed, incited by the murder of a Mormon man (killed by the legal husband of one of his many wives),

I believe this is a reference to Parley P. Pratt.

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and culminated in the massacre of the Baker-Fancher party. Mormons — some disguised as Native Americans — murdered around 120 men, women, and children who were passing through the land they'd settled on. They spared no one over seven years old, and when the Army intervened and established a new governorship, the Mormons offered one man up to be put on trial and ultimately executed.

This is a reference to John D. Lee.

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That hasn't been the end of violence within the Mormon church, and even into recent years, Mormons have been front and center in some of the most high-profile murder cases in the U.S. While their faith wasn't always on trial as well, sometimes, it was.

Welp.  Can't get much more obvious than that.

The first "notorious Mormon murderer" listed is serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.  Interestingly, his Wikipedia entry includes no reference to the Church.  This 2013 Trib article states that "Franklin said he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1974, at age 24, while living in Atlanta," that "he liked the faith's strict stance on fornication and its prohibitions on smoking, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea," that "{h}e already had been baptized twice by other faiths — the Baptists and the Church of Christ — and, according to biographer Mel Ayton, had dabbled in numerous other religions and psychic practices including numerology {before trying Mormonism}," that he "first traveled to Utah in 1975 to check out his new faith's hometown," but that he "didn't like some of what he saw" because he "'couldn't help but notice all the miscegenation going on there,'" and that "{h}is enthusiasm for the LDS Church faded and within a few years Franklin said he became disillusioned with 'their attitude on race.'"

The article also notes that Franklin's raging racial hatred arose from his "association with the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party and National States Rights Party," that "he became enamored with Nazism as a teenager after learning his mother's relatives, who lived in Germany during World War II, had been party supporters; he stole a copy of 'Mein Kampf' and read it repeatedly."  

The article also states that "{a} spokesman said the LDS Church does not verify individuals' membership status."

In sum, Franklin was only briefly a member of the Church (one of many religions in which he "dabbled"), and he quickly grew to dislike it because of its "attitude on race" not comporting with his own animosities.

Next up: Ron and Dan Lafferty.  We all know quite a bit about these two.

Next, Ervil LeBaron, who was never a member of the Church.

Next, Glenn Helzer.  This fellow grew up in the Church, served a mission, married, divorced, and was excommunicated in 1998.  And then:

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Glenn Helzer and his brother Justin met Dawn Godman on Memorial Day 1999 at a murder mystery dinner hosted by a Mormon congregation in Walnut Creek, California. Godman became Justin's girlfriend and moved into a house in Concord with the Helzer brothers in April 2000.

Glenn Helzer was excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1998 due to his drug use. Around this time; he declared himself a prophet. He developed a list of maxims he called “The Twelve Principles of Magic,” by which he expected his followers to abide. He had plans to train Brazilian orphans to assassinate Mormon leaders so that he could take over the LDS Church and start a self-help group called Transform America, which was intended to “create a state of peace and joy.” Helzer collectively referred to himself and his followers as the Children of Thunder.

To finance his plans, Helzer developed a scheme to extort money from Ivan and Annette Stineman, an elderly couple in Concord, California, who had been Helzer's clients when he was employed as a stockbroker. On July 30, 2000, the Helzer brothers and Godman kidnapped the Stinemans and forced them to write checks for $100,000 before murdering them.

The trio then murdered Glenn Helzer's girlfriend, Selina Bishop, on August 2 in order to prevent her from potentially providing information that could lead to his arrest. To extort the Stinemans' money, Helzer convinced Bishop (who knew him as Jordan), to open bank accounts in her name for Helzer's use; he told her that he was inheriting a large sum of money, which he needed to hide from his ex-wife.

Helzer and Godman then went to Bishop's apartment, where Bishop's mother, Jennifer Villarin, was staying; Helzer had decided to eliminate Villarin because she had seen him, and he feared she could identify him. He murdered Villarin and her friend, James Gamble (who was at the apartment that night), using a gun registered to Justin Helzer.

How any of the above is attributable to the Church is difficult to ascertain.

Next: Porter Rockwell.

Next: Jodi Arias.  

Next: Mark Hofmann

Next: Mark Hacking

Next: Arthur Gary Bishop

Next: Ronald Lee Haskell.  I had forgotten about this fellow's terrible crimes.

Next: Jason Brown

Back in April I made the following observation, in response to Teancum's accusation that the "extremism and violence" has "followed the Mormon tradition from the beginning":

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Yea it is not worth my time. If you want to turn a blind eye to the extremism and violence that has followed the Mormon tradition from the beginning ok by me. 

I think there is a substantial distinction between "turn{ing} a blind eye to" and "declining to accept a highly questionable and unproven and risible thesis."

Nobody is disputing the existence of people like the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, Josh Powell, Chad and Lori Daybell, Mark Hofmann, Jason Derek Brown, Arthur Gary Bishop, Ted Bundy, Glenn Helzer, Brian David Mitchell, and so on.  There is no society or community on the planet that is bereft of individuals who violate its basic moral and behavioral standards.

The question, really, is whether there is a coherent and cognizable causal link between the doctrines and practices and policies of the Church and the misconduct of the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, etc.  I submit that there is not.  The data referenced in the OP (from the Deseret News article) seems to indicate that the cumulative effect of people living according to the doctrines and practices of the Church is overwhelmingly good and positive for the community at large.  We have emphases on honesty, hard work, education, service, healthy living, sexual ethics, and so on.  These things in practice make the world a better place.

The Grunge article is apparently okay with imputing/implying a causal link between the Church's teachings and the murderous proclivities of some of its members.  I addressed this point previously with Teancum, who made the following characterizations:

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Mormonism and Latter-day Saints have a common heritage and a 200 year culture that contributes both in a positive way to what Latter-day Saints are and negative ways as well.  I do agree that the Lafferty's are not representative of what by far the majority of Latter-day Saint are.  But there are components of LDS history, doctrine, teaching, speculation, culture and so on that can lead to such off beat tragedies.  This is also true of other religions as well.

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I think there is plenty of evidence so support that Mormonism and its dogma has led to its fair share of crazies. 

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Well as noted Mormonism in all its flavors (the Brigham Young Sect is not the only flavor) has generated plenty of crazies'. The evidence is there. 

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Mormon history, meaning any that are under the Mormon umbrella is replete with violent events. From Mountain Meadows to the Allreds, the Laffertys, The Daybells, and Warren Jeffs.  I would toss Brigham Young into the pot as well.  You know that blood atonement thing.

Teancum later said that his use here of the word "replete" was "probably a poor word choice."

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...

I think it is pretty clear that some of the teachings of Mormonism in all its falcors play well into some who think God is talking to then ending up with violent actions. I think there are plenty of examples.  No need for mental illness at all.

I responded to Teancum further:

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But if you think the some of teachings of the church are not in part a motivation for the Lafferty's then where did they get their ideas from?: 

Virtually every good and virtuous thing can be distorted and twisted and misappropriated to inappopriate, or even evil, ends.

Doctors advocate that we moderate our caloric intake and exercise regularly.  There are some people who then take these things to extreme and unreasonable ends.  A woman may become anorexic.  A man may take steroids to boost his exercise regimen.  And so on.

By your reckoning, then, medical advice about moderate caloric intake and regular exercise contributes to anorexia and steroid abuse.  "Where did they get their ideas from?" and all that.

Again: We aren't the first ones to deal with people taking a correct precept and "going down the rabbit trail of extreme behavior."  As Paul said in Romans 10:

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1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

An individual can take a single element or principle of the Restored Gospel, decontextualize it, distort it, and then misuse it to commit terrible wrongs.  That is not an indictment of the element or principle, however.

And here:

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Blood atonement and the temple penalties certainly did play into Brenda Lafferty's death.

In the same way anorexia and bulimia play a part in following medical advice about moderating caloric intake.

In the same way taking steroids plays a part in following medical advice about physical exercise.

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Your analogy is weak and foolish.

Your continued refusal to differentiate between A) a sound principle and B) a gross distortion and misapplication of that principle is even more so.

But when it comes to casting blame on the Church for the murder of a woman and her baby . . . any port in a storm, I guess.

He responded:

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And you continue to distort and twist and be dishonest about what I have said. I blame the Lafferty's.  I just point out that there are teachings in the BROAD UMBRELLA OF MORMONISM that they and others can and have taken to extremes.  Your dogged denial of this and misrepresentation of what I have tried to say is tiresome.

Anyway, thoughts?

I think Teancum's comments are, in the end, unable to formulate a coherent and cognizable causal link between the doctrines and practices and policies of the Church and the misconduct of the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, etc.  I nevertheless think that is what he is trying to do, and what the Grunge article is trying to do.

I think Teancum's strongest point is here:

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Your continued refusal to differentiate between A) a sound principle and B) a gross distortion and misapplication of that principle is even more so.

By the way the temple oaths and penalties are not sound principles in any way.  So it was not distortion or misapplication of a sound principle. It was the carrying of a bad principle to its extreme.

But even here, I think the thesis does not really hold.  See, e.g., this article from FAIR:

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Question: Was there an oath in a former version of the Mormon temple endowment that required vengeance upon the government of the United States?

It is likely that there was an oath that asked members to pray that God would avenge the blood of the prophets

Until 1927 the temple endowment very likely contained such an oath. The exact wording is not entirely clear, but it appears that it did not call on the Saints themselves to take vengeance on the United States, but that they would continue to pray that God himself might avenge the blood of the prophets.

Although the Oath of Vengeance contains no curses like those in the imprecatory psalms, like the psalmists, the Saints apparently had the wisdom to take directly to God their strong feelings in response to the injustices they had been dealt. By doing so, they turned over to Him the responsibility for both justice and healing.

In nearly every anti-Mormon discussion of the temple, critics raise the issue of the "oath of vengeance" that existed during the 19th century and very early 20th century. These critics often misstate the nature of the oath and try to use its presence in the early temple endowment as evidence that the LDS temple ceremonies are ungodly, violent, and immoral.

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Recent generations of Latter-day Saints, who haven't experienced mob violence, may be surprised at or uncomfortable with such oaths

Recent generations of Latter-day Saints, who haven't experienced mob violence, kidnapping attempts, and death threats, may be surprised at or uncomfortable with the feelings of many earlier saints who were praying for justice instead of praying for their enemies. But we live in kinder, gentler times; and nineteenth-century Mormons—especially those who came out of Nauvoo—saw the hand of God whenever their persecutors suffered misfortune, a feeling common to most powerless, persecuted minority groups.

After Joseph Smith's death, his closest friends continued to meet after his death.[4] This group met to test revelation ("try all things"), pray for the healing of sick members, pray for the success of church projects, and pray for deliverance from their enemies. Heber C. Kimball recalled that after Joseph's death the prayer circle met and prayed for God's vengeance.[5]

Summarizing Willard Richards' activities immediately after the martyrdom, historian Claire Noall wrote:

True, in this [1850] speech Richards finally denounced the actual murderers; but when notifying the Church of Joseph Smith's death at Carthage jail, he wrote to Nauvoo that the people of Carthage expected the Mormons to rise, but he had "promised them no." The next day from the steps of the Prophet's home, he reminded his people that he had pledged his word and his honor for their peaceful conduct. And when writing the news of Smith's death to Brigham Young then near Boston, Willard Richards said the blood of martyrs does not cry from the ground for vengeance; vengeance is the Lord's.[6]

Temple work in general and, more specifically, prayers that God, rather than Mormon members, would avenge Joseph Smith is what was the salvation of the church in Nauvoo. Instead of giving vent to passionate desires for revenge using the impressively-sized Nauvoo Legion, the brethren were able to get members to channel their frustration and anger into petitions to the Almighty for justice. Their actual energy was concentrated on the things of heaven through temple building and service. Temple prayer became a way of ritually memorializing Joseph Smith's martyrdom.

Conflict in Utah: To pray the Father to avenge the blood of the prophets and righteous men that has been shed

After the exodus to Utah, ordinances usually reserved for the temple were performed in the Endowment House, while temple construction was in progress. In a late recollection, David H. Cannon described the instruction at the Endowment House in regards to vengeance:

To pray the Father to avenge the blood of the prophets and righteous men that has been shed, etc. In the endowment house this was given but as persons went there only once, it was not so strongly impressed upon their minds, but in the setting in order [of] the endowments for the dead it was given as it is written in 9 Chapter of Revelations [sic] and in that language we importune our Father, not that we may, but that He, our Father, will avenge the blood of martyrs shed for the testimony of Jesus.[7]

Although the religious stress was on letting God perform the actual vengeance, individuals sometimes imagined they might be called upon to take a more active role. This phenomenon reached a low point after the rhetorical hyperbole of Mormon Reformation[8] and the war time hysteria created by President James Buchanan sending troops against Utah. From the pulpit, many Church leaders held the United States as a nation responsible for letting mobocracy get out of control. As tensions mounted, vengeance motifs surfaced in the apocalyptic language of some patriarchal blessings. The Saints were prepared to fight in a just war.

While the Utah War was nearly a bloodless conflict, tragedy struck some caught in the crossfire. A recent work has examined the way conspiring, local Mormon leaders manipulated others to become complicit in the Mountain Meadows Massacre in part by exploiting their desires for vengeance.[9] However, in their approach to explain how basically good people could commit such an atrocity, the authors found elements in common with vigilantism and mass killings perpetrated everywhere. They agree that these southern Utah Mormons were acting against the principles of their religion.[10] Their oaths of taught them to channel their righteous indignation into petitioning God for justice while they worked constructively to build and defend Zion.

The Reed Smoot Hearings brought to light that the Saints were covenanting to ask God to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on the nation

Most accounts of the temple oath of vengeance stressed that God, rather than man, would do the actual punishing. For example, August Lundstrom, an apostate Mormon, testified at the Reed Smoot hearings in December 1904:

Mr. [Robert W.] Tayler [counsel for the protestants]: Can you give us the obligation of retribution?
Mr. Lundstrom: I can.
Mr. Tayler: You may give that.
Mr. Lundstrom: "We and each of us solemnly covenant and promise that we shall ask God to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith upon this nation." There is something more added, but that is all I can remember verbatim. That is the essential part.
Mr. Tayler: What was there left of it? What else?
Mr. Lundstrom: It was in regard to teaching our children and children's children to the last generation to the same effect.[11]

One could object that Lundstrom, as an apostate, fabricated the existence of such an oath or, intentionally or unintentionally, distorted its wording. However, others who spoke publicly (such as David H. Cannon above) had similar recollections.

Biblical Perspective: justice is a responsibility reserved for God

The Oath of Vengeance is a vivid reminder that the Saints understood the writings of the Apostle Paul -- that justice is a responsibility reserved for God.

Romans 12:19

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Smith was hanged in 1844

I was not aware of this.  I'd always bought into the traditional church narrative where Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot by a mob at Carthage jail.  The church must have been hiding the part of it's history where "Smith was hanged."

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26 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Boy, lots of negative news coverage for the Church these days.  Even when the Church doesn't mess up, there seem to be ways to cast the Church in a terrible light.  The last few weeks we have seen the BYU-Duke Volleyball mess, in which the reputation and character of BYU (and, to an extent, the Church and its members) took some major hits.  

This week's theme: Notorious Mormon Murderers

"Their history has been a violent one from the beginning."

I believe this is a reference to Parley P. Pratt.

This is a reference to John D. Lee.

Welp.  Can't get much more obvious than that.

The first "notorious Mormon murderer" listed is serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.  Interestingly, his Wikipedia entry includes no reference to the Church.  This 2013 Trib article states that "Franklin said he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1974, at age 24, while living in Atlanta," that "he liked the faith's strict stance on fornication and its prohibitions on smoking, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea," that "{h}e already had been baptized twice by other faiths — the Baptists and the Church of Christ — and, according to biographer Mel Ayton, had dabbled in numerous other religions and psychic practices including numerology {before trying Mormonism}," that he "first traveled to Utah in 1975 to check out his new faith's hometown," but that he "didn't like some of what he saw" because he "'couldn't help but notice all the miscegenation going on there,'" and that "{h}is enthusiasm for the LDS Church faded and within a few years Franklin said he became disillusioned with 'their attitude on race.'"

The article also notes that Franklin's raging racial hatred arose from his "association with the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi Party and National States Rights Party," that "he became enamored with Nazism as a teenager after learning his mother's relatives, who lived in Germany during World War II, had been party supporters; he stole a copy of 'Mein Kampf' and read it repeatedly."  

The article also states that "{a} spokesman said the LDS Church does not verify individuals' membership status."

In sum, Franklin was only briefly a member of the Church (one of many religions in which he "dabbled"), and he quickly grew to dislike it because of its "attitude on race" not comporting with his own animosities.

Next up: Ron and Dan Lafferty.  We all know quite a bit about these two.

Next, Ervil LeBaron, who was never a member of the Church.

Next, Glenn Helzer.  This fellow grew up in the Church, served a mission, married, divorced, and was excommunicated in 1998.  And then:

How any of the above is attributable to the Church is difficult to ascertain.

Next: Porter Rockwell.

Next: Jodi Arias.  

Next: Mark Hofmann

Next: Mark Hacking

Next: Arthur Gary Bishop

Next: Ronald Lee Haskell.  I had forgotten about this fellow's terrible crimes.

Next: Jason Brown

Back in April I made the following observation, in response to Teancum's accusation that the "extremism and violence" has "followed the Mormon tradition from the beginning":

The Grunge article is apparently okay with imputing/implying a causal link between the Church's teachings and the murderous proclivities of some of its members.  I addressed this point previously with Teancum, who made the following characterizations:

Teancum later said that his use here of the word "replete" was "probably a poor word choice."

I responded to Teancum further:

And here:

He responded:

Anyway, thoughts?

I think Teancum's comments are, in the end, unable to formulate a coherent and cognizable causal link between the doctrines and practices and policies of the Church and the misconduct of the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, etc.  I nevertheless think that is what he is trying to do, and what the Grunge article is trying to do.

I think Teancum's strongest point is here:

But even here, I think the thesis does not really hold.  See, e.g., this article from FAIR:

Thanks,

-Smac

It would be most interesting and enlightening to learn what the percentages of murderers are, on a per capita basis, in each religion? For instance, are there more murderers found as a percentage in the Catholic Church when compared to the Latter-Day Saints? How about Baptist murderers as a percentage, is it higher when compared to the Latter-Day Saints? And what about the percentages of psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists, do the Latter-Day Saints produce less of those as a percentage? And I must say that the list of the above notorious Latter-Day Saint member murderers appears to be quite small when compared to the cumulative number of members since 1830.

Edited by teddyaware
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10 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

I was not aware of this.  I'd always bought into the traditional church narrative where Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot by a mob at Carthage jail.  The church must have been hiding the part of it's history where "Smith was hanged."

Great research by a "Grunge" journalist.  😜

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*shrug*.

Humans divide themselves into groups.  A town, a faith, an extended family, a club, a political persuasion, a zip code, a county, fans of certain musical genres, sexual preference.  

In any group of 50 or more humans, you'll find a tiny fraction of that group are baddies.  Evil.  Willing to hurt or kill you for what you have.  Violent psycopaths.  Rapists.  What have you.

 

You wanna impress me with your church critical stuff?  Show me the ratio of LDS murderers compared to the next demographic over, and demonstrate that we've got more baddies than them.  Then I'll give a crap.

In fact, I'll issue a bold claim: LDS folk have fewer murderers/rapists/abusers/evil folk per capita, at any particular slice in history, than most other groupings of humans at the same slice of history.  Please prove me wrong. 

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
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2 hours ago, ksfisher said:

I was not aware of this.  I'd always bought into the traditional church narrative where Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot by a mob at Carthage jail.  The church must have been hiding the part of it's history where "Smith was hanged."

I've been lied to - I'm leaving the church!!  😛

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On 9/13/2022 at 11:40 AM, smac97 said:

that he "first traveled to Utah in 1975 to check out his new faith's hometown," but that he "didn't like some of what he saw" because he "'couldn't help but notice all the miscegenation going on there,'" and that "{h}is enthusiasm for the LDS Church faded and within a few years Franklin said he became disillusioned with 'their attitude on race.'"

All the miscegenation going on in 1970s Utah?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!

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On 9/13/2022 at 10:52 AM, ksfisher said:

I was not aware of this.  I'd always bought into the traditional church narrative where Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot by a mob at Carthage jail.  The church must have been hiding the part of it's history where "Smith was hanged."

It’s a sloppy and I’ll-informed rendition, to be sure. But I can guess where it came from. The murder of Joseph and Hyrum in some accounts is referred to as a “lynching.” We commonly think of lynching as hanging, but in a broader sense, it can refer to any illegal infliction of death by vigilante oppressors. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It’s a sloppy and I’ll-informed rendition, to be sure. But I can guess where it came from. The murder of Joseph and Hyrum in some accounts is referred to as a “lynching.” We commonly think of lynching as hanging, but in a broader sense, it can refer to any illegal infliction of death by vigilante oppressors. 

I saw it described as a lynching in a grade 8 history text for my son 30 odd years ago and was shocked they got it so wrong until I looked up the word just to be sure and it was defined as an extrajudicial execution by mob.  I thought to myself someone is going to get the wrong idea.   As soon as I read the hanging comment, I thought of that. It is the first time I have seen that; it’s nice to be proven right, even 3 decades later, lol. 

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57 minutes ago, Calm said:

I saw it described as a lynching in a grade 8 history text for my son 30 odd years ago and was shocked they got it so wrong until I looked up the word just to be sure and it was defined as an extrajudicial execution by mob.  I thought to myself someone is going to get the wrong idea.   As soon as I read the hanging comment, I thought of that. It is the first time I have seen that; it’s nice to be proven right, even 3 decades later, lol. 

I saw it characterized with that word many years ago in a college American history text. I think it may have been the first time I was clued in that lynching doesn’t necessarily mean hanging. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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On 9/13/2022 at 10:40 AM, smac97 said:

Boy, lots of negative news coverage for the Church these days.  Even when the Church doesn't mess up, there seem to be ways to cast the Church in a terrible light.

The onion also just published this piece:

https://www.theonion.com/mormon-argues-his-faith-has-just-as-much-legitimate-sex-1849498587/amp

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One correction and several points - All the Lebaron children (of Alma Dayer Sr. ) were members of the church including Ervil and Joel. I have photos of both of them on their mission in south central Mexico. Five of the boys were excommunicated in 1944. Most were graduates of the Juarez Stake Academy where they were by and large outstanding students and student-athletes (both the boys and the girls). Alma Dayer Sr. lived in Colonia Juarez on two separate occasions for decades. Prior to his excommunication he was a valuable member of the colonies. Afterwards, it was a bit more awkward, but they continued to live in CJ and Pacheco for almost twenty years after they (the parents) were excommunicated. The family bought land for a ranch south of here in Galeana District in the forties. That ranch became the town of Lebaron.

It is not widely known that Roulon Allred, the prophet and president of the Apostolic United Brethren (one of the largest Fundamentalist groups) was born in the colonies. He was killed in 1977 (I think it was) his office in SLC by two of Ervil's wives. His grandpa Byron Harvey Allred Sr. was a branch president and highly regarded here in Colonia Guadalupe. His grandma Phoebe was a nursing graduate of the Brigham Young Institute and served the medical needs of the colonies for years, including ministering to the wives of Apostle George Teasdale. Later, his father Byron Harvey Allred Jr. held many callings in Idaho and Wyoming, even while living a polygamous lifestyle there for many years. Byron Harvey Allred Sr. was the first to die from the exodus in 1912. He got off the train in El Paso, had a heart attack and died. He is buried in El Paso as was Apostle A.O. Woodruff after dying of an infectious disease he caught while in Mexico. One of his wives died here in CJ. I hope that helps. I have more thoughts on violence by members of the LDS church, but that will have to wait until later.

Edited by Navidad
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/13/2022 at 10:40 AM, smac97 said:

Back in April I made the following observation, in response to Teancum's accusation that the "extremism and violence" has "followed the Mormon tradition from the beginning":

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Yea it is not worth my time. If you want to turn a blind eye to the extremism and violence that has followed the Mormon tradition from the beginning ok by me. 

I think there is a substantial distinction between "turn{ing} a blind eye to" and "declining to accept a highly questionable and unproven and risible thesis."

Nobody is disputing the existence of people like the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, Josh Powell, Chad and Lori Daybell, Mark Hofmann, Jason Derek Brown, Arthur Gary Bishop, Ted Bundy, Glenn Helzer, Brian David Mitchell, and so on.  There is no society or community on the planet that is bereft of individuals who violate its basic moral and behavioral standards.

The question, really, is whether there is a coherent and cognizable causal link between the doctrines and practices and policies of the Church and the misconduct of the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, etc.  I submit that there is not.  The data referenced in the OP (from the Deseret News article) seems to indicate that the cumulative effect of people living according to the doctrines and practices of the Church is overwhelmingly good and positive for the community at large.  We have emphases on honesty, hard work, education, service, healthy living, sexual ethics, and so on.  These things in practice make the world a better place.

The Grunge article is apparently okay with imputing/implying a causal link between the Church's teachings and the murderous proclivities of some of its members.  I addressed this point previously with Teancum, who made the following characterizations:

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Mormonism and Latter-day Saints have a common heritage and a 200 year culture that contributes both in a positive way to what Latter-day Saints are and negative ways as well.  I do agree that the Lafferty's are not representative of what by far the majority of Latter-day Saint are.  But there are components of LDS history, doctrine, teaching, speculation, culture and so on that can lead to such off beat tragedies.  This is also true of other religions as well.

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I think there is plenty of evidence so support that Mormonism and its dogma has led to its fair share of crazies. 

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Well as noted Mormonism in all its flavors (the Brigham Young Sect is not the only flavor) has generated plenty of crazies'. The evidence is there. 

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Mormon history, meaning any that are under the Mormon umbrella is replete with violent events. From Mountain Meadows to the Allreds, the Laffertys, The Daybells, and Warren Jeffs.  I would toss Brigham Young into the pot as well.  You know that blood atonement thing.

Teancum later said that his use here of the word "replete" was "probably a poor word choice."

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I think it is pretty clear that some of the teachings of Mormonism in all its falcors play well into some who think God is talking to then ending up with violent actions. I think there are plenty of examples.  No need for mental illness at all.

I responded to Teancum further:

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But if you think the some of teachings of the church are not in part a motivation for the Lafferty's then where did they get their ideas from?: 

Virtually every good and virtuous thing can be distorted and twisted and misappropriated to inappopriate, or even evil, ends.

Doctors advocate that we moderate our caloric intake and exercise regularly.  There are some people who then take these things to extreme and unreasonable ends.  A woman may become anorexic.  A man may take steroids to boost his exercise regimen.  And so on.

By your reckoning, then, medical advice about moderate caloric intake and regular exercise contributes to anorexia and steroid abuse.  "Where did they get their ideas from?" and all that.

Again: We aren't the first ones to deal with people taking a correct precept and "going down the rabbit trail of extreme behavior."  As Paul said in Romans 10:

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1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

An individual can take a single element or principle of the Restored Gospel, decontextualize it, distort it, and then misuse it to commit terrible wrongs.  That is not an indictment of the element or principle, however.

And here:

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Blood atonement and the temple penalties certainly did play into Brenda Lafferty's death.

In the same way anorexia and bulimia play a part in following medical advice about moderating caloric intake.

In the same way taking steroids plays a part in following medical advice about physical exercise.

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Your analogy is weak and foolish.

Your continued refusal to differentiate between A) a sound principle and B) a gross distortion and misapplication of that principle is even more so.

But when it comes to casting blame on the Church for the murder of a woman and her baby . . . any port in a storm, I guess.

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I think Teancum's comments are, in the end, unable to formulate a coherent and cognizable causal link between the doctrines and practices and policies of the Church and the misconduct of the Laffertys, Mark Hacking, etc.  I nevertheless think that is what he is trying to do, and what the Grunge article is trying to do.

This thread came to mind just now as I cam across this article: Netflix Hit with Woke Backlash for Giving Jeffrey Dahmer Series ‘LGBTQ’ Label

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The streaming giant Netflix has been getting roasted on social media for giving the new series about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer an “LGBTQ” label.

Dropped on Netflix last week, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has been a lightning rod for controversy since day one, sparking arguments on whether the Ryan Murphy-helmed series exploits Dahmer’s gruesome murders or tastefully explores the mind of an unflinching monster. Over the weekend, a new controversy erupted when LGBTQ+ viewers noticed that Netflix had used their alphabet moniker to tag the film. Since Jeffrey Dahmer almost exclusively had sex with men and picked up most of his victims from gay nightclubs, the label appeared to have some merit, but viewers disagreed, charging that Netflix perpetuated harmful stereotypes. Per Pink News:

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A TikTok user posted a clip of the series as it appeared on Netflix with the tags ‘Ominous’, ‘Psychological’, ‘Horror’ and ‘LGBTQ’. They questioned “why the f**k” Netflix made the decision to tag the series as LGBTQ+ content and said this is “not the representation we’re looking for”.

One person commented on the video saying that Netflix may have done it as it was “something that greatly impacted the LGBTQ community” and wondered if it might be for “educational purposes”.

People on Twitter were equally displeased with the label.

 

Holy s&^t no f&^%ing way they put the lgbt tag on that dahmer s*&t pic.twitter.com/sbzI1ttHQj

— Levi (@Ivel_c) September 21, 2022

 

The family of one of Dahmer’s victims also criticized the show upon its release, saying it retraumatized them. Eric Perry, the cousin of Rita Isbell, who famously raged at Dahmer in the courtroom upon his sentencing for the murder of her brother, said his family was downright “pissed” about the show.
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“I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?” he tweeted.

More here:

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Viewers were shocked and slammed Netflix after the streaming service added the LGBTQ+ tag to its latest hit crime series about Jeffrey Dahmer.
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Many called out the platform – which has since removed the tag – saying they were ‘disgusted’ and ‘shocked’.

‘Why did @netflix think tagging their Jeffery Dahmer documentary with the “LGBT+” tag would be a good idea?’ one person posted to Twitter.

‘Netflix added the Jeffrey Dahmer series to the LGBTQ+ tag. I am gobsmacked,’ another added.

One user posted: ‘They put the new Jeffrey Dahmer movie under the LGBTQ tag and I am disgusted. IT’S NOT AN LGBTQ STORY LIKE WTF.’

I understand and appreciate the foregoing objections to the association of Jeffrey Dahmer to the LGBT community.  I actually addressed this point back in April when we were discussing Under the Banner of Heaven:

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First, from the TribuneOscar winner doesn’t expect Latter-day Saints to love his miniseries about the Lafferty murders 

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Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black does not expect a lot of positive feedback from Latter-day Saints about his miniseries “Under the Banner of Heaven,” because it not only recounts the infamous Lafferty murders in 1984 but ties them to the faith’s history.

“There is no world in which Mormons on the whole are going to embrace this show,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We — and I say ‘we’ because I grew up as a Mormon — are very uncomfortable with other people examining who we are, who we’ve been. Period.”

Right.  Because nothing "examines" who the Latter-day Saints "are" like a big splashy mini-series about the Lafferty Brothers.

By Black's reasoning, gay people "examining who {they} are, who {they've} been" should do so by examining and emphasizing and broadcasting the lives of John Wayne Gacyand Jeffrey Dahmer.  These guys are about as representative of the "gay community" as the Laffertys are of the Latter-day Saints.
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Krakauer’s book, “Under the Banner of Heaven,” came in for no small degree of criticism from the Latter-day Saint community. Cogent arguments were made that much of the violence he plucked from history was the result of violent attacks against church members; that his attempts to tie the Lafferty killings to Mormon history were weak; and that he displayed a disregard — if not actual disdain — for religion in general.

When the book was published in 2003, church-affiliated scholars wrote lengthy critiques of Krakauer’s prose and process. In a typical comment, author Robert L. Millet — now the emeritus dean of religious education at BYU and then the Richard L. Evans professor of religious understanding at BYU — called the book “not only a slap in the face of modern Latter-day Saints but also a misrepresentation of religion in general.”

Black holds the book in high regard.
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Black said there are many things “in Mormonism that are worthy of being protected. Things about Mormonism that I miss — family, community. And at the same time, there are things that I am critical of.”

And Black insisted that he had no vendetta against the church. “This isn’t an attack,” he said. “This is a conversation that’s long overdue.”

Right.  About as overdue as the gay community being "overdue" in conversing about Gacy and Dahmer.

And here:

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I’m always curious as to how outsiders portray my religious culture, so I figured I’d probably check it out. The overwrought reactions of some of the most uber-aggressive apologists before even seeing it tend to increase my interest. 

If members of the gay community were being told by Hollywood bigwigs that they need to "examine" their community by having "conversations" about John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, I don't think you would characterize their negative reactions as "overwrought."

Thanks,

-Smac

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