Reason #143: Because Blood Atonement Doesn’t Go Away

The recent decision by a convicted Utah murderer, Ronnie Lee Gardner, to insist on being executed by firing squad because of what he calls “my Mormon heritage” is telling.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune,

“Blood atonement has played a role in books about the 1977 execution of Gary Gilmore, in Jon Krakauer’s look at Mormonism and violence, in discussions of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, even in this year’s finale of HBO’s “Big Love.”
“Just two years ago, defense attorneys for accused murderer Floyd Maestas, who is not LDS, asked prospective jurors if they were familiar with blood atonement and, if so, what it meant to them. The issue never came up at trial, and Maestas was convicted and sentenced to die by lethal injection.
“If the LDS Church doesn’t preach blood atonement and the firing squad is virtually finished, why, then, does the notion linger in public and private conversations across the state and on the screen?
“The answer may lie in history, symbolism and salvation.”

Read the whole article here.

For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today(Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.


  1. Alex Fritz
    Jun 26, 2010

    Can’t find the linked article, just goes to the SLT main website.

  2. admin
    Jun 27, 2010

    You’re right, Alex, and thanks for pointing that out. Link changes often happen with newspapers, but the article currently resides at:

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