John Doyle Lee's final words before his execution March 23, 1877.

John Doyle Lee
Scribed Verbatim

John Doyle Lee, Mormonism Unveiled; or, The Life and Confessions of the late Mormon bishop, John D. Lee (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand & Company 1877), 387-89

Bryan, Brand & Company
William Bishop, John Doyle Lee
Reading Public

I have but little to say this morning. Of course I feel that I am upon the brink of eternity; and the solemnities of eternity should rest upon my mind at the present. I have made out—or have endeavored to do so—a manuscript, abridging the history of my life. This is to be published. In it I have given my views and feelings with regard to these things. I feel resigned to my fate. I feel as calm as a summer morn, and I have done nothing intentionally wrong. My conscience is clear before God and man. I am ready to meet my Redeemer and those that have gone before me, behind the vail. I am not an infidel. I have not denied God and his mercies. I am a strong believer in these things. Most I regret is parting with my family; many of them are unprotected and will be left fatherless. When I speak on these things they touch a tender chord within me. I declare my innocence of ever doing anything designedly wrong in all this affair. I used my utmost endeavors to save those people. I would have given worlds, were they at my command, if I could have averted that calamity, but I could not do it. It went on. It seems I have to be made a victim—a victim must be had, and I am the victim. I am sacrificed to satisfy the feelings—the vindictive feelings, or in other words, am used to gratify parties. I am ready to die. I trust in God. I have no fear. Death has no terror. Not a particle of mercy have I asked of the court, the world, or officials to spare my life. I do not fear death, I shall never go to a worse place than I am now in. I have said to to my family, and I will say it today, that the Government of the United states sacrifices their best friend. That is saying a great deal, but it is true—it is so. I am a true believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not believe everything that is now being taught and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care who hears it. It is my last word—it is so. I believe he is leading the people astray, downward to destruction. But I believe in the gospel that was taught in its purity by Joseph Smith, in former days. I have my reasons for it. I studied to make this man’s will my pleasure for thirty years. See, now, what I have come to this day! I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. I cannot help it. It is my last word—it is so. Evidence have been brought against me which is as false as the hinges of hell, and this evidence was wanted to sacrifice me. Sacrifice a man that has waited upon them, that has wandered and endured with them in the days of adversity, true from the beginnings of the Church! And I am not singled out and am sacrificed in this manner! What confidence can I have in such a man! I have none, and I don’t think my Father in heaven has any. Still, there are thousands of people in this Church that are honorable and good-hearted friends, and some of whom are near to my heart. There is a kind of living, magnetic influence which has come over the people, and I cannot compare it to anything else than the reptile that enamors its prey, till it captivates it, paralyzes it, and rushes it into the jaws of death. I cannot compare it to anything else. It is so, I know it, I am satisfied of it. I regret leaving my family; they are near and dear to me. These are things which touch my sympathy, even when I think of those poor orphaned children. I declare I did nothing designedly wrong in this unfortunate affair. I did everything in my power to save that people, but I am the one that must suffer. Having said this, I feel resigned. I ask the Lord, my God, if my labors are done, to receive my spirit.

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