Wilford Woodruff in 1889 denies the existence of an oath to avenge Joseph and Hyrum's death in the endowment.

Nov 26, 1889
Wilford Woodruff
Scribed Verbatim

"President Woodruff Speaks," Deseret Evening News, November 26, 1889, 3

Deseret Evening News
Wilford Woodruff
Reading Public

President Woodruff:. . . A good deal is being made of a form of prayer based upon two verses in the sixth chapter of Revelations of St. John in the New Testament. It relates to praying that God might avenge the blood of the prophets. An attempt has been made to connect this with avenging the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It can have no such application, as the endowment was given long before the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and has not been changed. These men were murdered by a local mob disguised. Reporter--Then there is nothing in the cry about blood atonement? President Woodruff: Well, there is this: The foundation of our religious faith is a belief in the atoning blood of Christ, through which the resurrection will be brought about. We believe in the scriptural doctrine, whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; but we also believe that all executions for murder shall be under the law of the land and by its officers only. Reporter: What about the statements made by two or three apostate "Mormon" witnesses to the effect that the Endowment ceremonies involved the death penalty upon those who leave the Church and disobey the Priesthood? President Woodruff: Well, there is no accounting for the bitterness and untruthfulness of some men who have been connected with an organization, especially a religious one, and have turned against it. All their former sweetness turns to vinegar and gall. . . If it were not a serious subject, the position of such men would be amusing, it is so ridiculous. After they have been fighting the Church for from fifteen to twenty-five years, they are living witnesses to the falsity of their own statements. The investigation in progress shows that no such penalty has ever been inflicted. Many ex-"Mormons" are too honorable to make such horrible and unwarranted assertions.

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