Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that Joseph Smith taught the doctrine of blood atonement, but denies the practice of killing apostates.

Joseph Fielding Smith

Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., ed. Bruce R. McConkie (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-56), 1:133-138

Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Jr., Joseph Fielding Smith
Reading Public

TRUE DOCTRINE OF BLOOD ATONEMENT. Just a word or two now, on the subject of blood atonement. What is that doctrine? Unadulterated, if you please, laying aside the pernicious insinuations and lying charges that have so often been made, it is simply this:

Through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Salvation is twofold: General — that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ — and, Individual — that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

But man may commit certain grievous sins — according to his light and knowledge — that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone — so far as in his power lies — for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail.

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ATONEMENT AND SINS UNTO DEATH. Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church. The doctrine was established in the beginning, that "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for man shall not shed the blood of man. For a commandment I give, that every man's brother shall preserve the life of man, for in mine own image have I made man."

This was the law among the Nephites: "Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die."

John says: "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that ye shall pray for it."

UNIVERSAL PRACTICE OF BLOOD ATONEMENT. Every nation since the world began has practiced blood atonement, at least in part, as that doctrine is based upon the scriptures. And men for certain crimes have had to atone as far as they could for their sins wherein they have placed themselves beyond the redeeming power of the blood of Christ.

But that the Church practices "Blood Atonement" on apostates or any others, which is preached by ministers of the "Reorganization" is a damnable falsehood for which the accusers must answer.

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