Deseret Weekly reports on hearing in federal court about the existence of an Oath of Vengeance.

Nov 23, 1889
John Henry Smith
Scribed Verbatim

"'Mormons and Citizenship,'" Deseret Weekly 39 no. 22 (November 23, 1889): 11-15, 18, 20

Deseret Weekly
John Henry Smith, John Moore, E. G. Woolley, Martin D. Wardel, James McGuffie, Joseph Smith, Jr., John Bond
Reading Public

The witness Bond testified—I went through several rooms; in room 5 I took what I call an obligation, named the Aaronic Priesthood, which confined me to obey every doctrine of the Church, especially against the government of the United States. The penalty was that I was to have my throat cut and my tongue torn out. Then I was required to take an oath that I would avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on this nation, and teach my children and my children's children to the latest generation. The penalty was to have my heart and bowels torn out. Another obligation was to obey the Priesthood in all things . . . I took an obligation to avenge the blood of the Prophet on the United States . . . Martin D. Wardell, who was very deaf, testified—in 1863 or 1864 I went through the Endowment House; I went through a second time a year later; I took an oath that we should avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on this nation from the President down; . . . Andrew Gahoon testified . . . [I] got my endowments in 1845 or 1846; I took obligations there—everyone has to; there are oaths administered there; they relate to obeying the Priesthood, and to avenge the blood of the Prophets; this was understood to mean Joseph and Hyrum; the blood was to be avenged on any who were guilty of shedding the blood, or consented to it . . . To Mr. Young—In the obligations to avenge the blood of the Prophets, the idea conveyed was the blood of all the Prophets and especially of Joseph and Hyrum, on all connected with their death or who consented to it . . . [James McGuffie] took an oath that we would obey the Priesthood in all things; we were citizens of the Kingdom of God, and were to be enemies of the government of the United States, because they did not avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum. The penalties were to have our throats cut, and our hearts and bowels torn out. The penalty was death . . . [Chares] GiIlmore—We went through a tedious ceremony, and then went into another room and put on a robe. We took an oath to yield unquestioning and unqualified obedience the priesthood, and to use every means to avenge the blood of the matrys on the American nation . . . [Apostle John Henry said that] In the Endowment ceremonies there is no covenant, vow, oath, or agreement by which a man's arm is to be made strong to avenge the blood of Joseph or Hyrum Smith on this nation or any other. The "Mormons" believe in anointing with oil for sickness, and is a habit with them. In all anointings we pray to God to bless the person anointed . . . Judge E.G. Woolley testified—I am 44; am a Mormon; was born in the Church; received my Endowments about twenty-four years ago. I never took an oath, obligation or vow to avenge the blood of the prophets on the United States or its people.

BHR Staff Commentary

The background of this hearing is provided in the opening of this article: "Judge Anderson called up the application of John Moore, for naturalization, which had been objected to because he had been through the Endowment House, it being alleged that all who received the Endowment ceremony took an oath that is incompatible with the duties of a citizen."

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