[Jedediah M. Grant]
"What disposition ought the people of God to make of covenant breakers . . . What does the Apostle say? He says they are worthy of death. . . .What! do you believe that people would do right, and keep the law of God, by actually putting to death the transgressors? Putting to death transgressors would exibit the law of God, no difference by whom it was done; that is my opinion.
You talk of the doings of different governments, the United States if you please. . . . Do traitors to that government forfeit their lives? . . . But people will look into books of theology, and argue that the people of God have a right to try people for fellowship, but they have no right to try them on property or life. That makes the devil laugh, saying, I have got them on a hook now; . . .
But if the Government of God on earth, and Eternal Priesthood, with the sanction of High Heaven, in the midst of all his people, has passed sentence on certain sins when they appear in a person, has not the people of God a right to carry out that part of his law as well as any other portion of it? It is their right to baptize a sinner to save him, and it is also their right to kill a sinner to save him, when he commits those crimes that can only be atoned for by shedding his blood. If the Lord God forgives sins by baptism, and . . . certain sins cannot be atoned for . . . but by the shedding of the blood of the sinner, query, whether the people of God be overreaching the mark, if they should execute the law . . . We would not kill a man, of course, unless we killed him to save him. . . .
. . . If you shall thus advance, and then turn and trample the holy commandments of God under your feet, and break your sacred and solemn covenants, and become traitors to the people of God, would you not be worthy of death? I think you would.
Do you think it would be any sin to kill me if I were to break my covenants? . . . Do you believe you would kill me if I broke the covenants of God, and you had the Spirit of God? Yes; and the more Spirit of God I had, the more I should strive to save your soul by spilling your blood, when you had committed sin that could not be remitted by baptism."
[[Jedediah M. Grant (2nd Counselor in the First Presidency), Deseret News, July 27, 1854; Mormon Bookshelf: Blood Atonement, http://mormonbookshelf.com/wiki/Blood_Atonement]