Warren Snow, who was a bishop in Manti, already had a few wives but a young woman caught his eye. He had a problem though in that she was already promised to a young man. He told her that it was the Lord’s will that she leave her man and marry him. She respectfully declined his proposal a couple of times. Not willing to take no for an answer, Bishop Snow then approached the man she was promised to, telling him to break off their engagement. Staying true to his love for her, he also told the Bishop that he could not leave her. Snow then met with some of the brethren and decided to call a meeting with the young man to discuss his unwillingness to follow their council. The unthinkable then happened. When the young man arrived, he was taken, beaten, and strapped to a bench. Bishop Snow, himself, took out a bowie-knife and castrated him. His severed parts were then nailed to the schoolhouse for all to see. He was left there, bleeding with no one to help. After struggling for a while, he managed to free himself and crawl to where someone would find him. He was used as an example and warning to all, showing what could happen if they did not obey the leaders of the church. The young woman was later forced to marry Warren Snow.
There is evidence that shows that Brigham Young supported this action…
“In the midsummer of 1857 Brigham Young also expressed approval for an LDS bishop who had castrated a man. In May 1857 Bishop Warren S. Snow's counselor wrote that twenty-four-year-old Thomas Lewis 'has now gone crazy' after being castrated by Bishop Snow for an undisclosed sex crime. When informed of Snow's action, Young said: 'I feel to sustain him...' In July Brigham Young wrote a reassuring letter to the bishop about this castration: 'Just let the matter drop, and say no more about it,' the LDS president advised, 'and it will soon die away among the people.' "(The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Vol. 2, pp. 250-251)
Wilford Woodruff spoke about a meeting he was in with Brigham Young where the topic came up as well.
"I then went into the president office & spent the evening. Bishop Blackburn was present. The subject Came up of some persons leaving Provo who had Apostatized. Some thought that Bishop Blackburn & President Snow was to blame. Brother Joseph Young presented the thing to president Young. But When the Circumstances were told President Brigham Young sustained the Brethren who presided at Provo…
"The subjects of Eunuchs came up…Brigham Said the day would Come when thousands would be made Eunochs in order for them to be saved in the kingdom of God." (Wilford Woodruff's Diary, June 2, 1857, Vol. 5, pp. 54-55)
The idea that prophets knew about and encouraged such things really makes me wonder what kind of men they really were. I see them as greedy, power hungry men, who only looked after the desires of their hearts and cared nothing for the actual will of God or the salvation of those who so willingly followed them.
Many Mormons find peace in the idea that God will never let a prophet lead away the members of the church. My question to them is how many examples do you need before you begin to see that the Mormon prophets have, many times over, lead their followers down paths that only lead away from God? Is this something that the God you believe in would approve of?
I didn’t think so.