; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, July 23, 2021

'Mormon Bigfoot' Story: Is This LDS Doctrine?

Does the Mormon Church consider Bigfoot to be the embodiment of the Biblical character Cain? Is this LDS doctrine? I'd like your opinions.

The following narrative was forwarded to me recently:

"I'll preface this by stating I'm not LDS, Christian or religious by any means. These beliefs don't apply to me, but I also don't want to disparage those with whom it may apply. That being said, here's a very shortened telling of Mormon Bigfoot or as I like to call it 'Latter-Day Sasquatch.'

David Patten, an apostle and fundamental element in the founding of the LDS church, had an encounter with North America's most renown cryptid, Bigfoot. But this is no ordinary claim, but one laden with biblical implications.

In the spring of 1835, Patten was on a mission for the church, spreading the word of God and the newly founded church in the fields of Tennessee. Here, Patten is riding when he notices a figure walking astride him. He recounts the encounter in a letter to Abraham Smoot, a future branch president of the church and Mayor of Salt Lake City.

As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me… His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the holy priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight…

As if that wasn't an odd enough an experience, Patten believes Bigfoot to be no other than Cain. Yes, son of Adam and Eve, slayer of brothers and overall bad guy (or really unlucky guy who just wanted some love, depending on how you look at it). The Mormon beliefs are a tad different from other Christian ones, and not all endings we see in the Bible are as such for the Mormons. Some characters return or are mentioned upon in the Book of Mormon, Pearl or Great Price or even in direct communication between God and whatever Prophet is leading the church at any given time. Most religions believe Cain to be dead, even with the curse laid upon him. If not through the flood then by other means, but apparently some of the LDS believe him to be alive and kicking today. It is in this belief that Patten must have made the connection between Cain and Bigfoot. Believing himself to be doing the Lord's work, he believed Satan to throw hardships and beasts at him to slow or stop him. The beast before him must be none other than Cain, marked by God so as to always be known amongst the world (the mark being hairy and 8 feet tall).

Of course, we can easily pick apart this event, at least form the biblical aspect (Why wasn't the flora decaying around the beast, were it Cain? Did he speak Hebrew?), but less easy to disregard is the account itself. Would a man, an apostle of a church in its infancy risk the future of the future and all credibility as an apostle for an old-wives tale? Especially when you take into account that he didn't go about proclaiming in the streets that he encountered a beast and with the power bestowed upon him by the Lord of this new church, was able to rebuke it and send it fleeing. No, it was in a letter to a close friend, something personal.

There's more information, including at least one more encounter between early day Mormons and Bigfoot." PE

NOTE: I've heard several versions of this story before. If any LDS member or someone with knowledge of these account wants to elaborate, feel free to do so.

So, is the creature known as Bigfoot really a religious icon doomed to walk the Earth for his sins? What could possibly doom one man to such a hell?

This theory, from what I've been told, comes according to a 2008 paper by then-Mormon blogger Matt Bowman. He bases his theory on a 1835 letter describing a meeting between David Patten and Cain.

This is further corroborated by a 1919 manuscript which included a reference to an attack by a hairy, talking humanoid described as Cain.

I'm just putting it out there. No disparagement intended. Lon

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