Robert Leroy Parker was born in 1866 in Beaver Utah. His parents came from England with other Saints. While there is no official record that Robert was ever baptized, both his parents were members, so in all likelihood he was baptized. He later changed his name to Butch Cassidy, and took up work not usually associated with being a good Mormon.

Past bad Mormons [1] include Ted Bundy (prolific serial killer); Mark Hoffman (accomplished forger and murderer); Mark Hacking (wife killer) Brian David Mitchell (rapist and kidnapper), and Warren Jeffs (prolific child molester)

To this infamous list we now add Chad and Lori Daybell. While no charges have been filed with respect to the actual killing of the kids (coming this week I would suppose), the Rexburg police have officially released the identities of the two bodies found on their property as the two missing kids.

While the identity of “Mormon” with several of the names above may be incidental, it is still jarring to think “one of our own” could do something so horrible. But, there are bad people of all religions, and I can’t seem to find any study that shows the Mormon faith has any more or less crazies that any other faith.

Mormon’s have such a good reputation in popular society of being hard working, law abiding citizens, that when one does go bad, the news will almost always add that they were a “Sunday school teacher in the Mormon church” or some such reference. When was the last time you saw that with a Baptist, Lutheran or Catholic?

What about when the teachings of the Mormon church can be tied to the hideous crimes these people have been convicted of (or accused in the Daybell case)? I doubt there is any link between Butch Cassidy’s criminal life and his Mormon upbringing, unless we find a long lost diary of his where he waxes poetically about Orrin Porter Rockwell.

The link between the crimes of Mitchel, Jeffs and (alleged) Daybells is much more easy to make. While none of what they did is taught or condoned by any sect of the Mormon legacy, the roots to their craziness can be traced to teachings of the original church. The case could be made for the Daybells that they could have been members of any evangelical end times type church and come up with the same ideas, it just happened they they got them from the Mormon church.

What do you think? Does the Mormon church get called out unfairly for the bad deeds of its members? What past (or current) teaching are ripe to be misinterpreted and lead to criminal activity?

[1] Mormon church is used as any church that traces it origins to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. All the names but one in this post were members of the LDS (Brighamites), Jeffs being a member of a breakaway sect.