The Quotable Brigham Young



The Prophet Brigham Young


Two unrelated but thought-provoking passages from the wonderful Brigham Young, brought to my attention by John Gee’s ever-interesting — and sometimes diabolically amusing — blog:


Many have tried to penetrate to the First Cause of all things; but it would be as easy for an ant to number the grains of sand on the earth. It is not for man, with his limited intelligence, to grasp eternity in this comprehension. This is an eternity of life, from which we were composed by the wisdom and skill of superior Beings. It would be as easy for a gnat to trace the history of man back to his origin as for man to fathom the First Cause of all things, lift the veil of eternity, and reveal the mysteries that have been sought after by philosophers from the beginning. What, then, should be the calling and duty of the children of men? Instead of inquiring after the origin of the Gods–instead of trying to explore the depths of eternities that have been, that are, and that will be,–instead of endeavouring to discover the boundaries of boundless space, let them seek to know the object of their present existence, and how to apply, in the most profitable manner for their mutual good and salvation, the intelligence they possess. Let them seek to know and thoroughly understand things within their reach, and to make themselves well acquainted with the object of their being here, by diligently seeking unto a superior Power for information, and by the careful study of the best books. (Brigham Young, 9 October 1859, JD 7:285).


What is our duty? To promote the kingdom of God on the earth. Every person that confines his thoughts and labours to happifying his own family and immediate friends will come far short of performing the duties devolving upon him. Every sentiment and feeling should be to cleanse the earth from wickedness, to purify the people, sanctify the nations, gather the nations of Israel home, redeem and build up Zion, redeem Jerusalem and gather the Jews there, and establish the reign and kingdom of God on the earth. Let that be the heart’s desire and labour of every individual every moment. (Brigham Young, 12 June 1860, JD 8:294).



Personal encounters with Elder Packer (Part 1)
"State Department, governors guard for threat on July 4"
Of blemishes and deformity
New Testament 193
  • Robert Hall

    I’m curious, do you find contradiction in these passages? I do not, and I assume neither do you. Yet it is interesting how they point in different (or is it the same?) directions, yes?

  • RaymondSwenson

    The first passage is marvelous. It points out that the motive for philosophers and theologians to embrace ex nihilo creation of the material universe, by a God who is utterly not material, is to satisfy the urge to have a Theory of Everything. The essential truth behind the creedal descriptions of God is they they were not created by God FOR God, But rather to make human philosophers happy that they have created a God who satisfies their own criteria as a being worthy of being worshipped by mankind.. All through the Old and New Testaments, even when God as Jesus is speaking, God himself does not care enough about these categories to spell them out to his prophets and apostles. If theologians were writing the Bible, the.creeds would appear at the very first page. But Jehovah and Christ don’t see that as important. Even when Moses asks God how he should describe God to the Israelites, he does not respond with a creedal bio, but with his name, I AM.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    Brigham Young’s first statement seems to ask those of that period to lose their curiosity about the “first cause”. Of course in 1860, people had no understanding of the germ theory of disease or of evolution as Darwin’s “Origin of Species” had yet to be published. People were still extremely superstitious and ignorant as little was known about the forces shaping planet earth and almost nothing was known about the expansive universe. Even as recently as a few decades ago, people believed that the universe was empty beyond our own galaxy. Then came Hubble. Who then could have then imagined that the universe contains billions of galaxies?

    Given the extraordinary tools available to scientists today, and the ability to communicate scientific discoveries to the planet, scientists are of course working to enhance the discovery of our origins. We should be very happy that some people have the burning curiosity of discovery to which they commit their lives and that these rich scientific fields continue to expand and flourish.