Do you know that individuals like the ‘American Jesus’ are historically rare to find in the world? Brigham Young is a man who led many into proclaiming the ‘good news’ of the Lord God of Israel. He led a band of men stripped of their worldly possessions into territories unknown. He had neither financial nor political backing but he was successful in establishing an industrious as well as an organized society. The only authority that he had was priesthood and of course his spiritual power.
He gathered his people like a hen would to its chicks and gave them the sweet bread of life; the Gospel; the word of God (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). Brigham Young is one of the leading historical figures as far as the Mormon Religion is concerned.
His life patterns well with that of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in the Bible in his mission to spread the word of God to every corner of the World. This essay therefore looks at Brigham Young’s life in relation to that of Jesus of Nazareth. Background To get a clear picture of the life patterns of Brigham, it is important to first get an insight of his background.
Brigham Young was born on 1st June of the year 1801 in Whitingham in Vermont. He was the 9th born out of the eleven children that John Young with his wife Abigail Howe were blessed with. The family moved to New York when Brigham was only three years of age. He grew up helping his parents in their daily chores. His caring heart was revealed early when he took care of his ailing mother who had been suffering from tuberculosis. He was perhaps being prepared for his future role to take care of a larger flock. At the age of fourteen, his mother died and his father remarried.
Brigham left from home to stay for sometime with a sister in Auburn. There he became a successful apprentice carpenter, glazier and a painter (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). Later in 1823 he moved to New York where he worked as a carpenter and a painter in Port Byron. At twenty three, he married Miriam Works (though he would later marry multiple wives after her death) and joined the Church of Methodist. After the birth of their first child, they moved to Oswego where he joined a religious seekers group. H e then moved his family near his father at Mendon.
Joseph Smith the then leader of Mormon in his church mission passed by Mendon and left a copy of the Book of Mormons with a brother to Brigham. Brigham got access of the book and after going through it was greatly impressed. Two years later, he was baptized and became a believer of Mormon (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). Following in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth Like Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Brigham had a burning desire to make known the gospel across the world.
During his first summon just one week after he was baptized, Brigham declared that after baptism “I wanted to thunder and roar out the Gospel to the nations. It burned in my bones like fire pent up, so I commenced to preach…. Nothing would satisfy me but to cry abroad in the world, what the Lord was doing in the latter days” Putting into practice his words, thundering and roaring of the gospel he did. Like Jesus leaving his father, Brigham left his family to go ‘abroad’ and establish God’s kingdom (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). Like Jesus, his work in the service of God started in his home town and then spread abroad.
His preaching missions carried him to every corner of Mendon. His dedication as well as his potential qualified him to join the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Mormon Church of Joseph Smith. The Twelve’s duty was to travel far and wide to spread the gospel. They preached to all nations and to people of different kinds. Their stay was not at home but away where the gospel had not reached. Afterwards, The Twelve moved to Great Britain to act as missionaries of the word of God. Brigham had left his family in dire poverty and was determined to reach England or better die in his trying to.
He was ready to die Jesus’ way for a cause which he believed in; spread the Gospel. In Britain, Brigham out of his prowess directed all the works of The Twelve. In the same footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth, he had greatly inspired The Twelve and no wonder they made him their leader and overseer (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). When the Twelve Apostles came back to Nauvoo, Brigham was assigned the role of directing the apostles by Joseph Smith in their missionary work as well as other activities like land purchasing and construction projects.
Playing Jesus, Brigham was now the leader of the Twelve Disciples. He was the assistant of Joseph Smith who was the First president as far as authority and responsibility was concerned. It is thus clear that he took the second position after Joseph Smith which placed him in a similar position with that of Jesus; Jesus was also the second after God. This position made him more influential to not only his disciples but also in the whole of Nauvoo and abroad in general. Even after the death of his Spiritual Father, Joseph died; he remained the leader of the Twelve until his own death in 1877.
They travelled far and wide preaching the Gospel, the work that they had been called to do. Long afterwards, the work that Brigham had started continued. Before he had died, he had organized the leadership of the church of Mormon. He had lived a life by the example of Jesus Christ and fitted perfectly in the footsteps of The Son of God (Arrington, L. & Nibley H. nd). Despite his good work, just like many other Mormonism men, Brigham used his status to take in plural wives. He used his missionary work as a tool to take advantage of vulnerable women.
For instance, his second wife Mary was a window. Just like in Jesus’ time, when many, claiming to be the Son of God and savior took advantage of the poor and sinful, Brigham is not an exception of those who took advantage of the doctrine (Mormon Heteric, 2009). Was Brigham true or a False Prophet? Could Brigham have been a prophet of darkness? The words in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy 13: 1-5 can help clear the confusion between a true and a false prophet. It says that a prophet may foretell things to happen in the future and they shall come to pass.
However, a man may have miraculous powers but not actually a prophet of the Lord. Any of the prophets who encourage the worshiping of other gods apart from the God of Israel is false. Jesus himself in the gospels is quoted warning that “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah’ and they will lead many astray” according to the works of Brigham and in the limelight of these statements, does Brigham qualify as a prophet of God? (Ulachos, 1979). In history, a few poses the character of Young. For a period of thirty years, he gave himself wholly to the service of the Lord.
He claimed to be a prophet in the Church of Mormon. Though he was the chair of the of the Mormon Church who presided the longest, he in fact taught false doctrine that directed its worship to a god who is not the Lord God of Israel. He had given a sermon that God and Jesus had physical bodies made of bone as well as flesh. He concluded that Adam was in fact the God of Israel who should be worshipped. The claim by Brigham that Adam was God makes it clear that he was not a true prophet of the Lord; he was false and uninspired.
Because of his belief, Brigham fell out with his disciples and still many opposed him (Ulachos, 1979). More so, he put it that Jesus Christ was begotten of the father who was their God. Adam was God and therefore, Jesus was his son. Many people did not like his interpretation of the New Testament and they opposed him. However, he managed to draw a group of them to believe that Adam was their God and Jesus his son. They defended him saying that people had misunderstood Young.
If he had made a mistake, he would have corrected himself which he never did. This meant that his mind was right. His preaching of his own interpretation of the gospel from what was written down in the New Testament makes him no exception of a false prophet (Ulachos, 1979). Conclusion Brigham Young’s work in spreading the Gospel of the Lord God of Israel pictures well with that of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
He set out to do what many at the time could not have done and that is why to the present day, he is remembered in the Mormon Doctrine as one who made a great impact to the Church. Through the Gospel works, he rose from a humble background to a man who could sustain and give his twenty families a good life. Some of his teachings leave people wondering whether he was a true prophet of the Lord God as he claimed to be. However over the centuries, it has been an almost impossible task to identify who a false prophet is.
References Arrington, L. & Nibley H. (nd). Brigham Young. Retrieved from http://www. lightplanet. com/mormons/people/brigham_young. html Mormon Heteric. (2009). Economics of polygamy, divorce, and happiness. Retrieved http://www. mormonheretic. org/2009/11/15/economics-of-polygamy-divorce-and-happiness-daynes-part-4/- Ulanchos, C. (1979). Brigham Young’s False Teaching: Adam is God. Retrieved http://www. beyondweird. com/occult/adam. html
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