Brigham Young Beginning the Mormon Reformation via Murder and Extortion - 1856



Instructions by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery,

Great Salt Lake City, September 21, 1856.

(Notes at end of Brigham Young’s sermon)

I have an impulse within me to preach the Gospel of salvation. (1)  I am here by the providence of our God; I have professed to be a teacher of righteousness for many years (2), and to preach the Gospel of salvation which is still within me (3), and I feel to pour it forth upon the people; and I present myself here this morning as a teacher in Israel, as a man having the words of eternal life for the people. (4)

I feel to call upon this congregation to know whether any of them, or whether all of them wish salvation. If they do, I have the Gospel of salvation for them; and I call upon the people to know whether they are the friends of God, or only of themselves individually. I do not know of any better way to get an expression from the people, as to whether they wish the Gospel preached to them, whether they desire to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to obey his counsels, and live to his glory, denying themselves of worldly lusts and of everything that is sensual and contrary to his Gospel, and feel as though they wanted to be Saints of the Most High, than to have the brethren and sisters, those who so wish and desire, manifest it by rising upon their feet. (5) You will observe all who do not rise. [The vast congregation all responded by standing up.]  (6) Take your seats again. You have manifested that you want to be Saints, and I am happy for the privilege of talking to such a people.

When we get the font prepared that is now being built, I will take you into the waters of baptism, if you repent of your sins. If you will covenant to live your religion and be Saints of the Most High, you shall have that privilege, and I will have the honor of baptizing you in that font, or of seeing that it is done. (7)

As for living here, as I have done for a length of time, hid up in the chambers of the Lord, with a people that are full of contention, full of covetousness, full of pride, and full of iniquity, I will not do it. (8) And if the people will not repent, let the sinners and hypocrites look out. I will repent with you and I will try with my might to get the spirit of my calling; and if I have not that spirit now to fullness, I will get more of it, so as to enjoy it to its fullness. And if I should be filled with the power and spirit of the mission that is upon me (9), I shall not spare the wicked (10); I shall be like a flaming sword against them, and so will all those that live their religion (11); it is not to be suffered any longer.

As I told you last Sabbath, if I was not mistaken, my feelings were that this people were preparing themselves, many of them, for apostasy (12); were preparing themselves for the apostasy of their neighbors and their families; their children and their friends were all leading the way of the sinner. I had not then an idea that I was mistaken; I have not now an idea that I am mistaken. (13) I understand these things perfectly well; and if the people are disposed to awake out of their lethargy and walk up to their religion, to their duty, to the highest privilege that ever was or ever can be granted to mortal man upon this earth, which is eternal life, and will do so, then we will be brethren. And if not, the thread must be severed, for I cannot hold men and women in fellowship that serve the devil and themselves, and give no heed to the Almighty; (14) I cannot do it.

This people have been taught a great deal; they have had principle and doctrine fed to them till they are surfeited; and where is the man, the officer, or the community, that understands what has been taught them? There may be one here and there that understands, but generally the eyes of the people are closed upon eternal things, and they seek for that which pleases the eye, (15) that which is in accordance with the lusts of the flesh, that which is full of iniquity, and they care not for the righteousness of our God.

I repeat that, as for those who are disposed to refrain from their evils, to renew their covenants and live their religion, (16) I will have the honor and you the privilege of going forth and renewing your covenants, otherwise there must be a separation. Let those who have been with us ten or fifteen years, who have passed through the sorrowful scenes that Joseph and many others who have gone behind the veil had to wade through, look back and see the hand of God that has led us to a land where we enjoy liberty, where we enjoy all the freedom that ever the city of Enoch enjoyed, until they were more perfectly made acquainted with God. All that we can enjoy more than we do, unless we further acquaint ourselves with our God and become His friends and His associates, will be but very little more than we now possess.

I tell you that this people will not be suffered to walk as they have walked, to do as they have done, to live as they have lived. God will have a reckoning with us ere long, and we must refrain from our evils and turn to the Lord our God, or He will come out in judgment against us. (17) I refer to the doctrine and the teachings that have been laid before this people; and I will say that it would take me weeks and months to tell you what has been already told you. But it passes into your ears and out again, and is no more remembered.

Show me the man who knows enough about his God, and is sufficiently acquainted with the principle of eternal lives to be able to say, "I can handle the gold and the silver, the goods, the chattels, and the possessions of this world, with my heart not more set upon them than it is upon the wind. I know how to use them, to deal out this and to distribute that, and to do all to the glory of my Father in heaven." If there is one in this congregation that knows how to do all this, will you please to rise up? (18) These are things that I have taught you week after week, and year after year, but do you understand them? No. You may say, with shamefacedness, that there is hardly a man in this congregation that can righteously manage even earthly things. Just as quick as you are prospered you are lost to the Lord, you are filled with darkness.

Do you think the angels of the Lord lust after the things that are before them? All heaven is before us, and all this earth, the gold and the silver, all these are at our command, and shall we lust after them? They are all within our reach; they are for the Saints whom God loves, even all who fix their minds upon Him and the interests of His kingdom. Our Father possesses all the riches of eternity, and all those riches are vouchsafed unto us, and yet we lust after them. (19)

I have taught you these things weeks and months ago, and yet there is not a man or woman in this congregation that understands them in their fullness. These are simple principles that should be learned; and although they have been taught you from time to time, yet you have not learned them. (20) And for me to repeat to you what I have taught you, and what my brethren have taught you, would take me weeks.

And notwithstanding all that has been taught, still the people are full of idolatry, the spirit of contention and the spirit of the world are in them, and they are full of the things of the world. (21)

Well, I just say, my brethren and sisters, it cannot be suffered any longer, a separation must take place; you must part with your sins, (22) or the righteous must be separated from the ungodly. I will now give way, and call upon others of the brethren to speak to you. Amen.

Critique Notes of Brigham Young's Sermon Delivered on September 21, 1856 

1)  The Christian Gospel is salvation through sincere belief and trust in Jesus Christ
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 

2)  Biblical righteousness does not involve murder.
“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13 

3)  The Christian Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 

4)  Christian eternal life is based solely on the work of Jesus Christ.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5:39-40 

5)  False teachers will always add to the simple Christian Gospel.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 

6)  Many will follow false teachers who promise them eternal life based on murder.
And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:2 

7)  Baptism is not the Christian Gospel.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 1 Corinthians 1:17 

8)  Mormon sinfulness was only a reflection of Mormon LDS leadership.
By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:3 

9)  Brigham Young was led by a demon not the Holy Spirit of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 

10)  Murder is not a Christian attribute.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 

11)  Brigham Young is suffering eternal damnation now.
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 

12)  Numerous people were murdered for trying to leave Mormonism.
A sermon delivered by Brigham Young on July 5, 1857, just before the start of the Utah War, uses vocabulary that is linked to the firey sermons that preceded the Mormon War of 1838. In the address Young referred to former Mormon persecutors, mobocrats, and the "priests, editors, and politicians" who were then denouncing Mormonism and demanding military action by the United States. Young declared that if these provocateurs came to the Utah Territory, the Mormons would deal with them. He stated that anyone who entered the territory and didn't "behave themselves," including any Mormon who "unlawfully disturbs anyone," would "find a 'Vigilance Committee.'" In addition, Young declared that any such men would find "not only the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horses heels, but the scoundrels will find something biting their heels."[65]  Wikipedia Encyclopedia 

13)  Brigham Young was an apostle of Satan.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44 

14)  Murder is not a Christian attribute.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 1 Peter 4:15 

15)  Brigham Young was guilty of his own accusations.
The Lion House is one of Salt Lake City's most famous and enduring landmarks. A truly elegant mansion, the Lion House is decorated with countless antique pieces from a bygone era. Built in 1856 by Brigham Young, the home derives its name from the stone statue of the reclining lion over the front entrance. Once home to Young and his family, today the Lion House is open social center. 

16)  Living the Mormon religion involved tithing to support Brigham Young.
"And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my People. And after that, those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them for ever, for my Holy Priesthood, saith the Lord." Doctrines and Covenants 119:3-4 

17)  False teachers will use fear to control the lives of people.
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 

18) Brigham Young wanted to profit by being a prophet.
Membership in the United Order was voluntary, although during a period in the 1830s was it was a requirement of continued church membership. Participants would deed (consecrate) all their property to the United Order, which would in turn deed back an "inheritance" (or "stewardship") which allowed members to control the property; private property was not eradicated but was rather a fundamental principle of this system. At the end of each year, any excess that the family produced from their stewardship was voluntarily given back to the Order. If a participant left the church, they forfeited their stewardship and the property reverted back to the church. The Order in each community was operated by the local Bishop. Wikipedia Encyclopedia 

19) Brigham Young enriched himself at the expense of his followers.
For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. Titus 1:7-9 

20)  Tithing was difficult on the western frontier.
Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, the Mormons literally had to make a place to live. They created irrigation systems, laid out farms, built houses, churches and schools. Access to water was crucially important. Almost immediately, Brigham Young set out to identify and claim additional community sites. While it was difficult to find large areas in the Great Basin where water sources were dependable and growing seasons long enough to raise vitally important subsistence crops, satellite communities began to be formed. Wikipedia 

21) Brigham Young wanted the things of this world for himself.
The Beehive House is the older of Brigham Young's two Salt Lake City residences. Designed by temple architect Truman Angell and built in 1854, it stands today as a museum offering tours of what life was like for the Young family back in 1855. 

22) Brigham Young was able to separate money from his followers.
“The law of consecration,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church; such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth.”