Brigham Young's Sermon on the United States Being Enemies - 6/6/1858


Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered in the Bowery,

Provo, June 6, 1858.

Reported by J. B. Milner.

(critique notes follows the sermon)

I wish to say a few words before the close of the meeting. You have heard me say, a great many times, and it is the experience of all men who understand wisdom, that the greatest difficulty we have to meet is what may be termed ignorance, or want of understanding in the people. If people would readily understand and practise what they are taught, they would do very well without so much teaching as now seems to be necessary; but when they have not that intelligence which leads and guides to victory in the acts of life, they should be taught to know how to overcome every difficulty and enemy they have to meet. (1) And if people could understand things as they are, there never would be any apostacy - none would fall through lack of faith and good works. (2) In regard to this people's sustaining the First Presidency, they believe that they do; but still there is something beyond which many do not as yet understand: there are instances in which they do not fully sustain the Presidency. It may be asked, "Have not this people voted to sustain the Presidency?" Yes; but do they sustain them in every particular? The great majority sustain them, as far as they understand. The main difficulty is that many do not know how the Presidency should be sustained, through lack of intelligence to rightly discern and classify their acts and reflections. They will sustain, with their prayers, every department of the Priesthood as being teachers of the plan of salvation, but do not understand that there is not an act in the lives of intelligences but what has a tendency to either sustain or oppose - a tendency either for good or evil. (3)

The Government of the United States is Republican in form, and should be in its administration, and requires a man for President who is capable of communicating to the understanding of the people, according to their capacity, information upon all points pertaining to the just administration of the Government. He should understand what administrative policy would be most beneficial to the nation. (4) He should also have the knowledge and disposition to wisely exercise the appointing power, so far as it is constitutionally within his control, and select only good and capable men for office. He should not only carry out the legal and just wishes of his constituents, but should be able to enlighten their understanding and correct their judgment. And all good officers in a truly Republican administration will constantly labour for the security of the rights of all, irrespective of sect or party. (5)

This people would do many things that would tend to death, if they did not listen to correct instructions; for, as yet, they have not wisdom enough to guide them under all circumstances. And although you think that you sustain your Presidency yet many conduct themselves in some things precisely as do the people in the world. They take a course to destroy themselves politically and religiously, and they will destroy themselves; and so would many of you, if you were destitute of counsellors dictated by the Spirit of the Lord to direct in all things, whether relating to religious or political government. We stand upon this platform; still we are in a measure yet like the world. There are some contentions and discords, and some are taking a course which will bring evil upon us. Do they know it? No, they do not: but their ignorance will not prevent the effects. They do not know the consequences of unwise acts; but they will produce evil, whether they understand them or not. (6)

There are those who, it would seem, can never come to understanding: they are apparently stereotyped, never to improve any more, while others have their minds open and constantly learning and increasing in wisdom and understanding. When the people learn to partake of the Spirit which governs this kingdom, and become fully imbued with that Spirit, they will understand the objects, examples, and designs of those who are placed to counsel and direct them. Do you understand that, brethren and sisters? You must enjoy that Spirit, or you cannot walk in the same path with those who are appointed to be your counsellors and teachers. But if you possess that Spirit, instead of taking various by-paths, you will be able to walk in the path that leadeth to life. Who are your leaders? The First Presidency. Who was the master-spirit? Joseph. Who were his leaders? Those who immediately presided over him. If we will live upon the principles which our Government professes to be built upon, we shall follow him, and not make devious paths. (7)

All the acts we perform should be governed by the guidance of the Priesthood. Were that done, you would see blessings result from all the acts of a nation, just as we wish to see in our Republic, and as we would see, if the people of our nation would learn and practise the principles of the Priesthood. The Priesthood does not wait for ignorance: it instructs those who have not wisdom, and are desirous of learning correct principles. But our Government is controlled by ignorance; and thousands who are ignorant of the true principles of correct government are placed in important positions, and every department is more or less governed by ignorance, folly, and weakness. More imbecility has been manifested in the management of public affairs, of late, than ought to be manifested by any government. (8)

Let those called Latter-day Saints so learn wisdom as to carry out the true principles of government, that they may be able to wisely govern and control all things. Do any suppose that we shall ever war against the principles or form of our National Government? We shall not; for we love and cherish them and always have and ever expect to, because they are good and just. It is published from east to west, and from north to south, that the "Mormons" are opposed to the Government of the United States. That is not true, and never was. But many of the officers and people of the United States are too much opposed to their own institutions, and are taking a course to destroy the best form of government instituted by man. They lay the axe at the root of the tree, and it will fall and be as though it had not been. They do not understand the principles which will build them up. Each one strikes out and follows his own way. Do the members thereof know how to sustain their own party? No: they sap the foundation of their own party. (9)

Such is measurably the case with a portion of this people. They wish to be saved - they desire to gain celestial glory; but their own acts sap the foundation of all their desires. This people desire to do right, and the reason why all of them do not is because all do not strive to know how. True principles will abide, while all false principles will fall with those who choose and cleave to them. (10)

The government of this Church is based upon true principles, and the reason people fall out by the way is because of their ignorance - because they do not thoroughly canvass their acts, and wisely ponder the probable results. (11)

Brother Wells has been speaking about many of the brethren's being careless about going north to look after their property. I have reflected upon that, and I conclude that the brethren feel to say, "We have left our property, because the Lord in his wisdom is leading us in a way that requires us to leave our buildings and other improvements; we have cheerfully left them in the line of duty, and we do not particularly desire to go back and guard them. They have passed from our affections, and shall we turn round and cling to them? We do not feel to care how soon the Lord sees fit, in his wisdom, to require us to lay them utterly waste." That feeling proves to me that the affections of this people are not placed upon earthly things; still there is a lack of understanding with some in regard to using them aright. If we have made the sacrifice complete in our feelings, we have been driven far enough; and I can tell the world that all earth and hell will never gain power to drive us out of these mountains, unless it is the will of the Lord, though we may be required to move from place to place. We have to learn that all the elements are eternal, though their varied earthly forms are organized to be dissolved. We must not place our affections upon these things until they are organized for eternity. If we will take that course, we shall be laying up treasures in heaven. Earthly things will be decomposed, and their reorganization will be by the power of the resurrection: then we shall begin to understand the proper use of element. (12)

I hear some say, "Why should we wish to go to Box Elder to guard our property there?" The Lord gave us the ability to obtain what we have; and if our affections are so chastened that we can measurably realize that he gave us the power to accumulate our possessions - that he organized the elements and gave us bodies and life upon the earth - that all blessings are the gift of the Lord, then we have profited by the experience now offered; and now it is our duty to preserve that which the Lord has blessed us with, so far as circumstances will permit, and patiently await the development of future events and requirements. (13)

Some do not understand duties which do not coincide with their natural feelings and affections. Do you comprehend that statement? I have tried to tell you; but I am sometimes at a loss to convey a correct understanding with words. I should have the language of angels to enable me to exactly convey my ideas, and that would require an audience who understand that language. There are duties which are above affection. Our enemies have driven this people from their homes until their affections are no longer placed upon the things of this world, which is more than all other communities can say in truth. No other people can truthfully say that they can handle the things of this world without having their affections placed upon them, even though many of them will endure more or less affliction for their religion. Some will throw themselves under the massive wheels of the car of Juggernaut, and be crushed to pieces, and others will endure all that is possible for their religion, no matter whether it is true or false. There is not so much difficulty in leading persons to death for the religion we profess, as there is in inducing them to live to its pure principles. There is but little trouble in inducing people to sacrifice and suffer for their religion: but who lives for it? If this people do not, no people upon this earth do. And I am happy in being able to say that they have proved that they place less value upon their farms, houses, and other comforts of life than they do upon their religion, and that so many of them try to live their religion day by day. (14) 

If you have superior wisdom in your midst for your guidance, why do you not learn that fact, and permit yourselves to be guided by that wisdom in your business transactions as well as in doctrine? - for there is no dividing between matters spiritual and temporal. There is no act of a Latter-day Saint - no duty required – no time given, exclusive and independent of the Priesthood. Everything is subject to it, whether preaching, business, or any other act pertaining to the proper conduct of this life. It takes the whole man to make a Saint: there are no exceptions in "Mormonism." Learn so to think and direct your acts in every transaction of life, that we may overcome the evil that is sown within us. Overcome the inward enemy; then we can overcome the Devil's kingdom. And while others choose evil principles and build upon a foundation which leads to destruction, let us build upon the principles of eternal salvation, as we have striven to do all the day long. (15)

We are a mystery and a stumbling-block to this generation. One man will say, "What a numbhead that Brigham Young is!" and another that "this people are dupes and fanatics;" and yet no man can controvert, with sound argument, the principles we advance. No society, political or religious, can cope with us in correct principles. In the opinion of some we are the most foolish people in the world, and in that of others we are the wisest. If this people live to the principles they have embraced, they will be capable of counselling the nations; for we build upon a just foundation, and our principles are truth, righteousness, and holiness. Let us stand by those principles until they crush out folly from these valleys, and we become teachers of wisdom to the nations. It would not require a great stretch of mind to teach them now, did duty require it. A man who has wisdom to control one wife and five children can control ten wives and one hundred children; then he can control a town, a city, a state, a nation, a kingdom, or the whole world. (16)

Understand and practise those holy and just principles that reach to the comprehending of all wisdom, until the nations of the earth look to Zion for wise counsel. Whether it be in these mountains or elsewhere, and whether it be within ten years, or fifty years, or in one day, I will do all I can to prepare for the glory of Zion. I would build a good house here, had the opportunity, though I knew I should not enjoy it five minutes. We intend to build a Temple in these mountains, and not act upon the principle of some who have been here ten years without a comfortable dwelling. I want the Elders of Israel to know how to lay the foundation of Zion. (17)

I will now say a few words on business affairs. A road up Provo kanyon is much needed, and we want ten or twenty companies of labourers to go to work upon it forthwith, in order to finish it in about fifteen days, so that you can go into the valleys of the Weber, where there is plenty of timber. I understand that a company has been chartered by the Legislative Assembly to make that road; and if those men will come forward, we will take the responsibility of making it. We shall need about five hundred labourers. I also want a mill-race dug some three-quarters-of-a-mile in length, and an excavation made for the foundation of a grist-mill. When that is done, we will plan something else; for we want every one to have the privilege of being actively engaged in some useful occupation. We want men to labour in every mechanical pursuit that they can; for I believe that the time will come when we shall have to depend upon our own resources; and I pray the Lord to so hedge up the way and shut down the gate, that we may be compelled to depend upon our own manufacturing for the comforts of life. (18)

Last spring I wanted to detect some spirits that I could not make manifest to the people, only in the course I then took. There are those who, when they know that they have liberty to act in a certain manner, do not care about moving in that direction; but if you say that they cannot or shall not, they are then very anxious to do so. That class reminds me of the Frenchman who loaned his money, and upon learning that the borrower was likely to fail, asked him when he could pay him. The answer was, "To-day, if you wish it." "Why, have you got it?" "Yes." "Oh, if you have got it, I do not want it; but if you have not got it, I want it very bad." With the exception of a short time during the late difficulties, all persons have always had the privilege of going away from here when they pleased, and have been repeatedly invited to do so, if they wished to; and a certain class did not avail themselves of the privilege: but when I said that they should not go until I gave them permission, we learned those spirits, and they have gone. (19)

I want the clay well ground and well worked over. I want the pure in heart to receive their blessings, and to be free from the oppressions of the wicked. (20) 

God bless you, brethren and sisters! Amen. (21)


Critique notes of Brigham Young’s sermon delivered on June 6, 1858

1) Godly wisdom does not come from practice but from Jesus Christ.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. Ephesians 1:7-10.

2) Godly wisdom leads people out of a false religion and into relationship.
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23.

3) Brigham Young wanted to be supreme and have the people support him.
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. 3 John 1:9-10.

4) President Buchanan sent the U.S. Army to stop a Mormon rebellion.
Therefore, I, Brigham Young, Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah, in the name of the people or the United States in the Territory of Utah, First - Forbid all armed forces of every description from coming into this Territory, under any pretense whatever. Second - That all the forces in said Territory hold themselves in readi–ness to march at a moment's notice, to repel any and all such invasion. Third - Martial law is hereby declared to exist in this Territory, from and after the publication of this Proclamation; and no person shall be allowed to pass or repass, into or through, or from this Territory without a permit from the proper officer. Given under my hand and seal at Great Salt Lake City, Territory of Utah, this fifteenth day of September, A.D. eighteen hundred and fifty seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the eighty -second. Brigham Young’s declaration of war delivered on 9/15/1857.

5) Brigham Young murdered or discredited people who were not compliant.
Indian agent Garland Hurt had been a constant irritant to LDS authorities, and by late September 1857 the brave doctor knew too much about events at Mountain Meadows. As Lee spoke to the congregation in Provo, members of the Nauvoo Legion moved to capture Hurt. His even-handed policy toward the Utes had won him the respect of the tribe’s leaders. While meeting with chiefs from Uinta Valley on Sunday, September 27, 1857, to discuss establishing a new Indian farm, six Utes suddenly rushed into Hurt’s office. “Friend! Friend!” they called, pointing out the window. “The Mormons will kill you!” Hurt saw some one hundred mounted troops on the road a mile from his office. As he collected his papers, the Utes reported that the militia had blocked Spanish Fork Canyon and were marching to the Indian farm from Springville. Blood of the Prophets, page 179. 

6) This is another of Brigham Young’s numerous veiled death threats.
“And if I should be filled with the power and spirit of the mission that is upon me, I shall not spare the wicked; I shall be like a flaming sword against them, and so will all those that live their religion; it is not to be suffered any longer.” 9/21/1856 BY sermon.

7) The Kingdom of God concerns Jesus Christ not Joseph Smith.
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive.” Acts 28:23-26

8) Overweight Brigham Young who hated the cross was not a Christian.
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:18-21. 

9) Brigham Young was ignorant about the separation of church and state.
The concept of separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion on the one hand and the nation state on the other. The idea was the subject of much discussion over 2000 years. The term "wall of separation" was first used in an informal letter by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a committee of Baptists in Connecticut. Jefferson referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state. The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

10) Brigham Young was ignorant about Christian salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.

11) Brigham Young was ignorant about the simple Christian message.

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. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18.


12) Brigham Young had to swallow his pride and return to Salt Lake City.

But Young grudgingly accepted the pardon, swallowed the president’s terms, and agreed t let the army enter the territory. The soldiers marched through the deserted Mormon capital on June 26, 1858, with the strictest order and discipline, after which the displaced population returned to their homes. Blood of the Prophets, page 206.


13) Brigham Young became fearful of United States law and order.

He retreated to seclusion in the Beehive House, bolting the doors and surrounding the walled mansion with guards. He held few public meetings and never left his compound without bodyguards. Blood of the Prophets, page 206.


14) The United States Army were not enemies but an agent sent by God.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4.


15) Brigham Young never sought for the wisdom that comes from God.

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.

16) Religious fanatics such as Brigham Young rarely preach Jesus Christ.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 1 Corinthians 2:1-3. 

17) Brigham Young had a mistaken notion of Zion being in Utah.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24. 

18) Faithless Brigham Young was focused on the things of this world.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2. 

19) Brigham Young was a ruthless dictator who ordered people murdered.
On the Saturday night following Kane’s arrival, “several persons disguised as Indians entered the house of Henry Jones, and dragged him out of bed with a whore and castrated him by a square & close amputation. Blood of the Prophets, page 199. 

20) Brigham Young wanted Mormons to thrive via murder and extortion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21. 

21) God does not bless murderers and extortioners.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Matthew 5:3-11