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wes

Brigham Young & The Journal Of Discourses

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Here is the complete context of the quote (emphasis mine):

I will now speak upon another subject; one which I have touched upon many times, but which, to this day, is but little understood. I allude to the organization of the spirit and the body, the distinction between the two, and their operations. This subject is not well understood, and generally not much reflected upon, but is one which the Saints have got to learn, if they ever learn the real organization of man. Then they will know and understand the peculiarities of our present organization, and how liable mankind are to submit to its weaknesses, and to the influences of the powers that rule over them.

Were you in possession of this knowledge, you would be more compassionate. As severely as I sometimes talk to you, my soul is full of compassion. It has ever been my study to understand myself, for by so doing I can understand my neighbors.

If this people would apply their minds to wisdom, with regard to themselves, they would be more compassionate than they are now.

From what is at times said here, it might be inferred that every one who did not walk to the line was at once going to be destroyed, but who has

been hurt? Who is about to be killed? Who is about to be taken out of the way? When this people have lived long enough upon the earth, to have the principles of life and salvation disseminated among them, and to have their children taught in those principles, so that they fully know the principles of eternal salvation, then let us or our children turn away from the commandments of God, as some do now, and I could tell you what will be done with them.

Brother Wooley has said, the time is not far distant, but it will never come until the inhabitants of the earth, and especially those who have been gathered together, have a sufficient time to be educated in the celestial law, so that each person may understand for himself. Then if they transgress against the light and knowledge they possess, some will be stoned to death, and "judgment will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." But people will never be taken and sacrificed for their ignorance, when they have had no opportunity to know and understand the truth. Such a proceeding would be contrary to the economy of heaven. But after we receive and understand things as they are, if we then disobey, we may look for the chastening hand of the Almighty.

If we could learn ourselves, we should see thousands and thousands of weaknesses in the people. They turn to the right and to the left, to this and that which is wrong; yet if we did know and see things as they are, we should understand that thousands of those acts are performed in ignorance.

I presume there are people hearing me talk, who would give the riches of the Indies, if they had them in their possession, to be able to obtain the mind and will of God concerning themselves. They would give all they possess on the earth, or expect to possess, were they in possession of keys by which they could know the path to walk in. What are we going to do with this class of persons? I will tell you what I am going to do with them, so far as I am concerned. I am going to give them my faith, confidence, prayers, and full fellowship. And when they get through with this probation, if they have done, all the time, according to the best they knew, God will not hold them responsible for what they did not know, and they will be received, through the merits of the Son, into the kingdom of our Father.

I mention this to inform the people, that they may understand what they should do with regard to the law of God, and the transgression thereof. The law is very strict; and in this congregation there are men and women who, with uplifted hands to heaven, before the Father, the Son, and all the holy angels, made solemn covenants that they never would do thus and so. For example, one obligation is, "I will never have anything to do with any of the daughters of Eve, unless they are given to me of the Lord." Men will call God to witness that they never will transgress this law, and promise to live a virtuous life, so far as intercourse with females is concerned; but what can you see? A year will not pass away before some few of them are guilty of creeping into widows' houses, and into bed with the wives of their brethren, debauching one woman here, and another there. Do we enforce upon them the strict penalty of the law? Not yet. I hope their conduct arises from their ignorance, but let me transgress my covenant, and the case would be different. I want to live as long as I can, on the earth, but I would not like to live to violate my covenants; I would rather go behind the vail before doing so.

A few of the men and women who go into the house of the Lord, and receive their endowments, and in the most sacred manner make covenants before the Almighty, go and violate those covenants. Do I have compassion on them? Yes, I do have mercy on them, for there is something in their organization which they do not understand; and there are but few in this congregation who do understand it.

You say, "That man ought to die for transgressing the law of God." Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. But you who trifle with your covenants, be careful lest in judging you will be judged.

Every man and women has got to have clean hands and a pure heart, to execute judgment, else they had better let the matter alone.

Again, suppose the parties are, not caught in their iniquity, and it passes along unnoticed, shall I have compassion on them? Yes, I will have compassion on them, for transgressions of the nature already named, or for those of any other description. If the Lord so order it that they are not caught in the act of their iniquity, it is pretty good proof that He is willing for them to live; and I say let them live and suffer in the flesh for their sins, for they will have it to do.

There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants. To what degree? Will they have to go to hell? They are in hell enough now. I do not wish them in a greater hell, when their consciences condemn them all the time. Let compassion reign in our bosoms. Try to comprehend how weak we are, how we are organized, how the spirit and the flesh are continually at war.

Bernard

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Pres. Young said he had men come to him and ask to "atone" in this manner. He told them it wasn't necessary. Why? And more importantly, what critic here can find the quote to which I am now referring?

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It seems to me that the only valid response to this is to condemn it as wrong. What's so hard about that?

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I have found the responses uncompelling. There is no context in which Brigham's statement can be justified. He both endorses murder and admits he himself would do it under certain circumstances. His words are vengeful, un-Christlike, and just plain scary. I find it hard to believe that a prophet of God who claims to be representing the true gospel of Christ would ever make such statements.

Try reading the Old Testament.

Also I don't think BY was endorsing murder. I don't think his words were vengeful or un-Christlike.

BY was stating that when you do something like adultery there is a consequence. However as Duncan pointed out he also went on to say that unless we ourselves have clean hands we can not do the judging or condemning. I recall Christ saying the same thing.

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It seems to me that the only valid response to this is to condemn it as wrong. What's so hard about that?

wes:

Unless you are being deliberatly obtuse I don't see how you can not see that BY was making a point of how serious breaking ones covenants with God is. I see nothing in the talk that condones killing. He is stating that it would be better for the covenant breaker to have this happen because they could at least then claim that they had not had the opportunity to repent and that their own blood had been shed.

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Wes,

If you ever meet President Brigham Young then you can ask him for an apology.

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It seems to me that the only valid response to this is to condemn it as wrong. What's so hard about that?

From my perspective I think Brigham's statement was wrong. But I also recognize I am imposing my own perspective onto the past, which makes a difference. Also, in the thread I linked to earlier (the one you implied that you read) I said several things along this line. Such as:

Some sermons obviously, from our standpoint, got out of hand. Some of the preaching likely affected people in bad ways.
I should add I also understand why critics or skeptics can take this quote and run with it.
Again, I don't blame you for taking it and running with it. I see the problems in the rhetoric...It's a shock to read.
I think it was a poor sermon, indeed, from my perspective. I'm not attempting to say "oh, it's ok, everyone, nothing to see here." I'm trying to get and give further insight.

etc.

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After starting a thread titled, "Questions And Investigation Of Mormonism, Why is this so often considered anti-mormon?" it was suggested that I start another one based on the following statement by Brigham Young from the Journal of Discourses:

â??Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and PUT A JAVELIN THROUGH BOTH OF THEM, YOU WOULD BE JUSTIFIED, AND THEY WOULD ATONE FOR THEIR SINS, AND BE RECEIVED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would DO IT WITH CLEAN HANDS... â??There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, YOUR OWN BLOOD MUST ATONE FOR IT;...â? (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247)

Here is a link to the original thread:

http://www.mormonapologetics.org/index.php?showtopic=38693

I am curious as to the context in which this statement was made because it gives me reasonable doubt as to the legitimacy of Mormonism.

Do the events described in Numbers 25--to which Brigham Young was referring--likewise give you reasonable doubt as to the legitimacy of Judeo-Christianity?

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(cough) Troll (cough)

Tell us Wes what you think of the discourse as a whole or are primary sources off-limits to your investigation?

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(cough) Troll (cough)

Tell us Wes what you think of the discourse as a whole or are primary sources off-limits to your investigation?

I am unimpressed with the discourse as a whole and do not see how the portion I quoted can be justified by anything else from it.

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I am unimpressed with the discourse as a whole and do not see how the portion I quoted can be justified by anything else from it.

So did you read it as a whole or did you only read the stuff you wrote us about? Have you read other discourses or just the ones that are on the 'anti' sites? That makes a difference. I bet I could take something Christ wrote and make it sound terrible. It is when you put it all together with every thing else that He said that it makes sense and sounds good.

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I am unimpressed with the discourse as a whole and do not see how the portion I quoted can be justified by anything else from it.

That was a beautifully vague answer. That's the kind of thing I wrote in English class when I hadn't read the assignment.

Okay, what did you think the point of the rest of it was? What was Brigham trying to say?

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That was a beautifully vague answer. That's the kind of thing I wrote in English class when I hadn't read the assignment.

Okay, what did you think the point of the rest of it was? What was Brigham trying to say?

Given that wes keeps hitting the same note in the fugue, but won't elaborate on why, and based upon the characteristics emphasized below, I think it's time.

Beeeeep... :P beeeep... ;) beeeep... :crazy:

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I am unimpressed with the discourse as a whole and do not see how the portion I quoted can be justified by anything else from it.
It has been pointed out to you that he was not advocating murder of any type, but using a Biblical account to illustrate a point. Covenants with the Lord were serious business in the OT and resulted in many killings for breaking them. Brigham Young used this biblical story to illustrate how important covenants still were, and we should keep them or there will be consequences before the Lord. Notice also, that judgement is not given to us but is in the Lord.

I don't see this as any different from the "hellfire and brimstone" sermons that were rampant for the day.

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That was a beautifully vague answer. That's the kind of thing I wrote in English class when I hadn't read the assignment.

Okay, what did you think the point of the rest of it was? What was Brigham trying to say?

It sounds like a big guilt trip to me. What do you think of it?

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Okay, let me give you a hint. The passage in question is in the middle of a portion of the Discourse related to compassion and covenants. The anti sites never quote the paragraph before not the last sentence of the paragraph not the paragraphs following that make it much clearer what Brigham was trying to say and what he was actually teaching.

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I am curious as to the context in which this statement was made

The context can be slightly gained through reading the discourse in its entirety, reading other discourses (not necessarily found within the JoD) given within the same time frame, familiarizing oneself with the history of Brigham's early days back east, and by reading up a bit on the Mormon reformation period. What conclusions can be drawn from that context can only be drawn by you, as any conclusions drawn by myself, or others will most likely be of little interest or benefit (and will most likely be dismissed).

because it gives me reasonable doubt as to the legitimacy of Mormonism.

I donâ??t know that I could completely dismiss the legitimacy of a given paradigm due to a few paragraphs amongst tens of thousands of pages, but if these few statements cause you to have reasonable doubt, then follow your instincts. At worst, youâ??re wrong, and at best, youâ??re right.

Best of luck.

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I am amazed at some of the responses I have received in this thread. I have been accused of many things, none of which are very charitable. Do you really think you are helping the cause of Mormonism by responding to me in this way?

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The context can be slightly gained through reading the discourse in its entirety, reading other discourses (not necessarily found within the JoD) given within the same time frame, familiarizing oneself with the history of Brigham's early days back east, and by reading up a bit on the Mormon reformation period. What conclusions can be drawn from that context can only be drawn by you, as any conclusions drawn by myself, or others will most likely be of little interest or benefit (and will most likely be dismissed).

I donâ??t know that I could completely dismiss the legitimacy of a given paradigm due to a few paragraphs amongst tens of thousands of pages, but if these few statements cause you to have reasonable doubt, then follow your instincts. At worst, youâ??re wrong, and at best, youâ??re right.

Best of luck.

This quote from Brigham is not the only reason I doubt the legitimacy of Mormonism, however, it is definitely one of the more blatantly obvious ones. There are numerous other issues I have.

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It sounds like a big guilt trip to me. What do you think of it?

:P

First he gives counsel to speakers that good ideas shine through a lack of eloquence in speech so the best way to speak well and usefully is to be full of good ideas.

Then there was a strong admonition to Bishops to find out the true state of all their members and know what is going on in their ward. He cites some cases where people were begging for money while hiding their own wealth and says these things ought to be detected. Then he states that begging is not a shameful situation if one is sincerely destitute and that he would gladly associate with any such person if their hearts were right.

The next passage transitions to the people of the world and how they will be judged by the light and knowledge they have from God and that through Christ their ignorant mistakes will be dealt with. He then proceeds to explain that the laws of God are strict and that breaking covenants (he focuses on Chastity) is very serious unless one can honestly plead ignorance (which he doubts the Saints can do). Then he states that many in the congregation say that this means the guilty parties should die. He then gives the quote you reference repeatedly and follows with a stern warning about what he said that one must have "clean hands and a pure heart" in order to execute judgment or they had best leave the matter alone. He again calls for compassion upon sinners and says they are already in hell suffering under the weight of their consciences.

Brigham then switches tacks yet again and discusses the nature of labor versus thought and insists that either done to the excess of the other cripples a person. Thinking with no action dulls a man as much as action without thought. He also adds that our thoughts should lead to actions.

Okay, well the quote looks almost out of place in the discourse. I suspect we could put this whole matter to rest if we had Brigham's tone down when he gave the quote in question. Was he saying it in a tone that suggested that such an action was dangerous before returning to compassion again? It's interesting that the next paragraph states: "Every man and women has got to have clean hands and pure heart, to execute judgment, else they had better leave the matter alone." This kinda reminds me of something a certain rabbi said regarding the judgment of a woman in adultery.

Okay, I've done all your homework for you now. Do you have anything intelligent to add now?

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This quote from Brigham is not the only reason I doubt the legitimacy of Mormonism, however, it is definitely one of the more blatantly obvious ones. There are numerous other issues I have.
Where did you start your investigation of Mormonism? Was it through freinds? family? missionaries? web site? Was it because you heard good things about us? or was it because you heard bad things about us? What exactly got you started on this investigation?

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I am amazed at some of the responses I have received in this thread. I have been accused of many things, none of which are very charitable. Do you really think you are helping the cause of Mormonism by responding to me in this way?

You'll find that when you do uncharitable things you tend to get this kind of response from people. Human Interaction 101.

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Where did you start your investigation of Mormonism? Was it through freinds? family? missionaries? web site? Was it because you heard good things about us? or was it because you heard bad things about us? What exactly got you started on this investigation?

why do you ask?

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You'll find that when you do uncharitable things you tend to get this kind of response from people. Human Interaction 101.

I apologize if I have been uncharitable. Is having doubts about Mormonism based on troubling quotes by Mormon prophets generally considered uncharitable?

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This quote from Brigham is not the only reason I doubt the legitimacy of Mormonism, however, it is definitely one of the more blatantly obvious ones. There are numerous other issues I have.

Although some may not agree, I think itâ??s a doosie. Brigham could be a bit hot headed at times (IMO). One of my favorite stories is when the saints were making their trek West. A bunch of the saints were holding little mock trials in order to pass the time and have a little entertainment (a little note from one such trial that survived orders Porter Rockwell to arrest a Bishop for some flatulence in a meeting). A few days after this particular trial, Brigham reamed the saints and essentially threatened to leave anyone who didnâ??t get back in line right there (almost a kind of â??I swear Iâ??ll turn this wagon train around).

He was a dynamic person who I think often used extreme hyperbole to shock the saints. He loved them (IMO) immensely, and for some reason part of that love was exhibited in extreme (and sometimes a little toxic) sermons and denunciations.

I donâ??t think thereâ??s a way to finagle his statement regarding the javelin in a way that truly justifies it within the context of Mormonism. But, I do think there are ways that justify it in the context of Brigham (if that makes sense).

I tend to believe that Mormonism (like any religion) can be accepted in one of several ways. However, I think thereâ??s only one way that its legitimacy can be completely accepted, and thatâ??s through a spiritual confirmation. Whether such a manifestation is a valid means of determining truth is something you will have to decide. In the end, I imagine its such manifestations that allow individuals who have read the Old Testament to maintain belief in Judaism or Christianity, for without such a manifestation I have no idea how one could hold to the unwavering legitimacy of those faiths.

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