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Jeanne

Brigham Young and the Love of God

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Posted (edited)

I came across a post on another board that made me wonder.  Many answers here about the past is somewhat...:"it was the times" or "It was per their only understanding".  But if Brigham Young, a prophet of God, who had seen the love and his own special witnesses to the Prophet Joseph, how could he have misunderstood the very "Love of God"?  His views in race and with women seem to condemn him sometimes.  How is it that he thought so less of black people that he would deprive them of something that perhaps Joseph wanted to do ?  I appreciate any insight to this..because of all the prophets..BY seems to still sting me.  He was wise in some government issues and wise in how to build a city..he was not perfect of course...but he made some huge spaces in between what Joseph sometimes taught..and made it his own.

Edited to add:  I know that many of you will say he was following God's will...or it wasn't time.  But to understand the very love of God should have encompassed so many things..and I feel that my Father may have been somewhat disappointed.

Edited by Jeanne

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11 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

But if Brigham Young, a prophet of God, who had seen the love and his own special witnesses to the Prophet Joseph, how could he have misunderstood the very "Love of God"? 

Huge assumption that he misunderstood God's love.
What makes us so certain that we understand it?

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1 minute ago, bluebell said:

I think it's just an example of how limited our perspective is and how it's really hard not to let bias color our interactions with our Heavenly Father.  We may think that we understand something perfectly, but sometimes it's more likely that we understand something adequately at that point in our lives, but still with inaccuracies.

Also, i think sometimes we may understand that something is, but fail to realize that we don't understand everything about it.  We may understand that God loves us perfectly, for example, but have completely wrong assumptions about what that means and how it manifests.  

Thank you for your reply.  That was the one thing that bothered me was that a bias would contradict what we know in our hearts/prayers.  It does not mean that BY was a bad person...but I think he had many things wrong.  I am thinking that you believe that BY just didn't fully understand.  If this is true..why would God not have changed this teaching/mindset set forth way before the 1970's?  I am sorry...just getting way ahead of myself.  But thank you for your perspective.

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9 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Huge assumption that he misunderstood God's love.
What makes us so certain that we understand it?

You are right..you are.  But if one can't picture God speaking the words that BY said...as a Prophet..it is hard for me.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jeanne said:

You are right..you are.  But if one can't picture God speaking the words that BY said...as a Prophet..it is hard for me.

Does that place the responsibility of reconciliation of those thoughts and feelings on Brigham, on God, or on you?

Many people in the time of Christ, especially the Jews couldn't picture God speaking the words that Christ said.  So many in fact that he was crucified for what he said and did.
The Egyptian priests and Pharaoh couldn't accept the truth of Moses' words.  The 19th century preachers couldn't accept the truth of Joseph Smith's words.

Accepting the words of a prophet of God (when he is speaking as a prophet) is up to the listener to come to terms with.

This comes back to a topic I've raised before on this board - http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/63170-the-god-i-believe-in-wouldnt-do-that/

 

Edited by JLHPROF
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

...how could he have misunderstood the very "Love of God"?

I don't think anyone fully understands the love of God.  For example, was it a misunderstanding of God's love for Christ to withhold the blessings of the gospel from the gentiles for a time?  God's timetable is difficult to understand, but it doesn't diminish his love.   

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Maybe he didn't fully understand, or maybe we don't fully understand.  I think both things are very possible.

I know that Pres. McKay really wanted to end the priesthood ban and prayed about it a lot, but believe that God specifically told him it wasn't time.  These are the moments when i cling to the verses in scripture that remind me that my ways are not God's ways.  

When I hear this about Pres.McKay..I wonder how heartbroken he must have been. Perhaps I don't need to understand BY..but to better understand God  At times, He is so confusing.

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Does that place the responsibility of reconciliation of those thoughts and feelings on Brigham, on God, or on you?

Many people in the time of Christ, especially the Jews couldn't picture God speaking the words that Christ said.  So many in fact that he was crucified for what he said and did.
The Egyptian priests and Pharaoh couldn't accept the truth of Moses' words.  The Romans had issues with The 19th century preachers couldn't accept the truth of Joseph Smith's words.

Accepting the words of a prophet of God (when he is speaking as a prophet) is up to the listener to come to terms with.

This comes back to a topic I've raised before on this board - http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/63170-the-god-i-believe-in-wouldnt-do-that/

 

Your second paragraph speaks to me.  What would be interesting is to know how quickly or if it was difficult at all for Jesus to understand the Father.

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45 minutes ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

It is indeed a difficult issue. I was born into the South, in 1957. During a time of awful segregation and prejudice. Issues that are still very often sounded out of the lips of many whom I know. Even though I grew up in a religious household such horrible language was used by some. I remember once when a Black gentleman new to our area showed up one Sunday to our Chruch. Two deacons got up, and politely gave him the address of the nearest Black Church, my Mother was outraged. To this very day, the Church in which I grew up is and will always remain white, as most Churches in the South and in America still are segregated by choice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Once said, that "11:00 on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week". I never attended a school with anyone other than white people until High School. Every Church I ever attended growing up remain all white. The only Church that I have ever attended and belonged to, with those of any other race was this (The) Mormon Church. In fact here in the sunny South, the two Churches you can be assured to find people of different races meeting together, are the two Churches that all others consider as cults, Mormons and Jehovah's Witness. 

And yet, some of the most outspoken people I knew growing up, and by this I mean most vocal, were instead some of the kindest. I would watch uncles, stop and give money to those of other races. People I would work with who would speak one way when surrounded by those of the same race, and differently around multiracial gatherings would do the same. Give people rides, stop and help with car trouble, give food, give clothing. What I found out about racism growing up was a deep divide between language and behavior. Those who truly hate, hate when no one is looking, hate when people are looking, they hate in their sleep, and hate is the first thing on their minds in the morning. I have known such people, but not very many. Most act or speak according to the social pressures in which they live and worked. Social pressures that in the South could cause you to be fired, beaten, even jailed. Prejudice has never shown any reason, and it is only not knowing one another that can cause prejudice. 

I went to my 40th High School reunion two years ago, and we all marveled and laughed at how silly it was to ever fear or dislike one another. I had difficulties in High School and even after going into the Army, because I never made such distinctions. I just don't do hate very well, there are behaviors I might dislike, but I find it hard to dislike the person. So BY, or any men for that matter are as much a product of their time, as they are their environment. Only God can pull us out of the self imposed darkness, or true darkness in which we find ourselves. But even this process can take time, or even generations, as spelled out time and again from the Garden of Eden, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the gardens of today. It is in these "gardens" or "nurseries", if you will, and the soil thereof that we grow into what God meant us all to be, when born into "Heaven's Sphere". I hope this helps a little? 

Your brother in Jesus Christ

Bill 

Love this Papa...even though we were miles a part..I feel like we have traveled the same roads...you young pup...is there anybody older than me on this board???!!!:P

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2 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

Love this Papa...even though we were miles a part..I feel like we have traveled the same roads...you young pup...is there anybody older than me on this board???!!!:P

A few, that I know of at least. Although if you are as old as you feel, I am near 100. I have been almost bedridden for two weeks now. My brother is in the hospital very, very sick, and I can't even go see him. Doctors fear he could get what I have. 

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3 minutes ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

A few, that I know of at least. Although if you are as old as you feel, I am near 100. I have been almost bedridden for two weeks now. My brother is in the hospital very, very sick, and I can't even go see him. Doctors fear he could get what I have. 

So sorry to hear about your brother..I am sure he knows you are with him in heart.  You take care of you.  It must be aggravating to have to remain in bed..hope that things get better..

I always tell people I am a 105...and don't I look young for my age???:P

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One of the problems that many on this forum have IMHO, is to ascribe their 21st sensibilities and beliefs to those of another place and time. 

This is incorrect on its face, and one needs to do more study of how people thought and acted back in time. 

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18 hours ago, Jeanne said:

I came across a post on another board that made me wonder.  Many answers here about the past is somewhat...:"it was the times" or "It was per their only understanding".  But if Brigham Young, a prophet of God, who had seen the love and his own special witnesses to the Prophet Joseph, how could he have misunderstood the very "Love of God"?  His views in race and with women seem to condemn him sometimes.  How is it that he thought so less of black people that he would deprive them of something that perhaps Joseph wanted to do ?  I appreciate any insight to this..because of all the prophets..BY seems to still sting me.  He was wise in some government issues and wise in how to build a city..he was not perfect of course...but he made some huge spaces in between what Joseph sometimes taught..and made it his own.

Edited to add:  I know that many of you will say he was following God's will...or it wasn't time.  But to understand the very love of God should have encompassed so many things..and I feel that my Father may have been somewhat disappointed.

With Brigham Young, or with anyone else, the stories we chose to generalize from, the standard examples, the frame is important.  What is typical and what is exceptional?  And for ourselves, what about the limits of our own cultural and temporal limitations?

In some ways, Brigham Young is a product of his culture;  On racial issues, this, I think, is essential perspective:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical

And as far as Brigham Young and the love of God, there is quote mining for offense, and broad reading for perspective, and there are the gems of extraordinary perception and inspiration.

For instance, this essay:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1094&index=9

And this experience:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/097-86.pdf

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

With Brigham Young, or with anyone else, the stories we chose to generalize from, the standard examples, the frame is important.  What is typical and what is exceptional?  And for ourselves, what about the limits of our own cultural and temporal limitations?

In some ways, Brigham Young is a product of his culture;  On racial issues, this, I think, is essential perspective:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/curse-ham-race-and-slavery-early-judaism-christianity-and-islam-noahs-curse-biblical

And as far as Brigham Young and the love of God, there is quote mining for offense, and broad reading for perspective, and there are the gems of extraordinary perception and inspiration.

For instance, this essay:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1094&index=9

And this experience:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/097-86.pdf

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

 

 

Thank you.  I do realize that BY was a product of culture..but I can't imagine not feeling that warm God's feeling when he spoke??  To me, there had to be some corrections or understanding that is okay for God to give...That warmth of love for others that you get from God..a Prophet could have even better understood that..or Our Heavenly Father correcdt this particular thing.  I know I am not making sense.  I will try and understand why God does what He does..and does not.  :D  Thank you for the links!!

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16 hours ago, Nevo said:

I have mentioned before on this board that Brigham Young didn't always believe that men of African descent were ineligible to hold the priesthood. He came to that view gradually. And I don't think he instituted the ban because he didn't like black people. I think it arose from his sincere (culturally conditioned) belief that blacks were descendants of Cain—and therefore, he believed, were not eligible to receive the blessings of the priesthood until after all of the descendants of Abel had received theirs. I think he was mistaken in that and I expect he has come to regret that policy.

For all his flaws, I have always had a sThankoft spot for Brigham. He had a difficult upbringing and early adulthood. His father was a broken, disappointed man, who spent his life in poverty, moving from place to place, never getting a break. "His mind seemingly stretched from east to west, from north and south; and to the day of his death he wanted to command worlds," Brigham later recalled. His mother died when he was 14. Brigham's first wife died of tuberculosis in her twenties, the same disease that had claimed his mother. During his wife's illness, Brigham did the household chores—baking bread, churning butter, preparing meals—while also caring for their two small daughters. Reflecting on this period of his life, Brigham remarked that "everything had a dreary aspect." "I hated the world, and the things of the world, and the poor miserable devils that were governing it" (see Matthew J. Grow and Ronald W. Walker, The Prophet and the Reformer, 3–4).

Joining the church changed his life. Had it not been for the Book of Mormon, he might have have remained an obscure monogamist in western New York and the course of American history would have been very different.

As everyone knows, Brigham went on to distinguish himself as one of Joseph Smith's most capable and loyal followers. In a meeting with the Twelve in 1860, he stated: "I will tell you how I got along with Joseph. I found out that God called Joseph to be a Prophet. I did not do it. I then said, 'I will leave the Prophet in the hands of that God who called and ordained him to be a Prophet. He is not responsible to me and it is none of my business what He does'" (quoted in Gary James Bergera, Conflict in the Quorum, 148).

That is probably good advice for getting along with Brigham too.

Thank you for reminding me of the personal and human side of BY.  I don't hate him or anything.  Just trying to understand.  Your post here helps.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

Thank you.  I do realize that BY was a product of culture..but I can't imagine not feeling that warm God's feeling when he spoke??  To me, there had to be some corrections or understanding that is okay for God to give...That warmth of love for others that you get from God..a Prophet could have even better understood that..or Our Heavenly Father correcdt this particular thing.  I know I am not making sense.  I will try and understand why God does what He does..and does not.  :D  Thank you for the links!!

I agree that as a prophet there should be things that he should understand better than others. There is a responsibility he has to teach so he should understand. It's kind of like as a mom - I have things I need to understand better than my children. I have a great responsibility to understand. I need to teach my children to eat, to brush their teeth, to be honest.

Yet there are times, many times, where somehow it works that children teach their mother and it works. My sister taught my mom makeup tips. My daughter has taught me compassion by example. My youngest has taught me things about fitness. I am still the parent. I still have that responsibility, but God in his wisdom has allowed us to be taught by our children and we them. 

So if a prophet needs to learn something as well then I am ok with that. We learn from each other.

Edited by Rain
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I doubt Brigham or anyone really understands the love of God. I’ve had a taste of it from time to time and I can’t help but notice how imperfect I am at expressing that love.

i think I agree with Elder holland. All God has to use are imperfect people. Everyone has flaws. That doesn’t stop them from receiving revelation from time to time and growing and teaching 

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Here's a Brigham Young teaching to start your day right.

The greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ, is, to his brethren or disciples, to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek to him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open and keep open a communication with your Elder Brother or file leader— our Savior.
--Brigham Young, January 20, 1861, JD 8:339.

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3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Here's a Brigham Young teaching to start your day right.

The greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ, is, to his brethren or disciples, to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek to him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open and keep open a communication with your Elder Brother or file leader— our Savior.
--Brigham Young, January 20, 1861, JD 8:339.

This "file leader" notion is like a spiritual vacuum for me. Sucks all the spirit out of the room. Without that particular term, inspiring.

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I realize for all that is yet to be learned for myself on BY.  His strong personality still bites..I think now...I have more questions for God than anyone...as to how his prophets are chosen.

Thanks for all your responses and links..I have learned a lot. 

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