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Is It Kosher To Thinkg By Was A Jerk But Still A Prophet?


Hayds

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The more I read about BY the more of a bad taste in my mouth I get from him. At times he comes off as callous, arrogant, and rude. At the same time I respect a lot of what he did. It seems people either hate him or love him, but I am kinda in both camps.

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The more I read about BY the more of a bad taste in my mouth I get from him. At times he comes off as callous, arrogant, and rude. At the same time I respect a lot of what he did. It seems people either hate him or love him, but I am kinda in both camps.

Interesting, I started out thinking he was a jerk growing up and a good deal into my adult life and the more I read the less inclined I am to think of him that way. I don't think the Lord requires us to like everyone, but he does require us to love our fellowman.

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The more I read about BY the more of a bad taste in my mouth I get from him. At times he comes off as callous, arrogant, and rude. At the same time I respect a lot of what he did. It seems people either hate him or love him, but I am kinda in both camps.

Hi Hayds,

Welcome to the forum. I am a non-LDS Christian and don't have any present reason to think BY was a Prophet.

That being said, I'm sure a lot of the people of Israel thought Moses was being a jerk when he messed up their Gold cow. I think what they thought about him, didn't change him being a Prophet. Though it is possible his behavior could have hacked someone of bad enough to leave.

BY always seemed a bit of a rough and tumble fellow, from what little I have studied it. I could see why you might feel that way. I imagine if you feel the way you do, it might be a good idea to seperate BY's personal behavior from his posited Prophetic actions and just be disagreeable with some of his personal behaviors.

Regards,

Mudcat

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The more I read about BY the more of a bad taste in my mouth I get from him. At times he comes off as callous, arrogant, and rude. At the same time I respect a lot of what he did. It seems people either hate him or love him, but I am kinda in both camps.

Sometimes the things we see in others that we don't like are the same things we don't like or fear or can't bring ourselves to consider about ourselves. Sometimes it's just an opportunity to develop charity or patience. Otherwise it wouldn't be so hateful. Of course it could be righteous indignation, but how often can that really happen?

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I love BY. He said what he thought. He was also one of the few leaders who stood by Joseph Smith when others were falling away. He was very loyal and he and Joseph were very close. You have to remember the times, how harsh they were, the method of speech and the responsibilities he had not only as leader of the church but as governor of a territory in a nation that was hostile to the church.

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Whether BY was a jerk or not, I can't tell. That's not important to me. The Lord calls all sorts of personalities to do his work. Remember what Christ said to those who questioned his tactics and said that they didn't like him for doing things a certain way, but then again, they didn't like John the Baptist for doing it differently.

One thing that we have to remember and I don't know if this plays into the equation of determining if BY was a jerk or not, is that the way people communicated and interacted with each other back in his days is different than how we do it today and I have found out that some of the things the people of BY's days considered to be normal, especially in the way they debated and discussed differences, would be considered to be highly offensive and take on an air of great arrogance and snobbery today.

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if anyone ever needed mercy for anything they did in life it is Brigham Young. I can't even fathom the stress he had to go through. He had to lead the Church after the death of Joseph Smith, they was no precedent-he had to do whatever was needed and trust in God. He had to get the Saints across the plains to somewhere that none of them had ever been to, colonize the place, do missionary work all over the world-he had to trust people and have them deal with the crap that goes along with missionary work. To me, Brigham Young, Peter and Moses are all in this "get off their back, wouldja? let us see how well you would do?" category

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I love BY. He said what he thought. He was also one of the few leaders who stood by Joseph Smith when others were falling away. He was very loyal and he and Joseph were very close. You have to remember the times, how harsh they were, the method of speech and the responsibilities he had not only as leader of the church but as governor of a territory in a nation that was hostile to the church.

I regard Brigham Young as one of the three greatest men in American history, along with Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln. I have never seen anything that has led me to conclude he was a "jerk," or anything of the sort. He was, without a doubt, a man of his times (how could he have been otherwise?). I also consider him vastly underrated as a thinker, as a speaker, as an inspired revelator and expounder of doctrine.

In short (to paraphrase something Joseph F. Smith once said), Brigham Young will be exalted to the highest heaven, while apostates burn in hell.

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If you ever get to hear President Monson speak outside of his religious scope you may come the conclusion that he too comes across the wrong way. It is from listening to President Monson that I learned to appreciate the human-side of the prophets. They are human. They have personalities. Some are very sarcastic. Some are very serious. God works His magic through men, and women, according to their particular personalities.

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Brigham thought of Joseph Smith as The Prophet and of himself as a follower.

I've grown to appreciate Brigham Young by reading England's essay "Brigham Young as an Orator and Intellectual", Nibley's essays on various strands of Young's thought, reading a number of discourses, Arrington's biography, and the Priesthood manual, which remains my favorite. It's fairly easy to condemn Brigham Young for not being a 21st Century liberal, but of course, as a 19th century figure, he could not possibly be that. It's easy to do quote mining on Brigham for scandal, (the same few quotes) as Blair memorably explored on his blog, but those who do so for scandal, in my view, miss the whole man.

I remain very fond of the quotes, and the personality they reveal, in Nibley's essay, "Brigham Young and the Enemy":

"There is one principle I wish to urge upon the Saints in a way that it may remain with them—that is, to understand men and women as they are, and not understand them as you are."201 "If brethren and sisters are overtaken in fault, your hearts should be filled with kindness—with brotherly, angelic feeling—to overlook their faults as far as possible."202 "The doctrine which we have embraced takes away the stony hearts."203 "We are to have compassion one upon another, to look upon each other as we would wish others to look upon us, and to remember that we are frail mortal beings, and that we can be changed for the better only by the Gospel of salvation."204

And this:

There is one virtue, attribute, or principle, which, if cherished and practiced by the Saints, would prove salvation to thousands upon thousands. I allude to charity, or love, from which proceed forgiveness, longsuffering, kindness, and patience. But the short-sightedness and weakness in some are marvelous. . . . People come here from different parts of the earth to make this their adopted country, and the old residents expect them to at once conform to and adopt their manners, customs, and traditions. . . . In other words, "If every man, woman, and child does not act, think, and see as I do, they are sinners." It is very necessary that we have charity that will cover a multitude of what we may suppose to be sins.227

And this:

Now, suppose that we were to issue our edicts to the whole world of mankind for them to obey the Gospel we preach, and had the power to compel them to obey, could we do it according to the dictates of our religion? We could not. We could invite them, and could tell them how, but we could not say, and maintain the faith that we have embraced, you must bow down . . . and submit to the ordinances of the kingdom of God. . . . But if we become Godlike, we will be just as full of charity as he is. We would let pagans worship as they please, and to the Christians and Mahommedans [sic], and all sects and parties in the world we would say, "Do just as you please, for your volition is free, and you must act upon it for yourselves before the heavens." Our religion will not permit us to command or force any man or woman to obey the Gospel we have embraced.247

And of course, this quote near the end of Nibley's "What is Zion: A Distant View"

When the books are opened, out of which the human family are to be judged, how disappointed the professedly sanctified, long-faced hypocrites and smoothtoned pharisees will be, when the publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before them; people that appeared to be full of evil, but the Lord says they never designed to do wrong; the Devil had power over them, and they suffered in their mortal state a thousand times more than you poor, miserable, canting, cheating, snivelling, hypocritical pharisees; you were dressed in purple and fine linen, and bound burdens upon your weaker brethren that you would not so much as help to lift with your little fingers. Did you ever go without food, suffer with tooth-ache, sore eyes, rheumatism, or the chills and fever? You have fared sumptuously all your days and you condemned to an everlasting hell these poor harlots and publicans who never designed an evil. Are you not guilty of committing an evil with that poor harlot? Yes, and you will be damned while she will be saved.100

And this, courtesy Ben in a Millential Star post a while back:

Shall I sit down and read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Covenants all the time?” says one. Yes, if you please, and when you have done, you may be nothing but a sectarian after all. It is your duty to study to know everything upon the face of the earth, in addition to reading those books. We should not only study good, and its effects upon our race, but also evil, and its consequences.

Journal of Discourses, 2:34.

And this:

I make these remarks to lay the foundation for principle in the minds of the people; and if you do not yet understand what I would be at, I will try to illustrate it still further. For example, we will take a strict, religious, holy, down country, eastern Yankee, who would whip a beer barrel for working on Sunday, and never suffer a child to go into company of his age never suffer him to have any associates, or permit him to do any thing or know anything, only what the deacon, priests, or missionaries bring to the house; when that child attains to mature age, say eighteen or twenty years, he is very apt to steal away from his father and mother; and when he has broken his bands, you would think all hell was let loose, and that he would compass the world at once.

Now understand it when parents whip their children for reading novels, and never let them go to the theatre, or to any place of recreation and amusement, but bind them to the moral law, until duty becomes loathsome to them; when they are freed by age from the rigorous training of their parents, they are more fit for companions to devils, than to be the children of such religious parents.

If I do not learn what is in the world, from first to last, somebody will be wiser than I am. I intend to know the whole of it, both good and bad. Shall I practise evil? No; neither have I told you to practise it, but to learn by the light of truth every principle there is in existence in the world.

Journal of Discourses, 2:34.

We could use more jerks like him.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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When the books are opened, out of which the human family are to be judged, how disappointed the professedly sanctified, long-faced hypocrites and smoothtoned pharisees will be, when the publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before them; people that appeared to be full of evil, but the Lord says they never designed to do wrong; the Devil had power over them, and they suffered in their mortal state a thousand times more than you poor, miserable, canting, cheating, snivelling, hypocritical pharisees; you were dressed in purple and fine linen, and bound burdens upon your weaker brethren that you would not so much as help to lift with your little fingers. Did you ever go without food, suffer with tooth-ache, sore eyes, rheumatism, or the chills and fever? You have fared sumptuously all your days and you condemned to an everlasting hell these poor harlots and publicans who never designed an evil. Are you not guilty of committing an evil with that poor harlot? Yes, and you will be damned while she will be saved.

One of my all time favorite BY quotes.

Brigham is often dismissed as a thinker. I could not disagree more. In my opinion, he excelled both as an orator and as a philosopher. I regard him, as I said, as one of the three greatest men of the 19th century.

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God expects his prophets to be jerks. They are the ones who deliver the message of hell fire to the people. This message is harsh, sometimes unpopular, but it is one that God's prophets are sent to preach to the people.

God loved us so much that he killed his own son to save us from eternal torment and damnation. Those of God's children who don't believe will be burned, both now and during the end of days.

After all, the people can only be saved from hellfire by the blood of the one. Wouldn't God be a jerk if he DIDN'T tell anyone so that everyone burned in hell fire after this life? It's the great mercy of God that he will save some of us, if not all of us. After all, we are his to do as he pleases. He could burn all of us, even this entire earth, right now if he wanted. That he will only burn some of the people is the ultimate sign of his compassion towards men.

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God expects his prophets to be jerks. They are the ones who deliver the message of hell fire to the people. This message is harsh, sometimes unpopular, but it is one that God's prophets are sent to preach to the people.

God loved us so much that he killed his own son to save us from eternal torment and damnation. Those of God's children who don't believe will be burned, both now and during the end of days.

After all, the people can only be saved from hellfire by the blood of the one. Wouldn't God be a jerk if he DIDN'T tell anyone so that everyone burned in hell fire after this life? It's the great mercy of God that he will save some of us, if not all of us. After all, we are his to do as he pleases. He could burn all of us, even this entire earth, right now if he wanted. That he will only burn some of the people is the ultimate sign of his compassion towards men.

Morbid. Thanks for the buzz kill man.

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I'm very much a product of the later half of the 20th Century America. BY was a product of his time. My personal feelings toward him say that I probably would have not appreciated his more authoritarian style. But I still accept him as a great man, and Prophet. The only man capable of leading the mass of Saints to the valley of the Great Salt Lake had to have something going for him. :good:

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I have a great appreciation for Brigham... and certainly have a testimony of his prophetic calling.

In fact, he was quite forward thinking for his time... he urged women to be educated not just in the homemaking skills which, of course, were very important, and he counseled them to keep their homes bright, cheerful and clean.

But he encouraged women also to learn accounting, science, language, etc etc... just as he encouraged men. He wanted an educated people... never to be said that a Mormon was lacking in education.

And, to me, for him to be able to lead a people across the plains, to keep them together in face of the hardship and loss, and then to arrive in the desolate Salt Lake Valley and lead the people to make it bloom like a rose... to send out members to colonize numerous areas including my hometown of San Bernardino (previously a Spanish rancho)... are accomplishments that were inspired.

Were there things he said or did that give me pause... of course... some of his ideas that he voiced or even taught are things I disagree with or at least question. But that doesn't affect my view of him as a prophet of God in a very difficult time for the Church and the early saints.

I certainly do not view him as a "jerk" as the previous quotations exhibit, and he certainly does not leave a "bad taste" in my mouth...

He was called and served according to the will of the Lord... even with his flaws...

GG

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Hey William,

I regard Brigham Young as one of the three greatest men in American history, along with Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.

My three would be Bringham Young, Joseph Smith, and Ronald Reagan. :)

In short (to paraphrase something Joseph F. Smith once said), Brigham Young will be exalted to the highest heaven, while apostates burn in hell.

We can all only hope!

Peace,

Ceeboo

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It raises an interesting point.

Is being interpreted as "a jerk" sufficient reason to dismiss someone as a prophet or dismiss the church they led as "Christ's" church?

It also begs the question of which leadership style is supposedly acceptable for a prophet. Is there one style that prophets follow or is something else in the mix?

If I wanted to leave the church and my reason was "the prophet was a jerk to me"? Is that sufficient reason?

Finally, how do you define "jerk"? I know passive aggressive jerks who are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I know jerks who are straight forward and make no bones about how they feel about things. What specifically is a "jerk"?

Is it someone who is mean for no reason? Was Brigham Young mean for no reason?

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Is it someone who is mean for no reason? Was Brigham Young mean for no reason?

And in fact we know from family and close associates he was the kindest and most compassionate of men. Let's not forget it was BY who when hearing of the suffering handcart companies stood up in church and immediately called for volunteers to go out and rescue them and not wait another minute.

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If you ever get to hear President Monson speak outside of his religious scope you may come the conclusion that he too comes across the wrong way. It is from listening to President Monson that I learned to appreciate the human-side of the prophets. They are human. They have personalities. Some are very sarcastic. Some are very serious. God works His magic through men, and women, according to their particular personalities.

I've contemplated this for some time since the death of P. Hinckley. P. Monson is so different. Having had another opportunity yesterday to shoot an interview with P. Monson prior to his speaking at the Dixie State graduation, it's another confirmation to me at how brilliant the Lord is in choosing certain men for the times in which we live.

P. Monson has had a tendency to not do media interviews. He's not as media savvy as P. Hinckley was, and can get distracted, and go off topic a bit. But that said, his message for our times is that of charity and service. As much as I miss P. Hinckley's openness and whit, P. Monson's primary message is crystal clear for us right now. It's no accident that his service and love to his ward's widows, as a Bishop, was a preparation for what is coming. I do believe that in the coming days we will need to heed that simple message more than we need to do anything else. The Lord is in charge... just as he raised up Brigham Young for the difficult things he had to deal with in his day.

Just my two cents.

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I agree, and from a distance, we presume a prophet to be what we see and do not know how much more he is as an individual.

Sometimes, I think, it would be nicer if we could view our bishops and those who work closest from a distance. It allows for a one dimensional view which reduces friction considerably. But when we know someone better, the flaws become more real for us, and we tend to judge people by their flaws rather than by their strengths.

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