Brigham Young and the Enemy

It would be hard to find in history another man who spent as many days of his life surrounded by determined, implacable, and dangerous enemies as did Brigham Young: “Forty-five years ago,” he recalled in the last year of his life, “they were determined to kill the Prophet Joseph. I have lain upon the floor scores and scores of nights ready to receive the mob who sought his life. This persecution commenced with a little neighborhood, then a town, then a county, then a State, and the people of the United States; and by and by other nations will be just as bitter towards us, . . . as many of the people of our own nation now are.”1 There was never any indication that things would improve: “The enemies of God and truth do not love us any better this year than they did last year, nor will their love for us increase in the year that is to come.”2 The enemy was within and without: “It was pro-slavery men that pointed the bayonet at me and my brethren in Missouri, and said, ‘Damn you we will kill you,’ “3 and yet “our difficulties and persecutions have always arisen from men right in our midst.”4

After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, all their hatred and virulence was concentrated against Brigham Young. It is no exaggeration when he says in 1860, “All the army, with its teamsters, hangers-on, and followers, with the judges, and nearly all the rest of the civil officers, amounting to some seventeen thousand men, have been searching diligently for three years to bring one act to light that would criminate me.”5

The Helpless Enemy

Faced with such terrifying hostility on all sides with preachers and editors in all the land calling for his blood, what was Brigham to do? Answer: He put his faith in God and smilingly went on his way; he absolutely refused to be in any way alarmed or upset no matter what the enemy was up to:

     As to the struggle that is going on between the Latter-day Saints and the world, have we any struggle with them? No. Have we any contention? No, not in the least. Have we any battle to fight? No, none at all. Are we to marshal our armies to contend against them? No. Here are the words of truth; we go forth and declare them to the ends of the earth; it is our mission and all we have to do. They may war against us, they may marshal their forces and their armies. God rules, I fear them not. If I preserve myself in the truth, I am all right.6

In 1858 when crickets, Indians, drought, and the U. S. Army were threatening the Saints at once, President Young told the people: “With some the question arises, Are we in danger from our enemies? . . . No; Have we been? No. Shall we be? No, we shall not.”7 Two years later, after a series of terrible tensions and crises, he could say, “Let our worst wish toward our worst enemies be that we may see the time when they will be obliged to do right.”8 And later: “I love my friends, and as for my enemies, I pray for them daily; and, if they do not believe I would do them good, let them call at my house, when they are hungry, and I will feed them.”9

How could the man be so coolly sure of himself in the face of appalling dangers? It was not a pose—no one knew better than Brother Brigham how real and intimate the dangers were. The event, contrary to all expectation, fully justified his prophetic certitude; he knew all along where the real danger lay and where it did not lie: “They can do us no harm—they can do nothing against the truth. The Lord will make the wicked and the ungodly and their acts accomplish his design.”10 “The wicked cannot do anything against the truth. Every move they make to crush the kingdom of God will be attended with the single blessings of the Almighty for its further extension and ultimate triumph.”11 “How easy it is for the Almighty to direct the steps of our enemies, until they fall off the precipice and are dashed in pieces, without the efforts of his servants.”12 “Do not be afraid: The enemies of God and his Christ will be divided and subdivided all the time. . . . Wherefore have no fears in the least.”13 He was speaking to the fearful Saints who had seen one formidable campaign after another mounted against them, but he knew with a perfect assurance that such assaults would never prevail: “They will struggle and strive, and plan and devise, saying, Let us take this course, and that course; and they will struggle until they will come to a stop as though they were against a mountain of solid rock. They will do all they can to break us up, and even destroy us; this has been the case now for the last forty-five years.”14

And if the Saints only knew it, that is good news for them: “We have received enough to understand that the wicked are a rod in the hands of God to chasten his children. If you do not [understand that], it is time that you had learned it, for it is even so; if we are chastened, it is for a purpose. . . . But were we ever destroyed? No, neither will God permit us to be, so long as we are desirous of being his servants, and of doing the work given us to do.”15 It is with absolute certitude of prophecy that Brigham Young declares: “As the Lord live[s], if this people will be faithful in the performance of every duty, they will never come upon a field of battle to fight their enemies.”16

This is a prophecy peculiar to the last days; in former times the wicked have prevailed, but this time God has set their bounds: “The wicked have succeeded in doing so [destroying the Saints] in former ages; but this kingdom they cannot destroy, because this is the last dispensation—because this is the fulness of times.”17

Therefore what is there to worry about? “Do you think that the Lord will suffer his people to be hungry and starve to death, to go naked and freeze to death, or to go houseless, if they serve him with an undivided heart? No he never will—never, no, never.”18 Nothing but good can happen to the righteous: “Shall we speak evil of others? No. why? Because the result of their treatment towards us has made us better and greater than we could have been otherwise. . . . Let us thank God, and speak evil of none.”19

The Real Danger

In all these promises there is always an “if” clause; to be safe from enemies there are certain things the people must do, and it is in neglecting these things that the real danger lies. What are those things? In the first place, they are never required to fight against anybody: “It is written that the Lord will destroy the wicked, and He has done so by bringing about circumstances to cause them to destroy themselves.”20 Or, in the words of Mormon, “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished” (Mormon 4:5). No one knew this better than Brigham, who had seen it happen time and again: “The enemies of God . . . will be divided and subdivided all the time,”21 for they love each other no better than they love us. For one thing, to fight against the world is futile: “We have not the influence and power necessary to refute the falsehoods circulated about us. We depend on God, who sits in the heavens.”22

Brigham recognizes that such restraint is hard and demanding, for it is human nature to strike back; but that is just the test to which we are being subjected in all this: “May God help us to search our own hearts, to find out whether we are obedient or disobedient . . . and let the enemies of this kingdom do what they please, for God will overrule all things for the special benefit of his people.”23

The Adversary in Action

For Brigham Young, Satan is a very real quantity, and of course he is an enemy—the enemy. “Evil is here; the Devil reigns on the earth, and has held dominion on it for thousands of years.”24 His power is not weakening for his time is not yet come; on the contrary, “as the kingdom of God rises and advances upon the earth, so will the power of Satan increase to impede its progress until God shall purge that power from the earth.”25 “Has the world become more enlightened in the things of God? No, it has not; and the enmity that did exist, exists still, and has grown, increased and strengthened, and this warfare between the power of the devil and the power of Jesus Christ will continue until Jesus obtains possession of the kingdom.”26 How and by whom his power will be brought to an end is clearly stated in the scriptures—and it will not be by us. He is quite beyond our power to cope with: “The enemy, this potent foe that we have to contend with, we know but little about him, very little.”27 So far from being able of ourselves to match his power, Brigham finds it “a marvel to me that you have lived up to so much as you have, considering the power of the enemy upon the earth. . . . I do not fully comprehend the awful power and influence Satan has upon the earth, but I understand enough to know that it is a marvel that the Latter-day Saints are so good as they are.”28 It is all we can do to break even, let alone conquer: “Let me say to the Latter-day Saints that they stand upon slippery places. They do not all fully know the paths they walk in, they do not all perfectly understand their own ways and doings, many do not altogether realize their own weaknesses, do not understand the power of the devil and how liable they are to be decoyed one hair’s breadth, to begin with, from the line of truth.”29

The only power Satan has is the power to destroy—”that is just what the devil can do, but he never can build anything”;30 he is a cheat and a fraud, and all the power he has over us is what we give him; he rules not by virtue of his real self but by the image he cultivates and the rewards he promises of power and gain, backed up by trickery, violence, deception, and intimidation. When we say, “Destroy them, or they will destroy you!” we are playing it his way, for with such a program, however the game turns out, there will be destruction. By him, “the whole world is contaminated with a spirit to remember evil and forget the good,” and when we are animated by hatred of anything it is “because the power of the tempter has control over you, and because the world is full of evil principles, and you have adhered to them.”31 He has power to contaminate our bodies,32 but that is enough, since he works through the weakness of the flesh. He is always looking for an opening: “There are invisible agencies around us in sufficient numbers to encourage the slightest disposition they may discover in us to forsake the true way, and fan into a flame the slightest spark of discontent and unbelief. The spirits of the ancient Gadiantons are around us.”33 Anything will do: “The devil does not care how much religion there is on the earth; he is a great preacher, and to all appearance a great gentleman. . . . It is popular now-a-days to be religious, it has become the seasoning to a great deal of rascality, hypocrisy and crime.”34 With him it is never a matter of black and white, virtue vs. vice, the good guys vs. the bad guys—he wasn’t born yesterday: “In teaching false doctrine there always will be more or less of truth mixed with it. . . . The enemy, the serpent, who beguiled our first mother, told some truth.”35

The awful power that Satan possesses on this earth is given him by God. This has given rise to the favorite proposition of the philosophers that God is either weak because he cannot prevent evil, or vicious because he does not want to, an argument which conventional Christianity finds unanswerable. But it all makes sense to Brigham Young: “To say that sin is necessary is an unusual saying. Sin is in the world, but it is not necessary that we should sin, because sin is in the world; but, to the contrary, it is necessary that we should resist sin, and for this purpose is sin necessary. . . . Sin is co-eternal with righteousness, for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things.”36 The idea that sin should be put within the reach of all who want it is by no means the same thing as saying that all are obliged to sin all the way. Satan’s prime mission is to test us: “This is a world in which we are to prove ourselves. The lifetime of man is a day of trial, wherein we may prove to God, in our darkness, in our weakness, and where the enemy reigns, that we are our Father’s friends, and that we receive light from him and are worthy to be leaders of our children.”37 It would be hard to find a better summary of the teachings of the ancient Christian and Jewish secretaries of the desert than that. Experience with the Missouri mob gave solid support to a doctrine which of itself seems paradoxical—that devils are necessary and useful: “Consequently we could not have got along so well and so rapidly without those mobocrats. And if mobbers should happen to come here do not look too sour at them, for we need them. We could not build up the kingdom of God without the aid of devils, they must help to do it. They persecute and drive us from city to city, from place to place, until we learn the difference between the power of God and the power of the devil.”38 The uses of adversity was a favorite theme with Brigham Young: “But we cannot clear ourselves from the power of satan; we must know what it is to be tried and tempted, for no man or woman can be exalted upon any other principle.”39 “Could we do without the devils? No, we could not get along without them. They are here, and they suggest this, that, and the other.”40 Any thought of total victory and annihilation of the enemy is out of the question, since his presence is necessary to God’s plan, as the wicked Lamanites were to the healthy existence of the Nephites. “I would not bring a railing accusation against [the Devil], for he is fulfilling his office and calling manfully.”41 If we only let him alone it is he who is the dupe: “I have often thought of the foolishness of the devil, notwithstanding all his cunning; yet he is much of a gentleman, when compared with many that serve him.”42 The ultimate in damnation is to fall under his miserable fraudulent power:  “What Joseph meant by being damned was that people will go into the spirit world without the Priesthood, and consequently they are under the power of Satan, and will have to be redeemed, or else they will be forever under his power.”43 In the end all the power he has is what we concede to him: “A person, to become an angel of the Devil, has first to be a good Saint, and then deny the Lord who bought him”44 (i.e., refuse redemption when it is offered him). “Has the devil the power to afflict, and cast the spirit into torment? No!”45 His control is strictly through the flesh. Say, how then does it work? By striking the flesh where it is most vulnerable, by threatening its very existence, by withholding its means of subsistence and survival. “You take my life,” said Shylock, “when you do take the means whereby I live”—he being a notoriously greedy and unscrupulous money-lender. 46 As “the prince of the world,” Satan commands the treasures of the earth, and with them he is able to carry on his rule of blood and terror.

Brigham Young and Joseph Smith constantly reiterated warnings against what they considered to be the two really dangerous weaknesses in the Mormon character, the damaged spots in the wall through which Satan could always enter most readily; these two were covetousness and self-righteousness.

Covetousness: The Number One Weapon

Covetousness takes the lead; it is the most formidable obstacle to the progress of the Saints and furnishes Satan with the most effective weapon in his arsenal. When the Church was only a year old, the Prophet Joseph said that “God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church.”47 What is covetousness? Simply wanting to get rich—for millions the American (and the Greek and the Roman and the Babylonian and the Spanish, etc.) dream. “Brethren,” said Joseph Smith,

we are gathering to this buitiful land, to build up “Zion.” . . . But since I have been here I perseive the spirit of selfishness. Covetousness exists in the hearts of the Saints. . . . Here are those who begin to spread out buying up all the land they are able to do, to the exclusion of the poorer ones who are not so much blessed with the worlds goods, thinking to ley foundations for themselves only, looking to their own individual familys, and those who are to follow them. . . . Now I want to tell you, that Zion cannot be built up in eny such way. . . . I see signs put out, Beer signs, speculative scheems are being introduced. This is the ways of the world—Babylon indeed, and I tell you in the name of the God of Israel, if thare is not repentance . . . and a turning from such ungodlyness, covetousness and self will you will be broken up and scattered from this choice land to the four winds of heaven.48

In due time they were indeed driven out, and many years later Brigham Young explained why, as he often did: “I hope to God that we never will have the privilege of stopping and making ourselves rich while we grind the face of the poor; but let us be driven from State to State until we can take what we have got and dispose of it according to the dictation of the spirit of revelation from the Lord.”49 Was it as bad as that? It was:

     The covetousness of some of this people has grieved me, and it has caused my spirit to weep and mourn to observe their greediness, their cheating and lying, their scheming in every possible way to wring a picayune out of this man, or that woman. I can put my finger upon owners of little shops in this city, who will lie to you for half an hour on a stretch, who will, if you send a child to their shops to buy a yard of ribbon that is worth ten cents, charge the child fifteen or twenty cents for it.50

The sermons of Brigham Young are full of such observations: all were guilty, the farmers as well as the merchants. “I see some men so greedy after the things of the world, that they will take their grain from the mouths of innocent, helpless women and children who are suffering for food, and sell it to gentile merchants to speculate upon.”51 “The poor are filled with idolatry as well as the rich, and covet the means of those who have helped them; the rich, also, have the same spirit of idolatry, and stick to what they have.”52 “The vile practice of stealing cattle and other property . . . has been encouraged by covetous, selfish men, who have refused to use their property for their own good, or the community’s.”53 So after these words of wrath and warning, drought, crickets, Indians, and the U.S. Army struck all at once, and every house in the valley was prepared for burning. Then it was that Brigham declared, “If we love our improvements and property better than we love the lives of our brethren, the Lord will lead us in a way to waste us instead of our property. Can you understand that it is better to lose property than the lives of men, women, and children? But if we are so wedded to our property that we would rather fight for it than sacrifice it, if required, for our religion, then we are in a condition to be wasted, and our property would go into the hands of our enemies.”54

At the height of danger, with the Army actually descending on the valley, the prophet declared: “I am more afraid of covetousness in our Elders than I am of the hordes of hell. Have we men out now of that class? I believe so. I am afraid of such spirits; for they are more powerful and injurious to this people than all hell with them outside of our borders. All our enemies in the United States or in the world, and all hell with them marshalled against us, could not do us the injury that covetousness in the hearts of this people could do us; for it is idolatry.”55 So there was a real danger—the only thing that Brigham really feared.

     Could our brethren stay in Jackson County, Missouri? No, no. Why? They had not learned ‘a’ concerning Zion; and we have been traveling now forty-two years, and have we learned our a, b, c? . . . I will say, scarcely. Have we seen it as a people? How long shall we travel, how long shall we live, how long shall God wait for us to sanctify ourselves and become one in the Lord, in our actions and in our ways for the building up of the kingdom of God, that he can bless us?56

The pattern was to be that of ancient Zion: “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). When the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young, remembering the admonitions of the Prophet Joseph and the experience of four or five previous settlements (hopeful foundations of Zion), laid down the principle that “no man should buy or sell land. Every man should have his land measured off to him for city and farming purposes”—the one thing to be avoided was speculation.57 Likewise, “there would be no private ownership in the streams [that come out of the canyons]; that wood and timber would be regarded as community property.”58

Such doctrine was hardly calculated to be popular with everybody; it was in fact a test of the Saints, and the writing on the wall became increasingly plain: “Through the selfishness of some, which is idolatry, through their covetousness, which is the same, and the lustful desire of their minds, they were cast out and driven from their homes.”59 After Nauvoo it would seem that they should begin to learn their lesson, and at

Winter Quarters, the Lord gave to me a revelation. . . . I talked it to my brethren; I would throw out a few words here, and a few words there, to my first counselor to my second counselor and the Twelve Apostles, [Were they ready for the revelation?] but with the exception of one or two of the Twelve, it would not touch a man. . . . I would have given it if the people had been prepared. . . . But I could not touch them. One would say, “I am for California,” another one, “I am for gold,” and I am for this and I am for that.60

Down through the years the prophet pleaded with the people. He tells us how in 1851 he could not bring himself to address a body of Saints departing from the valley: “I was sick at the sight of so many of the saints running to California, chiefly after the God of this world, and was unable to address them.”61 “I pray you in Christ’s stead,” he pleaded, “to let gold hunting alone, and pray the Lord to cover it up in our region of country that it cannot be found. Those among us who are anxious to find rich gold deposits, are equally anxious to destroy themselves.”62 As early as 1848 he reports, “Some few have caught the gold fever; I counseled such and all the saints to remain in these valleys of the mountains . . . against the days of famine and pestilence with which the earth would be visited.”63 But gold fever was only one aspect of the disease, whose progress may be noted down through the years:

1853: “This people are gathering much substance around them, which is a principle of heaven—a principle of Zion, but there is a fear within us lest it cause us to forget our God and our religion.”64 “A man has no right with property, which, according to the laws of the land, legally belongs to him, if he does not want to use it.”65

1855: “Again, it is known to all that a great many of the poor are as bad as those who have property. . . . They are just as covetous and craving in their feelings as are the rich who hoard up their means and keep it from the honest poor. . . . There are many who live in this city without labor . . . and you have neighbors near you who steal your wood.”66

1856: “The mass of the people are all asleep together, craving after the world, running after wickedness, desiring this, that, and the other, which is not for their good.”67

1862: “While we should be diligent and industrious . . . we should not suffer a covetous and grasping spirit to take possession of us. It is lamentable to see the ignorance manifested by many of this people in that respect, for no man who possesses the wealth of wisdom, would worship the wealth of mammon.”68

1864: “If this people can at the same time possess riches and glorify God, then we want them to be rich”69—but that is a very big “if”; few have ever pulled it off.

1866: “I am sorry that this people are worldly-minded; . . . they love the world, and covet their fine horses [cars today]; their affections are upon them, and upon their farms, upon their property, their houses and possessions.”70

1874: “Have we separated ourselves from the nations? Yes. And what else have we done? Ask yourselves the question. Have we not brought Babylon with us? Are we not promoting Babylon here in our midst? Are we not fostering the spirit of Babylon that is now abroad on the face of the whole earth? I ask myself this question, and I answer, Yes, yes, . . . we have too much of Babylon in our midst.”71 “What is the general expression through our community? It is that the Latter-day Saints are drifting as fast as they can into idolatry, drifting into the spirit of the world and into pride and vanity. . . . We wish the wealth or things of the world; we think about them morning, noon and night; they are first in our minds when we awake in the morning, and the last thing before we go to sleep at night.”72

    We have gone just as far as we can be permitted to go in the road on which we are now traveling. One man has his eye on a gold mine, another is for a silver mine, another is for marketing his flour or his wheat, another for selling his cattle, another to raise cattle, another to get a farm, or building here and there, and trading and trafficking with each other, just like Babylon. . . . Babylon is here, and we are following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of the earth, who are in a perfect sea of confusion. Do you know this? You ought to, for there are none of you but what see it daily; . . . the Latter-day Saint trying to take advantage of their brethren. There are Elders in this Church who would take the widow’s last cow, for five dollars, and then kneel down and thank God for the fine bargain they had made.73

Fighting Fire with Non-fire

In dealing with this particular enemy, the enemy of all righteousness, the first rule is never to use his methods, for if we do he has already won. He does not care which “side” we are on as long as we act like devils, just as God does not care which side we are on if we keep the great commandments: he held up as the shining example that of a Samaritan who was not a member of the Church, was not even of Israel, and contrasted his behavior (“Go and do thou likewise”; Luke 10:37) to that of two devout and active churchmen who wanted nothing to do with a drunken bum lying unconscious in the gutter.

“We are never going to destroy the enemies of God by the evil passions that are in us—never, no never. When those who profess to be Saints contend against the enemies of God through passion or selfwill, it is then man against man, evil against evil, the powers of darkness against the powers of darkness.”74 We do not fight fire with fire or match hate with hate. “No man or people possessing wisdom will give vent to wrath, for that is calculated to weaken, to destroy, to blot out of existence. When the Supreme Ruler of the universe wishes to destroy a nation, he takes away their wisdom . . . and they are filled with wrath: they give way to their anger, and thus lay the foundation of their own destruction.”75 “If we are permitted to rule, govern, and control, in the first place we must control our passions until they are in perfect subjection to us.”76 As a stimulant, anger has no long-term value: “The Lord said, ‘Hold on.’ He can fight our battles far better than we can. Anger towards them [the enemy] is a poor, miserable feeling; and I am trying to get rid of it.”77 Brigham Young was a forceful and formidable man who was often provoked and knew what anger was—but he also knew it was wrong: “I will say, there is not a man in this house who has a more indomitable and unyielding temper than myself. But there is not a man in the world who cannot overcome his passion, if he will struggle earnestly to do so. If you find passion coming on you, go off to some place where you cannot be heard; . . . struggle till it leaves you; and pray for strength to overcome.”78 “When evil arises within me let me throw a cloak over it, subdue it instead of acting it out upon the false presumption that I am honest and no hypocrite. Let not thy tongue give utterance to the evil that is in thine heart. . . . So far I believe in being a hypocrite.”79 The trouble with feeding and yielding to anger is that it is altogether too easy: “Cast all bitterness out of your own hearts—all anger, wrath, strife, covetousness, and lust, and sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, that you may enjoy the Holy Ghost.”80 That is the real victory, as the Prophet Joseph put it: “We shall go on from victory to victory, and from conquest to conquest; our evil passions will be subdued, our prejudices depart; we shall find no room in our bosoms for hatred.”81 In this it is ourself we fight all the time, and no one else: “It is natural for me to contend, and if I am opposed to oppose in return, and if a sharp word is spoken to me to give a sharp word back, I have done so but rarely. It is wrong, and we must subdue the inclination.”82 As one of the great leaders of all time, Brigham Young understood why this was so: “No man ever did, or ever will rule judiciously on this earth, with honor to himself and glory to his God, unless he first learn to rule and control himself.”83

If you want to meet the enemy head-on, here he is. “This is what I call resisting the devil, and he flees from me. I strive to not speak evil, to not feel evil, and if I do, to keep it to myself until it is gone from me, and not let it pass my lips. . . . ‘Had I not better let it out than to keep it rankling within me?’ No. I will keep bad feelings under and actually smother them to death, then they are gone.”84 They do not fester in the subconscious, because they simply vanish: hatred is vanquished only when it turns to love. Must the battle always be within ourselves? Where else? “With all the power I possess, I cannot prevent a man from cursing and swearing if he is disposed to do so.”85 Whom can he command? Himself. “If I did not feel like praying, . . . I should say, ‘Brigham, get down here, on your knees, bow your body down before the throne of Him who rules in the heavens, and stay there until you can feel to supplicate at that throne of grace erected for sinners.’ “86

    If you feel that you are tempted not to open your mouth to the Lord, and as though the heavens are brass over your heads and the earth iron beneath your feet, and that everything is closed up, and you feel that it would be a sin for you to pray, then walk up to the devil and say, Mr. Devil, get out of my way; and if you feel that you cannot get down upon your knees for fear you will swear, say, get down knees; and if they don’t feel right when they are down, put something under them, some sharp sticks, for instance, and say, knees come to it.87

When it is dark as midnight darkness, when there is not one particle of feeling in my heart to pray, shall I then say, I will not pray? No, but get down knees, bend yourselves upon the floor, and mouth, open; tongue, speak; and we will see what will come forth, and you shall worship the Lord God of Israel, even when you feel as though you could not say a word in his favor. That is the victory we have to gain; that is the warfare we have to wage. It is between the spirit and the body; they are inseparably connected.88

Note well the protagonists in the great contest: nothing is easier when our plans and ambitions miscarry than to blame our misfortunes on the wickedness of others and cry, “The enemy has done this!” He has, indeed—but I gave him the power. At General Conference in 1859, President Young “advised the Latter-day Saints . . . when tempted and buffeted, to keep their mouths closed, instead of diffusing abroad that which the Evil One puts into their hearts . . . [and] to keep the bad feelings to themselves.”89 Surely there is no better way to come to grips with the enemy, and surely there is no closer close combat than this: “never let anger arise in your hearts. No, Brigham, never let anger arise in your heart, never, never!”90 That takes a bit of doing, but that makes it worthwhile. “If you are in the kanyon and your cattle are likely to fill you with wrath, fill your mouth with India-rubber and keep it close that the words cannot get out. Do not say a word to grieve the Spirit of God.”91

Brigham on War

Such being the nature of our warfare, it follows that real warfare, resorting to overt violence directed against others, defeats the whole purpose of our earthly existence. Heaven is “the peaceable kingdom” from which Satan was thrust “in a twinkling” the moment he resorted to violence. War, utterly wasteful as it is, has the vast appeal of shifting one’s own guilt, of all of which we relieve ourselves as soon as the shooting begins. Brigham Young understood the psychology of war very well: “The main difficulty in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied is, they are not satisfied with themselves.”92 As for the deadly enemies of the Church, “They are not angry with me or with you; and the professors of Christianity, the priests, are not angry with us, but they are filled with wrath and indignation with themselves, and with the Almighty.”93 “I wish this fact to sink into your hearts, that when men or women have doubts, they also have fear; and when they have fear, they are in danger of what? Of themselves.”94 “Our own evils make for us danger; and if chastisement comes upon us, it is the result of our own unrighteous acts.”95 “Just as soon as our eyes are turned away from watching ourselves, to see whether we do right, we begin to see faults in our neighbors; this is the great difficulty, and our minds become more and more blinded until we become entirely darkened.”96 “We need not go to our neighbors for sin, to palliate all our crimes, for we ourselves have plenty of it; we need not crave weakness from our fellow man, we have our own share of it; it is for us to trust in the Lord, and endeavor to deliver ourselves from the effects of sin . . . to become friends of God, that we may thereby become friends of sinners, and receive a great reward in a day to come.”97 “If you want a revolution go to work to improve yourselves and give your minds something to act upon instead of looking at the faults of others.”98 Above all, we must not attribute our distress to the wickedness of others, however convenient and flattering that may be: “I must be happy for myself. I must live my religion for myself, and enjoy the light of truth for myself, and when I do that all hell cannot deprive me of it, nor of its fruits.”99 Where is the enemy? For the righteous there is no enemy! It was Joseph Smith who said, “A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. . . . The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone.”100 And who are the disappointed ones? Ambitious men and women who have failed to make the grade—who have aspired to power and coveted the things of the world and lost them; Satan, thus appointed, is the great archetype, but his spirit infects all of us: “All is before them [the LDS]; they have nothing to do but enjoy themselves, and yet their spirits are unhappy, uneasy, and discontented; they want more, and are inclined to retain what they do have, unlawfully. . . . Brethren, let us . . . not be children all of the days of our lives, but let us . . . become men and women before the Lord.”101 What is the cure? “Self-argument is the most effectual argument that can be used. Let each person argue himself into the belief that God will grant to him his request in righteousness.”102 Brigham Young was a sound psychologist.

Even in the midst of the shooting, President Young stuck to his principles: “Are we in danger from our enemies? No; there is no danger, only in our neglecting the duties of a Saint.”103 “Now, brethren, can we fight against and subdue ourselves? That is the greatest difficulty we ever encountered, and the most arduous warfare we ever engaged in.”104 “If there are any hearts or spirits in this city, or elsewhere, that are fearfully wondering whether or not we are going to be destroyed, . . . I will say to all such trembling souls, You need entertain no such fears. You need have only one fear, and that is with regard to yourselves.”105

The Mormons, believing that all living beings are immortal and in the end indestructible, were sensibly admonished by their great leader: “Never try to destroy a man. It is our mission to save the people, not to destroy them. The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth, in our capacity, is worth worlds.”106 And so from the Boston Atlas it is reported that the Mormons were “busy about their own affairs, and never intermeddled in the concerns of their neighbors. They were exceedingly peaceful and adverse to strife, quarrels and violence.”107 As he was leading the flight from Nauvoo, Brigham Young was visited, he says, by the Prophet Joseph in a dream, with the repeated instruction to “tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord,” it was explained, “from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts.”108 And this was at the very culmination of mob violence. Just before his death, the Prophet Joseph had prophesied that though wars would come “it will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll on,”109 and he reassured the Saints: “So long as men are under the law of God, they have no fears—they do not scare themselves.”110

In a declaration of February 27, 1845, the followers of Emmett were invited “to stand forth with the servants of God and in the majesty and strength and greatness of the everlasting priesthood rescue the earth from violence, oppression and wickedness.”111 This is not done by force of arm, even in the face of Johnson’s Army: “But, says one, ‘I want to fight.’ Do all such persons know that they are not right? If they will examine their hearts, they will find a wicked anger and a malice there; and they cannot get into the kingdom of God with those feelings.”112 No man was ever threatened with firearms more constantly than Joseph Smith, yet he would not carry a weapon: “He that arms himself with gun, sword, or pistol, except in the defense of truth, will sometimes be sorry for it. I never carry any weapon with me bigger than my penknife. When I was dragged before the cannon and muskets in Missouri, I was unarmed. God will always protect me until my mission is fulfilled.”113 “I sometimes felt,” Brigham confesses, “before the move, like taking the sword and slaying my enemies, until they were wasted away. But the Lord did not design this, and we have remained in peace and quietness.”114 “Had we the power, would we hold the wicked down and whip them? No; for, except in self-defence, it is our duty to plead with them and offer them the terms of life and salvation—to give them all the opportunity God has designed them to have.”115 “Are we prepared to receive the blessings, and let the fighting alone?” he asked the next year. “I do not much believe in fighting, and my faith is to escape such a calamity as to war and fight with either friends or enemies.”116

What then? “I have asked the Lord to mete out justice to those who have oppressed us, and the Lord will take his own time and way for doing this. It is in His hands, and not in mine, and I am glad of it, for I could not deal with the wicked as they should be dealt with.”117 This is not to say that great and strenuous efforts are not demanded of us: “We have got to take the ground by force. Yes, by the mental force of faith, and by good works, the march forth of the Gospel will increase, spread, grow and prosper, until the nations of the earth will feel that Jesus has the right to rule King of nations as he does King of Saints.”118 But that is the hard way; the other is easier: “Some of the Elders would much rather fight for their religion than live it. If any one thinks to get into the kingdom by fighting . . . they will find themselves mistaken.”119 “The devil and his associates” are going in due time to be “driven from the earth, and he and his clan are bound and thrust down to hell, and a seal put upon them.” How is that to be done? Not by us, of course, though we prepare the way for it by overcoming every sin in ourselves so that God can “bring forth righteousness, salvation, and deliverance to the house of Israel.”120 In the last year of his life President Young delivered a dire threat against the enemies of Zion: “Woe to those who fight against it. What will we do to them? Nothing at all, but preach the Gospel. They may lie about us as they please. If we will faithfully mind our own concerns, live our religion, do good to all men, . . . we have no cause for fear in the least.”121

These are the last days, the days of wickedness and vengeance, when war becomes the order of the day: “Some may have cried peace, but the Saints and the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes; for God has told us to flee. . . . Wars are at hand; we must not delay; but are not required to sacrifice. . . . Look to the Presidency and receive instructions. Every man who is afraid, covetous, will be taken in a snare. The time is coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes.”122 Thus said Joseph Smith in 1839. And still earlier the issue was made clear by the voice of prophecy: “Destruction, to the eye of the spiritual beholder, seems to be written by the finger of an invisible hand, in large capitals, upon almost every thing we behold.”123 No one has described the world situation better than Brigham Young, whose words would not be out of place in today’s newspaper. “Great improvements are making in the art of killing folks,” he commented away back in 1847, “and it is getting to be a very popular idea, that it is better to load guns with cotton than powder.” After a satirical comment on the beauty and convenience of the new killing device, he concludes with a stinger: “This may be joyful news to those who have plenty of cotton.”124

The danger of growing armaments was one on which he frequently commented: “A large share of the ingenuity of the world is taxed to invent weapons of war. What a set of fools!”125 Today by far the greater part of our vast military budget is spent on research. Brigham does not approve of that sort of thing: “Much of the skill, ingenuity, and ability of the Christian nations are now devoted to manufacturing instruments of death. May we be saved from the effects of them! As I often tell you, if we are faithful, the Lord will fight our battles much better than we can ourselves.”126

In the midst of the mobs, he told the Saints, “One plowshare will do more to drive off the mob than two guns.”127 The hardest thing is not to take to weapons when we feel threatened: “Imagined danger always produces the most trouble,” he reflected from long experience with the mobs;128 counter-action is no solution to violence: “I should have more fear in consequence of the ignorant and foolish audacity of the Elders, than of their being afraid. I should fear they would rush into danger like an unthinking horse into battle. So I will not find fault with regard to their courage. On that point I am a coward myself, and if people would do as I tell them, I would not only save my own life, but theirs likewise.”129

As he saw the great Civil War approaching, he observed, “It is a remarkable fact, that the flames of civil war are kindling in that portion of the United States from which the Saints were first driven by a reckless mob. That same spirit, . . . by the tacit consent of the nation, has diffused itself through the land, and sealed the doom of that mighty republic.”130 That was in 1855, but even ten years before, the prophet knew; “The ranklings of violence and intolerance . . . of settled vengeance, and blood guiltiness cannot long be suppressed. . . . Every sensible man in the nation has felt . . . the dreadful vortex into which partizan ambition, contempt of the poor, and trampling down the just as things of nought, were fast leading this nation.”131 From his experience with the U.S. Army in Utah, he reflected in 1859, “A standing army in time of peace in a republican government is more dangerous to the liberties of the people than to any foreign foe, and is a terrible and dangerous tax upon the prosperity of the country.”132 In the midst of the Civil War he observed, “The cause of human improvement is not in the least advanced by the dreadful war which now convulses our unhappy country. . . . According to accounts, in all probability not less than one million men . . . have gone to the silent grave in this useless war . . . and all to gratify the caprice of a few.”133

And after the war: “The destruction of property and life during the war has been enormous; but I am satisfied that the destruction of the love of virtue—the love of every exalted principle of honor, and of political and social government—has been greater, comparatively, than the destruction of property and life. Religious societies abound in the nation. Although it never was more wicked than at the present time, it is strange to say that it never was more religious in profession. Religion is the ruling power.”134 It was the usual postwar surge of churchgoing, and not long after, Brigham commented on the result: “I will say with regard to the so-called Christian world, and the moral reform of which they talk so much, that they are an utter failure, so far as stemming of the tide of evil among men is concerned; and if this Gospel that Jesus has revealed in the latter days does not do it, it will not be done.”135 And that was not to be for quite a while; “If we could, we would hide ourselves away from the scenes that will take place; but this we cannot do.”136 “Shall we have a warfare? We shall; we will war and contend for the right, and trust in our God until righteousness is established upon the earth, until peace shall [reign] everywhere, until the children of men shall lay down the weapons of their warfare and cease to exhaust their ability and ingenuity in forming weapons of destruction to slay their fellow men, until . . . their energies be directed to beautifying the earth and making it the garden of Eden.”137

And what part will the Saints have in the war? “Is there war in our religion? No, neither war nor blood-shed.”138 “Of one thing I am sure: God never institutes war; God is not the author of confusion or of war; they are the results of the acts of the children of men. Confusion and war necessarily come as the results of the foolish acts and policy of men; but they do not come because God desires they should come.”139 “War is instigated by wickedness—it is the consequence of a nation’s sin.”140 “Follow after peace,” said Joseph Smith, “that you may be the children of our Heavenly Father.”141 “When you find a spirit that wants bloodshed—murder, the same is not of God, but is of the devil.”142 “I never did harm any man,” he said at the end of his life, “since I was born in the world. My voice is always for peace.”143 Brigham takes it from there: “There is no need for war and bloodshed, for the earth is large enough for all. The elements of which this earth is composed are all around it.”144 He tells how during the mobbing he dreamed of shooting an enemy: “I felt so bad because I had shot a man, that I awoke and was thankful that it was but a dream.”145

As a great constructive and original spirit, Brigham was appalled by the totally negative nature of warfare (Omar Bradley claimed that war is waste):

     Look at the world. The feeling among mankind is “we will rule or ruin.” An architect may build a splendid habitation, and in so doing do a good work; but a poor fool can come along and with the touch of a torch destroy it. Let a few incendiaries go through a city and put the torch here and there, and the city is destroyed—the labor of years, perhaps of centuries, is wasted. Does this make great men of them? Perhaps they think so. If they can destroy a city or a nation they think they will get a great name. They will not.146

“Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between two nations as murder. . . . Does it justify the slaying of men, women, and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it.”147 “According to my definition of the word, there is not a strictly and fully civilized community now upon the earth. Is there murder by wholesale to be found in a strictly civilized community? Will a community of civilized nations rise up one against another, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, using against each other every destructive invention that can be brought to bear in their wars?”148 “There is a spirit that prompts the nations to prepare for war, desolation, and bloodshed—to waste each other away. Do they realize it? No.”149

     When the nations have for years turned much of their attention to manufacturing instruments of death, they have sooner or later used those instruments. Our nation, England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and other nations have for years exercised their inventive skill, and expended much means in inventing and fabricating instruments of death. . . . From the authority of all history, the deadly weapons now stored up and being manufactured will be used until the people are wasted away, and there is no help for it. The spirit of revolution goes on through the nations: it never goes back.150

“You will see that the wisdom of the wise among the nations will perish and be taken from them. They will fall into difficulties, and they will not be able to tell the reason, nor point a way to avert them any more than they can now in this land. They can fight, quarrel, contend and destroy each other, but they do not know how to make peace. So it will be with the inhabitants of the earth.”151

Brigham Young’s Indian Policy

When one thinks of Brigham Young, one thinks of the pioneers; and when one thinks of the enemies of the pioneers, one thinks of the Indians. Brigham Young’s policy was an acid test of his ability to deal with an enemy by refusing to treat him like an enemy. Nothing could be more drastic than a policy of kindness towards a clever, tough, tricky, unscrupulous and determined enemy. This is not the place to discuss it; a few quotations will do. Even before the Saints came to the valley,

I felt that it was wrong to indulge in feelings of hostility and bloodshed toward the Indian, the descendants of Israel, who might kill a cow, an ox or even a horse; to them the deer, the buffalo, the cherry and plum tree or strawberry bed were free. It was their mode of living to kill and eat. . . . I realized there were men among us who would steal, who knew better, whose traditions and earliest teachings were all against it. Yet such would find fellowship with those who would shoot an Indian for stealing.152

1850: To the people in Salt Lake:

     As to fighting with and killing the Indians, there was no necessity for it, if the brethren acted wisely in their intercourse with them; and [I] warned the brethren that if they killed Indians for stealing, they would have to answer for it. [I] also proposed for their consideration the following question: “Why should men have a disposition to kill a destitute, naked Indian, who may steal a shirt or a horse, and think it no harm, when they never think of meting out a like retribution to a white man who steals, although he has been taught better from infancy?”153

1853: “I am sorry that some of our brethren have been killed by the Indians, but am far more sorry that some of the Indians have been slain by the brethren. I have often said, and I say again, if any person is to be killed for stealing, let that one be a white man, and not an Indian, for white men know better, while Indians do not; and you must lay aside your angry feelings toward them, and cease wishing to kill them.”154

1854: Demands of the Indians “should be met with a spirit of liberality on the part of the General Government. . . . I have uniformly pursued a friendly course of policy towards them, feeling convinced, that independent of the question of exercising humanity towards so degraded and ignorant a race of people, it was manifestly more economical, and less expensive, to feed and clothe, than to fight them.”155

1857: “To reflect their angry words and acts, and kill them for every trivial [offense], as is the usual course pursued towards them by the whites . . . will never cause them to appreciate the blessings of civilized society, nor influence them to seek its benefits, but will . . . drive them to the opposite extreme. . . . Therefore let us . . . exhibit a superior understanding, a larger comprehension of right, forbearance and honor. Be just, brethren, in your dealings with them; no matter what course they may pursue towards you, never retaliate a wrong.”156 This forbearance works both ways, of course: “Hundreds of miles have the Indians travelled to see me, to know whether they might use up the emigrants, saying—’They have killed many of us; and they damn you and damn us, and shall we stand it?’ I have always told them to hold on, to stop shedding blood, and to live in peace.”157

1865: The reality of the Indian danger must never be forgotten: “If we make no efforts to guard our towns, our houses, our cities, our wives and children, will the Lord guard them for us? He will not. . . . I do not know that there is one person in the Territory who would refuse to perform military duty.”158 But this in no wise justifies any aggressive or vengeful action.

1866: “I wish to impress them with the necessity of treating the Indians with kindness, and to refrain from harboring that revengeful, vindictive feeling that many indulge in. I am convinced that as long as we harbor in us such feelings towards them, so long they will be our enemies, and the Lord will suffer them to afflict us.”159 It is the old Book of Mormon theme: one can never hope to get rid of his enemies by destroying them: “I certainly believe that the present affliction, which has come upon us from the Indians, is a consequence of the wickedness which dwells in the hearts of some of our brethren. . . . I believe that the Lord permits them to chasten us . . . to convince us that we have to overcome the vindictive feelings which we have harbored towards that poor, down-trodden branch of the house of Israel.”160

Locating the Enemy

There is an enemy, the enemy of all righteousness—but he is a disembodied spirit. How do we come to grips with him, according to Brigham Young? Very intimately and immediately; he enters, or seeks to enter, right into us individually—there we can meet him hand to hand and eye to eye, within our own minds and bodies. But we cannot engage him by attacking other human beings, no matter how full of the devil they may be. The futility of trying to combat Satan in the persons of those whom we deem to be his human representatives is rendered complete by the circumstance that there is evil as well as good in all of us, and while every man can know for himself what is good and evil in himself, he cannot possibly distinguish with any accuracy what is good and evil in others. “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror,” the Lord told Joseph Smith, “yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan” (D&C 10:5). We can conquer Satan, and the evil we know in ourselves, but the best we can hope for is to escape evil’s servants, whoever they are: “Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good” (D&C 10:20). But who are they? The Lord continues: “But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter” (D&C 10:37).

If our greatest prophet, with his admittedly uncanny knowledge of human nature (his worst enemies grant him that), could not always tell the wicked from the righteous, who are we to set up human targets? Being full of evil ourselves, we are in no position to judge: “Where is the man that is free from vanity?” said the Prophet Joseph. “None ever were perfect, but Jesus.”161 “We are called ignorant,” said Brother Brigham. “So we are: but what of it? Are not all ignorant? I rather think so.”162 Before the Church was two years old, Joseph admonished the brethren to “be patient as they had a considerable distance (to go). . . . Until we have perfect love we are liable to fall.”163 This awareness of our universal weakness is basic to an understanding of how to deal with the enemy: “There are no persons without evil passions to embitter their lives. Mankind are revengeful, passionate, hateful, and devilish in their dispositions. This we inherit through the fall, and the grace of God is designed to enable us to overcome it. The grace of God is bestowed upon all . . . to overcome the evil that is in them, and to save all.”164

Nothing can frustrate the operation of the grace of God like self-righteousness: “For man, what is he; he is but dung upon the earth,” says the Prophet Joseph, using the strongest terms and concluding, “There is one thing under the sun which I have learned and that is that the righteousness of man is sin because it exacteth over much.”165 “As long as they live in the flesh no being on this earth, of the posterity of Adam, can be free from the power of the devil.”166 “Every son and daughter of Adam that has come into this world has been subject to sin.”167 “We are naturally prone to wander from that which is good, and to receive every species of iniquity; we must get rid of this disposition, and the Gospel of salvation is expressly for the purpose of changing it.”168 “The best man that ever lived on this earth only just made out to save himself through the grace of God.”169 “We are not capacitated to receive in one day, nor in one year, the knowledge and experience calculated to make us perfect Saints, but we learn from time to time, from day to day, consequently we are to have compassion one upon another.”170

“And who are the sinners? We are all sinners.”171 Since this is so, one cannot identify the sinners and the righteous as members of this or that society or party or nation. Indeed, on the principle that the greater the blessing the greater the obligation, the Latter-day Saints are by no means singularly righteous: “You are constantly taught to live your religion for to-day,” says President Young to the Saints. “Can you not live it for one hour?”172 At the very beginning Joseph Smith viewed the condition of the Saints with alarm: “If the fountain of our tears be not dried up, we will still weep for Zion . . . and for the wrath of heaven, which awaits her if she repents not.”173 Soon after, Brigham Young recalls, “I left Kirtland in consequence of the fury of the mob and the spirit that prevailed in the apostates, who had threatened to destroy me.”174 Sidney Rigdon and others also fled “because of the mobocratic spirit prevailing in the bosoms of the apostates.”175

There is nothing worse than a Saint turned bad, and shortly before the death of Joseph, Brigham Young said, “Our difficulties and persecutions have always arisen from men right in our midst.”176 We have the best and the worst, is one of Brigham’s themes: “I have told the people many a time, if they want anything done, no matter how mean, they can find men here who can do it, if they are to be found on the earth.”177 “We are not all, as yet, fully sanctified by the truth. . . . The Gospel net still gathereth fish of every kind, . . . the flock has some goats intermingled with sheep of various grades, and that day of separation has not yet arrived.”178 ” ‘Will everybody be damned except the Latter-day Saints?’ ‘Yes,’ said Joseph, ‘and many of them, unless they take a different course from what they are now taking.’ “179 “I have seen months and months, in this city, when I could have wept like a whipt child to see the awful stupidity of the people in not realizing the blessings bestowed upon them.”180

     You need, figuratively, to have it rain pitchforks, tines downwards, from this pulpit, Sunday after Sunday. . . . You need to have the thunders of the Almighty and the forked lightnings of truth sent upon you, to wake you up out of your lethargy. . . . Comparatively speaking, they should have their ears cuffed and be roughly handled, be kicked out doors, and then kicked into it again. Most of the Elders who preach in this stand ought to be kicked out of it, and then kicked into it again, until they overhaul themselves and find out what is the matter with them.181

If the righteous have evil in them and the Saints are by no means without it, the wicked are not without a measure of good:

     Some may imagine and really believe that I am opposed to the great majority of the inhabitants of the earth—to the religious and political parties of the day; but it is not so. To individuals, as such, I am not opposed. The doctrine I preach is not opposed to an individual upon the earth. If I am opposed to anything, it is to sin. . . . I do not feel opposed to an individual on the earth. I have not any enmity in my heart, or at least I should not have. If I have, I am thus far wrong. If we harbor vindictiveness, hatred, malice, and a spirit that produces evil within us, we are so far given up to the power of evil.182

And that is what Satan wants; he cares not against whom our anger is directed. “Boast not over the misery of your fellow-men. God will fulfill his purposes. . . . There are moral Christians among the heathen, among the Hindoos, and among all nations. God has laid a plan to save all such. His name be praised!”183 There are wonderful people in the world—”a gentleman or lady, that is, one who is a true gentleman or a true lady . . . would border very closely on an angel.”184 We should not be hasty in judging the world: “It appears to the Elders, and to those who go from the Saints into the world, that it is growing wicked faster than it really is.”185

It is foolish to identify the enemy with the outsiders: “There is not one man in this city nor in the Territory who hates the truth and the Latter-day Saints, whose influence I dread, no, not even the hundredth part, as I do a smooth, slick hypocrite who professes to be a Latter-day Saint.”186 “[Our religion] does not send a portion of the people to howl in torment for ever and ever, but it reaches after the last son and daughter of Adam and Eve, and will pluck them from the prison, unlock the doors, and burst the bonds and bring forth every soul who will receive salvation.”187

If it is folly to identify the enemy with outsiders, many of whom are righteous; shall we seek them out among the less desirable elements within the Church? By no means. “We have a great many gars, sharks, sheepheads, lamper-eels, and every other kind of fish that is to be found, in the pond; the Gospel net has gathered them up, and what may you expect from such a mess?”188 “We have men who are dishonest, and are as yet obliged to have them; for the net gathers in the good and the bad. We have the meanest and the best mixed together.”189 “It is acknowledged all the time that there are evil doers here. . . . I am not going to give up the ship, or forsake my religion, because there are those who do evil.”190 “There are many who swear occasionally; others get drunk, &c. Do you not know it? O fools and slow of heart to understand your own existence! But many indulge in such practices, and some will stumble here and there; and we must keep pulling them out of the mire and washing them all the time. Will they be consigned to eternal damnation for such conduct? . . . They are the workmanship of God’s hands—brothers to Jesus.”191

And here is an extreme case: “I see men before me, in this house that have no right to be here. They are as corrupt in their hearts as they can be, and we take them by the hand and call them brother.”192 Why such concessions to wickedness? “We are as yet obliged to have devils in our community, we could not build up the kingdom without them. . . . We must have those amongst us who will steal our fence poles, who will go and steal hay from their neighbor’s hay stack. . . . It is essentially necessary to have such characters here.”193 “We are under obligation, through the filial feeling and ties of humanity, to more or less fellowship those who do evil. We must endure this until the Lord shall see fit to separate the wheat from the chaff.”194 “I am under the same obligations to bless sinners as I am to bless Saints, if they will receive my blessings.”195 “But we had better gather nine that are unworthy than to neglect the tenth if he is worthy. If they come here, apostatize and turn our enemies, they are in the hands of God, and what they do will be to them everlasting life or everlasting condemnation.”196 But neither the life nor the condemnation is ours to give.

In this Brigham was following as usual in the footsteps of the first prophet, his beloved Joseph, who said, “We have thieves among us, adulterers, liars, hypocrites,”197 and observed, “I have learned in my travels that man is treacherous and selfish, but few excepted.”198 What do we do with such people? Nothing. Here is a remarkable reflection: Joseph Smith publicly stated that Sidney Rigdon’s faults included “selfishness and independence of mind. . . . But notwithstanding these things, he is a very great and good man.”199 How could such a defective creature be at the same time a very great and good man? We all, as it were, have a foot in both camps, and the moral of it all, for both the prophets, is that we must have charity: “You may see, or think you see, a thousand faults in your brethren; yet they are organized as you are; they are flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone; they are of your Father who is in heaven: we are all his children, and should be satisfied with each other as far as possible.”200

“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 It is for God to judge, condemn, punish, reward, give life and take it, but not for men. He will forgive whom he will forgive, but of us he required to forgive all men. “If others ought to do right, we more. Be full of love and compassion to your fellow-beings, full of kindness, such as human beings can possess, for that is our business.”205 “I am very thankful that it is not our province, in our present condition, to judge the world; it if were, we would ruin everything. We have not sufficient wisdom, our minds are not filled with the knowledge and power of God; the spirit needs to contend with the flesh a little more.”206

“We must . . . learn to bring the whole man—all the passions, sympathies, and feelings in subjection to the spirit. Our spirits are warring against the flesh, and the flesh against our spirits; and all we have to do is to let the spirits that have come from our Father in heaven reign triumphant.”207 Meantime, “because of our weaknesses, . . . we shall have to bear with one another until we become stronger and wiser.”208 “All of us are in the hands of that God. We are all His children. We are his sons and daughters naturally, and by the principles of eternal life. We are brethren and sisters.”209

The Slough of Self-Righteousness

These lessons have always been hard for the Latter-day Saints to learn, and it is clear from the words of Brigham Young that we still have a long way to go. There are a few absolute and categorical “Thou Shalt Nots” in the scriptures which we are far from taking to heart: we have been told that under no circumstances are we to contend, accuse, coerce, aspire, or flatter. These practices will be readily recognized as standard procedure in getting to the top in our modern competitive society. What all of them have in common is a feeling of self-righteousness.

Next to covetousness it was self-righteousness against which Joseph and Brigham most urgently warned the Saints. “Let not any man publish his own righteousness,” said the Prophet Joseph (not even, one might, add, in testimony meeting).210 “Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbor’s virtue, but beware of self-righteousness, and be limited in the estimate of your own virtues. . . . You must enlarge your souls towards each other. . . . As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand, let them be enlarged towards others. . . . You must not be contracted, but you must be liberal in your feelings.”211 “Christ was condemned by the self-righteous Jews because He took sinners into His society.”212 “All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: it is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. . . . We are full of selfishness; the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, when we are feeding on the faults of others.”213 Here surely is the greatest threat of communism: it puts us to sleep and paralyzes our minds in the comforting assurance that we are the good people, and it is they and not we who need to repent. Brigham Young has much to say on each of the topics just mentioned. Taking them briefly in order:

Do not contend: “There shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. . . . But this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away” (3 Nephi 11:28—30). Even so, Joseph Smith warned the brethren at the beginning: “Let the Elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember that your business is to preach the Gospel in all humility. . . . Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth.”214 “Let contention, all contention cease,” said Brigham Young; “cease finding fault with and casting reflections upon those who are not exactly with us.”215

“Contention is not my calling; it is no part of the Gospel of Christ; that is peace, life, light, and salvation.”216 This does not mean that one cannot speak his mind: “I would rather be chopped to pieces at night, and resurrected in the morning, each day throughout a period of three-score years and ten, than be deprived of speaking freely, or be afraid of doing so. I will speak for my rights.”217 We are commanded “to bear down in pure testimony” (cf. Alma 4:19), letting our conversation be only “Yea, yea; [and] Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37; cf. 3 Nephi 12:37). Each man speaks for himself—he cannot transmit his testimony to others, let alone force it on them, but he can bear it to them and let the Spirit of God speak to the others. “We deem it a just principle,” said Joseph Smith, “and it is one the force of which we believe ought to be duly considered by every individual, that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently, then, we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprive any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts.”218

It is not necessary that free and open discussion lead to contention, but that is usually the result, thanks to the normal tendency of accusing: “While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard . . . without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men. . . . He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to . . . His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family.”219 Accusing goes along with judging, condemning, and “counselling one’s fellow men” (cf. D&C 1:19), all of which God has strictly forbidden to us—they are his business alone, according to his inscrutable designs, and in that office “he employeth no servant, . . . for he cannot be deceived” (2 Nephi 9:41), as all the rest of us can. “Remember to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter sayings,” the Prophet Joseph admonished.220 “Do not watch for iniquity in each other, if you do you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such.”221 Speaking of those who went about “denouncing all who disagree with them in opinion,” the prophet said, “I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren. . . . If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you.” Then he said a remarkable thing, namely that Ham was cursed because he became an accuser: “What many call sin is not sin. . . . I referred to the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah, while in his wine, but doing no harm.”222 Those, whether they are members of the Church or not, who accuse their brethren place “themselves in the seat of Satan, who is emphatically called ‘the accuser of the brethren.’ “223 (Diabolos means “accuser.”)

Even though the special gift of the priesthood is the discerning of spirits, “no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.”224 No matter how wicked others may be, it is not our business to take them on: “The spirits of good men cannot interfere with the wicked beyond their prescribed bounds, for Michael, the Archangel, dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, Satan.’ “225 “Mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed. . . . Hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall. . . . The brethren in Kirtland . . . greatly fear for you.”226

Brigham Young takes up the theme:

     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

He repeats the words of the Prophet Joseph: “Bring no railing accusation against your brethren, . . . for the principle is of the devil; he is called the accuser of the brethren.”228

He tells of “a gang of about a dozen Baptist ministers” who tried to break up gambling activities on a riverboat on which Brigham and other brethren were travelling: “I told them if there had been gambling, the gamblers had minded their own business and behaved like gentlemen, for there had been no disorder on board, . . . and if they pretended to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, their conduct belied their profession.”229 This is consistent with the principle “I can tell you that I would rather have the practice of a good moral religion without any faith at all in a Supreme Being, than to have faith in a Supreme Being without any moral good action.”230 Believing in correct doctrine does not sanctify one’s actions. But no one is in a position to accuse: “You may see, or think you see, a thousand faults in your brethren; yet they are organized as you are. . . . The main difficulty in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied is, they are not satisfied with themselves.”231

Experience shows that the arch accusers are invariably very ambitious men whose accomplishments have not equalled their ambitions. “No person has a right to say to another, ‘Why do you eat wheat bread, corn bread, or no bread at all? why do you eat potatoes, or why do you not eat them? why do you walk, or why do you sit down? why do you read this or that book? or why do you go to the right or the left?’ . . . If the Elders of Israel could understand this a little better, we would like it, for the simple reason that if they had power given them now they manifest the same weaknesses in the exercise thereof as any other people.”232

As to those who reject the gospel, “what will be their condemnation? Let the Lord judge.”233 “Remember this O ye man because he is not baptized.”234 “There is one thing that we are too much guilty of, and that is, evil speaking of our neighbors.”235 “Shall we speak evil of others? No. Why? Because the result of their treatment towards us has made us better and greater than we could have been otherwise. . . . Let us thank God, and speak evil of none.”236 Beware of making anyone an offender for a word: “Our Christian brethren almost deny the existence of a God; but it is in word only; they do not feel it in their hearts, they do not mean any such thing.”237 Atheists and gentiles are none of our business, but what about those nearer to home? “The greatest trial this people are under the necessity of bearing is to hold fellowship with false brethren”—but hold it they must.238

“I think it can be shown that the great majority of difficulties between brethren, arises from misunderstandings rather than from malice and a wicked heart, and instead of talking the matter over with each other in a saint-like spirit, they will contend with each other until a real fault is created, and they have brought a sin upon themselves.”239 “Let the Elders of this Church go forth and preach that every person who does not become as they are will have to suffer the wrath of God, and go down to hell, . . . and I would not give the ashes of a rye-straw for all they will do. It is good for nothing: there is no life in it—there is no soul in it”;240 it is Satan’s game of accusing, and it is all negative. This was the spirit of those who came bursting with self-righteousness, to expose and correct the vices of the Utah Mormons. On September 29, 1851, Brigham Young wrote to President Filmore: “Is it true that officers coming here by virtue of any appointment by the President, have private instructions . . . to watch for iniquity, . . . and make a man ‘an offender for a word,’ to spy out our liberties, and, by manifold misrepresentations, seek to prejudice the minds of the people against us?”241

In the end, it is our own weakness and ignorance that makes the business of accusing so false and futile: “God has commenced His kingdom on the earth. How intricate it is, and how difficult for a man to understand if he be not enlightened by the Spirit of God!”242 “It requires all the atonement of Christ, the mercy of the Father, the pity of angels and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be with us always, and then to do the very best we possibly can, to get rid of this sin within us.”243 “It matters not,” therefore, “what your neighbours do, look to your God with all your heart, instead of watching your neighbours, and there will be no danger of your leaving the true path.”244

Coercion has no place in the gospel, where power is exercised “only by persuasion” (D&C 121:41). “These tribes of Indians . . . war with each other, and try to destroy each other; and why do they do it? Why, ‘you are not as righteous as I am, and I want to bring you over to my holy faith.’ “245 And the so-called civilized nations take up arms “to subdue you heathens, and bring you over to our more enlightened customs and religion.”246

     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

“I have thought a great many times I was very thankful I was not the Lord Almighty. I should be consuming my enemies. How I should contend against those who hate me. I am glad I am not the Lord.”248

     Do not you wish sometimes you had power to pinch their ears? Do not you wish you had power to stop them in their mad career? Let the Lord Almighty do this. You think his eye is upon the work of his hands? It is. His ears are open to the prayers of his children, . . . and when we as a people possess the abundance of that patience, that longsuffering and forbearance that we need, to possess the privileges and the power that the Lord has in reserve for his people, we will receive to our utmost satisfaction. We shall not have it now. The Lord says, “I can not give it to you now.”249

An aspiring spirit is alien to any man who had the spirit of the Lord, and yet in the past has been very marked among leading Latter-day Saints. It was responsible, Joseph Smith maintained, for all the persecutions brought upon the Church. “President Smith continued by speaking of the difficulties he had to surmount ever since the commencement of the work, in consequence of aspiring men. ‘Great big Elders,’ as he called them, who cause him much trouble. . . . He said he had been trampled under foot by aspiring Elders, for all were infected with that spirit. . . . He said he had a subtle devil to deal with, and could only curb him by being humble.”250 “Beware of pride, and not seek to excel one above another. . . . Must the new ones begin to exalt themselves . . . as several of the quorum have done? . . . It is an eternal principle: . . . That man who rises up to condemn others . . . is in the high road to apostasy.”251

It is the most natural thing in the world: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, . . . to exercise unrighteous dominion,” not realizing that the power of the priesthood must flow “without compulsory means” (D&C 121:39, 46). “We have history enough,” says Brigham Young, “to prove that when men have the power their motto is, ‘You shall.’ But there is no such thing in the economy of heaven.”252 “Gather the Saints, but do not flatter; invite, but do not urge, and by no means compel anyone.”253 “There are men who . . . wish to destroy every power in Heaven and on earth that they do not hold themselves. This is the spirit of Satan that was made so visibly manifest in Heaven and which proved his overthrow, and he now afflicts this people with it; he wants to dictate and rule every principle and power that leads to exaltation and eternal life.”254

Notice that the lofty objective, exaltation and eternal life, does not justify any personal ambition, any more than hard work justifies power and gain as an objective. After the death of Joseph Smith, many had ambition: “This wild spirit of ambition has repeatedly manifested itself to us by many communications received from various sources,” wrote Brigham Young in the winter of 1845, “suggesting schemes of blood and empire, as if the work of the Lord was intended for personal aggrandisement [sic].”255 Many justified their personal ambitions on the grounds that after all they were doing it all for the Church: “Where you find a man who wishes to steady the ark of God, without being called to do so, you will find a dark spot in him. The man full of light and intelligence discerns that God steadies his own ark, dictates his own affairs, guides his people, controls his kingdom, governs nations, and holds the hearts of all living in his hands”—he asks no assistance of us, though we eagerly justify our plans of conquest and career by dedicating them to God.256 It is the wicked who “desire to rule, to hold the reins of government on this earth. . . . I do not blame them for being suspicious of us; men in high standing are suspicious of us, hence the frequent cry, ‘Treason, treason, we are going to have trouble with the people in Utah.’ “257

An insidious form of compulsion is the oath, against which Joseph Smith and Brigham Young issued strong warnings. “Swear not at all” (Matthew 5:34; cf. 3 Nephi 12:34), the Savior said, explaining that since we have no control over the future—even to influence our own stature or hair color—we have no business committing ourselves to future situations which we cannot control or even foresee. “Let our covenant be that of the Everlasting Covenant, as is contained in the Holy Writ,” said Joseph Smith. “Pure friendship always becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. . . . Our religion is between us and our God.”258 We do not take an oath to men. Brigham Young tells of how when he was a boy he absolutely refused to take a temperance pledge, not because he did not believe in temperance, but because he did, and felt that the pledge would only be an insult.259 “Many times I have a feeling to bring this people under a covenant,” he said at the 24th of July celebration at Big Cottonwood in 1856,

but a doubt as to the propriety of doing so operates as a check upon that feeling. While the toasts were being read . . . it was strongly in my mind to ask, will you live your religion from this time, henceforth and forever? and to bring the people under covenant. But they are already under one, and my feelings are, I would rather they would not make covenants, than to make them and break them. Live your religion; . . . deal justly with your own conscience and with one another, and do right from henceforth, and you shall be blessed.260

On another occasion he says, “I will not call upon you to enter into a covenant to do this, for some might break their covenants and that would be a sin. . . . I have never made a covenant since I entered this Church only to do good and serve the Lord our God, and in every possible way aid in developing His purposes.”261

There Is Business and . . .

It is doubtful if Shakespeare himself could surpass the scathing eloquence of Brigham Young whenever he gets on his favorite loathing—lawyers and their ways;262 but hardly less devastating are his descriptions of businessmen in action—especially merchants. “Our merchants . . . do not ask what they can afford to sell an article for, but they ask what they can get the people to pay; and as much as the people will pay, so much will the merchants take—a hundred, or a thousand percent, if they can get it, and then thank God for their success.”263 But that is simply a matter of supply and demand—which is wrong, according to Brigham Young, and especially insidious because it can be rationalized to a form of righteousness: “They put me in mind,” he says, “of some men I have seen who, when they had a chance to buy a widow’s cow for ten cents on the dollar of her real value in cash, would make the purchase, and then thank the Lord that he had so blessed them.”264 It is true, their subconscious fights back and concedes the point to Brigham: “We frequently hear our merchants say they cannot do business and then go into the pulpit to preach,”265 but in the end the pull of this world is irresistible: “Yet when we examine the feelings, views, wishes, desires and aspirations of this people, we see them wandering after almost everything but that which they should possess.”266

Now Brigham Young was a practical man and a business man, but he was interested only in this congregation who are so short-sighted, and so destitute of eternal values of things—that was the difference:

     There are those in this congregation who are so short-sighted, and so destitute of eternal wisdom and knowledge, that they believe that brother Brigham is after property—after the things of this world. That is a false feeling, a false view, and a false faith in such persons. . . . I seek not for the world, nor for the things of the world; but God heaps property upon me, and I am in duty bound to take care of it. Do you think that I love the world? I do not. Where is the man who would more willingly give up his property than I would?267

“I own property, and I employ the best men I can find to look after it. . . . But as for spending my own time in doing it, or letting my own mind dwell upon the affairs of this world, I will not do it. I have no heart to look after my own individual advantage, I never have had; my heart is not upon the things of this world.”268 This was no hollow rhetoric—five times Brigham Young had been stripped of all his property, and never so much as a backward look or sigh of regret.

He minced no words on the subject of false values: “It is disgusting to me to see a person love this world in its present organization. . . . Riches take the wings of the morning and fly away; it is beneath the heart of a man who loves God and His spirit.”269 “Oh fools, and slow of heart to understand the purposes of God and his handiwork among the people.”270 “Go to the child, and what does its joy consist in? Toys, we may call them, . . . and so it is with our youth, our young boys and girls; they are thinking too much of this world; and the middle-aged are striving and struggling to obtain the good things of this life, and their hearts are too much upon them. So it is with the aged. Is not this the condition of the Latter-Day Saints? It is.”271

And what has all this to do with the enemy? A great deal, for it sets forth with great clarity his plan of attack, his strategy and tactics. We must never forget that the devil has more than one arrow in his quiver, and when one does not work he will try another. But the one that works by far the best among all classes of people and in all periods of time is money: he has announced in no uncertain terms that this is his world, and that one can have anything in it for money. The claims are fraudulent, of course: “Satan . . . never owned the earth; he never made a particle of it; his labor is not to create, but to destroy.”272 But then he always works by deception: “The wicked rule all over the earth, and they have had possession . . . so long that they think they are the rightful heirs, and inherit it from the Father,”273 and so we have in the world of material things a completely inverted scale of values:

     It has been supposed that wealth gives power. In a depraved state of society, in a certain sense it does, if opening a wide field for unrighteous monopolies, by which the poor are robbed and oppressed and the wealthy are more enriched, is power. In a depraved state of society, money can buy positions and titles, can cover up a multitude of incapabilities, can open wide the gates of fashionable society to the lowest and most depraved of human beings; it divides society into castes without any reference to goodness, virtue or truth. It is made to pander to the most brutal passions of the human soul; it is made to subvert every wholesome law of God and man, and to trample down every sacred bond that should tie society together in a national, municipal, domestic and every other relationship.274

This little apostrophe on money, delivered as Brigham Young’s sermons all were, impromptu, is worthy to stand beside that of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens on the same subject.

. . . Therefore

Does the communist world pose a threat to the peace and security of the human race? Of course it does; the danger cannot be exaggerated. There indeed is an enemy and an extremely dangerous one. The question is not whether the danger exists, but how to deal with it. I spent a couple of years in military headquarters at various echelons, and if nothing else, I kept my eyes and ears open. There was nearly always complete agreement among the command as to who the enemy was and what our own objectives were, since both matters had been settled by orders from above. But on the question of just how we were to accomplish our objectives there was very little agreement: every general had his own solution to the problem, and nothing is easier than for one general to say of another (especially if both were bucking for the next promotion), “His plan is insane; it plays right into the hand of the enemy; it gives aid and comfort to the enemy; in fact it is just what the enemy wants us to do.” In other words, since my plan is the only one that will work, all others amount to treason.

How then do we deal with the enemy? Brigham Young, who knew as much about as large a variety of enemies as any man who ever lived, has laid it on the line: If we show our Heavenly Father that we trust Him to the point of putting aside all feelings of malice and revenge towards our fellowmen, no matter who they may be or how they feel toward us, He will see to it that “the wicked shall destroy the wicked” (cf. Mormon 4:5). That is a promise that has never failed of fulfillment. The alternative to this is the other game, the most dangerous, futile and foolish game in the world, the age-old Asiatic game of world conquest, the mad-men’s chess match as old as history. It is a game of power, and the rules only exist as tricks to trap one’s opponent, and words and courtesies serve only to obfuscate and deceive. The game is endemic to the steppes of Asia, and the Asiatics are better at it than we can ever hope to be: for us to play the game and play it their way is simply suicide. But this vision of world power, of massive armies and machines engulfing the surface of the earth as they grind all opposition to powder, is an intoxicating one; it is the ultimate dream that I have many times heard generals talking about among themselves and to their staff. After all, say these realists, it is power that wins in this world—God is on the side of the big battalions. If we are going to be realists, let us face the facts.

The August 1969 issue of the Scientific American was largely devoted to the theme of “Military Technology and National Security,” and the leading article, by Herbert F. York, concluded with the words: “There is no technical solution to the dilemma of the steady decrease in our national security that has for more than 20 years accompanied the steady increase in our military power.”275 A perfect commentary on the repeated assurance of the scriptures that there is no security in the arm of flesh. If there is no technological solution to our dilemma, there is a spiritual one, and Brigham has told us what it is.


*   This text was originally printed in The Young Democrat, privately printed leaflets, edited by Omar Kadar and published in two separate parts in 1970.

1.   JD 18:361.

2. JD 10:39.

3. JD 10:111.

4. Elden J. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1801—1844 (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968), 162 (7 March 1844).

5. JD 8:143.

6. JD 18:360.

7. JD 7:56.

8. JD 8:156.

9. JD 11:111.

10. JD 11:267.

11. JD 8:175.

12. JD 8:325.

13. JD 8:358.

14. JD 18:361.

15. JD 19:5.

16. JD 11:134.

17. JD 8:36.

18. JD 8:166.

19. JD 14:40.

20. JD 3:257.

21. JD 8:358.

22. JD 12:177.

23.   JD 10:256.

24. JD 8:285.

25. JD 10:32.

26. JD 12:311.

27. JD 15:6.

28. JD 8:285.

29. JD 3:222.

30. JD 13:4.

31. JD 3:356.

32. JD 3:207.

33. JD 12:128.

34. JD 11:251.

35. JD 13:251.

36. JD 10:2—3.

37. JD 8:61.

38. JD 3:321.

39. JD 3:365.

40. JD 3:365.

41. JD 9:108.

42. JD 10:304.

43. JD 17:159.

44. JD 8:179.

45. JD 3:95.

46. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, act IV, scene i, lines 376—77.

47. TPJS, 9.

48. Edward Stevenson, The Life and History of Elder Edward Stevenson, master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955, 40—41.

49. JD 15:4.

50. JD 3:118.

51. JD 3:117.

52. JD 3:7.

53. JD 1:225.

54. JD 7:46.

55. JD 5:353.

56. JD 15:4.

57. HC 3:269.

58. HC 3:269.

59. JD 13:1.

60. HC 3:269; see also 18:244.

61. CHC 3:349.

62. JD 12:202.

63. JH (7 December 1848).

64. JD 1:78.

65. JD 1:252.

66. JD 3:119.

67. JD 3:223.

68. JD 10:3.

69. JD 10:329.

70. JD 11:216.

71. JD 17:38.

72. JD 18:238—39.

73. JD 17:41.

74. JD 8:325.

75. MS 16:724.

76. JD 8:324.

77. JD 8:357.

78. JD 11:290.

79. JD 11:255.

80. JD 8:33.

81. TPJS, 179.

82. JD 14:149.

83. JD 3:256.

84. JD 3:195.

85. JD 10:191.

86. JD 16:28.

87. JD 3:207.

88. JD 3:207.

89. MS 21:823.

90. JD 14:156.

91. JD 12:218:

92. JD 8:287.

93. JD 2:180.

94. JD 10:20.

95. JD 10:41.

96. JD 3:195.

97. JD 1:360.

98. JD 13:155.

99. JD 3:255.

100. TPJS, 357.

101. MS 16:310.

102. JD 10:39.

103. JD 7:56.

104. JD 6:315.

105. JD 19:3.

106. JD 9:124.

107. William E. Berrett and Alma P. Burton, Readings in L.D.S. Church History, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1953), 1:224.

108. Elden J. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1846—1847 (Salt Lake City: Watson, 1971), 529 (23 February 1847).

109. TPJS, 366.

110. TPJS, 373.

111. HC 7:378.

112. JD 5:229.

113. TPJS, 365—66.

114. JD 8:150.

115. JD 8:279.

116. JD 8:325.

117. JD 10:297.

118. JD 14:226.

119. MS 33:433.

120. JD 2:270—71.

121. JD 19:5.

122. TPJS, 160—61.

123. TPJS, 16.

124. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1846—1847, 517 (27 January 1847).

125. JD 8:324.

126. JD 8:325.

127. HC 7:256.

128. JD 1:105.

129. JD 1:165.

130. MS 17:675.

131. MS 6:197.

132. MS 21:303.

133. JD 10:250.

134. JD 12:120.

135. JD 14:226.

136. JD 18:362.

137. JD 11:239.

138. MS 29:564.

139. JD 13:149 (emphasis added).

140. JD 10:230.

141. TPJS, 20.

142. TPJS, 358.

143. TPJS, 361.

144. JD 9:316.

145. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1846—1847, 91 (17 March 1846).

146. JD 10:315.

147. JD 7:137.

148. JD 8:6—7.

149. JD 8:174.

150. JD 8:157.

151. JD 10:315.

152. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1846—1847, 541 (26 March 1847).

153. JH (9 January 1850).

154. MS 16:188.

155. MS 17:261.

156. MS 19:248.

157. JD 5:236.

158. JD 11:131—32.

159. JD 11:263.

160. JD 11:263.

161. TPJS, 187.

162. JD 13:271.

163. TPJS, 9.

164. JD 8:160.

165. TPJS, 317.

166. JD 3:371.

167. JD 8:352.

168. JD 3:119.

169. JD 11:301.

170. JD 3:363.

171. JD 18:358.

172. JD 8:59.

173. TPJS, 19.

174. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1801—1844, 23—24 (22 December 1837).

175. Ibid., 24 (22 December 1837).

176. Ibid., 162 (7 March 1844).

177. JD 15:226.

178. JD 3:327.

179. JD 14:133; cf. TPJS, 119.

180. JD 2:280.

181. JD 3:222—23.

182. JD 6:331.

183. JD 8:325—26.

184. JD 12:259.

185. JD 3:222.

186. JD 18:359.

187. JD 12:309.

188. JD 3:226.

189. JD 8:132.

190. JD 8:132.

191. JD 6:347.

192. JD 18:305.

193. JD 3:50.

194. JD 8:128.

195. JD 8:261.

196. JD 15:18.

197. TPJS, 217.

198. HC 1:443.

199. HC 1:443—44.

200. JD 8:287.

201. JD 8:37.

202. JD 8:128.

203. JD 3:119.

204. JD 3:363.

205. JD 5:229—30.

206. JD 19:7 (emphasis added).

207. JD 8:118.

208. JD 8:181.

209. JD 13:178.

210. TPJS, 194.

211. TPJS, 228.

212. TPJS, 240.

213. TPJS, 241.

214. TPJS, 43.

215. JD 17:120.

216. JD 14:122.

217. JD 1:364.

218. TPJS, 49 (emphasis added).

219. TPJS, 218.

220. TPJS, 43.

221. TPJS, 91.

222. TPJS, 193.

223. TPJS, 212.

224. TPJS, 214.

225. TPJS, 208.

226. TPJS, 18—19.

227. JD 7:133—34.

228. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1801—1844, 44 (4 July 1839).

229. Ibid., 152—53 (4 October 1843).

230. JD 13:249.

231. JD 8:287.

232. JD 14:94—95.

233. JD 14:222.

234. JD 12:270.

235. JD 14:16.

236. JD 14:40.

237. JD 14:40—41.

238. JD 8:150.

239. JD 12:173.

240. JD 8:155.

241. Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1847—1867, 105 (29 September 1851).

242. JD 13:271.

243. JD 11:301.

244. JD 8:177.

245. JD 3:87.

246. JD 3:88.

247. JD 14:94.

248. JD 15:2.

249. JD 15:2.

250. TPJS, 225.

251. TPJS, 155—56.

252. JD 14:95.

253. JD 8:72.

254. JD 10:97.

255. HC 7:429.

256. JD 8:66.

257. JD 4:38.

258. TPJS, 146.

259. JD 14:225.

260. MS 18:679—80.

261. JD 11:140.

262. William Shakespeare, Henry VI, part II, act IV, scene ii, line 86: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

263. JD 17:361.

264. JD 17:362.

265. JD 13:308.

266. JD 12:228.

267. JD 8:125.

268. JD 11:297.

269. MS 12:275.

270. JD 8:63.

271. JD 18:237.

272. JD 10:320.

273. JD 11:302.

274.   JD 10:3; cf. Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President (New York: Washington Square, 1968).

275. Herbert F. York, “Military Technology and National Security,” Scientific American 221 (August 1969): 29.