In my post today I am going to write about some traits of Brigham Young’s and then some conclusions he reached that illustrate them. I finish up by noting a current problem and asking the question of whose fault the problem is.
I invite your comments and feedback.
Brigham Young is known for:
- Stating that what he had to say was as good as scripture.
- Telling people that they did not need to set up appointments with him to ask about whether or not he was wrong….
- Believing that knowledge and understanding and revelation are driven by, and limited by, context, language and understanding.
- Changing his mind over time.
I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 95)
do not come to my office to ask me whether I am mistaken, for I want to tell you now perhaps I am.
I will acknowledge that all the time,” he elaborated, “but I do not acknowledge that I designedly lead this people astray.” Rather, “accord-[p.xii]ing to the best light and intelligence we are in possession of we will tell you what we think the Lord wishes of us and his policy concerning this people.”
Because the limits of revelation
…are inherent not in the Lord who gave them but in the imperfect language spoken by his weak servants, who had to decode the divine messages with various kinds of noise inhibiting them. Brigham Young did not believe, as he put it, “that there is a single revelation, among the many God has given to the Church, that is perfect in its fullness. The revelations of God contain correct doctrine and principle, so far as they go; but it is impossible for the poor, weak, low, grovelling, sinful inhabitants of the earth to receive a revelation from the Almighty in all its perfections. He has to speak to us in a manner to meet the extent of our capacities.
This leads to Brigham Young, changing his mind and whether or not women are equal to men. It is clear that the younger Brigham Young did not believe women were equal to men. He was quite clear on the point several times. However, that changed as he grew older.
The older Brigham Young was quite clear that women made as good of shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers and legislators as men did. He also felt that women, as a whole were not equal to men, but it was a result of the opportunities, education and social treatment of them — not anything inherent.
It took old age to make him appreciate medical science, but LDS Church Prophet Brigham Young took an enlightened view of women physicians. As early as January 1868, he recommended training women in anatomy, surgery, chemistry and physiology.
But the bottom line was that women were not equal to men because men had denied them the proper training and education. To the extent that women were not full partners and equals to men, it was the fault of those men who controlled society.
- What do you think? Whose fault is it if the women in your ward are not treated as equals to the men?
- What can or should be done about that?