top of page
  • Writer's pictureJacob Hansen

Brigham Young: Religion=Morality?

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

One of the great strengths of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that it is not merely a church of platitudes and common sense morals that everyone already agrees with. I echo Brighams experience as I have encountered sects rich with music and feel good speeches but short on doctrine and the rigors of Christ’s vision for the Kingdom of God.


“But the practical and thoughtful youth Brigham was left unmoved, even by the noted Methodist revivalist Lorenzo Dow. Years later, from a Utah pulpit, Brigham gave a burlesque of one of Dow’s sermons. “He stood up some of the time, and he sat down some of the time; he was in this position and in that position, and talked two or three hours, and when he got through I asked myself, ‘What have you learned from Lorenzo Dow?’ and my answer was, ‘Nothing, nothing but morals.’ He could tell the people they could not work on the Sabbath day; they should not lie, swear, steal, commit adultery, &c., but when he came to teaching the things of God he was as dark as midnight...

Brigham became increasingly cynical about professors of religion, an attitude he maintained throughout his life. “I would as lief go into a swamp at midnight to learn how to paint a picture,” he said, “as to go to the religious world to learn about God, heaven, hell or the faith of a Christian.” (14: 198)….

Then what was he looking for? Religion that conformed with the Bible and appealed to his mind. I understood from the Bible that when the Lord had a church upon the earth it was a system of ordinances, of laws and regulations to be obeyed, a society presided over and regulated by officers and ministers peculiar to itself to answer such and such purposes, and to bring to pass such and such results.… (11:254) Yet when he asked the ministers “how the kingdom of God should be built up; if that which is laid down in the New Testament is not the pattern,” their reply was: “You know, my dear friend, that these things are done away.” Brigham’s conclusion was that “Jesus Christ had no true Church upon the earth.” (11:254) As for the existing sects, he said, “I … found I could put all their doctrines, when simmered down to truth, into a snuffbox of the smallest class, put it into my vest pocket and go on my way.”19

From “Brigham Young” by Leonard J. Arrington

63 views0 comments


bottom of page