Sunday, December 14, 2014

Brigham Young the great colonizer and Repentance

For those of you who just started following our blog, you may have missed the part about Elder Johnson and I being sequestered in Carthage giving tours of the Historic Carthage Jail for the first four months of our mission. Therefore, you may not know that many of the sites in Nauvoo are still new to us. 

This week I served in the Brigham Young home for the first time which means of course that I spent a day consumed in the life of Brigham Young in preparation for giving a stellar tour. What a great man I found him to be. Here are a few fun facts.

 Brigham  Young was born in 1801 in Vermont. The ninth of eleven children, he learned to farm and work with wood. He was 30 years old before joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham wrote of feeling the Holy Ghost bear witness of the truth of the gospel. He declared, “When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and the light, glory and immortality were before me.”

That’s pretty cool don’t you agree? Actually, I've been thinking quite a bit about the Holy Ghost lately. I feel his influence so much more clearly and often since we started our mission.  I wrote in my journal this week, “Understanding the Holy Ghost takes finely tuned feelings. It is a perception that is easily missed if I’m not paying close attention. Those tender feelings are easily blocked by drugs and alcohol or any addictive substance or behavior for that matter.  Even being caught up in 'busyness' can be a deterrent simply because it is a distraction. However, simple things like reading scriptures, kind acts toward others, and prayer especially prayer filled with gratitude, can help tune my spirit so I can hear/feel the Holy Ghost more readily. Most importantly, when a message from the Holy Ghost is perceived, there is no doubt or confusion on what that message is. It is clear, thorough, and completely convincing. There is always choice in it however. It doesn't ever feel forced on my mind in any degree. It is like a gift—free for the taking.”

I am sure that there is absolute truth in this world. Either Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who had extraordinary experiences or else he was a great deceiver. There is no room for anything in between. You and I can know for ourselves which it is by the power of the Holy Ghost. Will you find out for yourself? Remember, you must go to the right source. Popular opinion is not a good indicator because the disciples of Christ have always endured persecution. Neither would you interview Judas Iscariot to learn more about Christ, so I invite you to or your local missionaries to learn what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly all about. 

Oops, I got a bit carried away--back to Brigham

…He is considered the greatest colonizer that ever lived. He not only organized and oversaw the migration of tens of thousands of families from all parts of the world, but he was behind the colonization of around 400 communities in the western United States, Canada, and Mexico. That’s kind of a big deal I think. In 1950 his statue was placed in the National Statuary Gallery in the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington DC as “America’s Greatest Colonizer”.

 This is off scrip, but I thought it interesting that some important people did not really like Brigham. Abraham Lincoln for example called him a lion and agreed to leave him alone if Brigham would leave President Lincoln alone. There were others of course, but the point is that I suspect if you’re going to boss that many people around, you’re going to step on a few toes. My personal opinion.... I like the man and know for myself that he too was a prophet of God. I'll give you more evidence of that truth on another post.

This is off scrip too but just as fascinating. When Brigham was planning his funeral with his family, he asked that he be buried with his face turned to the side. When asked why, he replied that he hoped the Lord would not recognize him in the next life and he longed for a little rest. :) Great men and women apparently don't always ask for the responsibilities given them. Perhaps, they never do.

I don’t want to give you too much information about Brigham because that would be boring for both you and me, and anyway, you really ought to come to Nauvoo and see for yourself so I’ll make just one more point.

While restoring Brigham’s home in Nauvoo, a large amount of broken china was discovered in the above ground root cellar. No one attempts to guess why it was there at least that I could find, but a missionary in 1990 worked the broken pieces until he had the china pieced back together. He re-fired some of the dishes dissolving all cracks, but others he left with the old scars representing the power of Christ’s atonement.
These cream pitchers were in many pieces as shown above. 
Now I can't see a single crack as shown below.

Above ground root cellar

As we accept Christ and repent of things along the way, we can be made whole again. No matter what we've done wrong or how crushed we are, we can be restored to the beautiful condition that we started out as. The atonement is the healer of all wounds whether we are tarnished from our own sins, or bruised from other people’s bad choices; we can be healed as if bad things had never happened.

 I am deeply grateful for the atonement and have felt it’s power many times in my life.

In conclusion, I promised in prior posts to hound you about seeing the “He is the Gift” clip at

So, have you done it? I just watched it again….you gotta love it.

Stay tuned mid week and I'll give you a couple more things I learned about Brigham Young and the exodus from Nauvoo while working in the Blacksmith Shop today for the first time. It's fascinating to me!

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