Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Brigham and the Kingdom of God

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Brigham Young and the Kingdom of God

A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims


One Nation under Gods, page 222 (hardback)

Closely associated with this belief was Brigham Young's role as God's chosen sovereign; the one divinely anointed to rule over earth as Christ's latter-day prophet. The idea came directly from Smith. However, unlike Joseph, who taught that the Saint's reign was to begin in the future, Brigham asserted that God's kingdom had already come. "[T]hat Kingdom is actually organized, and the inhabitants of earth do not [even] know it," Young said in 1855.88

One Nation under Gods, page 222 (paperback)

Closely associated with this belief was Brigham Young's role as God's chosen sovereign; the one divinely anointed to rule over earth as Christ's latter-day prophet. The idea came directly from Smith. However, unlike Joseph, who taught that the Saint's reign was to be organized in the future, Brigham asserted that God's kingdom was already organized, and the inhabitants of earth did not know it. "[I]t is organzied preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord," Young said in 1855. 88

Author's Sources


Endnote 88, page 554 (hardback); page 552 (paperback)

88. Young, July 8, 1855, in JOD, vol. 2, 310.


Question: Did Brigham Young claim that the Kingdom of God was already organized on earth, and that the inhabitants of the earth did not know it?

Brigham Young didn't believe that the Kingdom of God and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were synonymous

The book One Nation Under Gods claims,

Closely associated with this belief was Brigham Young's role as God's chosen sovereign; the one divinely anointed to rule over earth as Christ's latter-day prophet. The idea came directly from Smith. However, unlike Joseph, who taught that the Saint's reign was to be organized in the future, Brigham asserted that God's kingdom was already organized, and the inhabitants of earth did not know it. "[I]t is organzied preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord," Young said in 1855." [1]

In the hardback and the paperback editions, the author makes the clear assertion that Brigham Young believed that the Kingdom of God was already organized on earth, and that this belief differed from the earlier beliefs of Joseph Smith. A quick look at the original quote, in context, from the Journal of Discourses, demonstrates otherwise. (In the following, the bold text indicates the words that the author of ONUG used.)

When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established on the face of the earth, and takes the pre-eminence over all other nations and kingdoms, it will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship. If they wish to worship a god of their own workmanship, instead of the true and living God, all right, if they will mind their own business and let other people alone.

As was observed by brother Pratt, that Kingdom is actually organized, and the inhabitants of the earth do not know it. If this people know anything about it, all right; it is organized preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord, and in the manner that shall please Him. As observed by one of the speakers this morning, that Kingdom grows out of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not the Church, for a man may be a legislator in that body which will issue laws to sustain the inhabitants of the earth in their individual rights, and still not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ at all.

And further, though a man may not even believe in any religion, it would be perfectly right, when necessary, to give him the privilege of holding a seat among that body which will make laws to govern all the nations of the earth and control those who make no profession of religion at all; for that body would be governed, controlled, and dictated to acknowledge others in those rights which they wish to enjoy themselves. Then the Latter-day Saints would be protected, if a Kingdom of this kind was on the earth, the same as all other people.

Notice that the quote used in ONUG was actually Brigham Young quoting "brother Pratt" (probably Orson Pratt) from an earlier discourse. And notice the future-tense wording used by President Young in describing the kingdom:

When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established...
...it will protect the people...
...it is organized preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord...
...among that body which will make laws...
...Then the Latter-day Saints would be protected, if a Kingdom of this kind was on the earth...

Brigham Young didn't believe that the Kingdom of God and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were synonymous. Note his wording: "As observed by one of the speakers this morning, that Kingdom grows out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not the Church..."

Notice that the above discourse by President Young does not say that the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in some conspiratorial attempt to establish a dictatorial Kingdom of God on earth, will restrict the liberties and freedoms of others. President Young states, among other things, that the Kingdom of God "will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship." Further, those who are not in the Church will have the opportunity to govern within the kingdom:

...though a man may not even believe in any religion, it would be perfectly right, when necessary, to give him the privilege of holding a seat among that body which will make laws to govern all the nations of the earth and control those who make no profession of religion at all; for that body would be governed, controlled, and dictated to acknowledge others in those rights which they wish to enjoy themselves.


Notes

  1. ↑ Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, Endnote 88, page 554 (hardback); page 552 (paperback).