The Legacy of President Brigham Young

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 245–47


Introduction

“Perhaps in the same sense that Joseph Smith’s name was to be ‘had for good and evil’ (JS—H 1:33), the name of Brigham Young evokes similar responses. He would eventually say, ‘I regret that my mission is not better understood by the world, [but] the time will come when I will be understood, and I leave to futurity the judgment of my labors and their result as they shall become manifest’ [Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (1941), 82–83].

“The world has since recognized Brigham’s superb skills in colonizations, but many still lack the spiritual wisdom to see his prophetic mantle. At the unveiling of the Brigham Young statue in the Rotunda at Washington, D.C., Elder Albert E. Bowen said: ‘He possessed in superlative degree qualifications that always go with greatness: intelligence, loyalty, faith, courage. It is possible to disagree with his religious belief, but it is not possible, on the record of history, to question his sincerity nor his superb statesmanship’ [in Acceptance of the Statue of Brigham Young Presented by the State of Utah (1950), 15]” (Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [1988], 653).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • President Brigham Young was a prophet of God. The example of his life and presidency can help us solve our problems (see “The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, pp. 171–72, par. 1–6).

  • If the Saints are humble and faithful, the Holy Ghost will “teach [them] what to do and where to go.” The Spirit brings peace, joy, and righteousness and helps the Saints build up the kingdom of God (see “The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, p. 172, par. 8; see also 2 Nephi 32:5).

  • The kingdom of God will spread throughout the earth despite any failings of its members or persecution by its enemies (see “The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, pp. 172–73, par. 9, 13, 16; see also D&C 65:2).

  • Church members can know for themselves the spirit and meaning of the scriptures and that their leaders are inspired by the Lord (see “The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, p. 172, par. 11–12; see also 1 Nephi 10:19; D&C 1:37–38).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 381–421.

Suggestions for Teaching

“The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, pp. 171–72, par. 1–6. President Brigham Young was a prophet of God. The example of his life and presidency can help us solve our problems. /subtitle(20–25 minutes)/subtitle>

Show students a picture of President Brigham Young and ask what they know about him. Have them scan the Testimony of the Twelve Apostles to the Truth of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants (in the front of the Doctrine and Covenants); Doctrine and Covenants 124:127–28; 126 (including heading); 136 heading; 138:53. Have students share what they learned about Brigham Young from the reading.

Have students look through “His Life” and “His Presidency” under “President Brigham Young” in the student study guide (p. 165). Have them read paragraphs 1–6 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” (pp. 171–72). Ask some of the following questions:

  • How much time passed between Brigham Young’s call to be an Apostle and the time he became the leader of the Church?

  • How long did he preside over the Church?

  • What challenges do you think he faced being President of the Church and governor of Utah at the same time?

  • What can we do to strengthen our families when Church callings and other responsibilities take us away from them temporarily? (Tell students that President Young took time for instruction and prayer with his children each day, and that his children remembered him as a gentle and loving father.)

  • How can these Church callings be a blessing to our families?

  • What Church programs were organized during the presidency of Brigham Young?

Ask students what most impresses them about President Brigham Young. Invite them to write a one-sentence tribute to President Young, and have several share what they wrote. Read to students paragraph 5 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” and bear testimony of the divine call and great service of this prophet of God.

“The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, pp. 172–73, par. 7–16. The teachings of President Brigham Young can help us resolve modern problems and questions. /subtitle(20–25 minutes)/subtitle>

Have students look over paragraphs 7–16 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” in the student study guide (pp. 172–73). Have each of them select a statement that impresses them and study it carefully. Have them write the statement on a piece of paper in their own words. Then have them write about a modern problem or question that this statement could help resolve.

Bring several newspapers or magazines to class. Have students look through them and find an example of the question or problem they wrote about. When they have finished, choose several students to read the statement by President Brigham Young that they chose and their summary of the statement. Then have them tell the modern problem they feel this statement could help solve.

“The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, p. 172, par. 8. If the Saints are humble and faithful, the Holy Ghost will “teach [them] what to do and where to go.” The Spirit brings peace, joy, and righteousness and helps the Saints build up the kingdom of God.

(15–20 minutes)

Have students imagine that the Prophet Joseph Smith appeared to them. Ask:

  • What would it be like to see the Prophet for yourself?

  • If he brought a message for you, how would you receive it?

Tell students that on one occasion the Prophet appeared to President Brigham Young in a dream and delivered a message for the Saints. Read paragraph 8 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” in the student study guide (p. 172). Discuss the following questions:

  • What message did the Prophet Joseph Smith give to President Young?

  • How important is that message for us today?

  • How did the Prophet Joseph Smith describe the influence of the Holy Spirit?

Invite several students to tell of a time the Spirit of the Lord made them feel the way the Prophet Joseph Smith described in this dream of President Young’s.

“The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, pp. 172–73, par. 9, 13, 16. The kingdom of God will spread throughout the earth despite any failings of its members or persecution by its enemies.

(15–20 minutes)

Show a picture of a ship or draw one on the board. Tell students: Imagine that you are on a ship like this on the open sea.

  • Would you consider jumping overboard in the middle of the ocean? Why or why not?

  • What dangers might await you in the water?

Invite students to read paragraph 13 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” in the student study guide (p. 172). Ask:

  • What did President Young compare to a ship? (Zion, or the Church.)

  • According to President Young, why do some people jump from the “Old Ship Zion”?

  • What could the ocean represent? the storm? the coat? jumping overboard?

Have a student read paragraph 9, and ask:

  • What is another reason people leave the Church?

  • In what ways might wealth be a more difficult trial than persecution?

  • Read Helaman 12:1–5. What do these verses teach about riches?

Testify to students that despite the failings of members, the Church has a glorious future (see Daniel 2:44–45; D&C 65:2). Read President Brigham Young’s testimony from paragraph 16 in the student study guide. Invite students to write a description of the future of the Church.

“The Legacy of President Brigham Young,” Student Study Guide, p. 172, par. 11–12. Church members can know for themselves the spirit and meaning of the scriptures and that their leaders are inspired by the Lord.

(15–20 minutes)

Have students think of a prophet from the scriptures that they would like to meet. Invite several students to tell which prophet they chose and why. Tell students which prophet you would like to become familiar with and why. Read paragraph 11 of “The Legacy of President Brigham Young” in the student study guide (p. 172), and ask:

  • How does President Brigham Young recommend we read the scriptures?

  • How would reading the scriptures in this way help us become familiar with the ancient prophets and their teachings?

  • Why is it also important to be familiar with the prophets who live today?

Have students read paragraph 12, and ask:

  • Why must each person know for himself that our prophets are led by God?

  • How can we gain that knowledge for ourselves? (see 1 Nephi 10:17–19; D&C 18:34–36).

Testify that we can come to know the ancient and modern prophets, and of the importance of following their teachings.