Brother Brigham

“Too many books about Brigham Young have been written without love or faith” (p. vii) is the assertion of the author of this latest volume on some aspects of the life of the great Mormon leader. Dr. England’s justification for adding another title to the extensive list of books about Brigham Young is that he is viewing the Mormon leader through the eyes of faith and love, but with more objectivity than earlier works by family members who used a similar approach. Professor England has also had access to “numerous unpublished diaries and letters by Brigham Young’s contemporaries which give important details and assessments from those who knew him best” (p. vii), as well as the aid of research historian Ronald Esplin, who has been classifying and cataloguing the Brigham Young papers and documents in the Historical Division of the LDS Church for several years (pp, vii-viii).

The result is, in the words of the author, “a small volume of rather personal essays that can only begin to touch the dimensions of such a large life (p. viii).” Two of the dimensions he has chosen to omit are Brigham Young’s dealings with the Indians and his “staggering achievements as a good husband to sixteen plural wives and an excellent father to forty-six children” (p. viii). (Since Brigham had twenty-seven wives and fifty-six children, one wonders if Dr. England has purposely omitted the other wives and children or if he is suggesting that he was a good husband and father only to the ones enumerated. However, in the case of the children he may have counted only those who survived childhood, and it is true that only sixteen of the wives had children.)

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 21:1
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