From the Rumors to the Records: Historians and the Sources for Brigham Young

In western New York, before he knew the Mormons, Brigham Young and a circle of friends sought earnestly for religious truth. In 1860 Hiram McKee, one of this circle and now a minister himself, wrote Brigham Young a warm letter of concern. McKee wrote to call his former friend to repentance, not for following a different path to God, but for his alleged notorious personal wickedness. “Now Brother Brigham,” he continued, “before the allseeing God who in the judgment will judge us can you lay your hand on your heart and say that your hope of heaven is [now] as good as then. Think before you answer. . . .” After reviewing scriptural ideas on sin and judgment, McKee arrived at the heart of what troubled him: “How can you stand in that day with the cries of your worse than murdered women rising up, your daughter murdered by your Danites . . , how answer for the murder of the man found in the meat market” and also for “hundreds of others.”

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