Why does the TLC believe that Brigham Young was the true successor to Joseph Smith?
Brigham Young was Joseph’s true successor because he held all Priesthood keys under Joseph. He was the presiding authority in the Council of 50. He was sealed as a son to Joseph under the Law of Adoption. Like Peter of old, he was the presiding authority of the church as president of the Quorum of Twelve. He was one of the first initiated into the “anointed quorum” and was privy to all the “secret doctrines” of the Nauvoo period, such as plural marriage, blood atonement, Joseph’s being the King of all Israel, etc. Besides all of these things, he lived the rest of his life striving to establish Zion as Joseph Smith had. Indeed, the Lord has told us by the power of the Holy Ghost that Brigham Young and John Taylor kept the work of Joseph alive with Joseph’s approbation.
BRIGHAM YOUNG- A PILLAR IN THE HOUSE OF HIS GOD
Joseph could not testify of Joseph, So Brigham did. Brigham could not testify of Brigham, so perhaps I will because a prophet will always exalt his source, not himself.
Brigham Young was a repository for the wealth of knowledge that Joseph longed to teach his people. Because of their traditions and prejudice and wickedness they could not receive the things Joseph would have poured out upon them.
Brigham would be the man whom Joseph both called and elected to testify of the things Joseph would have taught them had they been prepared in their hearts and minds.
Brigham Young’s mind was continually open to the visions of eternity and communion with the other side of the veil (JD 3:212). He knew of what he spoke just as sure as he knew he lived. Referring to the confidence he had in teaching what he taught he declared:
“I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom, as I know the road to my office. It is just as plain and easy. The Lord is in our midst. He teaches the people continually. I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they might not call it scripture.” (29 Jan. 1880; Deseret News; JD 13:95)
“I say now when they (my sermons) are copied and approved by me they are as good as scripture as is couched in the Bible, and if you want to read revelation, read the sayings of him who knows the mind of God.” (JD 13:264)
“I am a witness that those are the revelations of the Lord through Joseph Smith, in this the last dispensation for the gathering of the people; and all who reject my testimony will go to hell, so sure as there is one, no matter whether it be hot or cold; they will incur the displeasure of the Father and of the Son.” (JD 3:212)
“Where is the divine who knows the least thing about the Being who is the Father of our spirits and the author of our bodies? I have had many revelations; I have seen and heard for myself and know these things are true, and nobody on earth can disprove them… What I know concerning God, concerning the earth, Concerning government, I have received from the heavens, not alone through my natural ability, and I give God the glory and the praise.”(JD 16:46)
Brigham was sure of the source of his knowledge. As he endeavored to share his knowledge with others he found few who would believe him. Most people needed explanations based upon human reasoning before they could believe what he told them. Few indeed were the saints in tune with the Spirit sufficiently to have witness born to their souls of the truth of what they were hearing. President Young stated:
“A declaratory statement is sufficient for those who are prepared to receive the spirit of revelation for themselves, but with most of the human family, we have to reason and explain. A really pure person is very scarce; but when the heart is truly pure, the Lord can write upon it, and the truth is received without argument, or doubt, or disputation.” (Deseret News, 7 June 1873)
President Young was a very holy, righteous man. Before Joseph’s death, he (brother Young) had been sealed up to eternal life and had made his calling and election sure (see JD 12:103). This gave him, among other things, the privilege of conversing with those beyond the veil, as Apostle Cannon explained:
“The importance of our callings (as Apostles) was portrayed and our privileges were named. Among these were the privileges of having the ministration of angels, and of seeing the Savior Himself; of hearing the voice of God as audibly as we hear a man’s voice; of continually being under the direction of the Holy Ghost; of being prophets and revelators.” (George Q Cannon Diary; Monday, 7 Oct. 1889)
Brigham once commented “I know my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and this is eternal life.” (JD 4:218)
Heber C. Kimball remarked that: “He (Brigham) does right all the time. God is with him, angels are with him and round about him night and day. The wisdom of God is given to him, and it will supersede the wisdom of the world. I know this as well as I know that you are here this day” (JD 2:357)
George A. Smith said that: “If he was any better than he is, God would have to take him, or we would have to improve with the rapidity of lightning to keep up with him” (JD 2:367)
President Young was a man through whom revelation poured. He once stated that “If an Apostle magnifies his calling, he is the word of the Lord to this people all the time, or else he does not magnify his calling; either one or the other. If he magnifies his calling, his words are the words of eternal life and salvation to those who hearken to them, just as much so as any written revelations contained in these books (Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C).” (JD 6:282)
Later he said:
“When I tell the truth, that is enough, and I care not whether those who hear it believe it or not, for that is their business… If we do not speak to you by the Spirit of revelation and the power of God, we do not magnify our calling. I think that I tell you the words of the Lord Almighty every time I rise here to speak to you… If I do not speak here by the power of God, if it is not revelation to you every time I speak to you here, I do not magnify my calling.” (JD 9:140-141)
Heber C. Kimball testified:
“Just think of your position; you have heard the teachings and instructions of President Young and his instructions are the word of God to us, and I know that every man and woman in this Church who rejects his testimony, and the testimony of those that he sends, rejects the testimony of God HIS Father. I know that, just as well as I know that I see your faces today.” (JD 4:2)
Thus we see that President Brigham Young was filled with the spirit of revelation throughout his entire life. He gained his knowledge from Joseph Smith who gained it from His God. He continually basked in the light of restored truth and took advantage of every opportunity to share his inspired knowledge with others.
Even though Brigham Young labored with all his might to teach the people the doctrines of the kingdom that were necessary for their exaltation, he met with extremely limited success. In later years he almost lamented having tried so hard to teach truth. Said he:
“You need exhorting rather than teaching. You have been taught doctrine in abundance, and I have sometimes thought it a pity the Lord has revealed quite as much as He has. And I can truly say that I believe, if I am guilty in any one point in my walk before this people, it is in telling things they are not worthy of- that I have given unto them things that they could not receive.” (JD 7:238)
BRIGHAM’S GIFT- SPEAKING IN TONGUES
That’s right. Did you know that the earliest record of speaking in tongues in the church occurred with Brigham Young in prayer with the Prophet Joseph Smith?
Do we still believe in the gift of tongues or have we become cessastionists?
Cessationism Defined: “Cessationism versus continuationism involves a Christian theological dispute as to whether spiritual gifts remain available to the church, or whether their operation ceased with the Apostolic Age of the church.” –Wikipedia
The following is related by Brigham Young in his own history- in September 1832.
“Brother Heber C. Kimball took his horse and wagon, Brother Joseph Young and myself accompanying him, and started for Kirtland to see the Prophet Joseph. We visited many friends on the way, and some branches of the Church. We exhorted them and prayed with them, and I spoke in tongues.
Some pronounced it genuine and from the Lord, and others pronounced it of the devil.
We proceeded to Kirtland and stopped at John P. Greene’s who had just arrived there with his family. We rested a few minutes, took some refreshments and started to see the Prophet. We went to his father’s house and learned that he was in the woods chopping. We immediately repaired to the woods where we found the Prophet, and two or three of his brothers, chopping and hauling wood.
Here my joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and receiving the sure testimony, by the spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be as a true prophet. He was happy to see us and bid us welcome. We soon returned to his house, he accompanying us.
In the evening, a few of the brethren came in, and we conversed upon the things of the kingdom. He called upon me to pray; in my prayer I spoke in tongues.
As soon as we arose from our knees, the brethren flocked around him, and asked his opinion concerning the gift of tongues that was upon me. HE TOLD THEM IT WAS THE PURE ADAMIC LANGUAGE. Some said to him they expected he would condemn the gift Brother Brigham had, but he said “No, it is of God.”
History of the Church Volume 1 p.297
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language,that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” – Zephaniah 3:9
How quickly would The Brethren (or “the Great Big Elders” as the Prophet Joseph Smith called them) be to condemn this gift of God in the church today? I’d say that this would not be the only gift they would put men of God out of the church and stone them for because they themselves do not possess the gifts of the Spirit and cannot discern when God has spoken because they do not know Him.
BRIGHAM SPEAKS CANDIDLY TO THE SAINTS
We need to get revelation from God to discern true Prophets from false ones.
“I told the people in Nauvoo, before they wished me to stand as their President, that if there were any Latter day Saints that did not wish to take the counsel of the Twelve, they could go to hell their own road: we asked no odds of them, for the Twelve were capable of building up the kingdom of God on the earth. You know whether I here ask much odds or not. I also told them that if they were not Saints at that critical juncture, they ought to repent of their sins, and get the Holy Ghost, and not live another twenty four hours without the Spirit of revelation within themselves, for who knows but what you are the elect; and you know that false prophets were to arise in the last days, and if possible deceive the very elect, and that many false shepherds would come and pretend to be true shepherds.
Now be sure to get the spirit of revelation, so that you can tell when you hear the true shepherd’s voice, and know him from a false one; for if you are the elect, it would be a great pity to have you led astray to destruction. But if you are not the elect of God through the sanctification of the Spirit of truth upon your hearts, then you can go as quickly as you please, for we do not want you.”- Brigham Young- Journal of Discourses Volume 6 p.45
Now when have we ever heard a modern day prophet speak like that? I know of a lot of so called modern day prophets who would flatter our way to the bosom of hell for the sake of retaining their congregations.
“Some might say, ‘I don’t think I could live up to your standards’ All the more reason to come.” “If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose.” says President Uchtdorf in an October 2013 general conference address called “Come Join with Us.”
Is this the kind of talk we’re wanting to hear from a true messenger of Jesus Christ that there are essentially no standards of admission into the church and kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
THE REQUIREMENT FOR ENTRANCE INTO THE CHURCH AND KINGDOM OF GOD AS TAUGHT IN THE BOOK OF MORMON
“And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. Neither did they receive any unto baptism, save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church THAT THEY TRULY REPENTED OF ALL THEIR SINS” -Moroni 6:1-2
YES BUT THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW
“And now when ye talk, ye say, If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, ye would not have slain the prophets; ye would not have stoned them, and cast them out.Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you, and declareth the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out, and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the Devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
But behold, if a man shall come among you, and shall say, Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that, and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say, walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth; and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and ye will say that he is a prophet;yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, and then ye will not find fault with him.” (Helaman 13: 25-28)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOSEPH AND BRIGHAM
To the believers in Joseph Smith who have come to believe that Joseph’s administration in the church of Jesus Christ was vastly different than that of Brigham Young’s, I’d say that you’re right and that the Holy Spirit has whispered to you the truth.
I’d sum it up this way, that the only difference between Brigham and Joseph, is that Brigham (along with any of the other brethren) is not God.
I’d also say that the stumbling block is that we can’t seem to trust anyone God sends and that the next prophet and his people will make the previous prophet irrelevant.
I think most any prophet who has the testimony of Jesus can give us nuggets of truth to think about but it’s always up to us to find the truth of it.
“But Moses replied, “Are you jealous on my account? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would place His Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29)