1860 March 26 Letter to John Lawson


1860 March 26 Letter to John Lawson


Brigham is concerned with the ill feelings present in some of the settlements. Many are concerned with their neighbors affairs and second guess their leaders.




Brigham Young


John Lawson


1860 March 26


Great Salt Lake City
Lehi, U. T.

Number of Pages



Church Leadership

G.S.L. City, March 26, 1860.

Mr. John Lawson,
Lehi, U.T.

Sir:-Your lengthy letter of the 18th. inst came safe to hand, and has been perused. It is supposable that you have seen enough years and people in your probationary time to give you a thorough understanding that there is a great variety of tastes and temperaments in the human family. So long as that variety continues, and I am not aware that you and I can altogether prevent it, nor that it would be wise to run every person in our mould if we could, so long different persons will view the same matters in more or less of a different light, and arrive at very diverse conclusions from very variable premises. Still, amid all these varieties vanities, curiosities, weaknesses, &c. &c., I do not understand that it necessarily follows that frail humanity need stilt itself upon such high healed shoes, as it often does, nor that they are
required to throw dust in each others eyes, nor to pull each others eyes out, nor to scratch faces and pull hair, all those pastimes being more fitting for cats and dogs when they are wrathy, and for naughty little children when they are not directly under the eyes of their parents.

There is also a feeling, for some reason rather more common in small settlements than in large, to know somewhat more about and trouble and advise more concerning their neighbors' affairs than their own, esteeming themselves far wiser than others esteem them, or, perhaps, much wiser than they really are, which tends continually to make affairs work more or less at cross purposes, and certainly with many ill feelings that it would seem grown up people might obtain and exercise wisdom enough to avoid. With many there is also a disposition to restlessness under the authorities appointed, deeming, perhaps, that if they themselves had control all matters would work to a tidy charm, and that their dictation would be so superlatively full of wisdom that all trials, crosses and vexations would be well nigh if not altogether blotted out from this state of probation, and every matter, operation, plan, feeling, and work, whether public or private, would so nicely wisely, and lovingly work into and with every other that heaven would be upon earth. It is hardly supposable that such a period has arrived, nor that there are yet very many who can so much as control themselves and their own private affairs, to say nothing of public, and it would seem to be wise for the great majority to confine themselves more directly to sustaining the powers that be and gaining wisdom, through that course and through wisely conducting themselves and their own affairs, against the time when their counsel may be called for. This mode of proceeding will tend to qualify accountable beings for responsible and worthy conduct in their own affairs, also in general affairs when opportunity may present for the aquisition of their judgment. All sublunary matters partake in a great degree of instability, change, and uncertainty, causing it to appear exceedingly strange to a reflecting person that people should so often strive to induce an extensive tempest in a tea pot, or to enlarge a mole hill into a mountain, or be in so many ways so very particular whether all straws are laid due north and south, or due east and west, or, invariably in any other particular point of compass. In Utah more particularly, owing to its altitude and clear atmosphere, the inhabitants should be clear and correct headed xxxxxxx and far sighted, and endeavor to keep themselves
above the nonsense whimwhams and vagaries so generally indulged in by the dwellers in lower regions. Furthermore and notwithstanding, human beings are so situated, whether in high or low altitudes, that they are very prone to esteem themselves as "some pumpkins" and their neighbors as "small potatoes and few in a hill," when in the very great majority of the cases just adduced the direct reverse is very much nearer the truth, though it is rather a stretch of strict veracity to allege that any but a very few are in reality as yet "some pumpkins." It is encouraging to observe that this general hallucination is gradually lessening within the borders of this Territory, and many are beginning to have a greater or less degree of correct appreciation concerning the true weight value, and extent of their understanding and conduct. As this course is being more generally taken by those who incline to pursue a pathway that tendeth to the welfare of themselves and all with thom they may be in any wise concerned, it is altogether presumable that the great smutting machine geared on to Utah's extensive thrashing floor is really in operation, and many are being enabled to more or less clearly discern between wheat, chaff, tailings, and smut.

"So mote it be."

May the Lord bless you in all faithfulness,

Brigham Young Sen