1860 May 3 Letter to Hiram McKee


1860 May 3 Letter to Hiram McKee


The persecution and slander Brigham has experienced is proof that he does not seek the world's approval. He proclaims his innocence to the crimes Mckee charges him with including murder. Brigham has found faith and understanding and invites his friend to Utah to learn of the church himself.




Brigham Young


Hiram McKee


1860 May 3


Great Salt Lake City
Brandon, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

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G.S.L. City, May 3, 1860.

Elder Hiram McKee,
Brandon, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,

Dear Brother:

Your very friendly, frank, and interesting letter of April 4 came safe to hand. I was highly gratified with its perusal, and will endeavor to reply with at least an equal degree of kindness and frankness.

As you state, I could hardly expect that you would so distinctly bear in mind the long past scenes in our acquaintance in Oswego and our last interview at Sacket's Harbor, especially since our views of Scripture and consequent courses have cast our lines so differently, and have at present located so remote from each other. I also vividly remember the scenes, feelings and experience of the times to which you kindly allude, when we were fellow seekers after the truths revealed from Heaven for the salvation of the human family. You state that in Oswego you deemed me sincere in my efforts to secure salvation, and exemplary in my conduct and conversation. I daily examine my desires, efforts and views by the best light I can obtain, which I most confidently trust is the light sent from above for our guidance, and, so far as I am able to determine, I feel that I am and ever since have been as honest a seeker after truth as I was during our acquaintance in Oswego, and as my information and experience increase I feel constrained at times, to exclaim "What is man, that thou art mindful of him and the son of man,
that thou visitest him?"

Through the mercies of our God my hope of heaven and knowledge of truth and heavenly things has increased in a manifold degree since I last saw you, and, like yourself and the ancient prophets, and apostles, I esteem this world, with all its wealth and power, but a poor exchange for the gift of eternal life or the loss of one's soul, could a person even secure it by so inconceivable a sacrifice. And I have striven and am striving, through the help of Israel's God, to ever keep my gaze steadfastly fixed upon Salvation's port, and to steer my bark safely to anchor in "heaven's broad bay." As to ambition, lobe of fame and property, could we both be thoroughly understood, I am of the opinion that you think more of a dollar than I do. And facing the storm of villification, slander, abuse, and persecution of the most vile and cruel character, from the period of my joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until this moment, is very strong proof that I do not trim my sails to catch the popular breezes of this world's cliques and circles, whether they be blown by individuals communities, or nations. No, br. McKee, I do not put my trust in man, realizing how frail we are; but endeavor to so order my ways as to meet the approbation of Heaven, knowing that by so doing the Author of our existence will temper to my weaknesses the trials I am called to pass through, and enable me to overcome the allurements of the adversary. As you truly mention, our "communion" in Oswego was sweet, our prayers were "encouraging," our songs "enlivening," according to the belief, obedience and understanding we then had. But I am not able to express to you in writing, short of volumes, the increase of faith and understanding that I now feel that I am blessed with; nor to now explain the steps taken to obtain so great blessings, further than to briefly state that they have been vouchsafed to me upon conditions of faithfulness and obedience to the commandments revealed from Heaven for our salvation, and are equally free to all upon like conditions, "without money, and without price". I am pleased to learn that you still recognize the "all-seeing eye of God," and under its searching glance I can truly answer that "my hope of heaven" is not simply "as good" now as it was then, but is as much better as the gospel plan is better than the prevailing and popular man-made plans. Under that "all seeing eye" I can also truthfully inform you that I have ever aimed to so order my ways as to enjoy a conscience void of offence toward God, Angels, and all men, especially since making a profession of religion. And I take the liberty to further inform you that most of the crimes you mention as being charged to me were never before so much as heard of by me; and I can hardly persuade myself that you need my assurance, which you may implicitly rely upon, that I am strongly of the opinion that I abhor such crimes far more than you possibly can at present, and that I am as innocent as a nursing babe of committing, counseling, in any way, having anything to do with such deeds -- they are most excruciating and horrifying to all my feelings and natural organization.

Can you now judge of my astonishment at reading in your letter of the murder of a daughter of mine, by "Danites" as you term them, on her way to California. All the daughters I have been blest with, except one who when a child, died a natural and peaceful death by disease, are now living in this Territory, and in the enjoyment of the faith I profess and strive, so far as they have arrived at years of accountability. Your storey of a murdered man found in N.V. Jones' meatmarket was also entirely new to me, and also the murder of one Dr. Roberts. To my great regret Indians and wicked men have cruelly and wantonly killed human beings within our borders, but not to the number indicated in your letter, and certainly far more repugnant to my feelings than I suppose it can be to yours.

The "disclosures" you mention, so far as they have come under my notice, are a tissue of gross, death-designed lies, larded here and there with a little truth, when telling that truth does not militate against the effect of those lies concocted with the well known and express design to exterminate us from the earth. But the Lord God of Israel overrules and will continue to overrule the results of the acts of the children of men to accomplish His purposes, and no power can hinder. In that Being I put my trust, and Him I strive to serve.

In regard to plurality of wives, I will merely ask you how you expect to reach Abraham's bosom, except you do the works of Abraham. Is the Gospel the same as it was in the days of the Apostles? Is baptism instituted for the remission of sins? Was the laying on of hands instituted for the reception of the Holy Ghost? Is God a personage of tabernackle? Has heaven a location?

On the 26th inst. I took the liberty to give Capt. Gibson, a friend of mine, a letter of introduction to you. He has traveled extensively in different climes and among many people, is a gentleman of a good share of intelligence and general information, and in his travels has sojourned a few months in this City. He started for the States on the 27th inst. and thought he would be able, in his rounds, to pay you a visit. I trust he will, and should he do so you will have an excellent opportunity to derive from him much reliable information concerning myself, Utah, and our affairs and modes of managing them, especially should you wish him to lecture upon his travels, other topics of general interest, and what he has seen and experienced.

I have cheerfully complied with your request for an answer to your very welcome letter, but in a manner by no means so minute and satisfactory as I could had I the opportunity to see you "face to face". Where I at liberty, as I presume you are, I would gladly visit you and many other friends in the States, but numerous and important home duties prevent. If you will come here you can have the privilege of seeing and knowing for yourself. The journey is not so long, tedious nor expensive as to preclude your being an eye witness of our sayings and doings in Utah, where you can have an opportunity for learning our faith, conduct and conversation as they really are.

This Fall will be an excellent time for you to journey across the plains, having so arranged your business as to admit of your tarrying here during the winter. Should you do so, I will gladly give you opportunity to preach to the assemblies in the Tabernackle in this City, and will guarantee you the candid, careful attention of your audiences.

I shall be much gratified if you will accept of my now kindly proffered invitation to pay me a visit at your earliest convenience -- to see and hear for yourself -- and trust you will rest assured that you will meet a hospitable welcome and kind entertainment in my house by,

Truly Your Friend and the Friend of all who love the Truth,,
Brigham Young

P.S. I shall be pleased to have you write to me again at your earliest convenience

I have seen and heard of several 'anti Mormon' publications, -- the "Spaulding story," E.D. Howe's book written by one S.P. Hurlbert, Dr. J.C. Bennets book, the publication of John Hyde

Jr., "Female life among the Mormons" and the sayings of one or two women, professing to have been my wives, that I have heard have been lecturing against us in different parts of the States, &c., &c, all written at the instigation of the Spirits of the Devil -- but the statement in your letter, mentioned in my reply as entirely new to me, I had never before heard of, and they are utterly and maliciously false, like the other exceedingly numerous lies that have been so widely and zealously circulated against us. One thing is a consolation, the Lord will overrule all these things for the good of those who love and serve him, and the Enemy of all righteousness cannot help it.