1860 May 17 Letter to Stillman Morton


1860 May 17 Letter to Stillman Morton


Individuals have spiritual agency and national freedom to choose for himself and Brigham has no ills toward anyone merely on religious belief. Men will be rewarded according to his works. The majority of what is published about utah is false.




Brigham Young


Stillman Morton


1860 May 17


Great Salt Lake City
Battle Creek, Michigan


Church Doctrine

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G.S.L. City, May 17. 1860.

Mr. Stillman Morton,
Battle Creek, Michigan,

Dear Sir:-

My brother Joseph handed me a letter he received from you, bearing date March 3, in which you write, "Say to Brigham I should value a letter from him very high indeed," in compliance with which I cheerfully improve an opportunity for writing to you, notwithstanding not having been favored with a personal acquaintance with you.

You state, "its the life we live, not the ism." It is very true that the purest professions without corresponding practice can avail but little towards a person's salvation, for it is truly written, "faith without works is dead." It is equally true, to my mind, that the Creator who made and peopled this earth, had a wise design in doing so; and, as the Father of our spirits and a Being of infinite wisdom, had a right to and did devise and reveal to the human family a plan the observance of which will enable His children to regain His presence. If such be the case, which to me is altogether reasonable and consistent, it follows that the observance of any other plan, no matter how little it may differ, nor how faithfully it be observed, will cause a person to come more or less short of the glory and blessings attending the Celestial Kingdom of our God.

The Scriptures mention different kingdoms of glory, likening one to the sun, another to the moon, another to the stars, and how many more there may be I do not know, but it appears certain that to man is given an agency to prepare himself for a kingdom of glory or not, just as he may prefer; and no one has the least right to interfere with another's belief, only by way of teaching and example. Ridicule and persecution are arguments used by those who are disposed, for various reasons, to interfere with their neighbors rights, especially in matters of conscience, which of right are between an individual and his Maker. Of course you are at as full liberty, as to agency, to prefer Spiritualistic notions, as I am to choose the gospel, and have as much legal right to peacably enjoy your faith, as I have to enjoy mine. I have written these few of my views in relation to agency and freedom of belief, that you may readily understand that I have no ill will towards any person merely on account of his
religious belief.

The Bible requires repentance, baptism for the remission of sins (by one having authority from Jesus Christ), the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and walking in obedience to all the commandments of God, to entitle one to the promise of receiving an inheritance in His Celestial kingdom. After an acquaintance more or less familiar, with the various isms of the Christian world,  have proved and am daily proving, to my great joy, comfort, and satisfaction, the truth, consistency, and glory of the gospel plan as revealed from Heaven, and hope and trust that I may ever be able to faithfully observe it, to the utmost of my ability. I know of no other plan admitting of salvation in the kingdom just named, but am also well aware, as before stated, that there are different, kingdoms of glory mentioned, and that every man will be rewarded according to his works, and attain to precisely that glory which he desires and lives for.

All my brothers (five besides myself) are living, and all reside in this City, except Edward my half brother, who lives in the States. Of my six sisters but one is living, sister Nancy Kent, the oldest of my father's family, who also resides in this City.

The severity of the past winter destroyed the fruit buds on our peach trees, which materialy lessens our amount of fruit; but prospects are flattering for apples on the few trees yet in bearing, strawberries, currants, and plums, and for a good crop of wheat and the usual products of fields and gardens. There is much published about us, very far the largest portion of which is false; not but that we have some bad men among us, for you are aware that the Gospel is likened to a net that gathering fish of every kind, and it will do so until the period when the separation takes place. But truth is here, the Gospel is here, and the Priesthood of the Son of God is here.

It would highly gratify us to receive visits from our relatives with whom we associated in our earlier days, and we would be much pleased if you or any of your family could make it convenient to pay us a visit.

Truly your Friend and the Friend of all mankind, but especially of those who love the truth,

Brigham Young