the thinker

Brigham Young as Dictator

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Prophet Brigham Young (1801 - 1877):

"I sometimes say to my brethren, 'I have been your dictator for twenty-seven years-over a quarter of a century I have dictated this people; that ought to be some evidence that my course is onward and upward.'"

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 14, p. 205, August 13, 1871; online at Link is here.

"As formerly, I present myself before you this morning in the capacity Providence has lead me to occupy, acknowledged and sustained by you as the dictator, counsellor, and adviser of the people of God."

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 267, April 6, 1862; online at Link is here.

“The man whom God calls to dictate the affairs in the building of his Zion has the right to dictate about everything connected with the building of his Zion, yes even to the ribbons the women wear; and any person who denies it is ignorant.”

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 298, February 3, 1867; online at Link is here.

Apostle Heber C. Kimball (1802 - 1868):

"President Young is our governor and our dictator. It is for me to walk with him, and for you to walk with those who go before you."

- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, v. 7, p. 19, July 16, 1854; online at


“[Heber C. Kimball] declared to the people that Brigham Young was his God, and their God, and the only God they would ever see if they did not obey him: ‘Joseph Smith was God to the inhabitants of the earth when he was amongst us, and Brigham is God now.' This strain was caught up and reiterated by many of the elders, from Orson Hyde, the president of the twelve apostles, down to the most ignorant teacher, and to question it openly was to be put under the ban.”

- T.B.H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints, 1873, 1904 edition, p. 294; online at Link is here.

“There is no despotic monarchy in the world where the word of the sovereign is so absolute as in Utah. And never, in the whole history of Mormonism, has the despotic rule been so arbitrary as it was during the period of, and for a short time after, the Reformation [Brigham Young's reign].”

- Ann Eliza Young, wife of Brigham Young, Wife No. 19, 1875; Chapter 18, online at Link is here.; entire volume at Link is here.

“[Young's] power and influence is so great, that no officer neither of the Territory or the Government, who is Mormon, will dare to disobey his will.”

- Jacob H. Holeman, letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, December 28, 1851; see Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 230

“... he [Brigham Young] had tried to control the [Gentile] merchants, but could not do it. They would go to hell if they did turn a sharp corner.”

- Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September 16, 1868, p. 1, LDS Archive, Salt Lake City