Historian calls Brigham Young a “soft, pastoral, sweet man”

Brigham Young

In a news story today in the Salt Lake Tribune, historian Ron Walker argued that Brigham Young may seem harsh when you read his sermons, but the “real Brigham” includes his letters, wherein “a softer, more pastoral, sweet man appears than in the pulpit.”

This is how far we’ve come since Leonard Arrington christened Young the “American Moses” and William W. Phelps called him the “Lion of the Lord.” Now our mental image might include the shepherd boy David playing a harp and pussy cats. Walker, who is writing a biography of Young, has a penchant for pastoral themes. His last book was about a meadow (Massacre at Mountain Meadows).

Walker’s point was to caution anyone considering buying The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, which has Young admitting he is “addicted to swearing,” that he has “the habit of taking snuff,” and—in case anyone had forgotten—that he is “the boss in the valley.”