"Brigham Young's Philosophy of History" attempts to describe how Brigham Young gave order and unity to the hubbub and confusion in which man lived. The laws which gave form and pattern to the baffling, diverse phenomena of and around man receive major attention. This thesis is an expository type of writing rather than an evaluation of Brigham Young's ideas and principles or laws in reference to other philosophies of history, Latter-day Saint theology, the modern natural exact sciences, or in reference to the current views of his times. This thesis is limited to a digestion of Brigham Young's works in the Journal of Discourses rather than an attempt to add another biography to the many on Brigham Young or to attempt to trace the roots of his ideas in his environments. Neither is this work a comparison of Brigham Young's ideas concerning history with those of his contemporaries in and out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor does it deal with the influence which Brigham Young may have had upon the dogma of the "Mormon" church. In literary style, the thesis is written in the first person and dramatic narrators. This style may be confusing to the reader who never experienced it before. With the exception of the introduction, the first chapter, the epilogue, and the appendicies, this particular literary style allow the thesis to read as if Brigham Young had written the work. Thus, all the ideas expressed in the main body of the thesis are those of Brigham Young.
Brigham Young's mind seemed to operate upon a priori and a posterori as well as a form of ratiocination when he arrived at his conclusions. The main law governing the universe and all its modes was the law of increase with its antithesis, decrease. The numerous laws which were below the law of increase taught man how to increase and gave him power to increase. Should he refuse to obey these laws, he was acted upon by other laws until he decomposed back into his native element. Man had his existence to learn to increase, expand, and spread abroad. It was his mission. He was the apex of focus for the law of increase.
Below the law of increase and its antithesis, decrease, were numerous subsidiary laws which helped to govern all events. The organization of matter to form intelligence, spirit bodies, and mortal bodies to house these spirits were all governed by these laws. The war in heaven, the creation of this earth, the transgression of Adam and Eve, the struggles of mankind against evil, and the interference by God into man's affairs were all opportunities calculated to allow the rational beings the privilege of giving their loyalty to either increase or decrease. Although there is seemingly a fluidity in man's choices, man cannot stymie increase by continual conscious or unconscious wrong choices, for increase will eventually destroy all the evil upon this earth.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Marlow, H. Carleton, "Brigham Young's Philosophy of History" (1959). Theses and Dissertations. 4906.
Brigham Young, 1801-1877, Teachings, Mormon doctrine, History, Philosophy