Letter from Brigham Young, 29 April 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To Joseph Smith and counselors: dear brethren, you no doubt will have the perusal of this letter, and minutes of our ; this will give you an idea of what we are doing in this . If you see any thing in, or about the whole affair, that is not right: I ask, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you would make known unto us the mind of the Lord, and his will concerning us. I believe that I am as willing to do the will of the Lord, and take counsel of my brethren, and be a servant of the , as ever I was in my life; but I can tell you, I would like to be with my old [p. 121] friends: I like new friends, but I cannot part with my old one’s for them.
Concerning the Hymn book, when we arrived here, we found the brethren had laid by their old Hymn books, and they wanted new ones; for the bible religion, and all is new to them. When I come to learn more about carrying books into the , or bringing them here, I found the duties were so high that we never should want to bring books to the . * * I request one favor of you, that is, a letter from you, that I may hear from my old friends. I trust that I will remain your friend through life, and in eternity.
As ever,
. [p. 122]


  1. 1

    Between his baptism in April 1832 and his return from this mission to England in July 1841, Young served eight missions for the church, spending more than one third of the decade after his baptism away from his friends and family. (Whittaker, “Brigham Young and the Missionary Enterprise,” 86–87.)  

    Whittaker, David J. “Brigham Young and the Missionary Enterprise.” In Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life and Service of Brigham Young, edited by Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, 85–106. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995.

  2. 2

    Young was referring to the decision of the Preston conference that the Twelve should publish a hymnal. (“From England,” Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:120–121.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  3. 3

    Before departing on their mission to England, Young and other apostles had selected some hymns, copies of which Young took with him, in hopes of publishing them in England. At a meeting on 27 October 1839, the Nauvoo high council decided that Emma Smith would compile the new hymnal and that Young should not publish one in England. The council then resolved that Young would be notified of the decision. (Minutes, 27 Oct. 1839.)  

  4. 4

    Unauthorized publication of church hymnals had been a topic of concern at an October 1839 general conference of the church in Commerce, Illinois. By citing the high costs of importing and exporting books, Young provided a rationale for the Preston conference’s decision to have the Twelve publish a hymnal in England, possibly in hopes of obtaining First Presidency approval. Young wrote to JS again eight days later, continuing the discussion of the Twelve’s authority to publish church books in England and extending the question to publishing the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839; Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840.)  

  5. 5

    JS responded to Young’s letter with one sent on 19 July 1840 and carried by Lorenzo Snow. No copy of JS’s response survives. (See Historical Introduction to Letter from Brigham Young, 7 May 1840.)