Brigham Young's Sense of Humor
[author and source unknown]


Brigham Young addressed the Saints in Salt Lake City in July 1850 informing them of Zachary Taylor's death. Taylor had been elected twelfth president of the United States in November 1848, but died suddenly on 9 July 1850 from an attack of cholera. He had been somewhat sympathetic to the Latter-day Saints at first, but eventually became an outspoken critic of them, vowing never to let the Saints have a state or territory of their own.

Brigham arose and reportedly said, "We have just received word that Zachary Taylor is dead and has gone to hell."

Some federally appointed officers present on the occasion objected and asked Brigham to apologize during the afternoon meeting.

Brigham obliged in that meeting. He again walked to the pulpit, where he said, "We announced this morning that Zachary Taylor was dead and gone to hell - I am sorry!"



Elizabeth Green was an early convert to the LDS Church. However, in 1851 she wrote to President Brigham Young requesting her membership be cancelled because she had become a "spiritualist."

Brigham's reply was classic:
"Madam: I have this day examined the records of baptisms for the remission of sins in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and not being able to find the name of 'Elizabeth Green' recorded therein I was saved from the necessity of erasing your name therefrom. You may therefore consider that your sins have not been remitted you and you may consequently enjoy the benefits therefrom."
(Undated letter from Brigham Young to Elizabeth Green, quoted in Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, p. 199)



Mark Twain once called the Book of Mormon "chloroform in print," and he also said that "if you took all the 'it came to passes' out of it you would have nothing left but a short pamphlet."

In August of 1861 Twain (Samuel Clemens) visited Salt Lake with his brother Orion Clemens who was Secretary of the Territory of Nevada. Arrington summarizes some of Twains notes about the meeting:
"They spoke, according to Twain, of Utah, the Indians, Nevada, and 'general American questions.' Twain tried to "draw him out" on the Mormons' high-handed attitude toward Congress, "but he never paid any attention to me . . . He merely looked around at me, at distant intervals, somewhat as I have seen a benignant old cat look around to see which kitten was meddling with her tail."
At the end of the interview Brigham reportedly patted Mark Twain on the head and asked Orion, "Ah - your child, I presume? Boy, or girl?"

(Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses p. 325.)


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