LESSONS FROM BRIGHAM YOUNG.
BRIGHAM YOUNG has given some terri-bly bad lessons to the world, both by his system and his conduct. But he has said, and very likely tried to exemplify, some things which it would be well for the world to ponder.
Talking lately with an intelligent visitor from the East—and, of course, commend-ing his system—he said : "We furnish to everybody here five things which your Eastern communities, and even your Chris-tian churches, fail to give them : 1. Social position and standing; 2. A home; 3. Employment; 4. Amusement; and, 5. A fair interest in the products of their own labor." Explaining himself more fully, he added : "Every one here feels that he or she is cared for; every one has some-thing to do, and the products or profits of what they do they feel are fairly shared by themselves; every one has a home; and for every one that amusement and re-laxation which they need is provided by authority, and they are taught that it is not wrong to enjoy it. Look at most of your American communities," he con-tinued, "especially in cities, and see what multitudes are without homes or social position; and, if employed, how little of fairness in the proportion they receive of the products of their labor. And, then, how do your good people frown upon amusements—if not always in the young, at least for older people; and so drive them to resorts where amusement is associated with vice, so that through the former they are trained to the latter!"
Who can deny that there are sad truths and startling lessons underlying these re-marks of the leader of Mormonism ? And, as first the knowledge and next the consid-eration of evils are the only steps to their cure and removal, do not these thoughts deserve to be pondered by every true pa-triot and Christian? Hair-splitting in theology and the artistic construction of creeds are "less than nothing and vanity," compared with the great practical prob-lems thus opened for reflection.
1. Social standing and position. The caste-spirit is not confined to India and the Brahmins. It is seen in the hatred of the negro ; in the denial to woman of so many of her rights ; in the assumptions, alike silly and impudent, of what would call itself "aristocracy"—not "govern-ment by the best," as the etymology of the word signifies, but an affected superiority over the carpenter, or shoemaker, or butcher, for example, by those whose fathers—if they ever had any—were the same. And, in general, it is seen in the want of respect to man as man, and of the heartfelt kindness which is due and should be shown to all who are not utterly worth-less and undeserving. "I am a man, and whatever is of interest to humanity inter-ests me," is a sentiment which of old drew down the plaudits of the crowded theater. More of the same feeling, enlightened by divine truth and guided by the Divine Spirit, would recognize the proper stand-ing of every one in the community; and, by giving each a place, enable him to cherish himself, and receive from others the respect belonging to it.
2. A home. Thousands and tens of thousands who are now homeless would to-day have homes, but for our extravagant standard of living! Many a dissipated young man owes his character, and many a solitary young woman her lonely and aimless existence, to the cost of modern housekeeping. And till fashion, and dress, and ambition to rival the richest in equi-page and style of living shall have taken a far lower tone than they hold to-day the evil will still exist. Every instinct of the young and every good of the community point to early marriages; and such mar-riages are the pledge alike of personal hap-piness and of a healthful and joyous popu-lation, and so of a country's good. Who will press these considerations till a proper estimate of domestic blessedness shall lower the tone of popular expenditure, and stay the growing inroads of single-life, and thus tend, at least, to gather the gen-erations that are coming forward more and more into their own homes ?
3. Employment. How to give this to every one, and especially how to give it so that while all shall be employed all shall share fairly and in just proportion in the products and profits of labor—this indeed, is one of the great problems of modern political economy. To solve it, or even to make plain the great elements of its solu-tion, demands all the wisdom, benev-olence, philanthropy, and religion that can be brought to bear upon it. "Pha-lanxes" have tried it, and failed. The "Shakers," on a small scale, have met some of its conditions, but only some. But modern society, especially in cities and large towns, is far, very far short of attaining it. Who will give time, and thought, and thorough discussion to a topic so important, so connected with the growth and comfort of families and the prosperity of the state? Let the subject be discussed, and plans suggested, and im-provement made, till every community shall actually do what Brigham Young claims that he is doing—furnish all with employment, and fairly divide the product.
4. Amusement. But this opens so wide a subject that I will leave it for another paper. J. L. M.
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