Saturday, November 30, 2013

Movie Brigham Young from a Historical Perspective

This movie is not very historically accurate from the beginning to the end.  It starts with Joseph Smith being convicted of treason at Carthage by a trumped up jury.  In truth, though arraigned many times, Joseph Smith was never convicted of anything.  He was accused of treason not for fighting back in the Nauvoo War, but for destroying a printing press that insisted on printing false rumors.  It was destroyed under the pretext of being a nuisance in the community.  While waiting trial, and with the promise of protection from the governor of Illinois, Joseph Smith and his  brother Hyrum were murdered in jail.  This movie shows Brigham Young close at hand, but he wasn't in Nauvoo at the time as he was serving a mission.  Upon returning, Brigham knew that the control of the church fell to the Quorum of twelve apostles of which he was president.  There were splinter groups, but for most Saints they received a spiritual manifestation of Brigham Young's right to follow Joseph Smith at a meeting in Nauvoo where he spoke with the voice of Joseph Smith.  This movie has Brigham Young doubtful of his call to be the prophet from start to finish.  It has the crossing of the river as a one night decision, when in fact it was planned for many months with wagons being built and preparations being made.  It is true, because of the persecution they left more quickly than planned,, but it wasn't a spur of the moment decision. It has Brigham not knowing where he was going to take the people, even though he had this in his mind from the beginning.  Even Joseph Smith had a vision of the Saints going West, and Brigham Young carried out that vision. Sam Brannan who had gone to California was the one who came to convince Brigham to go there.  This was before the discovery of gold.  Brigham knew through the spirit where they were to go.
Lastly, this movie ends with the crickets and the seagulls.  This event really happened.  However Brigham Young was not in Salt Lake at the time, being in Iowa where the bulk of the Saints still resided.  It was the stake president who remembered to pray, which prayer brought the seagulls and saved the crops from the crickets. 

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