By Laurence Furr
The man after whom BYU is named had his 200th birthday celebrated June 1 at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle.
The First Presidency and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir joined decedents of Brigham Young to honor the prophet and second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Young”s only surviving grandchild, Marian Morgan, 102, was also in attendance.
President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke fondly of Young, whose portrait hangs behind his desk.
“When problems become very difficult, I say to him, ”President Young, what would you do?””
“He does not speak. I hear no words,” President Hinckley continued, drawing laughs from the congregation. “But there comes a calm, and I know that we will find a way through our problems.”
President Hinckley had with him the cane Young used to mark the site of the Salt Lake Temple.
Oliver Cowdrey, who originally owned the cane, passed it to Phineas Young, who eventually gave it to his brother Brigham, President Hinckley said.
“This cane looks worn and battered. I have a better one through the kindness of good and generous people to whom I am grateful, but my cane lacks the historical touch that makes it priceless.”
Thomas B. Williams, president of the Brigham Young Family Association also spoke.
Williams said Young is an example to him of making family a priority.
Despite having many responsibilities in church and state, Young would have breakfast each morning with his youngest daughter, Williams said.
Salt Lake City resident Rebecca Timmins, who is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Young and Miriam Works, said she felt fortunate to attend the celebration with her family.
“I wanted my children to have an understanding of the sacrifices made by Brigham Young, and the legacy he has brought to our family and the church.”
John Furness said he felt the celebration would help other Salt Lake City residents better understand the role Young played in Utah.
“It”s amazing that people live in Salt Lake and have never even been to the Tabernacle.”
Furness said he was grateful to be able to honor Young.
Kathy Snow of Salt Lake City was also grateful to have received tickets, due to her husband singing in the Tabernacle Choir.
She said, besides being the prophet, Young was also a great colonizer.
“Brigham Young is not only an important man for members of the Church, but also for people in the state of Utah.”