“President Brigham Young Honored on 200th Birthday,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 73–74
President Brigham Young was honored on the 200th anniversary of his birth, 1 June, during programs in both Salt Lake City, where he helped the Church and its members put down roots in the mid-1800s, and in his Vermont birthplace.
President Young was rightfully recognized as a builder, an innovator, a colonizer, and a motivator, but “he never lost sight of his greater mission. He was prophet, seer, and revelator to his people,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley at an evening concert program in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
“The prophet in him shone with greatest luster when he spoke of such matters as the plan of man’s salvation, the eternal possibilities of the human soul, the Atonement of the Savior of mankind and its effect upon the sons and daughters of God, and of the great God of the universe, the Father of us all,” President Hinckley said.
“On this his 200th birthday, we pause to honor him. We love him. We admire him. We respect him. We testify of the divinity of his calling and of the magnificence of his accomplishment and do it all as those who look to him still for leadership in moving forward this great cause and kingdom, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
President Hinckley was accompanied at the program by President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, respectively First and Second Counselors in the First Presidency. President Monson conducted the program, which included a selection of hymns and American folk songs performed by the Tabernacle Choir and remarks by Thomas B. Williams, president of the Brigham Young Family Association.
The true blessings that come to the descendants of the prophets are not material or social, but spiritual, Brother Williams said. “Brigham Young was, above all else, a passionate witness of Jesus Christ,” he noted, and the blessings that come to his descendants flow from heeding his testimony and following his example. Brother Williams bore testimony of the prophetic callings of President Young and of President Hinckley today.
Descendants of President Young offered the prayers for the program. His only living granddaughter, 102-year-old Marian Morgan of Seal Beach, California, was in attendance.
At a luncheon earlier in the day, President Hinckley had been honored with the first-ever Brigham Young Heritage Award, given by This Is the Place Foundation. His efforts in remembering the pioneers and in building the community founded by Brigham Young were cited.
Before the evening concert, a new bronze statue of President Young was unveiled at the Brigham Young Cemetery on First Avenue, one block east of the Church Office Building. The statue depicts President Young, the father and teacher, reading to two of his children.
Utah Governor Mike Leavitt had proclaimed 1 June 2001 as a special “Brigham Young Day in Utah” to honor the 200th birthday of the man who was, among other things, the first governor of the territory of Utah.
Brigham Young was born 1 June 1801 in Whitingham, Vermont, and on the anniversary of his birth, some 180 people from all over New England—members of the Church and others interested in honoring the native son—gathered in the small Whitingham Municipal Center in Jacksonville, Vermont, to mark the occasion.
Don Garbe, president of the Hinsdale [New Hampshire] Branch, which includes Whitingham, said the program and the talks were helpful in “clearing up misconceptions many New Englanders have about Brigham Young and about the Church.”