“Did You Know?” Liahona, Feb. 2003, 47
For someone called “the Lion of the Lord,” President Brigham Young (1801–77) was a remarkably humble man. One time the Prophet Joseph Smith severely rebuked Brigham Young. After the Prophet’s chastisement, everyone in the room waited for Brigham’s response. He could have defended himself or been offended, but his reply was sincerely and simply, “Joseph, what do you want me to do?”
President Young later said, “We have to humble ourselves and become like little children in our feelings—to become humble and childlike in spirit, … then we have the privilege of growing, of increasing in knowledge, in wisdom, and in understanding” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 179).
In February 1828, Martin Harris took a copy of characters from the gold plates, as well as their translation, to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University in New York City. According to Martin Harris’s account, Professor Anthon said the characters “were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyric, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying … that they were true characters. … I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
“He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying, that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book’” (History of the Church, 1:20).
Professor Anthon fulfilled a prophecy of Isaiah, who wrote “of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed” (Isa. 29:11).
We are most effective in our callings when we listen to the counsel of our leaders. The Lord has said, “No one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care” (D&C 12:8).
The Apostle Peter also counseled, “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).