Behind The Legend
The Transfiguration of Brigham Young
By Mark Hewitt
March 1986 Saints Alive Newsletter
In 1844, Joseph Smith was shot dead in the Carthage Jail gun battle. The Mormons were left in uncertainty and confusion. As Gordon Fraser [author, researcher] described it, “With the death of Joseph Smith, the entire church was thrust into a state of chaos, with a dozen potential leaders contending for the mantle of the Prophet.”(1) The various parties and claimants began assembling in, Nauvoo Illinois.
On a August 8, 1844, a General Conference was held there to consider the matter of Smith’s successor. Some 8,000 Mormons were present. (2) Sidney Rigdon spent nearly two hours declaring that he had received a revelation that God wanted him to be the guardian to build “the Church up unto Joseph.” Rigdon called on the Mormons to recognize him as their leader. (3)
Brigham Young, the President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, then went to the podium and proclaimed that the Apostles were the true successors of Smith and held the powers of the priesthood. (4). Others believed Smith’s oldest son should succeed the slain leader. A letter came to light in 1981 indicating that was, indeed, Smith’s intentions. (5)
However, during Young’s address, a miracle supposedly occurred. According to eyewitnesses, Brigham Young was ‘transfigured’ so as to appear and sound like Joseph Smith. George Q. Cannon wrote, “If Joseph had risen from the dead and again spoken in their hearing, the effect could not have been more startling than it was to many present in the meeting. It was the voice of Joseph himself… It seemed in the eyes of the people as if it were the very person of Joseph which [stood] before them.” (6)
Benjamin F. Johnson related, “I saw in the transfiguration of Brigham Young; the tall straight and portly form of the Prophet Joseph Smith, clothed in a sheen of light, covering him to his feet; and I heard the real and perfect voice of the prophet even to the whistle, as in years passed, caused by the loss of a tooth said to have been broken out by the mobs of Nauvoo,” (7)
Most of the gathered Mormons considered this phenomenon to indicate divine approval upon Young as Smith’s successor. In 1847, Young was officially sustained as President of the Church. It was Young, of course, who led the Mormons to Utah. Some critics have passed the transfiguration story off as a hoax or clever trickery. But knowing the occult background of Mormonism (8), it is quite possible that what occurred was a type of physical phenomenon, well known by spiritualist mediums.
During séances, mediums under demonic power often practice “transfiguration”. A mist will appear around the medium’s face and soon their features take the form of someone entirely different. It could be a man, woman or child. The eyes may even appear a different color. The voice that speaks won’t be that of the medium, but rather will fit the character appearing in the “Transfiguration”.
Many times the form is recognized as a departed loved one by attendants at the séance. These apparitions are supposedly the spirits of the dead, though they are really demonic delusions beguiling the unwary. (9)
Could Young’s appearance as Smith , in this powerful manifestation of the occult transfiguration and perpetuated by the powers of darkness have occurred, in fact,
to stabilize the shaken Mormon cult?
Mormonism has since grown to be one of Satan’s more formidable masterpieces of deception and spiritual bondage. Many precious souls will follow the devil into the lake of fire as a result of Smith, Young and Mormonism.
1. Sects of the Latter-day Saints/ Gordon Fraser, p. 16.
2. Massacre at Mountain Meadows/ William Wise, pgs. 67-68
3. Denominations that base their beliefs on the teachings of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet/Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Pgs 13-14
4. IBID/ pgs. 13-15
5. TIME March 30, 1981 pg. 77, The Washington Star, March 20
6. #3 pg. 13
7. #3 pgs. 13-14
8. The GodMakers/Decker &Hunt
9. The Challenging Counterfeit/ Raphael Gasson