The Memoirs of
Hugh B. Brown

Hugh Brown
This biography tells the life story of one of the "Twelve Apostles" of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Brown was a highly respected member of the Church, an attorney, a family man, and a one-time member of the Utah State Liquor Control Commission, with a taste for equestrian pursuits. Indeed, one of the few emotional passages in An Abundant Life concerns the surprise sale of his favorite horse ("Steamboat") for a price he thought "would be too high." Like a careful Mormon, however, he never let love get in the way of a good deal. Later, hearing the horse was nearby, he

    went over to his camp and found the horse in the stable. I went in and shouted his name. The horse jumped as though he had been shot. I put my arms around his neck and wept like a booby.

Booby Brown is more given to passion for ungulates than humans. Although he counselled thousands of young Mormon would-be servicemen during the two world wars, there is no record of his suggesting that his charges even think for a moment of honoring Luke 6:27, Matthew 5:39, or Exodus 20:13. Like most religionists, he buys into the idea that such radical injunctions as turning the other cheek have to be abrogated in favor of state sanctioned violence. Indeed, An Abundant Life shows a cynicism that scarcely befits one who professes to Christian Humility. Brown describes renting his Utah house to an airline executive:

    Just a month after arriving in England, however, I received a cablegram that this man had shot and killed his wife and her lover on the piano bench in my front room, that he was going to jail, and that therefore my lease was broken....If this jealous husband had wanted to kill his wife you would think he might have taken her outside instead of mussing our front room.

The Mormon Church was founded by a genius, who, as admitted by even his more ardent followers, scratched up the concept of polygamy to treat his own unbearable itch. Joseph Smith was the Jimmy Swaggart of his day, complete with instructions from the divine, which, combined with his considerable and persuasive powers (earthly and olympian), won the ladies and bulldozed the opposition.

The church he left behind is more than paradoxical. Blacks and women were and are treated as ninth-class citizens. It is hard for non-Mormons to feel any fondness for these Apostles who continue to perpetuate such harshness --- twelve unsmiling old goats who are presumed by their "Stakes" to know with such certitude exactly what the Lord has in mind for the rest of us confused, egregious sinners. God protect us from their likes.

--- Lolita Lark

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