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    Exceptional Brigham Young Autograph Letter Signed A.L.S. "Brigham Young", 2 pp., 5" x 7.75", Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, August 10, 1869, written to Mr. James Emerson of Lowell, Massachusetts. Brigham Young neatly pens (in full): "Dear Sir: Yours of the 28. ult. has been received. We have been & are still much interested in the Turbine Water Wheel, & shall be much pleased to learn as soon as published the results of the test. With regard to the Book of Mormon, what it is, & how to procure a copy of it, I will briefly say, that it is not what many suppose it to be - the Bible of the Latter-day-Saints. The Bible of Christianity is the Bible of the Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon is a history of the aborigines of the American continent, - much as the Old testament is a history of the Jews; it was translated by the gift & power of God, & is really the most extraordinary work extant. The Latter-day-Saints believe in it, because it is truth & they very generally bear witness of their knowledge of this fact. There is another work called 'Book of Doctrine & Covenants' containing revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith, which is also published & circulated to the world. Besides these, there are other publications explanatory of our doctrines, among which are 'The Voice of Warning,' 'Key to Theology,' 'Orson Spencer's Letters' & Orson Pratt's 'Divine Authority' 'Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon' 'Kingdom of God' & 'New Jerusalem.' These works can be had at the 'Deseret Book Store.' Book of Mormon $1.25 Doctrine & Covenant $1.00 Voice of Warning 75c O. Pratt's Pamphlets about 25c each; the others mentioned are not now in Stock. The postage on each volume would not exceed 40c. Yours with respect, Brigham Young"

    Just three months before the date of this letter, on May 10, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, just north of the Great Salt Lake. Not only an important milestone in U.S. history, it further accelerated the settlement of the West, and Utah in particular. The water turbine, in which Brigham Young here expresses such a keen interest, played a crucial role in the transformation of Utah from arid desert to thriving oasis - an amazing achievement in the 19th century, and one for which Young and his Mormon followers are justly admired.

    The recipient of this letter, James Emerson, was a former sea captain who had made several important advances in the development of the water turbine. He had recently filed a patent with the U.S. Patent Office for an improved dynamometer that would provide constant measurements of the efficiency of water-powered turbines. Somewhat of a maverick, Emerson believed that the independent American mechanic or craftsman was the best possible technologist, and that college training for engineers was worthless. It is perhaps his fiercely independent personality that aroused his curiosity in Mormonism, which was then viewed by most Americans as an outlaw religious cult.

    A fantastic letter in which Brigham Young explains the articles of his faith to an outsider, coupled with an important association with the development of the Great Salt Lake Valley. With light soiling and various barely visible pencil markings throughout including underlined points of emphasis, the letter remains in very good condition. The provenance of this letter is Joe Maddalena of Profiles in History and his Certificate of Authenticity will accompany the lot.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,439

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