Faith in the Religion of Their Fathers : Passing Mormonism from One Generation to the Next
Journal of Mormon History
Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon History Association
Brigham Young was convinced that children should prepare themselves to continue promoting the holy principles for which their father had labored. This challenge of transmitting the faith from one generation to the next has existed in Judaism and Christianity from the days of the book of Genesis to the present day. Balmer discusses the Puritans as an example of a faith that was imperiled because the second generation refused to take its place in Puritan society. The custom of keeping the leadership of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ) following Joseph Smith III until 1996 within the Smith family is also discussed. Brigham Young's correspondence with his sons reveals the intergenerational dynamics of passing along the faith with the Mormon subculture. He was anxious for them to follow in his footsteps and felt that one way was to keep Mormon children 'within the fold' by establishing educational institutions directed by the Church within the Utah territory. This eliminated the need for Mormon youth to go out among the 'Gentiles,' often losing their religious convictions in the process, to gain an education. Balmer discusses other strategies employed by Brigham Young to help his children remain true to the convictions of their youth.