Mormon Literature Sampler:

Brigham Young's Last Will and Testament*

Brigham Young

I, Brigham Young, wish my funeral services to be conducted in the following manner:

When I breathe my last I wish my friends to put my body in as clean and wholesome state as can conveniently be done, and preserve the same for one, two, three or four days, or as long as my body can be preserved in a good condition. I want my coffin made of plump 1 1/4 inch boards, not scrimped in length, but two inches longer than I would measure, and from two to three inches wider than is commonly made for a person of my breadth and size, and deep enough to place me on a little comfortable cotton bed, with a good suitable pillow for size and quality; my body dressed in my temple clothing, and laid nicely into my coffin, and the coffin to have the appearance that if I wanted to turn a little to the right or to the left, I should have plenty of room to do so. The lid can be made crowning.

At my interment I wish all of my family present that can be conveniently, and the male members wear no crepe on their hats or on their coats; the females to buy no black bonnets, nor black dresses, nor black veils; but if they have them they are at liberty to wear them. The services may be permitted, as singing and a prayer offered, and if any of my friends wish to say a few words, and really desire, do so; and when they have closed their services, take my remains on a bier, and repair to the little burying ground, which I have reserved on my lot east of the White House on the hill, and in the southeast corner of this lot, have a vault built of mason work large enough to receive my coffin, and that may be placed in a box, if they choose, made of the same material as the coffin--redwood. Then place flat rocks over the vault sufficiently large to cover it, that the earth may be placed over it--nice, fine, dry earth--to cover it until the walls of the little cemetery are reared, which will leave me in the southeast corner. This vault ought to be roofed over with some kind of a temporary roof. There let my earthly house or tabernacle rest in peace, and have a good sleep, until the morning of the first resurrection; no crying or mourning with anyone as I have done my work faithfully and in good faith.

I wish this to be read at the funeral, providing that if I should die anywhere in the mountains, I desire the above directions respecting my place of burial to be observed; but if I should live to go back with the Church to Jackson County, I wish to be buried there.

Brigham Young
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
Sunday, November 9th, 1873,
Salt Lake City, Utah.

*Brigham Young's wishes were carried out to the letter, following his death on August 28, 1877.

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