August 8th, 1988
Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me! I am eight years old. Mother and father gave me a new bike. It’s red. It’s a Schwinn. I love it! I rode it all over the place today. I also got a real football. Brenda gave me this new journal. Grandma and Grandpa Pierce gave me a new set of scriptures because on Sunday I will be baptized. After they baptize you, all your sins are washed away and the bad things you do really start to count as sins, so I need to do all my bad stuff before then! Ha-ha.
Father called me to wish me a Happy Birthday. He is in a place called Hamburg. It’s in Germany. Father told me hamburgers were invented there. He was just kidding. He told me we would celebrate my birthday a second time when he gets home.
I’m tired. Goodnight.
Before there was Facebook, people wrote the events of their lives in diaries or journals. Mormons have always invested in keeping journals. Their scriptures, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon are journals of men believed by many to have been prophets of God. In a speech entitled “The Angels May Quote From It,” Spencer Kimball, the Latter-Day Saints’ twelfth President and Prophet, directed the church’s membership to “Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions, and your testimonies.”
Eight-year-old Brigham Young closed his journal, capped his pen, and placed the book back in its secret hiding spot under his mattress. He slipped off of his bed and onto his knees, said his prayers, and got back into bed. He had already washed his face and brushed his teeth, and after a few minutes his mother ducked her head in to say goodnight and switched off the light. Brig was still a little afraid of the dark, but today he felt closer to being a man. He didn’t need the R2-D2 Star Wars night light for comfort anymore. But he was glad it was there.
Brig’s childhood had been comfortable, uncomplicated, and uneventful. He loved his mom, dad, sister, grandma, grandpa, God, Jesus, and his dog, not necessarily in that order. “Briggy,” as his mom called him, was precocious, loving, respectful, and if we’re honest, slightly spoiled. But how could he not be?
He went to school where he always did well. He attended church every Sunday, and took part in other church-sponsored social functions throughout the week. Brig was born into the wealthiest and most influential family in Utah. He was the only son of an only son, in a long line of firstborn sons. He was the progeny of a man millions revered and believed to be a spokesperson for God. Eight-year-old Brig did not yet comprehend the daunting pressure and responsibility of being the eighth Brigham Young and fell quickly into the untroubled sleep of a child.