Hugh B. Brown: Wikis


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Hugh B. Brown
Full name Hugh Brown Brown
Born October 24, 1883(1883-10-24)
Place of birth Granger, Utah Territory
Died December 2, 1975 (aged 92)
Place of death Salt Lake City, Utah
LDS Church Apostle
Called by David O. McKay
Ordained April 10, 1958 (aged 74)
Ordination reason Death of Adam S. Bennion
End of term December 2, 1975 (aged 92)
End reason Death
Reorganization at end of term David B. Haight ordained
LDS Church General Authority
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term October 4, 1953 (aged 69)
End of term April 10, 1958 (aged 74)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term April 10, 1958 (aged 74)
End of term June 22, 1961 (aged 77)
End reason Called as Third Counselor in the First Presidency
Third Counselor in the First Presidency
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term June 22, 1961 (aged 77)
End of term October 12, 1961 (aged 77)
End reason Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term October 12, 1961 (aged 77)
End of term October 4, 1963 (aged 79)
End reason Called as First Counselor in the First Presidency
First Counselor in the First Presidency
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term October 4, 1963 (aged 79)
End of term January 18, 1970 (aged 86)
End reason Dissolution of First Presidency on the death of David O. McKay
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Start of term January 18, 1970 (aged 86)
End of term December 2, 1975 (aged 92)
End reason Death

Hugh Brown Brown[1] (October 24, 1883 – December 2, 1975) was an attorney, educator and author and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Born in Utah, Brown held both American and Canadian citizenship during his life.

Brown was a talented speaker, and was well known for conveying religious principles and exhortations through accounts of events in his life. His grandson, Edwin B. Firmage noted:

Possessed at once with a sense of humor that refused him permission to take himself too seriously, and a profound spirituality based on true humility before God, he moved thousands with a style of classic oratory that will be sorely missed. [2]


Early life

Brown was born in Granger, Utah to Homer Manley Brown and Lydia Jane Brown. He later recorded the event of his birth: "It is alleged that I was born in Granger, Utah, in 1883, on the 24th of October. I was there but do not remember the event. However, my mother was a honest woman and I must take her word."[3] His father had a small farm and orchard. When Brown was fourteen, Homer Brown left Utah with his oldest son to establish a farm in Spring Coulee, in western Canada. Hugh was the oldest son left in Salt Lake, and he and his sister Lillie, eighteen months his senior, took care of the farm and orchard until their father sent for the family.

Brown was fifteen when his family moved to Alberta, Canada. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday, he traveled to Logan, Utah, to attend Brigham Young College. Brown also attended Utah State Agricultural College which is now Utah State University. Dr. John A. Widtsoe suggested a career in agriculture for Brown. After a brief period at the college, Brown was called to England as a missionary for the LDS Church, serving under Heber J. Grant from 1904 to 1906. Upon his return, Brown established a home in Alberta for Zina Young Card, a childhood friend whom he married in 1908. The first six of the couple's eight children were born in Canada.


Military service

In 1912, Canadian leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked Brown to go to Calgary and take military training preliminary to organizing a Latter-day Saint contingent for the Canadian reserves. The reserve cavalry unit was established in 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, and became part of the Thirteenth Overseas Mounted Rifles in 1915. By 1917, Brown had achieved the rank of major in the Canadian military. He would have attained a higher rank were it not for the prejudice that existed in the British Empire against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, he was told to his face and without apology that he was denied further promotion because he was a "Mormon."[4]

Brown suffered other injustices from the military establishment, including being forced by a superior officer to sell a beloved horse. However, he held no bitterness for his mistreatment. The Imperial military significantly influenced Brown, as shown in accounts of his service in his later writing, but he ultimately turned away from a military career.

Legal Training

After returning to Canada, Brown was employed as a cowboy, farmer, and businessman. He renewed an interest in the study of law, which he began at the Law Society of Alberta prior to his military service, by working with Z. W. Jacobs, a Cardston barrister. Brown completed the five-year apprenticeship while working a farm he had purchased near Cardston. After passing the bar examination at the University of Alberta, he was admitted to the bar in 1921.

Church service

Brown was called as president of the Lethbridge Alberta Stake in 1921, which included all of Alberta north of the Lethbridge airport and the Northwest Territories (including present-day Nunavut).

Brown and his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1927. He quickly became a successful lawyer and a partner in a law firm with J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Albert E. Bowen, and Preston D. Richards. He formed a lifelong allegiance with the U.S. Democratic Party, which led to an unsuccessful run for political office and a term of service as first chairman of Utah's Liquor Control Commission from 1935 to 1937. Brown was called as president of the LDS Granite Stake.

Brown served as president of the British Mission from 1937 to 1940 and from 1944 to 1946. It was the first of many full-time church positions that brought him admiration and influence. As LDS Servicemen's Coordinator from 1941 to 1945, Brown traveled extensively in North America and western Europe as de facto chief chaplain for the thousands of Mormons in American, British, and Commonwealth uniforms; anecdotes born of this experience punctuated his sermons and writings thereafter.

Brown worked as a professor of religion at Brigham Young University (1946–1949) and as a senior employee with an Alberta oil prospecting firm (1949–1953). Of his time in Alberta, he later wrote:

"In October 1953, I was up in the Canadian Rockies, supervising the drilling of an oil well. Although my family were in good health and good spirits and I was making good money, I was deeply depressed and worried. Early one morning I went up into the mountains and talked with the Lord in prayer. I told Him that although it looked like I was going to become wealthy as a result of my oil ventures, if in His wisdom it would not be good for me or my family I hoped He would put an end to it."[3]

This prayer preceded his call as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1953. Brown remained in this full-time ecclesiastical position for five years until his call as an apostle of the church.

Brown was ordained an apostle and became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 10, 1958 to replace Adam S. Bennion, who had died the previous February. He was called to the First Presidency as a third counselor to Church President David O. McKay on June 22, 1961. He was called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency on October 12, 1961, upon the death of the first counselor, J. Reuben Clark. He was called to be First Counselor in the First Presidency in 1963 when the first counselor Henry D. Moyle died.

Hugh B. Brown favored rescinding the Negro doctrine and expected this change to take place in 1969, but this move was reportedly blocked by Harold B. Lee.[5] The change ultimately occurred in 1978, three years after Brown's death.

After David O. McKay died on January 8, 1970, Brown was not called by new Church President Joseph Fielding Smith to be a member of the First Presidency. Never before in the twentieth century had a new president of the church failed to call a surviving member of the previous First Presidency as a counselor. Rather, Brown returned as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, where he remained until his death.

After Brown's death, David B. Haight was called to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve.


  • "A sense of relationship and copartnership with God involves the concept of universal brotherhood and that will help to develop intelligent tolerance, open-mindedness, and good-natured optimism. Life is really a battle between fear and faith, pessimism and optimism. Fear and pessimism paralyze men with skepticism and futility. One must have a sense of humor to be an optimist in times like these. And you young women will need a sense of humor if you marry these young men and try to live with them. Golden Kimball once said in a conference, 'The Lord Himself must like a joke or he wouldn't have made some of you people.' But your good humor must be real, not simulated. Let your smiles come from the heart and they will become contagious. You may see men on the street any day whose laugh is only a frozen grin with nothing in it but teeth. Men without humor tend to forget their source, lose sight of their goal, and with no lubrication in their mental crankshafts, they must drop out of the race. Lincoln said, 'Good humor is the oxygen of the soul.' And someone paraphrased, 'The surly bird catches the germ.'" [6]
  • "We are grateful in the Church and in this great university that the freedom, dignity and integrity of the individual is basic in Church doctrine as well as in democracy. Here we are free to think and express our opinions. Fear will not stifle thought, as is the case in some areas which have not yet emerged from the Dark Ages. God himself refuses to trammel man's free agency even though its exercise sometimes teaches painful lessons. Both creative science and revealed religion find their fullest and truest expression in the climate of freedom.
    "I hope that you will develop the questing spirit. Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones of progress. You will of course respect the opinions of others but be unafraid to dissent—if you are informed.
    "Now I have mentioned freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the market place of thought, and in that competition truth will emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek truth in all fields, and in that search you will need at least three virtues; courage, zest, and modesty. The ancients put that thought in the form of a prayer. They said, 'From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth—O God of truth deliver us'."
Grave marker of Hugh B. Brown.

Published works

Brown was the author of at least six books, and two compilations were published of his writings.

  • Brown, Charles Manley, ed. (1956). Eternal Quest, Selected Addresses of Hugh B. Brown. Bookcraft. ISBN B0007EO8BG.  
  • Brown, Hugh B. (1965). The Abundant Life (371 pages). Bookcraft. ISIN B0007E8X4O.  
  • Brown, Hugh B. (1961). Continuing the Quest. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company. ISBN B0007FQJB2.  
  • --- (1998). God Is the Gardener and Profile of a Prophet. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-87579-974-4.  
  • --- (1962). Mormonism. Deseret Book Company. ISBN B0007G3TUA.  
  • --- (1978). Purity is Power. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ISBN B00071R3QG.  
  • --- (1971). Vision and Valor. Bookcraft. ISBN B0006C0P2K.  
  • --- (1987). You and Your Marriage. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 0-88494-078-0.  
  • Brown, Hugh B. and Firmage, Edwin B. (Aug. 15, 1999 Second, enlarged paperback edition). An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown. Signature Books. ISBN 978-1560851233.  


  1. ^ The maiden name of Brown's mother was "Brown". Brown was given his mother's maiden name as his second given name.
  2. ^ Firmage, Edwin Brown, Elder Hugh B. Brown, 1883–1975: In Memoriam, Ensign, Jan. 1976, 86.
  3. ^ a b Edwin Brown Firmage, Elder Hugh B. Brown, 1883–1975: In Memoriam, Ensign, Jan. 1976, 86.
  4. ^ See Firmage, An Abundant Life or The Current Bush (God Is The Gardener)
  5. ^ Quinn, Michael D. The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City: 1994 Signature Books Page 14
  6. ^ Firmage, An Abundant Life, p. 50
  7. ^ Hugh B. Brown, Brigham Young University, March 29, 1958.


Religious titles
Preceded by
George Q. Morris
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 10, 1958–June 22, 1961
January 8, 1970–December 2, 1975
Succeeded by
Howard W. Hunter


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