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Question

 

Gramps,

“Men above the age of 25 and aren’t married are a menace to society” is a quote I hear a lot of members of the Church use. A lot of people say that Brigham Young said it. I can’t find anything about Brigham Young or any leaders in the Church ever saying something like this?  Is this a real quote or is it some weird rumor that members continue to spread?

Eric

 

Answer

 

Dear Eric,

I’ve never actually seen this quote either. Like you, I’ve heard others quote it, but never with an actual citation. I have, however, heard a similar sentiment expressed by George Q. Cannon.

 

“Our boys, when they arrive at years of maturity and can take earn of a wife, should get married, and there should not be a lot of young men growing up in our midst who ought to be, but are not married. While I do not make the remark to apply to individual cases, I am firmly of the opinion that a large number of unmarried men, over the age of twenty-four years, is a dangerous element in any community, and an element upon which society should look with a jealous eye. For every man knowing himself, knows how his fellow-man is constituted; and if men do not marry, they are too apt to do something worse. Then, brethren, encourage our young men to marry, and see that they are furnished employment, so that they can marry.” – George Q. Cannon, Annual Conference at Salt Lake City, Sunday morning, April 7, 1878. Reported by George F. Gibbs, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, p. 7.

 

I must admit it amazes me to see the contributions of Latter-day Saint culture to popular culture at large. For instance, before the young people popularized sharing motivational pictures on the Internet, we were encouraging our youth to do just that in our publications. And here we see a prime example of a quote getting mangled and misattributed, years before “Abraham Lincoln” “tweeted” any sort of nonsense on a computer. If we’re hearing words Brigham Young didn’t say in this Information Age, I think it won’t be long before we see him face-palming over our foolishness.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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