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Question

Gramps,

We were in Priesthood meeting last Sunday and our lesson was the last one in the Brigham Young manual. My question is in regards to the picture of the tabernacle where Brigham Young’s funeral services were held and it was elaborately decorated for this occasion. Why was so much time and effort spent on this and was there any special meaning to this? Is this still done with services for our other latter day prophets? Brigham was such a great man I can appreciate the ahh-ness of wanting to celebrate his passing through the veil, but on the other hand we as members of the Lord’s church are usually rather conservative when it comes to weddings and funerals and they (to my knowledge) discourage elaborate decorations in the tabernacle.

In closing, my wife and I greatly enjoy your comments, you are an inspiration to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bill and Tina

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Answer

Dear Bill and Tina,

President Brigham Young passed away on August 29th, 1877. He had led the Saints in their exodus across the plains, and was the only president that many of the Saints had ever known. One can imagine in what high esteem he was held by the members of the Church. While he lay in state in the tabernacle something like twenty-five thousand people took a parting look at the remains of their Prophet.

The members and officials of the Church honored their departed president in the way that at the time seemed appropriate for them. There was no precedent; there was no established protocol. I imagine that at the passing of each succeeding president, the people arranged the tabernacle and paid their respects in the manner appropriate for the time in which they were living.

As for decorating the tabernacle, I imagine that good taste and appropriate decorum would rule in any circumstance. Temple square is elaborately decked out for the Christmas season, and the tabernacle is appropriately decorated for the occasions for which it is used.

Gramps

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