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Newcomen Society honors early prophet

Brigham Young was Utah's greatest pioneer, greatest colonizer, and greatest entrepreneur, said President Gordon B. Hinckley, standing in a replica pioneer village similar to early settlements the Church's second prophet established in the Salt Lake Valley.

Speaking to members of the Newcomen Society - an organization established to honor entrepreneurship - President Hinckley paid tribute to Brigham Young's "tremendous faith, courage and vision." The group gathered June 17 for a western-style dinner in the bowery of Old Deseret Village at This Is the Place State Park on Salt Lake City's east bench.Also in attendance were President Hinckley's wife, Marjorie; President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Frances; President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Ruth; several other General Authorities; and more than 50 direct descendants of Brigham Young.

The occasion for the gathering was that the Newcomen Society of the United States recognized the achievements of Brigham Young and the Church. President Hinckley and a granddaughter of Brigham Young, Marian Young Morgan, 98, accepted an award honoring the pioneer entrepreneur.

America has had many great entrepreneurs, said President Hinckley, noting the railroad barons, the oil magnates, exploiters of the mines and builders of the steel mills.

"Looking across the broad gallery of these men, I see the figure of Brigham Young. While the enterprises he began were not as dramatic as some of these other undertakings, they were so numerous and so boldly conceived as to merit him the honor of possibly being America's greatest entrepreneur."

President Hinckley said he has a portrait of Brigham Young in his office. "I stand in awe of his boldness in leading his people to this valley."

He noted that some encouraged Brigham Young not to settle the Salt Lake Valley.

"Here they were, a thousand miles from the nearest settlement to the east and nearly 800 miles from the nearest settlement to the west."

Under Brigham Young's leadership, the early settlers got right to work. "They knew that if they were to eat, they had to grow it. If they were to be clothed, they had to raise it. If they were to be sheltered, they had to build it," said President Hinckley.

He added that there can be no doubt of Brigham Young's place in history as a colonizer without equal.

"They were the first to plant settlements in what is now Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and parts of California," explained President Hinckley. "They established nearly 400 communities. That, I submit, is entrepreneurship."

President Hinckley continued that Brigham Young and the pioneers established a great agricultural enterprise and a cotton mill, raised sheep, and cultivated silk worms. They began an iron and steel industry and started flour mills, feed mills, saw mills and stone quarries.

In 1850 Brigham Young set up a Church Public Works Department to further the construction of major buildings - a carpenter shop, a paint shop, a stone-cutting shop, a blacksmith shop, a lime kiln, an adobe yard, a machine shop and a nail factory. Most important, they constructed the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Salt Lake, St. George, Manti and Logan Temples.

Brigham Young and the pioneers then set up banks (Zion's First National Bank and First Security Corporation trace their roots back to these early enterprises), Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution (today known as ZCMI), and the Deseret News (which publishes the Church News).

"Over all of these institutions, past and present," said President Hinckley, "rests the lengthened shadow of Utah's greatest pioneer, greatest colonizer, and greatest entrepreneur, Brigham Young."

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