Not long ago a new LDS web site was launched: The Red Brick Store. The web site describes itself like this:
“A collaboration amongst editors of Mormon-related journals and magazines to nurture and share good writing and good thinking in Mormonism.”
One of The Red Brick Store contributors, Stephen Carter told Mormon Times,
“We wanted the blog’s name to draw its resonance from Mormon history…. The Red Brick Store was Joseph Smith’s store in Nauvoo. It was where the Relief Society was organized, where the first endowments were performed and where Joseph Smith finished translating the Book of Abraham. It was also an important gathering place for the Nauvoo Saints.”
This is not all Joseph’s Red Brick Store was known for. Reading the article in Mormon Times reminded me of another Red Brick Store story found in Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History reprinted below.
“[A] self-possessed eighteen-year-old English girl, Martha Brotherton, chose to speak her mind. Brigham Young, who had not been lax in following his prophet’s lead [in taking plural wives], had set his heart on the high-spirited English lass. He took her to the famous rendezvous over Joseph’s store, locked the door, and proceeded with the curious, bobtailed, hortatory courtship that was becoming so common in the city:
“‘Brother Joseph has had a revelation from God that it is lawful and right for a man to have two wives… If you will accept of me I will take you straight to the celestial kingdom, and if you will have me in this world, I will have you in that which is to come, and brother Joseph will marry us here today, and you can go home this evening, and your parents will not know anything about it.’
“When the girl demurred and begged for time, Brigham called in Joseph, who also urged her to make an immediate decision. ‘Just go ahead and do as Brigham wants you to,’ he said, and added with a laugh: ‘He is the best man in the world, except me.’ Then he went on more seriously: ‘If you will accept of Brigham, you shall be blessed – God shall bless you, and my blessing shall rest upon you…and if you do not like it in a month or two, come to me, and I will make you free again; and if he turns you off, I will take you on.’
“‘Sir, it will be too late to think in a month or two after,’ Martha answered wryly. ‘I want time to think first.’
“To this the prophet replied: ‘But the old proverb is, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”‘
“Finally and reluctantly they let her go home, where she promised to pray in secret for guidance. The moment she arrived, however, she wrote down the whole episode while it was still fresh in her memory, and showed it to her parents. The Brothertons in high dudgeon took a steamboat to St. Louis, but not before they had given Martha’s recital enough circulation so that everyone in Nauvoo knew it within a week. Eventually Martha published her account in a St. Louis paper.” (306-307)
Though Martha’s character was badly maligned by Mormons in Nauvoo and her story condemned as a base falsehood, after her death Brigham Young was sealed to her by proxy in the Salt Lake Endowment House on August 1st, 1870 (see Mormon Polygamy: A History, page 26, footnote 7).