Bicknell Young was a well-known teacher and lecturer from the late 1890s through the 1930s. His many years’ work for the movement left a wealth of material in the form of class notes, association addresses, letters, and lectures. He and his wife spent four years in England (1909-1913) and after leaving there, he sent an address every year to his students to be read on their association day held in London. These papers are now titled the London Letters. Each paper is like having a long talk with a teacher who understands Christian Science because of his outstanding demonstration.
Mr. Young was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1856 — the youngest of eleven children. His father was a brother of Brigham Young, and his family was prominent in the Mormon church. As a boy, Bicknell Young was a brilliant student. He was also gifted with a beautiful voice and a natural talent for music. He studied voice and piano with the best teachers in Salt Lake City, before traveling abroad to study. In 1879, he was granted admission to the National School of Music and then the Royal College of Music, both in London, England. While at the Royal College, he met Eliza Mazzuto, a talented and cultured woman whose grandfather was an Italian Count. After completing his training, they were married. They later had three sons.
Mr. Young’s career
His career included concerts and operas. While in London he performed several times before the Prince of Wales, and at concerts held in the Crystal Palace. Reviews gave highest praise for his talented performances.
Mr. and Mrs. Young left England in 1885 to open a music school in Salt Lake City. They remained there for the next two years holding classes and giving concerts. The review of one of Mr. Young’s performances in the Salt Lake Tribune reports: “The house was awed to silence by his masterly rendition of this glorious piece of vocalization. His rich, resonant, rounded notes came forth with a purity and sweetness and cadence that always bespeaks at once the greatness of the artist. . . .”
The talents of Mr. and Mrs. Young brought unusual style and grace to Salt Lake City. But despite the adulation of the music patrons there, the couple moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and then, in 1890, to Chicago, Illinois. The Youngs continued their musical careers, and were widely acclaimed as both teachers and performers. They held chairs at the Arborium Conservatory, and toured the country giving concerts.
Mr. Young’s discovery of Christian Science
Shortly after arriving in Chicago, Mr. Young became gravely ill. The doctors were unable to help him. Someone referred him to a Christian Science practitioner, and he was completely healed. As a result, Mr. and Mrs. Young took up the study of Christian Science. Although raised in the Mormon faith, Mr. Young separated himself from the church at an early age and claimed to be an agnostic until his healing in Christian Science. Following this healing, the Youngs became members of First Church in Chicago, where Mr. Young was appointed soloist.
When Second Church, Chicago, was organized they both transferred their membership, and Mr. Young was elected First Reader. In 1895, the Youngs had Primary Class with Edward Kimball, and Mr. Young was appointed Committee on Publication for Illinois. In 1901, they attended Mr. Kimball’s Normal Class and Mr. Young became a teacher. During the 1890s, his mother and all of his sisters were converted to Christian Science. His mother was in his first class.
In 1903, he was appointed to the Board of Lectureship. From then until 1928 Mr. Young lectured throughout the world — except for the three years when he was First Reader of The Mother Church (1917-1920). When Mr. Young lectured in the Albert Hall in London, 9,900 people filled the auditorium and many were turned away. The following year, he was the first lecturer to make a round-the-world tour.
In 1909 Mrs. Eddy requested the Youngs to take up residence in England, and they remained there for four years, visiting every church and society in the European Field. He returned briefly to Boston to teach the Normal Class of 1910. He resigned from the Lecture Board in 1927, but he was recalled four years later and served again until 1936. In 1937, he again taught the Normal Class. At the time of his passing in 1938, he was known as the “Dean of Christian Science Teachers.”