• Presbyterian Reformed Church

The Life of William Young

William Young, a native of Brooklyn, New York, was born to William Young, Senior and Miriam Combs Barrus Young on May 9, 1918. William Young, Senior was a US Navy veteran and Miriam was a homemaker. William Young, Junior was the eldest of four children, having had two sisters—Elizabeth “Tootie” Young Cicero, Miriam Young, and a brother—Robert.

Growing up in Brooklyn, he matriculated through the New York public school system. He attended and graduated from John Adams High School, where he excelled academically. Beginning on August 13, 1932, when Young was only fourteen years old, he began keeping a journal in which he recorded his thoughts on religion almost exclusively of any other subject. In his opening remarks Young wrote:

With God there is no sadness. The only true consolation for our so-called griefs is found in the word of God. How wonderful it would be if each one of us could say as Christ said, “I have overcome the world.” To overcome the world ought to be the height of every man’s and woman’s ambition. Then there can be no misery but only joy in the truth of Christ.

Some of his journal entries suggest that, like Martin Luther, he was pre-occupied with his own sense of guilt—feeling entrapped in sin. On October 27, 1932, Young wrote, “I have gone through the most horrible and greatest experience of my life. I have repented of my sin. I have at last come to my Lord and master, never, no never to depart from him.” On November 12, he wrote, “I am an evil sinner. God, as a true father, gave me all the blessings of his truth, life, and love. I sinned and departed from him. May he be merciful to me.” Later, he wrote, “I have broken the least commandment of Christ and I realize that I am least in the Kingdom of heaven.”

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