Brigham young teachings

Brigham young teachings DEFAULT

Brigham Young

19th-century Latter Day Saint religious leader

For other uses, see Brigham Young (disambiguation).

Brigham Young
Brigham Young by Charles William Carter.jpg

Brigham Young c. 1870

December 27, 1847 (1847-12-27) – August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29)
PredecessorJoseph Smith
SuccessorJohn Taylor
April 14, 1840 (1840-04-14) – December 27, 1847 (1847-12-27)
PredecessorThomas B. Marsh
SuccessorOrson Hyde
End reasonBecame President of the Church
February 14, 1835 (1835-02-14) – December 27, 1847 (1847-12-27)
Called byThree Witnesses
End reasonBecame President of the Church
February 14, 1835 (1835-02-14) – August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29)
Called byThree Witnesses
ReasonInitial organization of Quorum of the Twelve
at end of term
No apostles immediately ordained[1]
February 3, 1851 – April 12, 1858
PredecessorPosition established
SuccessorAlfred Cumming
Born(1801-06-01)June 1, 1801
Whitingham, Vermont, U.S.
DiedAugust 29, 1877(1877-08-29) (aged 76)
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, U.S.
Cause of deathRuptured appendix
Resting placeBrigham Young Cemetery
40°46′13″N111°53′08″W / 40.7703°N 111.8856°W / 40.7703; -111.8856 (Brigham Young Cemetery)
Spouse(s)See List of Brigham Young's wives
ParentsJohn and Abigail Young
Signature of Brigham Young

Brigham Young (; June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877)[3] was an American religious leader and politician. He was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877. He founded Salt Lake City and served as the first governor of the Utah Territory. Young also led the foundings of the precursors to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Young had many nicknames, among the most popular being "American Moses"[4] (alternatively, "Modern Moses" or "Mormon Moses"),[5][6] because, like the biblical figure, Young led his followers, the Mormon pioneers, in an exodus through a desert, to what they saw as a promised land.[7] Young was dubbed by his followers the "Lion of the Lord" for his bold personality and commonly was called "Brother Brigham" by Latter-day Saints. A polygamist, Young had 55 wives and 56 children. He instituted a ban prohibiting conferring the priesthood on men of black African descent, and led the church in the Utah War against the United States.[8]

Early life[edit]

The five sons of John and Nabby Young.
From left to right: Lorenzo Dow, Brigham, Phineas H., Joseph, and John.

Young was born the eighth child of John Young and Abigail "Nabby" Howe[9][page needed], a farming family in Whitingham, Vermont. When he was three his family moved to upstate New York settling in Smyrna, New York.[10][page needed] At age 12 he moved with his parents to Aurelius, New York close to Cayuga Lake. When he was 14 his mother died of tuberculosis. After that he moved with his father to Tyrone, New York.

At age 16, Young's father made him leave home. He first worked odd jobs and then became an apprentice to a John C. Jeffries in Auburn, New York. He worked as a carpenter, joiner, glazer and painter.[11] One home that Young helped paint in Auburn was that of Elijah Miller, which later became the residence of William Seward. It is now a local museum. It is claimed by locals that the fireplace mantle of the house was created by Young.[10][page needed] With the onset of the Panic of 1819, Jeffries dismissed Young from his apprenticeship and Young moved to Port Byron.[10][page needed]

Young converted to the Reformed Methodist Church in 1824. This was after a period of deep reading of the Bible. He insisted when joining the Methodists on being baptized by immersion instead of their normal practice of sprinkling.[12][page needed]

Young was first married in 1824 to Miriam Angeline Works, whom he had met in Port Byron. They first lived in a small unpainted house adjacent to the pail factory which was at the time Young's main place of employment. Also in Port Byron, Young joined a debating society. Shortly after the birth of their first daughter the family moved to Oswego, New York on the shores of Lake Ontario. Later on in 1828 they moved to Mendon, New York. Most of Young's siblings had already moved to Mendon, or did so shortly after he moved there. It was here he first became friends with Heber C. Kimball. Here he worked as a carpenter and joiner and built a saw mill that he operated.[10][page needed] In 1832, Miriam died and Young and his two young daughters moved into the household of Kimball and his wife, Vilate.

By this point Young had for all intents and purposes left the Reformed Methodist, becoming a Christian seeker, unconvinced that he had found a church with the true authority of Jesus Christ. As early as 1830, Young was introduced to the Book of Mormon by way of a copy his brother, Phineas Howe, had obtained from Samuel H. Smith. In 1831, five missionaries of the Latter Day Saint movement—Eleazer Miller, Elial Strong, Alpheus Gifford, Enos Curtis, and Daniel Bowen—came from the branch of the church in Columbia, Pennsylvania to preach in Mendon. A key attraction of the teachings of this group to Young was their practicing of spiritual gifts. This was partly experienced when Young traveled with his wife and Kimball to visit the branch of the church in Columbia.[10][page needed]

Young was drawn to the new church after reading the Book of Mormon. He officially joined the Church of Christ on April 14, 1832, being baptized by Eleazer Miller. A branch of the church was organized in Mendon, and Young was one of the regular preachers to the branch. He quickly expanded his area of sharing the restored gospel, traveling southwest to Warsaw, New York and southeast to various towns along Lake Canandaigua.[10] Shortly after this, Young saw Alpheus Gifford speak in tongues and in response Young also spoke in an unknown language. In November 1832, Young travelled with Kimball to Kirtland, Ohio and visited Joseph Smith. During this trip Young spoke in a tongue that was identified by Smith as the "Adamic language".[10][page needed]

In December 1832, Young left his daughters with the Kimballs and set out on a mission with his brother, Joseph, to Upper Canada, primarily to what is now Kingston, Ontario. Later they extended their preaching to various towns along the north shore of Lake Erie. In February 1833, they returned to Mendon. A few months later Young again set out on a mission with his brother, Joseph, this time traveling into the north of New York and then on into modern Ontario.

In the summer of 1833, Young moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Here he met Mary Ann Angell and they were married on February 18, 1834. In Kirtland, Young continued to preach the gospel; in fact Mary Ann first encountered him through hearing him preach. Young also resumed work on building houses. In May 1834, Young became a member of Zion's Camp. He traveled to Missouri and was part of it until it disbanded on July 3, 1834. After his return to Kirtland, Young focused his carpentry work on the Kirtland Temple and also prepared for the birth of his third child, his first son, Joseph A. Young. Mary Ann had largely provided for Young's two daughters on her own while pregnant with her first child while Young was away with Zion's Camp.[10][page needed] In Kirtland, Young was involved in adult education including studying in a Hebrew language class under Joshua Sexias.

Church service[edit]

Young was ordained a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in May 1835. Later that month, Young left with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve on a proselytizing mission to New York state and New England. In August 1835, Young and the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve issued a testimony in support of the divine origin of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was then involved in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836. Shortly after this Young went on another mission with his brother, Joseph, to New York and New England. On this mission he visited the family of his aunt, Rhoda Howe Richards. They converted to the church, including his cousin Willard Richards. He then returned to Kirtland where he remained until events related to anger over the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society forced him to flee the community in December 1837. He then stayed for a short time in Dublin, Indiana with his brother, Lorenzo, and then moved on to Caldwell County, Missouri.[10]

Young became the quorum president in March 1839. Under his direction, the quorum served a mission to the United Kingdom and organized the exodus of Latter Day Saints from Missouri in 1838.

In 1844, while in jail awaiting trial for treason charges, the church's president, Joseph Smith was killed by an armed mob. Several claimants to the role of church president emerged during the succession crisis that ensued. Before a large meeting convened to discuss the succession in Nauvoo, Illinois, Sidney Rigdon, the senior surviving member of the church's First Presidency, argued there could be no successor to the deceased prophet and that he should be made the "Protector" of the church.[13] Young opposed this reasoning and motion. Smith had earlier recorded a revelation which stated the Quorum of the Twelve was "equal in authority and power" to the First Presidency,[14] so Young claimed that the leadership of the church fell to the Twelve Apostles.[15] The majority in attendance were persuaded that the Quorum of the Twelve was to lead the church, with Young as the quorum's president. Many of Young's followers would later reminisce that while Young spoke to the congregation, he looked or sounded exactly like Smith, which they attributed to the power of God.[16][17][18][19] Young was ordained President of the Church in December 1847, three and a half years after Smith's death. Rigdon became the president of a separate church organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other potential successors emerged to lead what became other denominations of the movement.

Migration west[edit]

See also: Mormon pioneers

Repeated conflict led Young to relocate his group of Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, which was then part of Mexico. Young organized the journey that would take the Mormon pioneers to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, in 1846, then to the Salt Lake Valley. By the time Young arrived at the final destination, it had come under American control as a result of war with Mexico, although U.S. sovereignty would not be confirmed until 1848. Young arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, a date now recognized as Pioneer Day in Utah. Young's expedition was one of the largest and one of the best organized westward treks.[20] On August 22, 29 days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Young organized the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.[21]

After three years of leading the church as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Young reorganized a new First Presidency and was sustained as the second president of the church on December 27, 1847.

Governor of Utah Territory[edit]

A beardless Brigham Young in 1853

As colonizer and founder of Salt Lake City, Young was appointed the territory's first governor and superintendent of American Indian affairs by President Millard Fillmore on February 3, 1851.[22] During his time as prophet, Young directed the establishment of settlements throughout present-day Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, California and parts of southern Colorado and northern Mexico. Under his direction, the Mormons built roads and bridges, forts, irrigation projects; established public welfare; organized a militia; issued a "selective extermination" order against male Timpanogos[23] and after a series of wars eventually made peace with the Native Americans. Young was also one of the first to subscribe to Union Pacific stock, for the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Young organized the first Utah Territorial Legislature and established Fillmore as the territory's first capital.

Young organized a board of regents to establish a university in the Salt Lake Valley.[24] It was established on February 28, 1850, as the University of Deseret; its name was eventually changed to the University of Utah.

Brigham Young photographed by Charles Roscoe Savage, 1855

In 1851, Young and several federal officials, including territorial Secretary Broughton Harris, became unable to work cooperatively. Harris and the others departed Utah without replacements being named, and these individuals later became known as the Runaway Officials of 1851.[25]

Young supported slavery and its expansion into Utah, and led the efforts to legalize and regulate slavery in the 1852 Act in Relation to Service, based on his beliefs on slavery.[26][27] Young said in an 1852 speech, "In as much as we believe in the Bible ... we must believe in slavery. This colored race have been subjected to severe curses ... which they have brought upon themselves."[28] Seven years later in 1859, Young stated in an interview with the New York Tribune[29] that he considered slavery as a 'divine institution and not to be abolished'[30]

In 1856, Young organized an efficient mail service. In 1858, following the events of the Utah War, he stepped down to his successor, Alfred Cumming.[31]


Young was the longest-serving president of the LDS Church in history, having served for 29 years.

Educational endeavors[edit]

On October 16, 1875, Young deeded buildings and land in Provo, Utah to a board of trustees for establishing an institution of learning, ostensibly as part of the University of Deseret.[32] Young said, "I hope to see an Academy established in Provo ... at which the children of the Latter-day Saints can receive a good education unmixed with the pernicious atheistic influences that are found in so many of the higher schools of the country."[33] The school broke off from the University of Deseret and became Brigham Young Academy,[33] the precursor to Brigham Young University.

Within the church, Young reorganized the Relief Society for women in 1867, and he created organizations for young women in 1869 and young men in 1875.

Temple building[edit]

Young was involved in temple building throughout his membership in the LDS Church, making it a priority of his church presidency. Under Smith's leadership, Young participated in the building of the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples. Just four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Young designated the location for the Salt Lake Temple; he presided over its groundbreaking on April 6, 1853.[34] During his tenure, Young oversaw construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and he announced plans to build the St. George (1871), Manti (1875), and Logan (1877) temples. He also provisioned the building of the Endowment House, a "temporary temple" which began to be used in 1855 to provide temple ordinances to church members while the Salt Lake Temple was under construction.


The majority of Young's teachings are contained in the 19 volumes of transcribed and edited sermons in the Journal of Discourses. The LDS Church's Doctrine and Covenants contains one section from Young that has been canonized as scripture, adding the section in 1876.[35]

Though polygamy was practiced by Young's predecessor Joseph Smith,[36] the practice is often associated with Young. Some Latter Day Saint denominations, such as the Community of Christ, consider Young the "Father of Mormon Polygamy".[37] In 1853, Young made the church's first official statement on the subject since the church had arrived in Utah. Young acknowledged that the doctrine was challenging for many women, but stated its necessity for creating large families, proclaiming: "But the first wife will say, 'It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women;' then I say it is time that you gave him up to other women who will bear children."[38]

One of the more controversial teachings of Young was the Adam–God doctrine. According to Young, he was taught by Smith that Adam is "our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do". According to the doctrine, Adam was once a mortal man who became resurrected and exalted. From another planet, Adam brought Eve, one of his wives, with him to the earth, where they became mortal by eating the fruit of the Garden of Eden. After bearing mortal children and establishing the human race, Adam and Eve returned to their heavenly thrones where Adam acts as the god of this world. Later, as Young is generally understood to have taught, Adam returned to the earth to become the biological father of Jesus.[39][40][41] The LDS Church has since repudiated the Adam–God doctrine.[42]

Young also taught the doctrine of blood atonement, in which the atonement of Jesus does not redeem an eternal sin, which included apostasy, theft, fornication (but not sodomy), or adultery.[43][44] Instead, those who committed such sins could partially atone for their sin by sacrificing their life in a way that sheds blood.[45] The LDS Church has formally repudiated the doctrine as early as 1889,[46] and multiple times since the days of Young.[47][48][49]

Young is generally considered to have instituted a church ban against conferring the priesthood on men of black African descent, who had been treated equally in this respect under Smith's presidency.[50] After settling in Utah in 1848, Young announced the ban,[50] which also forbade blacks from participating in Mormon temple rites such as the endowment or sealings. On many occasions, Young taught that blacks were denied the priesthood because they were "the seed of Cain",[51] but also stated that they would eventually receive the priesthood after "all the other children of Adam have the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four-quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity."[52] These racial restrictions remained in place until 1978, when the policy was rescinded by LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball,[53] and the LDS Church subsequently "disavow[ed] theories advanced in the past" to explain this ban,[54] thereby "plac[ing] the origins of black priesthood denial blame squarely on Brigham Young."[55]

In 1863, Young stated: "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."[56]

Young was a vocal opponent of theories of human polygenesis, being a firm voice for stating that all humans were the product of one creation.[57]


Shortly after the arrival of Young's pioneers, the new Mormon colonies were incorporated into the United States through the Mexican Cession. Young petitioned the U.S. Congress to create the State of Deseret. The Compromise of 1850 instead carved out Utah Territory and Young was installed as governor. As governor and church president, Young directed both religious and economic matters. He encouraged independence and self-sufficiency. Many cities and towns in Utah, and some in neighboring states, were founded under Young's direction. Young's leadership style has been viewed as autocratic.[58] When federal officials received reports of widespread and systematic obstruction of federal officials in Utah (most notably judges), U.S. President James Buchanan decided to install a non-Mormon governor. Buchanan accepted the reports of the judges without any further investigation, and the new non-sectarian governor was accompanied by troops sent to garrison forts in the new territory. When Young received word that federal troops were headed to Utah with his replacement, he called out his militia to ambush the federal force. During the defense of Utah, now called the Utah War, Young held the U.S. Army at bay for a winter by taking their cattle and burning supply wagons. The Mormon forces were largely successful thanks to Lot Smith. Young eventually relented and agreed to step down as governor. He later received a pardon from Buchanan. Relations between Young and future governors and U.S. Presidents were mixed.[citation needed]

Brigham Young (seated near the middle, wearing a tall beaver hat) and an exploring party camped at the Colorado Riverin 1870

The degree of Young's involvement in the Mountain Meadows massacre, which took place in Washington County in 1857, is disputed.[59]Leonard J. Arrington reports that Young received a rider at his office on the day of the massacre, and that when he learned of the contemplated attack by the members of the LDS Church in Parowan and Cedar City, he sent back a letter directing that the Fancher party be allowed to pass through the territory unmolested.[60] Young's letter reportedly arrived on September 13, 1857, two days after the massacre. As governor, Young had promised the federal government he would protect immigrants passing through Utah Territory, but over 120 men, women and children were killed in this incident. There is no debate concerning the involvement of individual Mormons from the surrounding communities by scholars. Only children under the age of seven, who were cared for by local Mormon families, survived, and the murdered members of the wagon train were left unburied. The remains of about 40 people were later found and buried, and Union Army officer James Henry Carleton had a large cross made from local trees, the transverse beam bearing the engraving, "Vengeance Is Mine, Saith The Lord: I Will Repay" and erected a cairn of rocks at the site. A large slab of granite was put up on which he had the following words engraved: "Here 120 men, women and children were massacred in cold blood early in September, 1857. They were from Arkansas." For two years, the monument stood as a memorial to those travelling the Spanish Trail through Mountain Meadow. Some claim that, in 1861, Young brought an entourage to Mountain Meadows and had the cairn and cross destroyed, while exclaiming, "Vengeance is mine and I have taken a little".[61]


Before his death in Salt Lake City on August 29, 1877,[62] Young was suffering from cholera morbus and inflammation of the bowels.[63] It is believed that he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix.[2] His last words were "Joseph! Joseph! Joseph!", invoking the name of the late Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith.[64] On September 2, 1877, Young's funeral was held in the Tabernacle with an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people in attendance.[65] He is buried on the grounds of the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument in the heart of Salt Lake City. A bronze marker was placed at the grave site June 10, 1938, by members of the Young Men and Young Women organizations, which he founded.[66]

Business ventures and wealth[edit]

Young engaged in a vast assortment of commercial ventures by himself and in partnership with others. These included a wagon express company, a ferryboat company, a railroad and the manufacturing of processed lumber, wool, sugar beets, iron, and liquor. Young achieved greatest success in real estate. He also tried to promote Mormon self-sufficiency by establishing collectivist communities, known as the United Order of Enoch.[67]

At the time of his death, Young was the wealthiest man in Utah, with an estimated personal fortune of $600,000 (equivalent to $14,600,000 in 2020).[67]



A century after his death, one writer stated that[68]

[Joseph Smith] was succeeded by one of the outstanding organizers of the 19th century, Brigham Young. If the circumstances of his life had worked out differently [he] might have become a captain of industry—an Andrew Carnegie or John D. Rockefeller or a railroad builder. Instead, this able, energetic, earthy man became the absolute ruler and the revered, genuinely loved father figure of all Mormons everywhere.

He credited Young's leadership with helping to settle much of the American West:[68]

During the 30 years between the Mormons' arrival in Utah in 1847 and [his death in] 1877, Young directed the founding of 350 towns in the Southwest. Thereby the Mormons became the most important single agency in colonizing that vast arid West between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada.

Memorials to Young include a bronze statue in front of the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building, Brigham Young University; a marble statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States Capitol, donated by the State of Utah in 1950;[69] and a statue atop the This is the Place Monument in Salt Lake City.

Young's teachings were the 1998–99 course of study in the LDS Church's Sunday Relief Society and Melchizedek priesthood classes.[citation needed]

Views of race and slavery[edit]

Young had a somewhat mixed view of slavery.[70] In January 1852, he declared in a speech that "no property can or should be recognized as existing in slaves."[71][72] This suggests Young was antagonistic towards the existence of slavery. However, two weeks later he declared himself a "firm believer in slavery."[73][74][75] There is also evidence to suggest Young believed in the racial superiority of white men. His manuscript history from January 5, 1852, which was published in the Deseret News, reads:

The negro . . . should serve the seed of Abraham; he should not be a ruler, nor vote for men to rule over me nor my brethren. The Constitution of Deseret is silent upon this, we meant it should be so. The seed of Canaan cannot hold any office, civil or ecclesiastical. . . . The decree of God that Canaan should be a servant of servants unto his brethren (i.e., Shem and Japhet [sic]) is in full force. The day will come when the seed of Canaan will be redeemed and have all the blessings their brethren enjoy. Any person that mingles his seed with the seed of Canaan forfeits the right to rule and all the blessings of the Priesthood of God; and unless his blood were spilled and that of his offspring he nor they could not be saved until the posterity of Canaan are redeemed.[76]

On this topic, Young wrote: "They have not wisdom to act like white men."[77] Young adopted the Curse of Ham doctrine applying it liberally and literally. This designated black Africans and their descendants as servants to the white man. Young also predicted a future in which the Chinese and Japanese people would immigrate to America. He averred that Chinese and Japanese immigrants would need to be governed by white men as they would have no understanding of government.[78]

Family and descendants[edit]

See also: List of Brigham Young's wives

Young was a polygamist, marrying a total of 55 wives, 54 of them after he converted to Mormonism.[79] The policy was difficult for many in the church. Young stated that upon being taught about plural marriage, "It was the first time in my life that I desired the grave."[80] By the time of his death, Young had 56 children by 16 of his wives; 46 of his children reached adulthood.[2]

Sources have varied on the number of Young's wives, as well as their ages, noting that some Mormons of the time were known to marry girls as young as 12 or 13, sometimes even members of their own family. This is due to differences in what scholars have considered to be a "wife".[79] There were 55 women who Young was sealed to during his lifetime. While the majority of the sealings were "for eternity", some were "for time only". Researchers believe that not all of the 55 marriages were conjugal.[79] Young did not live with a number of his wives or publicly hold them out as wives, which has led to confusion on the number and their identities.[79] This is in part due to the complexity of how wives were identified in the Mormon society at the time.

Caricature of Young's wives, after his death

Of Young's 55 wives, 21 had never been married before; 16 were widows; six were divorced; six had living husbands and the marital status of six others is unknown.[79] In 1856, Young built the Lion House to accommodate his sizable family. This building remains a Salt Lake City landmark, together with the Beehive House, another Young family home. A contemporary of Young wrote: "It was amusing to walk by Brigham Young's big house, a long rambling building with innumerable doors. Each wife has an establishment of her own, consisting of parlor, bedroom, and a front door, the key of which she keeps in her pocket."[81] At the time of Young's death, 19 of his wives had predeceased him; he was divorced from ten, and 23 survived him. The status of four was unknown.[79] One of his wives, Zina Huntington Young, served as the third president of the Relief Society. In his will, Young shared his estate with the 16 surviving wives who had lived with him; the six surviving non-conjugal wives were not mentioned in the will.[79]

Notable descendants[edit]

Main article: Descendants of Brigham Young

In 1902, 25 years after his death, The New York Times established that Young's direct descendants numbered more than 1,000.[82] Some of Young's descendants have become leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Cultural references[edit]

In comics[edit]

Brigham Young appeared at the end of Le Fil qui chante album, the last Lucky Luke album written by Goscinny.[83]

In literature[edit]

The Scottish poet John Lyon, who was an intimate friend of Young, wrote Brigham the Bold in tribute to him after his death.[84][85]

Florence Claxton's graphic novel, The Adventures of a Woman in Search of Her Rights (1872), satirizes a would-be emancipated woman whose failure to establish an independent career results in her marriage to Young before she wakes to discover she's been dreaming.

Arthur Conan Doyle based his first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, on Mormon history, mentioning Young by name. When asked to comment on the story, which had, "provoked the animosity of the Mormon faithful", Doyle noted, "all I said about the Danite Band and the murders is historical so I cannot withdraw that though it is likely that in a work of fiction it is stated more luridly than in a work of history." Doyle's daughter stated: "You know father would be the first to admit that his first Sherlock Holmes novel was full of errors about the Mormons."[86]

Mark Twain devoted a chapter and much of an appendix to Young in Roughing It.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., talking about his fondness of trees, joked in his The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table: "I call all trees mine that I have put my wedding-ring on, and I have as many tree-wives as Brigham Young has human ones."[87]

In movies[edit]

Brigham Young was played by Dean Jagger in the 1940 film Brigham Young. Brigham Young was also played by Terence Stamp in the 2007 film, September Dawn. In the 1995 film The Avenging Angel, the role of Brigham Young was played by Charlton Heston.

In television[edit]

Byron Morrow played Young in a cameo appearance in the Death Valley Days 1966 episode, "An Organ for Brother Brigham". In the story line, the organ built and guided west to Salt Lake City by Joseph Harris Ridges (1827–1914) of Australia becomes mired in the sand. Wagonmaster Luke Winner (Morgan Woodward) feels compelled to leave the instrument behind until Ridges finds solid rock under the sand.[88]

In another Death Valley Days episode in 1969, "Biscuits and Billy, the Kid", Michael Hinn (1913–1988) of the former Boots and Saddles western series was cast as Young. In the story line, the Tugwell family, Jason (Ben Cooper), Ellie (Emily Banks), and Mary (Erin Moran), are abandoned by their guide while on a wagon train from Utah to California.[89]

Gregg Henry depicts Young in the fourth (2014) and fifth (2015) seasons of the TV series Hell on Wheels, a fictional story about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. As the competing rail lines approach Utah from the east and west coasts, Young supplies Mormon laborers to both railroad companies and negotiates with the railways to have them make Salt Lake City their meeting point. In the Season 5 mid-season finale, "False Prophets", Young's son, Phineas, attempts to murder his father. Persuaded by The Swede, Phineas believed he was the chosen one to go forward to lead the Mormons, instead of his father.[citation needed]

In theater[edit]

In the 2011 musical The Book of Mormon, Young is portrayed as a tyrannical American regional warlord, cursed by God to have a clitoris for a nose—a parable cautioning against female genital mutilation.[90] He encounters Joseph Smith and attempts to ambush his party of Mormons, but, rather than engaging with "the Clitoris Man", Smith shows mercy, rubbing one of the frogs that God has given him to have sex with to cure his AIDS on Young's face, curing his AIDS, and so moving him that he decides to convert to the faith. Later, after taking up the mantle of Mormon leader following Smith's death from dysentery, Young is among those visited by Jesus and told to have as much sex as they possibly can, to ensure the propagation of the Mormon faith.[90]

Literary works[edit]

Since Young's death, a number of works have published collections of his discourses and sayings.

  • Teachings of President Brigham Young: Salvation for the Dead, the Spirit World, and Kindred Subjects. Seagull Press. 1922.
  • Brigham Young (1925). Discourses of Brigham Young. selected by John A. Widtsoe. Deseret Book.
  • Young, Brigham (1952). The Best from Brigham Young: Statements from His Sermons on Religion, Education, and Community Building. selected by Alice K. Chase. Deseret Book Company.
  • Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801–1844. Eldon J. Watson. 1969.
  • Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846–1847. Eldon J. Watson. 1971.
  • Dean C. Jessee, ed. (1974). Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons. Deseret Book Company.
  • Everett L. Cooley, ed. (1980). Diary of Brigham Young, 1857. Tanner Trust Fund, University of Utah Library.
  • The Essential Brigham Young. Signature Books. 1992. ISBN .
  • Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1997. LDS Church publication number 35554
  • Young, Brigham (2009). Richard Van Wagoner (ed.). The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young. 5. Smith-Pettit Foundation. ISBN .

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^A year after Young's death, Orson Hyde died and Moses Thatcher was ordained an apostle. The First Presidency was not reorganized until October 10, 1880, after which Francis M. Lyman and John Henry Smith were ordained. Orson Pratt died in 1881, and the Quorum of the Twelve did not have twelve members again until October 16, 1882, when George Teasdale and Heber J. Grant were ordained.
  2. ^ abc"Brigham Young Biography: Facts of Faith", Y Facts, BYU, archived from the original on September 20, 2013, retrieved September 19, 2013
  3. ^"Brigham Young (1801–1877) | FamilySearch". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  4. ^"Topics and Background: Topic – Brigham Young", Newsroom (, LDS Church
  5. ^Gibbons, Francis M. (1981), Brigham Young: Modern Moses, Prophet of God, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, ISBN 
  6. ^Steorts, Jason Lee (October 29, 2012), "The Mormon Moses", National Review
  7. ^Nelson, Russell M. (July 1999), "The Exodus Repeated", Ensign,
  8. ^Roberts, David. "The Brink of War". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institution.
  9. ^Thomas G. Alexander. Brigham Young and the Expansion of Mormonism, University of Oklahoma Press]
  10. ^ abcdefghiAlexander, Brigham Young
  11. ^Sheret, John G. (Fall 2006 – Winter 2007), "Brigham Young: Carpenter and Cabinet Maker", The Crooked Lake Review (141)
  12. ^Aldexander, Brigham Young
  13. ^Roberts, B. H. (ed.), "XVIII", History of the Church, 7
  14. ^Doctrine and Covenants 107:23–24
  15. ^Roberts, B. H. (ed.), "XIX", History of the Church, 7
  16. ^ abQuinn, D. Michael (1994). The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. Signature Books. p. 166. ISBN .; Jorgensen, Lynne Watkins (2005), "The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Smith Passes to Brother Brigham: One Hundred Twenty-one Testimonies of a Collective Spiritual Witness", in Welch, John W. (ed.), Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820–1844, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, pp. 374–480; England, Eugene (Winter 1978), "George Laub's Nauvoo Journal", BYU Studies, 18: 16, ; Burton, William, William Burton Diary, May 1845, LDS Church Archives, ; Johnson, Benjamin F. (1928), My Life's Review, Independence, pp. 103–104, ; Life Story of Mosiah Hancock, BYU Library, p. 23, ; Woodruff, Wilford (March 15, 1892), "none", Deseret News, ; Cannon, George Q. (October 29, 1870), Juvenile Instructor, 5 (22): 174–175, CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  17. ^ However, historians have come to different conclusions on whether the occurrence of such events is supported by contemporary records. Van Wagoner observed of contemporary accounts that "none of these references an explicit transfiguration, a physical metamorphosis of Brigham Young into the form and voice of Joseph Smith," and "[w]hen 8 August 1844 is stripped of emotional overlay, there is not a shred of irrefutable contemporary evidence to support the occurrence of a mystical event either in the morning or afternoon gatherings of that day.": Van Wagoner, Richard S. (Winter 1995). "The Making of a Mormon Myth: The 1844 Transfiguration of Brigham Young". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 28 (4): 1–24.
  18. ^Jorgenson, Lynne W. (1996–1997). "The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Passes to Brother Brigham: A Collective Spiritual Witness". BYU Studies. 36 (4): 125–204.
  19. ^Arrington, Leonard J. (1986). Brigham Young: American Moses. University of Illinois Press. pp. 114–115. ISBN .
  20. ^"Brigham Young". Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  21. ^"Frequently Asked Questions – When was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir formed?",, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, archived from the original on March 29, 2013
  22. ^"Utah's new capitol grows from humble beginning; first political sessions were held in council house; fight for statehood". Salt Lake Telegram. October 22, 1916. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  23. ^Christy, Howard A. (Summer 1978). "Open Hand and Mailed Fist: Mormon–Indian Relations in Utah, 1847–52". Utah Historical Quarterly. 46 (3): 216–235 – via Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement.
  24. ^Ison, Yvette D. (January 1995), "The Beginnings of the University of Utah", History Blazer, Utah State Historical Society. Online reprint, with permission, at by the Utah Division of State History, Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, State of Utah.
  25. ^Chase, Randal S. (2012). Church History Study Guide, Part 3. p. 85. ISBN .
  26. ^Utah Legislative Assembly (1852). Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, of the ... Annual Session, for the Years ..., Volume 1. pp. 108–110.
  27. ^"Brigham Young: We Must Believe in Slavery (23 January 1852)".
  28. ^Young, Brigham (1987), Collier, Fred C. (ed.), The Teachings of President Brigham Young: Vol. 3 1852–1854, Salt Lake City, Utah: Colliers Publishing Company, pp. 26–28, ISBN , OCLC 18192348
  29. ^"New-York Tribune", Wikipedia, March 24, 2021, retrieved April 8, 2021
  30. ^"Brigham Young". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  31. ^Brigham Young, Utah State Archives
  32. ^Sloan, Robert W. (1884). Utah Gazatteer and Directory of Logan, Ogden, Provo and Salt Lake Cities, for 1884. Sloan & Dunbar. p. 278.
  33. ^ abBills, Sarah (April 16, 2003). "Warren Dusenberry (1875–1876)". The Universe. BYU NewsNet. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012.
  34. ^Hanks, Marion Duff (1992), "Salt Lake Temple", in Ludlow, Daniel H (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 1252–1254, ISBN , OCLC 24502140
  35. ^"Doctrine and Covenants 136".
  36. ^"Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo".
  37. ^Richard and Pamela Price (2000), "Vol.1, Ch.4: Brigham Young: The Father of Mormon Polygamy", Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy: How Men Nearest the Prophet Attached Polygamy to His Name in Order to Justify Their Own Polygamous Crimes (self-published), Independence, Missouri: Price Publishing Company, ISBN , LCCN 99041763, OCLC 42027453
  38. ^Watt, G. D. (September 21, 1856). "The People of God Disciplined By Trials—Atonement By the Shedding of Blood—Our Heavenly Father—A Privilege Given to All the Married Sisters in Utah". Journal of Discourses. 4: 56.
  39. ^Widmer, Kurt (2000), Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830–1915, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, p. 131.
  40. ^Gary James Bergera, "The Orson Pratt–Brigham Young Controversies: Conflict Within the Quorums, 1853 to 1868"Archived June 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought13(2):7–49 (1980) at p. 41.
  41. ^Boyd Kirkland, "Jehovah as the Father: The Development of the Mormon Jehovah Doctrine", Sunstone44:36–44 (1984) at p. 39 (Adam "later begot Jesus, his firstborn spirit son, in the flesh").
  42. ^Spencer W. Kimball, "Our Own Liahona,"Ensign, November 1976, p. 77 ("We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.").
  43. ^Quinn, D. Michael (2001). Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example. University of Illinois Press. p. 269. ISBN . Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  44. ^Snow, Lowell M. "Blood Atonement". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  45. ^Gardner, Martin R. (Spring 1979). "Mormonism and Capital Punishment: A Doctoral Perspective, Past and Present". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 12 (1). Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  46. ^Roberts, B. H. (1930), "Blood Atonement", Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, pp. 126–137
  47. ^McConkie, Bruce R (October 18, 1978). "Letter from Bruce R. McConkie to Thomas B. McAffee". Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  48. ^ Church Statement
  49. ^Stack, Peggy Fletcher, Concept of Blood Atonement Survives in Utah Despite Repudiation, Salt Lake Tribune November 5, 1994 notes that "In the past decade, potential jurors in every Utah capital homicide were asked whether they believed in the Mormon concept of 'blood atonement.'" In 1994, when the defense in the trial of James Edward Wood alleged that a local church leader had "talked to Wood about shedding his own blood", the LDS First Presidency submitted a document to the court that denied the church's acceptance and practice of such a doctrine, and included the 1978 repudiation. Stack, Peggy Fletcher, 1994. The article also notes that Arthur Gary Bishop, a convicted serial killer, was told by a top church leader that "blood atonement ended with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ."
  50. ^ abBush, Lester E., Jr.; Mauss, Armand L. (1984). "Chapter 3: Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview". Neither White nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church. Midvale, Utah: Signature Books. pp. 54–65, 70. ISBN .
  51. ^Bush, Lester E. (Spring 1973), Mormonism's Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, Dialogue, pp. 54–97, retrieved December 17, 2013
  52. ^Journal of Discourses, 2, p. 142
  53. ^"Official Declaration 2", Doctrine and Covenants
  54. ^Gospel Topics – Race and the Priesthood, LDS Church
  55. ^"The Mormon Church Disavows Its Racist Past But Still Offers No Apology". HuffPost. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  56. ^Journal of Discourses, 10, p. 110. See also: miscegenation.
  57. ^Non, Sic et (August 18, 2015). "Brigham Young against a then-fashionable scientific form of racism".
  58. ^"Brigham Young", Encarta, archived from the original on October 30, 2009, retrieved October 31, 2009.[unreliable source?]
  59. ^Eakin, Emily (October 12, 2002). "Reopening a Mormon Murder Mystery; New Accusations That Brigham Young Himself Ordered an 1857 Massacre of Pioneers". The New York Times (Late Edition-Final ed.). p. Section B, Page 9, Column 2.
  60. ^Brigham Young to Isaac C. Haight, September 10, 1857, Letterpress Copybook 3:827–28, Brigham Young Office Files, LDS Church Archives
  61. ^Sally Denton (2003). American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 (New York: Vintage Books, ISBN 0-375-72636-5) p. 210.
  62. ^"Death of Brigham Young", The New York Times, August 30, 1877.
  63. ^"Brigham Young's Health", The New York Times, August 29, 1877.
  64. ^Quinn, D. Michael (August 1977), "Brigham Young: Man of the Spirit", Ensign
  65. ^"Brigham Young's Funeral", The New York Times, September 3, 1877.
  66. ^"Grave of Brigham Young". State of Utah. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  67. ^ abBringhurst, Newell G. "YOUNG, BRIGHAM". Utah History Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  68. ^ abPaul, Rodman W. (December 1975 – January 1975), "The Mormons of Yesterday and Today"(PDF), Engineering and Science, California Institute of Technology & Alumni Association, 38 (2): 12–27, retrieved September 19, 2013
  69. ^"Art: Sculpture – Statues: Brigham Young", Explore Capitol Hill, Architect of the Capitol
  70. ^Brooks, Joanna (2018). "The Possessive Investment in Rightness: White Supremacy and the Mormon Movement". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 51 (3): 45–82. JSTOR 10.5406/dialjmormthou.51.3.0045.
  71. ^G. Bringhurst, Newell (1981). Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 335. ISBN .
  72. ^Reeve, Paul W. (2015). Religion of a Different Color Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN .
  73. ^Harris and Bringhurst (2012). The Mormon Church and Blacks. Cambridge: Harvard Belknap. pp. 32–35. ISBN .
  74. ^Reeve (2012). Religion of a Different Color. Cambridge: Harvard Belknap. pp. 148–159. ISBN .
  75. ^Turner, John (2012). Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. Cambridge: Harvard Belknap. pp. 225–226. ISBN .
  76. ^“History of Brigham Young,” entry dated Jan. 5, 1852, Church Historian’s Office Records Collection, LDS Church Archives (quoted in Ricks, “A Peculiar Place,” 114).
  77. ^History of Brigham Young,” entry dated 5 Jan. 1852, in Church Historian’s Office Records Collection, LDSCA.
  78. ^Brigham Young Address to Legislature - Feb 5, 1852. Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. February 5, 1852. pp. 1–2.
  79. ^ abcdefgJohnson, Jeffrey Odgen (Fall 1987), "Determining and Defining 'Wife' – The Brigham Young Households", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 20 (3): 57–70
  80. ^"People & Events – Polygamy and the Church: A History", The Mormons, PBS, April 30, 2007, retrieved September 19, 2013
  81. ^DeHegermann-Lindencrone, Lillie. "The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875–1912". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  82. ^"Descendants of Brigham Young to Hold Annual Mass Meetings", The New York Times, June 22, 1902.
  83. ^Homer, Michael (September 2010). "From Sherlock Holmes to Godzilla: The Mormon Image in Comics"(PDF). Sunstone: 73.
  84. ^Lyon, T. Edgar (1989). John Lyon : the life of a pioneer poet. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. ISBN 0-88494-708-4.
  85. ^""Fair Home of My Choice" (1853–1889) | Religious Studies Center". Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  86. ^Schindler, Harold (April 10, 1994), "The Case of the Repentant Writer: Sherlock Homes' Creator Raises The Wrath Of Mormons", The Salt Lake Tribune, p. D1, Archive Article ID: 101185DCD718AD35 (NewsBank)

Young, Brigham

See this page in the original 1992 publication.

[This entry consists of two articles:Young, Brigham: Brigham YoungYoung, Brigham: Teachings of Brigham Young Brigham Young is a biography of the famed pioneer leader and second President of the Church; Teachings of Brigham Young provides a glimpse of the variety and significance of his teachings as preserved in his discourses. The overviewsHistory of the Church: c 1831-1844, Ohio, Missouri, and Nauvoo PeriodsandHistory of the Church: c 1844-1877, Exodus and Early Utah Periodsreview LDS history during Brigham Young's lifetime and the period of his presidency. He was a central figure in the subjects dealt with inWestward Migration: Planning and Prophecy; Pioneer Life and Worship; Immigration and Emigration; andColonization.]

Young, Brigham: Brigham Young


Colonizer, territorial governor, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young (1801-1877) was born in Whitingham, Vermont, on June 1, 1801, the ninth of eleven children born to John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Following service in the Revolutionary Army of George Washington, John Young settled on a farm in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. After sixteen years in Hopkinton, John and Nabby moved to southern Vermont, where Brigham was born. When Brigham was three the family moved to central New York state, and when he was ten, to Sherburne, in south-central New York. Brigham helped clear land for farming, trapped for fur animals, fished, built sheds and dug cellars, and helped with planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. He also cared for his mother, who was seriously ill with tuberculosis.

Brigham's mother died in 1815, when he was fourteen. Not long after, in search for someone to look after his younger children, John Young married a widow, Hannah Brown, who brought her own children into the family. Brigham decided to leave home. Living for a period with a sister, he became an apprentice carpenter, painter, and glazier in nearby Auburn. Over the next five years he assisted in building in Auburn the first marketplace, the prison, the theological seminary, and the home of "Squire" William Brown (later occupied by William H. Seward, who served as governor of New York and Lincoln's secretary of state). As a master carpenter, Brigham built door fittings and louvered attic windows, and carved ornate mantelpieces for many homes. Many old homes in the region to this day have chairs, desks, staircases, doorways, and mantelpieces made by Brigham Young.

Brigham left Auburn in the spring of 1823 to work in Port Byron, New York, where he repaired furniture and painted canal boats. He developed a device for mixing paints, and turned out many chairs, tables, settees, cupboards, and doors. He also helped organize the local forensic and oratorical society. On October 5, 1824, at the age of twenty-three, Brigham married Miriam Works. They established a home in Aurelius township, where they joined the Methodist Church. Within a year their first child, Elizabeth, was born.

After four years in Port Byron, Brigham and Miriam moved to Oswego, a port on Lake Ontario, where he added to his reputation for good craftsmanship, trustworthiness, and industry. He joined a small group of religious seekers, offering fervent prayers and singing enlivening songs. An Oswego associate testified that his conduct was exemplary, humble, and contrite.

Near the end of 1828 Brigham took his family to Mendon, New York, forty miles from Port Byron, near his father and other relatives. At Mendon, Miriam gave birth to a second daughter, Vilate, but contracted chronic tuberculosis and became a semi-invalid. Brigham prepared the meals, dressed the children, cleaned the house, and carried Miriam to a rocking chair in front of the fireplace in the morning and back to bed in the evening. In Mendon he built a shop and mill, made and repaired furniture, and put in windowpanes, doorways, staircases, and fireplace mantels.

In the spring of 1830 Samuel Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, passed through Mendon on a trip to distribute the Book of Mormon. He left a copy with Brigham's oldest brother, Phineas, an itinerant preacher. Phineas was favorably impressed with the book and lent it to his father, then to his sister Fanny, who gave it to Brigham. Though impressed, Brigham nevertheless counseled caution: "Wait a little while…I [want] to see whether good common sense [is] manifest" (JD 3:91; cf. 8:38). After nearly two years of investigation, Brigham, moved by the testimony of a Mormon elder, was baptized in the spring of 1832. All of Brigham's immediate family were also baptized, and they all remained loyal Latter-day Saints throughout their lives. Miriam, who also joined, lived only until September 1832.

One week after his baptism, Brigham gave his first sermon. He declared "[After I was baptized] I wanted to thunder and roar out the Gospel to the nations. It burned in my bones like fire pent up, so I [commenced] to preach…. Nothing would satisfy me but to cry abroad in the world, what the Lord was doing in the latter days" (JD 1:313). Brigham felt the impulse to "cry abroad" so strongly that he enlisted the assistance of Vilate and Heber C. Kimball to care for his daughters and abandoned his trade to devote himself wholeheartedly to building the "kingdom of God." That fall, after Miriam's death, he, Heber Kimball, and several relatives traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, where he first met the twenty-six-year-old Prophet Joseph Smith. Invited to evening prayer in the Smith home, Brigham was moved by the Spirit and spoke in tongues, the first speaking in tongues witnessed by the Prophet.

Brigham's subsequent missionary tours carried him north, east, west, and south of Mendon. He and his brother Joseph Young made several preaching trips into the New York and Ontario, Canada, countryside. In the summer of 1833 he traveled to Kirtland with several of his Canadian converts, where he heard Joseph Smith teach about the gathering, emphasizing that building the kingdom of God required more than just preaching. Thus instructed, Brigham returned to New York and, with the Kimballs, moved his household to Kirtland so he could participate in building a new society.

Among those whom Brigham met in Kirtland was Mary Ann Angell, a native of Seneca, Ontario County, New York, who had worked in a factory in Providence, Rhode Island, until her conversion to the Church and move to Kirtland. Brigham married her on February 18, 1834. She looked after Brigham's two daughters by Miriam and subsequently had six children of her own.

In 1834 Brigham and his brother Joseph served with Zion's Camp, a small army that walked from Ohio to Missouri in the summer of 1834 to assist those driven from their homes by hostile mobs. Brigham regarded the difficult trek, which was led by Joseph Smith, as superb education and later called it "the starting point of my knowing how to lead Israel" (Arrington, pp. 45-46).

Dedication and potential, more than accomplishments, qualified Brigham Young to be selected in February 1835 as a member of the Church's original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Twelve were a "traveling high council" charged to take the gospel "to all the nations, kindreds, tongues, and people." They presided not "at home" but "abroad," where no local stakes were established. This group later became the leading quorum in the Church after the First Presidency.

Each summer Brigham undertook proselytizing missions in the East; each winter he cared for his family and helped build up Kirtland. He helped construct the Kirtland Temple, attended the School of the Prophets, participated in the Pentecostal outpouring that accompanied the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in the spring of 1836, and engaged in Church-related business activities assigned to him by Joseph Smith. When the Kirtland community became divided over Joseph Smith's leadership, Brigham Young's strong defense of the Prophet so enraged the critics that Brigham had to flee Kirtland for his safety.

By the summer of 1838 most of the Kirtland faithful, including Brigham and his family, had moved to Caldwell County, in northern Missouri. Growing numbers of Latter-day Saint arrivals rekindled antagonisms with old settlers, and violence erupted (see Missouri Conflict). Disarmed, violated, and robbed of most of their holdings, the Latter-day Saints were driven from the state. With Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and other Church leaders imprisoned, Brigham Young, senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve, directed the evacuation of the Saints to Quincy and other Illinois communities. To ensure that members without teams and wagons would not be left behind, he drew up the Missouri Covenant. All who signed it agreed to make their resources available to remove every person to safety.

In the spring of 1839 Joseph Smith designated Commerce (renamed Nauvoo), Illinois, the new central gathering place of the Saints. Brigham's family were hardly settled in the area when he and other members of the Twelve left to fulfill their calls to Great Britain as missionaries. Despite poverty and poor health all around, Brigham left his wife and children in September, determined to go to England or to die trying. He and his companions finally docked at Liverpool in April 1840 (see Missions of the Twelve to the British Isles).

As quorum president, Brigham directed the work of his quorum in Britain during an astonishing year in which they baptized between 7,000 and 8,000 converts; printed and distributed 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon, 3,000 hymn books, 1,500 volumes of the millennial star, and 50,000 tracts; and established a shipping agency and assisted nearly 1,000 to emigrate to Nauvoo. Brigham traveled to the principal cities in England and took time to visit Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Lake district, factory towns, the Potteries, museums, art galleries, and, of course, the homes of converts, both rich and poor. In later years he often commented on what he had seen and learned in England.

Such striking success, the first such experience of a united quorum, prepared the Twelve for additional responsibilities. Back in Nauvoo, Brigham was given the assignment of directing the Twelve in their supervision of missionary work, the purchase of lands and settling of immigrants, and various construction projects. Along with others, Brigham was also taught the principle of plural marriage; he accepted it after much reluctance and considerable thought and prayer. With Mary Ann's consent, he married Lucy Ann Decker Seeley in June 1842, and later other plural wives. He was among the first to receive the full temple Endowment in 1842 and, later, with Mary Ann, participated with others who had received temple ordinances in sessions during which Joseph Smith gave additional instructions on gospel principles.

Because Brigham Young was now the president of the quorum, which came second only to the First Presidency in authority and responsibility, he was highly prominent and influential in Nauvoo. Nonetheless, though he helped direct everything from the construction of the Nauvoo Temple to missionary work abroad, he also continued the pattern established in Kirtland of personally undertaking preaching missions each summer. In February Joseph Smith further instructed Brigham Young and others of his quorum about a future move to the Rocky Mountains. In March 1844 Brigham participated in the creation of the council of fifty-an organization suggesting a pattern of government for a future theocratic society and the last such organizational pattern left by Joseph Smith. Soon after, as if in foreboding of his impending death, Joseph Smith gave Brigham and other members of the Twelve a dramatic charge to "bear off this kingdom," telling them that they now had all the keys and instruction needed to do so successfully (CR [Apr. 1898]:89; MS 5 [Mar. 1845]:151).

In May 1844, Brigham and other apostles left on summer missions. While they were gone, events in Nauvoo deteriorated. Joseph Smith was arrested and, on June 27, was killed with his brother Hyrum when a mob stormed the jail where they were being held (see Carthage Jail; Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith). Brigham was in the Boston area and did not hear definite word of the assassination until July 16. He and his companions immediately rushed back to Nauvoo, arriving August 6. After a dramatic confrontation with Sidney Rigdon on August 8, Brigham and the Twelve were sustained to lead the Church (see Succession in the Presidency). Brigham remained the leader until his death in 1877.

Although privately committed to leaving Nauvoo, Brigham and his associates were determined to complete the Nauvoo Temple so that the Saints could receive their temple ordinances. Even as they labored to defend themselves and finish the temple, they held meetings to decide on when and where to move farther west. Soon after violence erupted in September 1845, they publicly announced their intention to leave by the following spring. By December the temple was ready for ordinance work, and by February nearly 6,000 members had received temple blessings therein. The Saints had also spent the fall and winter preparing for the exodus. Committees were appointed, and a Nauvoo Covenant was signed, helping to ensure that those with property would assist those without.

Partly because of concerns about governmental intervention, Brigham Young began the migration in the cold and snow of February 1846 rather than await spring. By hundreds, then by thousands, people, animals, and wagons crossed the Mississippi River and trudged across Iowa mud to a winter quarters (now Florence, Nebraska) on the Missouri River. In late spring nearly 16,000 Saints were on the road.

Brigham personally directed this massive odyssey, which involved the allocation of foodstuffs, wagons, oxen, and Church property to organized companies setting out on the trail. The preparation and the move through Iowa took so long that none of the companies could reach the Rocky Mountains that year, as was hoped. This demanding Iowa experience taught Brigham Young valuable lessons about men and organization that he used throughout his years of leadership. He also learned anew that when human resources prove inadequate, one must turn in faith to God. That winter Brigham announced "The Word and Will of the Lord" (D&C 136) to help organize the Saints and prepare them for the westward trek.

Brigham Young set out with an advance group of 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children on April 5, 1847. Delayed by illness, he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, a few days behind the advance party. Once he saw the valley with his own eyes, he announced it as the right place for a new headquarters city and confirmed that the region would be the new gathering place. He also identified the exact spot for a temple. He directed the exploration of the region; helped survey and apportion the land for homes, gardens, and farming; named the new settlement "Great Salt Lake City, Great Basin, North America"; held meetings where he appointed John Smith religious leader of the new colony and agreed on basic policies of cooperative work and sharing. On August 26, Brigham joined the return party to Winter Quarters.

In Winter Quarters, in December 1847, Brigham and other members of the Twelve reorganized the First Presidency of the Church, with Brigham as president. The following April he, his family, and approximately 3,500 other Saints headed for the Salt Lake Valley. Brigham's activities in organizing companies, building bridges, repairing equipment, and training oxen developed abilities that would be in evidence the rest of his life.

A series of problems confronted Brigham, now forty-seven, as he established his permanent home in the Salt Lake Valley. The first problem was to provide housing for his family. On a lot adjoining City Creek in what is now the center of Salt Lake City, he built a row of log houses for his wives and children that, collectively, were called Harmony House. To the south of this he later built the White House, a sun-dried adobe structure covered with white plaster. Still later, he built a large, two-story adobe house faced with cement that fronted on what came to be known as Brigham Street (now South Temple Street). Sporting a tower surmounted by a gilded beehive, this building was known as the Beehive House and was Brigham's official residence as governor and President of the Church. In 1856, Brigham added an impressive three-story adobe structure, which came to be called the Lion House from the statue of a crouching lion on the portico. Several of his families lived in this building, just west of the Beehive House. He later built homes in south Salt Lake City, Provo, and St. George. Brigham's homes were all well constructed and finely appointed.

A central public problem was finding places to accommodate the incoming Saints. Salt Lake City was divided into ten-acre blocks, and each family head was allotted by community drawing a one-and-one-fourth-acre lot on one of the blocks in the city. There people would keep their livestock, gardens, and other "home" properties (see City Planning). A ten-acre block just west of Brigham's was designated the Temple Block (see Temple Square), and on this were located the Bowery, a temporary shelter built of tree boughs, where the Saints first held religious services; the tabernacle; and various shops used in constructing public buildings. Construction of the Salt Lake Temple was begun in 1853.

Outside the city, five-acre and ten-acre plots were apportioned to those who wanted to farm. Under Brigham Young's direction, cooperative teams were assigned to dig ditches and canals to irrigate crops and to furnish water to homes. Other brigades fenced residential areas, built roads, cut timber, and set up shops. Other groups selected new locations for settlements and helped place people in the best areas. Still others were called on missions to proselytize in the United States, Europe, or the Pacific.

In the spring of 1849 Brigham Young organized Salt Lake City into nineteen wards; organized wards in other settlements; set up the state of Deseret with himself as governor; and established the perpetual emigrating fund as a device for assisting with the emigration of Saints from Great Britain, Scandinavia, and continental Europe.

With thousands of Saints arriving from the eastern United States and Europe, colonization demanded Brigham Young's attention. Under his direction, four kinds of colonies were established: first, settlements intended to be temporary places of gathering and recruitment, such as Carson Valley in Nevada; second, colonies to serve as centers for production, such as iron at Cedar City, cotton at St. George, cattle in Cache Valley, and sheep in Spanish Fork, all in Utah; third, colonies to serve as centers for proselytizing and assisting Indians, as at Harmony in southern Utah, Las Vegas in southern Nevada, Lemhi in northern Idaho, and present-day Moab in eastern Utah; fourth, permanent colonies in Utah and nearby states and territories to provide homes and farms for the hundreds of new immigrants arriving each summer. Within ten years, nearly 100 colonies had been planted; by 1867, more than 200; and by the time of his death in 1877, nearly 400 colonies. Clearly, he was one of America's greatest colonizers.

As President of the Church, Brigham conducted regular Sunday services in Salt Lake City and each year visited as many outlying communities as possible. He appointed bishops for each ward and settlement and encouraged each ward to provide cultural opportunities for its members, such as dances, theater, music recitals, and, above all, schools. He listened to people with complaints, responded to myriad questions about personal and family affairs as well as religion, and dictated thousands of letters with instruction, counsel, friendly advice, and casual comment about Church and national affairs. He was a firm Latter-day Saint and a wise counselor.

Brigham gave some 500 sermons in pioneer Utah that were recorded word for word by a stenographer. These, all delivered without a prepared text, may have seemed rambling in organization, but they were well thought out and suggest remarkable mental power. They were well adapted to his audiences. His discourses were like "fireside chats," an informal "talking things over" with his audiences. Interweaving subjects as diverse as women's fashions, the Atonement of Christ, recollections of Joseph Smith, and how to make good bread, Brigham kept his audiences enthralled, amused, and in tears, sometimes for hours. He inspired, motivated, taught, and encouraged.

The Latter-day Saints had settled among various tribes of Native Americans. Intent upon helping them, converting them, and avoiding bloodshed, Brigham established Indian farms, took Indians into his own home, advocated a policy of "feeding them is cheaper than fighting them," and held periodic meetings with chiefs. His policies were not always successful, but he consistently sought peaceful solutions and firmly opposed the all-too-common frontier practice of shooting Indians for petty causes.

In 1851, Brigham was appointed governor and superintendent of Indian Affairs of Utah Territory by U.S. President Millard Fillmore. His principal problem as governor was dealing with the "outside" federal appointees, many of whom were, from any point of view, both unsympathetic to the Church and inexcusably incompetent. There were problems over the small federal expenditures, the failure of Saints to use federal judges in cases of civil disputes, the lack of tact of the federally appointed officials in discussing the Church, their opposition to the union of church and state, and their assumption that Latter-day Saints were immoral because of their tolerance of plural marriage. [For other events that occupied Brigham Young's attention in 1856 see Handcart Companies; Reformation (LDS) of 1856-1857) of 1856-1857.]

This continuing controversy eventually led to the decision of U.S. President James Buchanan in 1857 to replace Brigham Young with an "outside" governor, Alfred Cumming of Georgia. At the same time, President Buchanan, who had been (wrongly) informed that the Mormons were "in a state of substantial rebellion against the laws and authority of the United States," sent a major portion of the U.S. Army to Utah to install the new governor and to ensure the execution of U.S. laws (see Utah Expedition). Though Governor Young was not notified of this action, armed forces were observed secretly heading for Utah. Fearful of a repetition of the "mobocracy" of Missouri and Illinois, he called people home from outlying colonies and mobilized the Saints to defend their homes. Eventually, with the assistance of Thomas L. Kane, he arranged a peaceful settlement whereby the Army occupied Camp Floyd, a post some forty miles from Salt Lake City. The U.S. Army was an irritant, but not a hindrance, to continued Church expansion and development. President Young remained, as his colleagues boasted, governor of the people, while his replacements merely governed the territory. The Army left Utah in 1861 with the start of the Civil War.

A believer in adapting the newest technology to the advantage of LDS society, Brigham Young contracted in 1861 to build the transcontinental telegraph line from Nebraska to California, and then proceeded to erect the 1,200-mile Deseret Telegraph line from Franklin, Idaho, to northern Arizona. This connected nearly all Mormon villages with Salt Lake City and, through that connection, with the world. While the transcontinental railroad was under construction, he negotiated for contracts with Union Pacific and Central Pacific for LDS contractors to build the roadbeds east of Salt Lake City into part of Wyoming and west well into Nevada. He then organized the Utah Central, Utah Southern, and Utah Northern railroads to extend the line south from Ogden to Frisco in southern Utah and north to Franklin, Idaho, and eventually to Montana.

Aware that the completion of the railroad would imperil the independent social economy of his people, President Young inaugurated a protective movement that sought to preserve, as much as possible, their unique way of life. He organized cooperatives to handle local merchandising and manufacturing; initiated several new enterprises to develop local resources; promoted relief societies in each ward in order to provide opportunities for self-development, socialization, and compassionate service for women; opened the doors of the university of Deseret (later the University of Utah) for both young men and women; encouraged women to become professionally trained, especially in medicine; and gave women the vote. In 1875 he established Brigham Young Academy (later Brigham Young University), in 1877 Brigham Young College (Logan, Utah) and the Latter-day Saints College (see LDS Business College). In 1874 he also promoted the United Order movement in an effort to encourage cooperation and home production and consumption (see Economic History of the Church).

Brigham Young remained vigorous until his death in August 1877. Just before his death, he dedicated the St. George Temple and launched there the full scope of LDS temple ordinances, something he had anticipated since Nauvoo; and he overhauled Church organization at every level, formalizing for the first time practices that would characterize the Church for nearly a century.

Brigham was a well-built, stout (in later years, portly) man of five feet, ten inches, somewhat taller than average for his day. His light brown hair, often described as "sandy," had very little gray. Visitors noticed his penetrating blue-gray eyes lined by thin eyebrows. Though he later wore a full beard, Brigham was clean-shaven until the 1850s, when he first sported chin whiskers. His mouth and chin were firm, bespeaking, visitors thought, his iron will. He was generally composed and quiet in manner, but he could thunder at the pulpit. Sometimes called the "Lion of the Lord," he could also roar when aroused.

Brigham Young's manner was pleasant and courteous. His dress, generally neat and plain, was often homespun. He combined vibrant energy and self-certainty with deference to the feelings of others and a complete lack of pretension. By the time of his death, Brigham Young had married twenty women, sixteen of whom bore him fifty-seven children. He died on August 29, 1877, of peritonitis, the result of a ruptured appendix.

Brigham's most obvious achievements were the product of his lifelong talent for practical decision making. He instituted patterns of Church government that persist to this day. In leading the Saints across Iowa, he issued detailed instructions that were followed by the hundreds of companies that crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in succeeding years. In the Great Basin he directed the organization of several hundred LDS settlements; set up several hundred cooperative retail, wholesale, and manufacturing enterprises; and initiated the construction of meetinghouses, tabernacles, and temples. While doing all this, he carried on a running battle with the United States government to preserve the unique LDS way of life.

But for Brigham Young these were means, not ends. His overriding concern was to build on the foundation begun by Joseph Smith to establish a commonwealth in the desert where his people could live the gospel of Jesus Christ in peace, thereby improving their prospects in this life and in the next. He loved the Great Basin because its harshness and isolation made it an ideal place to "make Saints."


Alexander, Thomas G. Review of The Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life and Service of Brigham Young, edited by Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black. BYU Studies 37:3 (1997-98):231-236.

Arrington, Leonard J. Brigham Young: American Moses. New York, 1985.

Barney, Ronald O. "Letters of a Missionary Apostle to His Wife: Brigham Young to Mary Ann Angell Young, 1839-1841." BYU Studies 38:2 (1999)157-201.

Cannon, Donald Q. "Leopold Bierwirth's Impressions of Brigham Young and the Mormons, 1872." BYU Studies 40:2 (2001):133-148.

Carmack, John K. "Father Brigham in His Western Canaan." BYU Studies 40:2 (2001):13-22.

Derr, Jill Mulvay. "The Lion and the Lioness: Brigham Young and Eliza R. Snow." BYU Studies 40:2 (2001):54-101.

Holzapfel, Richard Neitzel and Thomas R. Wellc. "A Superlative Image: An Original Daguerreotype of Brigham Young." BYU Studies 44:2 (2005):96-102.

Jessee, Dean C. "'A Man of God and a Good Kind Father': Brigham Young at Home." BYU Studies 40:2 (2001):23-53.

Jorgensen, Lynne W. "The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Passes to Brother Brigham: A Collective Spiritual Witness." BYU Studies 36:4 (1996-97):125-204.

Palmer, Richard F., and Karl D. Butler. Brigham Young: The New York Years. Provo, Utah, 1982.

Schramm, Clarence F. Review of Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints by Hugh W. Nibley. BYU Studies 34:4 (1994-1995):213-215.

Walker, Ronald W., and David J. Wittaker. "Letter-Brigham Young to Mary Ann Young: August 17, 1843." BYU Studies 32 (Summer 1992):89-92.

Walker, Ronald W., and David J. Wittaker. "Letter-Brigham Young to Hiram McKee: May 3, 1860." BYU Studies 32 (Summer 1992):92-100.

Walker, Ronald W., and Ronald K. Esplin. "Brigham Himself: An Autobiographical Recollection." Journal of Mormon History 4 (1977):19-34.

Woodworth, Jed. "Brigham Young and the Mission of Mormonism." BYU Studies 40:2 (2001):9-12.

Young, Brigham: Teachings of Brigham Young


In leading the Latter-day Saints for over thirty years, Brigham Young wrote comparatively little, except for his letters, but he spoke frequently and on numerous subjects. He was constantly obliged to speak ex cathedra on many topics relative to life in this world and the next. His discourses were vigorous and forthright, filled with candid realism and common sense, and many of his speeches were recorded in shorthand by scribes. Along with his practical attainments and mechanical skills, he was one of the most discursive and lucid of men. Here was a man tested by fire (e.g., he was actually driven from his home five times) and who knew all the trials of life, from the corridors of power to the roughest frontiers. He sometimes made statements that surprised or even offended those who tended to accept his every utterance as doctrine, but with a New Englander's passion for teaching and learning, he plunged ahead.

All the commentators concede that Brigham Young was one of the ablest and most dynamic leaders in American history. He was one of the supremely practical men of his age, a hardheaded, even-keeled, no-nonsense realist who got things done. But, for him, all of that was incidental. The important thing was that the people should know what they were doing and why. His orders and recommendations came with full and persuasive explanations.

His teachings begin with faith in Jesus Christ: "My faith is placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and my knowledge I have received from him" (JD 3:155). "Jesus is our captain and leader; Jesus, the Savior of the world-the Christ we believe in" (JD 14:118). "Our faith is placed upon the son of God, and through him in the Father, and the Holy Ghost is their minister to bring truths to our remembrance" (JD 6:98).

Brigham Young gained much of his knowledge of Jesus Christ through his constant association with the Prophet Joseph Smith: "What I have received from the Lord, I have received by Joseph Smith" (JD 6:279). To the end of his life, Young testified of the mission of Joseph Smith in restoring knowledge of Christ to earth. "I love his doctrine," he said. "I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained" (JD 13:216; 3:51). His dying words were "Joseph, Joseph, Joseph."

On this foundation, Brigham Young emphatically taught the law of eternal progression. This life is a part of eternity. Eternal knowledge and glory are to be obtained and promoted on this earth. Improvement, learning, training, building, and expanding are the joy of life: "We do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn" (JD 6:286). And eternal progression leads to godhood: "The faithful will become gods, even the sons of God" (JD 6:275).

Brigham Young recognized that many people were not prepared to understand the mysteries of God and godhood. "I could tell you much more about this," he said, speaking of the role of Adam, but checked himself, recognizing that the world would probably misinterpret his teaching (JD 1:51).

All of the descendants of Adam (men, women, and children) must work. "What is this work?" Brigham asks. "The improvement of the condition of the human family. This work must continue until the people who live on this earth are prepared to receive our coming Lord" (JD 19:46).

For Brigham, improvement meant "to build in strength and stability, to beautify, to adorn, to embellish, to delight, and to cast fragrance over the House of the Lord; with sweet instruments of music and melody" (MS 10:86). More specifically, the one way man can leave his mark on the face of nature without damage is to plant. President Young ceaselessly counseled his people to do as Adam was commanded to do in the Garden of Eden when he dressed and tended the garden: Our work is "to beautify the face of the earth, until it shall become like the Garden of Eden" (JD 1:345).

In caring for the world, "every accomplishment, every polished grace, every useful attainment in mathematics, music, and in all science and art belongs to the Saints, and they should avail themselves as expeditiously as possible of the wealth of knowledge the sciences offer to every diligent and persevering scholar, and that's our duty…. It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, according to the revelation, to give their children the best education that can be procured, both from the books of the world and the revelations of the Lord" (JD 10:224). "If an elder shall give a lecture on astronomy, chemistry, or geology, our religion embraces it all. It matters not what the subject be if it tends to improve the mind, exalt the feelings, and enlarge the capacity. The truth that is in all the arts and sciences forms part of our religion" (JD 2:93-94).

President Young's fascination with the things of the mind extended to mundane experience. The enjoyment of the senses, he said, is one of our notable privileges upon the earth and a wonderful source of enjoyment.

Although Brigham Young's destiny led him to the desert barrenness of the West, he sensed a spiritual beauty in that land. "You are here commencing anew," he told the people. "The soil, the air, the water are all pure and healthy. Do not suffer them to become polluted with wickedness. Strive to preserve the elements from being contaminated by the filthy wicked conduct of those who pervert the intelligence God has bestowed upon the human family" (JD 8:79). For Brigham, moral and physical cleanliness and pollution are no more to be separated than mind and body: "Keep your valley pure, keep our towns as pure as you possibly can, keep your hearts pure, and labor what you can consistently, but not so as to injure yourselves" (JD 8:80).

Brigham Young also had a Yankee passion for thrift, but it rested on a generous respect for the worth of material things, not on a mean desire simply to possess them. When he said, "I do not know that during thirty years past, I have worn a coat, hat, or garment of any kind, or owned a horse, carriage, &c, but what I have asked the Lord whether I deserved it or not-Shall I wear this? Is it mine to use or not?" (JD 8:343), he was expressing the highest degree of human concern and responsibility.

Brigham Young often spoke of Zion and of building up the kingdom of God. He used the name Zion to describe the intended state of affairs and constantly had Zion in his view: "There is not one thing wanting in all the works of God's hands to make a Zion upon the earth when the people conclude to make it" (JD 9:283). He recognized that the ideal of Zion stood in the face of contemporary economic values: "It is thought by many that the possession of gold and silver will produce for them happiness; …in this they are mistaken" (JD 11:15). "If, by industrious habits and honorable dealings, you obtain thousands or millions of dollars, little or much, it is your duty to use all that is put in your possession, as judiciously as you have knowledge, to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth" (JD 4:29).

Zion was to be established on the basis of cooperation: "The doctrine of uniting together in our temporal labors, and all working for the good of all is from the beginning, from everlasting, and it will be for ever and ever" (JD 17:117). In this there was no room for debate or contention, least of all rancor: "Cast all bitterness out of your own hearts-all anger, wrath, strife, covetousness, and lust, and sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, that you may enjoy the Holy Ghost" (JD 8:33).

The contrast between light and darkness was vivid to President Young: "Whence comes evil? It comes when we make an evil of good. Speaking of the elements in the creation of God, their nature is as pure as the heavens, and we destroy it. I wish you to understand that sin is not an attribute in the nature of man, but is an inversion of the attributes God has placed in him" (JD 10:251). He recognizes a conscious, active agent in the spreading of evil: "Satan never owned the earth; he never made a particle of it; his labor is not to create, but to destroy" (JD 10:320).

The true stature of Brigham Young emerges if one seeks to compose a list of his peers. He led a ragged and impoverished band, stripped of virtually all their earthly goods, into an unknown territory. His critics and biographers note that the man was unique among the leaders of modern history, for he alone, without any political and financial backing, established from scratch in the desert an ordered and industrious society, having no other authority than the priesthood and the spiritual strength with which he delivered his teachings. By constant exhortations and instructions, he drew his people together and inspired them in carrying out the divine mandate to build up the kingdom of God on earth.


The Journal of Discourses contains more than 350 of Brigham Young's speeches. For a selection of passages organized topically, see John A. Widstoe, comp., Discourses of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, 1954.

Ellsworth, S. George. Review of Samuel Claridge: Pioneering the Outposts of Zion, by Kenneth W. Godfrey. BYU Studies 30 (Winter 1990):97-100.

Melville, J. Keith. "The Reflections of Brigham Young on the Nature of Man and the State." BYU Studies 4(1962):255-67.

Melville, J. Keith. "Brigham Young's Ideal Society: The Kingdom of God." BYU Studies 5 (1962):3-18.

Nibley, Hugh W. "Educating the Saints - A Brigham Young Mosaic." BYU Studies 11 (Autumn 1970):61-87.

Nibley, Hugh W. "Brigham Young on the Environment." In To the Glory of God, ed. T. Madsen and C. Tate, pp. 3-20. Salt Lake City, 1972.

Walker, Ronald W. "Brigham Young on the Social Order." BYU Studies 28 (Summer 1988):37-52.

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Brigham Young/Criticisms related to

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Brigham Young's Adam-God theory

Summary: Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first man, was God the Father. Since this teaching runs counter to the story told in Genesis and commonly accepted by Christians, critics accuse Brigham of being a false prophet. Also, because modern Latter-day Saints do not believe Brigham's "Adam-God" teachings, critics accuse Mormons of either changing their teachings or rejecting teachings of prophets they find uncomfortable or unsupportable.

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Brigham Young's personal beliefs

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Brigham Young and Joseph Smith's First Vision

Summary: It is claimed either that Brigham never taught about the First Vision, or that he taught that the Lord did not appear to Joseph. Both claims are false.

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Brigham Young's involvement in Freemasonry

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Brigham Young and the Word of Wisdom

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Response to Passing the Heavenly Gift: Claims about Brigham Young and apostles not being witnesses of Christ

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Prosecution of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

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Journey to Temple Hill: The Brigham Young University Story

I was still screaming, tears were streaming down my face, but my Master was just picking up the pace. I didn't even notice how pleasure replaced the pain, and then my consciousness began to somehow blur. What happened next, I remember only in fragments.

Young teachings brigham

Natalia crumpled her own nipples and masturbating clitoris. Her moans intensified and I realized that she also liked it a lot. A few minutes later, she arched, howled and fell on the bed, continuing to twitch in convulsions. I finished the same.

Brigham Young - Story of a Man Without Eloquence

To the other and always running small eyes, betraying a hypocrite in him. A shadow slipped inaudibly through the open window. Only the light of a candle swayed slightly from a slight vibration in the air caused by this movement.

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