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Religion > Brigham Young Leads Mormons to Utah
 

Brigham Young Leads Mormons to Utah



BRIGHAM YOUNG 

Early life until Joseph Smith's successor
 Young was born to a farming family in Whitingham, Vermont and worked as a traveling carpenter and blacksmith, among other trades.[4] Young first married in 1824 to Miriam Angeline Works. Though he had converted to the Methodist faith in 1823, Young was drawn to Mormonism after reading the Book of Mormon shortly after its publication in 1830. He officially joined the new church in 1832 and traveled to Upper Canada as a missionary. After his first wife died in 1833, Young joined many Mormons in establishing a community in Kirtland, Ohio. He was ordained an apostle and joined the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as one of its inaugural members on February 14, 1835. During the anti-Mormon persecutions in Missouri in the late 1830s, Young suffered the loss of all his property.
 In 1840 and 1841, he went to England as a missionary; many of those Young converted moved to the United States to join Mormon communities. In the 1840s Young was among those who established the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. It became the headquarters of the church and was comparable in size to the city of Chicago at the time.
 While in jail awaiting trial for treason charges, Joseph Smith, president of the church, was killed by an armed mob in 1844. 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, 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.[5]
Young opposed this reasoning and motion. Smith had earlier recorded a revelation which stated the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were "equal in authority and power" to the First Presidency,[6] so Young claimed that the leadership of the church fell to the Twelve Apostles.[7] Many of Young's followers would later reminisce that while Young spoke to the congregation, he looked or sounded similar to Joseph Smith, to which they attributed the power of God.[8]
 For many in attendance at this meeting, this occurrence was accepted as a sign Young was to lead the church as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 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. [edit]

 Church presidency

 Initial actions as church president
 After three years of leading the church as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, in 1847 Young reorganized a new First Presidency and was declared president of the church. Repeated conflict led Young to relocate his group of Latter-day Saints to a territory in what is now Utah, then part of Mexico. Young organized the journey that would take the faithful to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, in 1846 , then to the Salt Lake Valley. Young arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, a date now recognized as Pioneer Day in Utah. [edit]
 Shortly after the arrival of Young's pioneers, the new Mormon colonies were incorporated into the United States through Mexican Cession, Young petitioned the U.S. Congress to create the State of Deseret. The Compromise of 1850 instead carved out Utah Territory, . Governor of the Utah Territory As colonizer and founder of Great Salt Lake City
Young was appointed the territory's first governor and superintendent of Indian affairs by President Millard Fillmore.  As governor and church president, Young directed both religious and economic matters.
 During his time as governor, Young directed the establishment of settlements throughout Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and Parts of Northern Mexico. Under his direction the pioneers built roads and bridges, forts, irrigation projects, established public welfare, organized a militia and pacified the Native Americans.  Young organized the first Legislature, established Fillmore as the territory's first capital. In 1856 he organized an efficient mail service. 
 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.[9] center;"> 

Role in Mountain Meadows Massacre

 A controversial issue is the extent of Young's involvement in the Mountain Meadows massacre,[10] which took place in Washington County in 1857. Authorities in Iron County had sent a messenger to Salt Lake City, a three-day ride, seeking direction from Young. Governor Brigham Young had promised the federal government he would protect immigrants passing through Utah. But he had also allegedly told local Native American leaders that they now had his permission to steal cattle from these wagon trains.
Over 120 men, women and children were killed by the Mormons and, possibly, their Native American allies. It is clear that local Mormons were the principal parties having anything to do with the act.

Conflict with U.S. government
When federal officials received reports of widespread and systematic obfuscation 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. The troops passed by the bloody Kansas–Missouri war without intervening in it, as it was not open warfare and only isolated sporadic incidents.
 When Young received word that federal troops were headed to Utah with his replacement, he called out his militia to ambush the federal column. During the defense of Deseret, 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, the famous Mormon commando, who outsmarted the Federal army despite being outnumbered by more than a thousand to one.
 Young made plans to burn Salt Lake City and move his followers to Mexico, but at the last minute he 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. 

  Other notable actions
Young organized the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and in 1850 founded the University of Deseret, which is now the University of Utah. In 1875, just two years before his death, he founded Brigham Young Academy, which later became Brigham Young University. In 1950, the state of Utah donated a marble statue of Young to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection.[11](To be continued)
________________________________________________________
Notes:
1.   A year after Young's death, Orson Hyde died and Moses Thatcher was ordained an apostle. The First Presidency was not reorganized until 1880-10-10, 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 1882-10-16, when George Teasdale and Heber J. Grant were ordained. 
2.   Newsroom - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
3.   Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869 - Maps: Their Use by Overlanders
4. Sheret, John G.: Brigham Young: Carpenter and Cabinet Maker 
5.  Roberts, B. H. (ed.) History of the Church, vol. 7, ch. XVIII. 
6.   Doctrine and Covenants 107:23-24. 
7.   Roberts, B. H. (ed.) History of the Church, vol. 7, ch. XIX. 
8.  Harper 1996; Lynne Watkins Jorgensen, "The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Smith Passes to Brother Brigham: One Hundred Twenty-one Testimonies of a Collective Spiritual Witness" in John W. Welch (ed.), 2005. Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, pp. 374-480; Eugene English, "George Laub Nauvoo Diary," BYU Studies, 18 [Winter 1978]: 167 ("Now when President Young arose to address the congregation his voice was the voice of Bro[ther] Joseph and his face appeared as Joseph's face & should I have not seen his face but heard his voice I should have declared that it was Joseph"); William Burton Diary, May 1845. LDS Church Archives ("But their [Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith's] places were filed by others much better than I once supposed they could have been, the spirit of Joseph appeared to rest upon Brigham"); Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life's Review [Independence, 1928], p. 103-104 ("But as soon as he spoke I jumped upon my feet, for in every possible degree it was Joseph's voice, and his person, in look, attitude, dress and appearance; [it] was Joseph himself, personified and I knew in a moment the spirit and mantle of Joseph was upon him"); Life Story of Mosiah Hancock, p. 23, BYU Library ("Although only a boy, I saw the mantle of the Prophet Joseph rest upon Brigham Young; and he arose lion-like to the occasion and led the people forth"); Wilford Woodruff, Deseret News, 15 Mar. 1892 ("If I had not seen him with my own eyes, there is no one that could have convinced me that it was not Joseph Smith"); George Q. Cannon, Juvenile Instructor, 22 [29 Oct. 1870]: 174-175 ("When Brigham Young spoke it was with the voice of Joseph himself; and not only was it the voice of Joseph which was heard, but it seemed in the eyes of the people as though it was the every person of Joseph which stood before them")
9.  Brigham Young - MSN Encarta
10. Eakin, Emily. "Reopening a Mormon Murder Mystery; New Accusations That Brigham Young Himself Ordered an 1857 Massacre of Pioneers", New York Times, 2002-10-12, p. Section B, Page 9, Column 2. 
11.  Brigham Young .  
__________________________________________________________________
 References
 Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses; University of Illinois Press; ISBN 0-252-01296-8, (1985; Paperback, 1986).
 Nibley, Hugh W. (1994), Brigham Young Challenges the Saints, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. Gary James Bergera, Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith Cannon, Frank J. & Knapp, George L. (1913).
Brigham Young and His Mormon Empire, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., . Tullidge, Edward W. (1877).
Life of Brigham Young: Or, Utah and Her Founders, New York: Tullidge & Crandall, . Waite, C.V. (Catherine Van Valkenburg) (1868).
The Mormon prophet and his harem : or, An authentic history of Brigham Young, his numerous wives and children, Chicago: J.S. Goodman & Co. Young,
 Brigham (March 2, 1856), "The Necessity of the Saints Living up to the Light Which Has Been Given Them", in Watt, G.D., Journal of Discourses Delivered by President Brigham Young, His Two Counsellors, and the Twelve Apostles, and Others, vol. 3, Liverpool: Daniel H. Wells, 1856, pp. 221-226.hit counter
 

posted on Apr 28, 2008 12:26 PM ()

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