Brigham Young

by Amy from Colorado Springs

Brigham Young or "Brother Brigham" was the 2nd president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was born on June 1, 1801 in Witingham; Vermont, Brigham was nine of eleven children. His mother became ill with tuberculosis during his infancy. His thirteen year old sister, Fanny, had to carry him on her hip while milking the cows because he had grown so fond of her. The Youngs moved to New York State when Brigham was three years old. Brigham's father was a very strict man. He would not let them dance, listen to a violin, or walk more than thirty minutes on Sunday. Brigham swore he would not raise his children that way. He said: "I shall not subject my little children to such a course of unnatural training, but they shall go dance, study music, read novels, and do anything else that will tend to expand and un-trammeled in body and mind." By the time he was eight he was doing most of the household jobs for his mother. He made bread, churned butter, and made most of the family meals. Brigham took care of his mother by carrying her from her bed to the table and then to a chair near the fire before he went to work. His family was very poor. He rarely had enough to eat or to have new clothes to protect himself against the weather. Brigham worked clearing land for farming, trapping animals, fishing, building, digging, and planting, and harvesting crops. His mother died when he was fourteen years old of Tuberculosis.

In 1824 Brigham married Mariam Works when he was twenty-three. He fathered two daughters and then moved to Mendon, New York. Brigham became an apprentice carpenter, glazier, and painter. As a master carpenter, Brigham furnished many homes. He proved to have great talent and went into business for himself making beautiful chairs, beds, and cabinets. He also made brooms, fireplace mantels, and spinning wheels. Brigham became famous in his community as a talented glazier (someone who makes windows). He was known for the beauty of his stairwell decorations, fanlight doorways, and attic windows. He also built a carpentry shop.

Even with a wife Brigham valued something that was missing in his life. He wanted religion... but not just any religion. He studied the Bible daily as a young boy and became convinced that the religion he was seeking should make people happy. Brigham attended several different churches and found that most members had long, sad faces. Brigham believed in prophets, apostles, baptism by immersion, and free agency. In 1830, when he was twenty-eight, he found these principles and much more when he was given his first copy of the Book of Mormon. He was baptized April 14, 1832, in his own small mill stream and was ordained an elder the same day while his clothes were still wet. A month later his wife was also baptized. Brigham’s first order of business was to travel to Kirkland, Ohio to meet the prophet Joseph Smith. In 1835, Brigham went to Kirkland and was ordained an apostle by Joseph Smith. Joseph assigned Brigham the difficult task of moving the Saints out of Missouri and across the Mississippi River. Brigham also served a mission in England in 1839. Brigham was away in New England when he heard that the prophet Joseph Smith had been murdered in the Carthage Jail in Illinois.

Brigham immediately returned to Nauvoo. Now the Lord needed a man to accomplish what seemed to be utterly impossible: to move sixteen thousand Saints out of Nauvoo and across the Mississippi River and get them safely across the plains to a new home somewhere in the west fifteen hundred miles away. Some compared Brigham to the ancient prophet Moses, leading his people away from persecution to a promised land where they could worship in peace. Only a leader whom the people would respect and follow, who knew how to organize, inspire, and encourage the Saints, could accomplish such a task. That leader would have to be fearless and not easily discouraged. When the Lord needed such a leader, Brigham Young was ready. The Lord reserved a place for them in the mountains and led them directly to the Salt Lake Valley where Brigham said, “This is the right place. Drive on.” The next thirty years Brigham worked to build the kingdom of God. He chose the site for the temple, directed the planting of crops and had the city surveyed and laid out the land into ten acre-acre blocks, each divided into eight building lots. Land was set for schools, farms, and parks. Brigham accompanied other groups to the Valley. He helped bring seventy-five thousand converts to Utah. Brigham died on August 29, 1877 in his home at Salt Lake City. Brigham Young had come from being a barefoot boy in Vermont to his calling as a prophet of the Lord.

Brigham Young is my hero because of his faithfulness to the Lord when he needed him the most. He is important to me because after Joseph Smith died he never lost hope. He was always looking for the rainbow after the rain was gone. My hero kept our religion going after Joseph Smith was murdered and led the Mormons to the right place where the Lord needed them to be and turned the desert into a blossoming rose.

Page created on 9/1/2011 9:32:47 PM

Last edited 9/1/2011 9:32:47 PM

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