Born June 1, 1801 in Whitingham, Vermont.
Died August 29, 1877 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As the successor to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young led the great westward movement of the Mormons from Illinois to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Known as something of an American Moses for his role in bringing the Latter-day Saints through the wilderness of western North America, he initiated settlements throughout the American West, including Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and California. His ministry was not only spiritual but also quite practical as he oversaw the growth of the LDS religion as well as the economic development of the Great Basin Region.
Preparation and Calling
Brigham Young joined the Church at age 30 after considerable study and prayer concerning the Book of Mormon. He was not easily persuaded, but once he knew of its truth, he could not be swayed. He served a mission to Canada at age 31, was ordained an Apostle at age 33, was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 38 (then served a mission to Great Britain from ages 38-40), and became the leader of the Church at age 43 after Joseph Smith’s death on 27 June 1844.
Interaction with God
Brigham Young was a practical man who was given perhaps more to impressions and thoughts than visions. He was known to have had dreams, however, that were inspired of God. He was also given the gift of prophecy, and in accord with that gift saw with his spiritual eye the future development of the Church in the Great Salt Lake Valley and elsewhere.
Much of President Young’s time was spent colonizing the Great Basin Area of the Intermountain Western United States. He sent hundreds of faithful members of the Church to create settlements. He also negotiated the political development of the territory into statehood at a time when many national leaders were opposed to the Church.
President Brigham Young taught that one should always be courageous in doing the work of the Lord. Whether settling a new area, serving a mission in any part of the world, or obeying a mother’s request to take food to a needy neighbor, one should do so filled with the Spirit of God, trusting that His will must be done and He will provide.