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On September 20, Harvard University Press published a major new biography of Brigham Young, the second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, colonizer of Utah and much of the Intermountain West. , and a fiercely loyal supporter of Church founder and first President Joseph Smith. Here are some of the milestones in Young’s life.
June 1, 1801: Birth of Brigham, the ninth of 11 children born to farmer and Revolutionary War veteran John Young and his wife Abigail Howe, in Whitingham, Vermont.
1815: Brigham Young was 14 when his mother, Abigail Howe Young, died after years of battling tuberculosis.
1816: At 16, Brigham Young left home to make his way in the world, eventually becoming an apprentice carpenter, painter, and glazier in Auburn, NY, and surrounding areas. Young later noted that a memorable aspect of coming of age was giving up all play: “When I was 16, my dad said to me, ‘Now you can have your time; go and support yourself”, and a year had not passed when I stopped running, jumping, struggling and exhausting my strength for nothing.
October 5, 1824: After several years of itinerant work, Brigham marries Miriam Angeline Works. The newlyweds first settled in Haydenville, NY, and joined the Reformed Methodist Church. Although he was raised in a religious household, Young had previously refrained from aligning himself with a church. Upon joining the Methodists, Young insisted that his baptism be by immersion – Reformed Methodists accepted a variety of different baptisms, believing that the ordinance itself was more important than the precise means of undertaking it.
September 26, 1825: After moving to Port Byron, NY, Brigham and Miriam Young welcome their first child, daughter Elizabeth. About three years later, a second child, daughter Vilate, joined the family.
April 1830: Samuel Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, passes a copy of the Book of Mormon to Phineas Young, brother of Brigham Young. Phineas immediately believed the book, but Brigham read and studied it for two years before agreeing to be baptized.
April 15, 1832: Brigham is baptized in his own pool by Eleazar Miller. Miller’s testimony had inspired Young, and the new convert began working to spread his own testimony almost immediately. As he later said, “I wanted to thunder and roar the gospel to the nations. It burned in my bones like a pent-up fire.
September 8, 1832: Miriam Young dies of tuberculosis after being largely bedridden for nearly four years.
1833: After visiting the Latter-day Saint community in Kirtland, Ohio, that summer, Brigham moved to Kirtland to help build the kingdom.
February 18, 1834: A few months after arriving in Kirtland, Brigham Young married his second wife, former factory worker Mary Ann Angel of Seneca, New York.
May 4-July 3, 1834: Brigham Young marches to Missouri as part of the Zion’s Camp Rescue Expedition led by Joseph Smith to aid dispossessed and harassed Latter-day Saint settlers. Young viewed the difficult journey as a formative experience that laid the foundation for his later church service.
February 14, 1835: He becomes an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles under Joseph Smith. Quorum members are assigned seniority based on age, making Young the third-senior member.
December 22, 1837: After years of being a staunch defender of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young was forced to flee Kirtland for his safety when the mood among Latter-day Saints turned against Smith following the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society. Young and his family joined the body of Latter-day Saints in Far West, Missouri.
1838-1839: When Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saint leaders were imprisoned in Liberty Jail, Missouri, Brigham Young, the dean of the Quorum of the Twelve, ordered the evacuation of Latter-day Saints to Quincy and other communities across the province. Illinois.
September 1839: Although ill and in pain at the time, Brigham Young went on a mission to Great Britain. He later said of his departure under extremely trying circumstances: “I was determined to go to England or die trying. My firm resolve was that I would do what I was told to do in the gospel of life and salvation, or I would die trying.
April 1840: Brigham Young arrives in England after many months of travel and is officially sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve (having served in that capacity since 1838). Over the next year, missionary work in England was amazingly successful, with nearly 8,000 people baptized and more than 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon distributed.
May 4, 1842: After Joseph Smith introduced the temple endowment, Brigham Young was among the first seven people to receive the full endowment under Smith’s hand.
June 14, 1842: Having heard of plural marriage from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young married the first of his polygamous wives, Lucy Ann Decker Seeley, at age 41 (Decker was 20). Young devoted much study and prayer to the subject of plural marriage before agreeing to participate with extreme reluctance and with the permission of his wife Mary Ann. Young later said of his introduction to plural marriage: “I did not wish to shrink from any duty, nor in the least fail to do what was commanded of me, but it was the first time in my life that I wanted the grave, and I struggled to get over it for a long time.
Young eventually married at least 27 wives, 16 of whom bore him children (56 in all).
March 1844: A few months before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith instructed Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve in church governance and kingdom building, informing them that they now have all the keys necessary to lead the church successfully.
June 27, 1844: On the date of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, Brigham Young presided over missionary efforts in and around Boston. Although he did not receive any direct news of the martyrdom until weeks after Smith’s death on July 16, Young later recalled being at a train station on the date of the martyrdom and finding himself overwhelmed. by a deep “depression of spirit”.
August 8, 1844: Within days of returning to Nauvoo, Brigham Young, with the Quorum of the Twelve, was sustained to assume leadership of the church. Before being sustained, Brigham addresses Latter-day Saints with energy and authority. Many eyewitnesses later reported that at the time of this speech, Young seemed to take on the character, voice, and even some of Smith’s characteristics.
December 1845: Brigham Young oversees the beginning of temple endowment and sealing work in the still unfinished Nauvoo Temple.
February 1846: Suspicious of federal government intervention, Brigham Young began the exodus of Latter-day Saints from Nauvoo, sending thousands across the Mississippi River in the dead of winter.
July 24, 1847: Leaving for the Utah Territory on April 5, Brigham Young arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley and directed the first phases of colonization. Just four days after arriving, Young marked the future location of the Salt Lake Temple on July 28.
After staying in the Salt Lake Valley for less than two months, Young set out to return to Winter Quarters on August 26.
December 27, 1847: After leading the Church as President of the Quorum of the Twelve for more than three years, Brigham Young and the Twelve reorganized the First Presidency in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Young is backed to succeed Smith as president of the church, along with advisers Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards. The following spring, he left Winter Quarters, returning permanently to the Great Salt Lake Valley.
March 1849: Brigham Young organizes the Provisional State of Deseret, with himself as governor. The state boundaries proposed to Congress were eventually significantly reduced, with the question of statehood set aside and the territory of Utah established the following year in September.
February 28, 1850: A council of regents organized by Brigham Young establishes the University of Deseret, which later becomes the University of Utah.
February 3, 1851: President Millard Fillmore appoints Brigham Young as the first Territorial Governor of Utah Territory, an appointment later renewed by President Franklin Pierce. Young served in the post for seven years, before being replaced on April 12, 1858, by Alfred Cumming, when Johnston’s army arrived.
February 14, 1853: Brigham Young presides as church members gather to dedicate the site and inaugurate the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. After Heber C. Kimball offers the dedicatory prayer, Young dedicates the new temple. Later, on April 6, Young laid the foundation stone.
October 16, 1875: With the purchase of an existing building in Provo, Young initiated the establishment of Brigham Young Academy, which would later become Brigham Young University.
April 6, 1877: While construction of the Salt Lake Temple was still underway, Brigham Young presided over the dedication of St. George’s Temple, the only temple to be completed in Utah before his death.
August 29, 1877: At age 76, Brigham Young died at his home in Salt Lake City. The cause of death was reportedly peritonitis, the result of a ruptured appendix.
Sources: LDS.org, Y Facts (Brigham Young University), The Religious Educator (Brigham Young University). Photos by Intellectual Reserve, Wikimedia Commons