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Who is The Prophet Brigham Young?


The Brigham Young sculpture at the southern entrance to Temple Square
A memorial to the famous phrase "This is the Place"

Brigham Young is the second prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A legendary figure to be sure but also in many ways an unusual and mysterious human being. In this post we'll explore some details of his early life leading up to the time when he converted to Mormonism.


Where and when was Brigham Young born?

He was born on June 1 1801 to John Young and Abigail Howe in Whitingham, Vermont.


What was his upbringing like?

Though little educated as a child, his mother taught him how to read and write. Young's mother died of tuberculosis in 1815, at which point he moved with his father to New York. Not long after, Young was sent off to learn a trade and moved to Auburn, New York, where he was a carpentry and painting apprentice. One of the homes Young helped paint in Auburn belonged to Elijah Miller then later to William Seward and is now a local museum. Young reported having a strict Puritan-style Christian upbringing which evidently influenced his lifestyle preferences and outlook on religiosity.


What happened after his apprenticeship?

Young moved to Bucksville (later renamed Port Byron) for work in 1819. In 1824 he met Miriam Angeline Works and they married, having their daughter Elizabeth roughly a year later. Brigham began to explored the Reformed Methodist church and in 1828 the family moved to Mendon. Around this time he met Heber C. Kimball and learned about the early developments of the Latter-Day Saints.


How did Young become an LDS convert?

He was looking for the religion representing the truth and authority of Christ for which Young found convincing claims within the Book of Mormon but evidently he also sought further persuasion. A group of missionaries he came in contact with performed what he regarded as spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues or making prophecies and this sufficiently persuaded him. Once Brigham was baptized in 1832, his siblings and their families all joined him within a couple years. After his wife Miriam contracted consumption and died, Young began traveling to preach and became increasingly involved in building the organization of the church.

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