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Brigham Young was the second prophet of the Mormon Church, succeeding the founder, Joseph Smith. Young is best known for his leadership of the Mormon Pioneers to their promise land of Salt Lake City. He has been nicknamed “The American Moses,” because his leadership in the Mormon trek and founding of Salt Lake City.

Video Tribute: Brigham Young and the Early Saints and Pioneers

Childhood and Early Involvement

Young was born and reared in Vermont in 1801. During his young adult life, he worked as a blacksmith and carpenter. He converted to the Methodist faith, shortly after, he converted to Mormonism, after reading the newly published Book of Mormon. Young had the unique opportunity of serving as a missionary in Canada and was among the saints who settled in Kirtland, Ohio. After his conversion, Young’s commitment and involvement in the church escalated, as he was called to serve as an apostle and a member of the quorum of the twelve. During the late 1830s, Young lost his property and possessions in numerous anti-Mormon persecutions and terrorizations. He served as a missionary in England, where he converted many young men who later moved to the United States to join the Mormon communities in America. Young helped establish the Mormon Church in the city of Nauvoo and Illinois.

Accomplishments as Prophet

In 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed  while awaiting trial in Carthage Jail. Young assumed leadership of the Mormons as the second Mormon prophet. As Mormons continued to face opposition and persecution, Young received revelation that it was time for the Mormons to travel west to Salt Lake City, where they could worship in peace. After Utah was brought into the US through the Mexico Cession, Young wanted Congress to create a “State of Deseret.” Young was appointed governor of the Utah territory, as stated in the Compromise of 1850. As governor, Young directed his people in religious and even economic matters. Young was responsible for the founding of many cities in Utah. He wanted Mormons to be independent in every aspect. As fear of Mormon power began to rise throughout the country, US President Buchanan installed a non-Mormon governor. Buchanan sent troops to Utah as well. Buchanan accepted the reports of the judges without any further investigation, and sent troops. Albert Sydney Johnston was chosen as the replacement governor. Young was resistant to the new leadership but eventually agreed to step down as governor. His greatest accomplishment was the founding and settling of Utah. However, he was also gifted in and took great interest in music. He organized the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Even as he was leading the pioneers to the valley, he encouraged them to sing, dance, and celebrate life. His commitment and dedication to the church throughout his life was tremendous.

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