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Profile of Brigham Young

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Brigham Young

Brigham Young

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Brigham Young, often referred to as the Modern Moses1, was the second prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a great leader of the Mormon Pioneers, leading God's people out of religious persecution and into the West. Learn more about this amazing man and his remarkable role in the history of the Church in this profile of Brigham Young.

Brigham Young's Youth:

Born in 1801 to a poor family in New England, Brigham Young's parents "were devout Methodists. They were strict and rigid, keeping their children from such amusements as dancing or even listening to the music of a violin. The restrictions placed on the Young family probably led Brigham to a remarkable independence in his careful and long consideration about his religious commitments."2

Brigham Young's Conversion and Church Leadership:

After two years of seriously studying The Book of Mormon and Church doctrine, Brigham Young joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832. Brigham was a stalwart Mormon and tenaciously supported the prophet Joseph Smith. He became a missionary, an apostle, and was later called and sustained as the second president of the Church after Joseph's martyrdom. Brigham Young served as God's living prophet for 30 years.

The Exodus West:

Because of extreme religious persecution Brigham Young led a modern day exodus, similar to when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.3 Brigham Young led over 60,000 Mormon pioneers across the Great Plains, traveling 1,300 miles from the East (mainly Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri) and into the Salt Lake Valley. Under Brigham's direction the uncivilized country was irrigated and cultivated, and over 360 settlements were founded throughout the Western states of Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, and California.4

Brigham Young's Service to the Community:

Brigham Young served as the first territorial governor of Utah for two terms as well as the first superintendent of Indian affairs in the Utah territory.5

Brigham Young founded Brigham Young Academy (later called Brigham Young University in 1903) which was established in Provo, Utah on October 16, 1878, a little over a year after his death. He also founded the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Practice of Plural Marriage:

The practice of polygamy- the marriage of more than one woman to a man- was part of the early history of the Church. Brigham Young practiced plural marriage and married at least 20 women. Brigham had 57 children who were from 16 of his wives.


In 1890 the Church officially stopped the practice of plural marriage and has not condoned polygamy for over 100 years. Those who practice polygamy are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but are often associated with other sects and cults. If a member of the Church is discovered to be practicing polygamy that individual, if they do not repent and cease the practice of plural marriage, is excommunicated. See the FAQ: Do Some Latter-day Saints Practice Polygamy? and the Church's official statement on polygamy.

Most Often Quoted Saying:

On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young, with the first Mormon pioneer wagons that traveled west in the great exodus, finally traversed through the mountain pass. Upon looking over the Salt Lake Valley Brigham Young declared, "This is the right place."6

Timeline of Brigham Young:

  • 06/01/1801 - Born in Whitingham, Vermont
  • 1830 - Received copy of The Book of Mormon
  • 1832 - Joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • 1832 - Served as a missionary in Upper Canada
  • 02/14/1835 - Ordained an apostle and became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
  • 1840-1841 - Served as a missionary in England
  • 1844 - After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, along with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, lead the Church
  • 02/04/1846 - Exodus West begins
  • 07/24/1847 - Entered the Salt Lake Valley and declares, "This is the right place."
  • 12/27/1847 - Sustained as the First Presidency in a Church conference, with his counselors, Elder Heber C. Kimball and Elder Willard Richards
  • 08/29/1877 - Died at age 76 while at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
1 See D&C 103:16
2 L. Tom Perry, "By the Hands of His Prophets," Ensign, Aug 1998, 49.
3 Russell M. Nelson, "The Exodus Repeated," Ensign, Jul 1999, 7
4 David B. Haight, "Faith of Our Prophets," Ensign, Nov 2001, 22.
5 LDS Newsroom Background: Brigham Young
6 Gordon B. Hinckley, "'True to the Faith'," Ensign, May 1997, 65.
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