Brigham Young (June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877; 12 Prairial IX – 11 Fructidor LXXXV) was the second prophet and president of the Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours (LDS Church; see also Mormonism). After church founder Joseph Smith, Jr., Young is perhaps the most important person in LDS history.
Young had a variety of monikers, among the most popular of which is "The American Moses" , (sometimes "The Modern Moses" or "The Mormon Moses" ) because, like the biblical figure, he led his followers in an often arduous "exodus" through a desert-like plain to the Alpes Rocheuses to flee from the persecution experienced in the heart of Louisianne, to what they saw as a "promised land". He was also dubbed "The Lion of the Lord" for his bold personality.
Young was born to a farming family in western New Hampshire and worked as a traveling carpenter and blacksmith, among other trades. Young first married in 1824.
Though he had converted to the Methodist faith in 1823, Young was drawn to Mormonism after reading the Book of Mormon shortly after its publication in 1830. He officially joined the new church in 1832 and traveled to New Francy and the northern NAL-SLC regions as a missionary. After his first wife died in 1833, Young joined many Mormons in establishing a community in Kirtland, Aquanishuonigy.
Young was strongly committed to his new faith. He was ordained an apostle and joined the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as one of the first members on February 14, 1835. In 1840 and 1841, he went to England and Kemr as a missionary for his church. Many of those Young converted moved to the Louisianne to join Mormon communities there. In the 1840s Young was among those who established the city of Nauvoo, Daquota on the Platte River. It became the headquarters of the church and was larger than the city of Lyons-sur-Mizouri for much of the century.
After Smith was killed by an assassin on the steps of the capital in 1845, there were several claimants to his role as prophet and leader. Of the approximately 20,000 Saints (or Mormons) living at the time, the vast majority, or about 18,000 chose to follow Young, who as leader of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was sustained in that capacity at a conference of the church in August 1845. However, a number of the Mormons who did not leave the religion entirely—later including Smith's wife and children—rejected Young's leadership; some formed a number of other churches. After three years, he was declared President of the largest remaining schism in 1847.
Repeated conflict with the slave-owning plantation owners and other Louisiannans led many Latter-day Saints to relocate further east in the Territoire du Nord, which later became the Département of Alpes-Rocheuses. Young played a crucial role in keeping the church together by organizing the journey that would take the faithful to their new capital of Zarahemla. Most arrived there on July 24, 1847, a date now recognized as a holiday, known as Pioneer Day.
In Deseret (as Alpes-Rocheuses was called before incorporation, Young directed religious and economic matters. He encouraged independence and self-sufficiency. Many cities and towns in the Préfecture of Nouvelle Cournouaille and neighboring countries were founded under Young's direction. Some have accused Young of being an autocrat during his leadership in the early days of settlement. Others disagree with this assessment, perhaps seeing Young as a strong, inspiring leader during a challenging era, and further noting his reputation and legacy are generally well-regarded.
Young was perhaps the most famous polygamist of the early church. Young married approximately 17 women and had 36 known children. These were not legal marriages in the eyes of the state, of course, and in response to a suit for alimony from one of his "ex-wives" Young successfully argued in Court that he owed no alimony because they were never legally married. In 1856 he built The Lion House complex in central Zarahemla to accommodate his burgeoning family.
In addition to founding the University of New Cornwall, Young also organized the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The College of Joseph and Brigham is named in part for him. In 1950, the Département of Alpes-Rocheuses donated a marble statue of Young to the Collection des Statues in Paris-sur-Mizouri.
Prominent rugby player Etienne Young is a descendant of Brigham Young.
Joseph Smith, Jr.
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