Here are the 6 reports assigned for next week. You need to read the one you have been assigned and be prepared to give a summary of it in class next week.
Learned Humility in His Early Years
Brigham Young was born 1 June 1801 in Whitingham, Vermont, into a good family who were poor. He had only eleven days of formal schooling. In his later years he said, “We never had the opportunity of letters in our youth, but we had the privilege of picking up brush, chopping down trees, rolling logs, and working amongst the roots and getting our shins, feet and toes bruised. [He also learned to make bread, wash dishes, milk cows, and make butter]” (Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1936], p. 1).
Found a Marvelous Book
In 1828 Brigham Young moved to Mendon, New York, just a short distance from where the Church would be organized. In 1830 he read a copy of the Book of Mormon. Samuel Smith, the brother of the Prophet Joseph, was on his first mission and sold the copy to Phineas Young, Brigham Young’s brother. Phineas read the book and was deeply impressed by it. He passed it on to his father, who read it, believed its teachings, and passed it on to Brigham. Brigham studied it very carefully and reported to his brother that he felt there was something in Mormonism.
Brigham Young later said, “‘I weighed the matter studiously for nearly two years … before I made up my mind to receive that Book. I looked at it on all sides … until I came to a certain knowledge of its truth. … I wished time sufficient to prove all things for myself’” (Susa Young Gates and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Life Story of Brigham Young [New York: Macmillan Company, 1930], p. 9). He was baptized in 1832.
Loved the Prophet Joseph Smith
No mortal man affected the life of Brigham Young as deeply as did the Prophet Joseph Smith. The meeting of these two now famous men occurred in September of 1832, five months after Brigham’s baptism and a few weeks after the death of his first wife, Miriam Works. Brigham Young, who with his brother Joseph and his friend Heber C. Kimball had journeyed to Kirtland, Ohio, recorded his thoughts about this meeting. Brigham said, “We found the Prophet, and two or three of his brothers, chopping and hauling wood. Here my joy was full at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and received the sure testimony, by the Spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any man could believe him to be, as a true Prophet” (“History of Brigham Young,” Millennial Star 25 [11 July 1863]:439).
Brigham Young was a staunch friend and follower of the Prophet Joseph Smith from the time of this meeting. He said later, “I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith” (Discourses of Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], p. 458).
Served as a Missionary in England
In the city of Nauvoo living conditions were unhealthy because of the swamps near the Mississippi River, and many of the Saints had become sick from malaria associated with the mosquitoes. At this time, Brigham Young and his fellow Apostles were called by the Lord to leave their families and to preach the gospel in England. They were not only very sick, but left their families sick as well. Brigham Young reports: “My health was so poor I was unable to go thirty rods [160 yards] to the river without assistance. … I left my wife sick, with a babe only ten days old, and all my children sick and unable to wait upon each other” (“History of Brigham Young,” Millennial Star 25 [10 Oct. 1863]:646). But he left his loved ones in the care of the Lord, whose servant he was, having the assurance that they would be cared for.
He was in England twelve months and sixteen days. As the president of the mission, he and his companions “baptized between seven and eight thousand [people], printed five thousand Books of Mormon, 3,000 Hymn Books, 2,500 volumes of the Millennial Star [a publication of the British mission], and 50,000 tracts” (Millennial Star 26 [2 Jan. 1864]:7). Also a shipping agency was established and a thousand converts emigrated to Nauvoo (see Millennial Star 26:7).
Defended the Prophet Joseph
Brigham Young recorded:
“On a certain occasion several of the Twelve, the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and others of the Authorities of the Church, held a council in the upper room of the [Kirtland] Temple. [They met because a few men, including some of the General Authorities, were opposed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and wanted to depose him and appoint David Whitmer as President of the Church.] Father John Smith, brother Heber C. Kimball and others … were opposed to such measures. I rose up [Brigham Young said], and in a plain and forcible manner told them that Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell. Many were highly enraged [said Brigham] at my decided opposition to their measures. … This meeting was broken up without the apostates being able to unite on any decided measures of opposition” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801–1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson [Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968], pp. 15–16).
Did Not Seek Positions
Early in his career, responsibility fell to Brigham Young. He was a captain in Zion’s Camp, a small military force organized by the Prophet Joseph in 1834 to go to the aid of the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, who had been driven from their homes. Brigham was President over the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and led the British Mission. Yet he did not seek such positions. His only desire was to proclaim the message of the restored gospel and to be schooled in the mysteries of God by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Brigham himself said, “I never let an opportunity pass of learning what the Prophet [Joseph] had to impart. This is the secret of the success of your humble servant” (in Journal of Discourses, 12:270).