Brigham Young eBook å Hardcover

Brigham Young eBook å Hardcover

Brigham Young ✵ [BOOKS] ⚦ Brigham Young By John G. Turner ✿ – Brigham Young was a rough hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Morm Brigham Young was a rough hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Mormonism spoke in spiritual tongues married than fifty women and eventually transformed a barren desert into his vision of the Kingdom of God While previous accounts of his life have been distorted by hagiography or polemical expose John Turner provides a fully realized portrait of a colossal figure in American religion politics and westward expansionAfter the murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith Young gathered those Latter day Saints who would follow him and led them over the Rocky Mountains In Utah he styled himself after the patriarchs judges and prophets of ancient Israel As charismatic as he was autocratic he was viewed by his followers as an indispensable protector and by his opponents as a theocratic treasonous hereticUnder his fiery tutelage the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints defended plural marriage restricted the place of African Americans within the church fought the US Army in and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre At the same time Young's tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose and sustained his church against adversity Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.

10 thoughts on “Brigham Young

  1. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    Education is the power to think clearly the power to act well in the worlds work and the power to appreciate life Brigham YoungThis is one of those biographies that should be read regardless of your interest in the subject IT is important not just because of what it can teach you about Brigham Young Mormons the American West of the late 1800s etc but because of what it can teach the careful reader about how history is done This book is history done by a craftsman who is fascinated by his subject but also devoted to his craft Turner a non Mormon historian is able to craft a compelling narrative of Brigham Young that avoids the hagiographic and almost propagandist tendencies of those biographies pushed out by some faithful LDS biographers It also avoids however giving too much weight to aspects of Young's character and life that while in the 21st century seem bigoted and narrow his view towards blacks and women but were actually uite common among most protestant males in America from the Jacksonian era through Reconstruction It avoids focusing too much attention on aspects of Young that are easily exploited for their titillation factor but he doesn't avoid them He places polygamy Mountain Meadows Massacre the Mormon Reformation the Utah War etc all in the proper framework one which helps the reader to understand Brigham Young as a man and a Mormon prophet but NOT as a caricature or a saintAs I review my review I have discovered Turner has come out with a new book that I need to read titled The Mormon Jesus A Biography If it is half as interesting as this one it is a must read

  2. Bryan Buchanan Bryan Buchanan says:

    Indulge me picture a man neck deep in a swift river with people on both banks trying to warn him of boulders they think are in his path After successfully navigating his course he exits the river to the cheers of both banks It happened His name is John Turner and he’s just written a landmark biography of Brigham Young With an embarrassment of riches in terms of sources that would drown a lesser man and voices from both extremes depicting a tyrannical harem master and conversely a gentle kingdom builder Turner has achieved a fair and well rounded portrait of Brigham Young No sticky wicket Mountain Meadows the handcart imbroglio Young’s often testy personality etc is skirted—at the same time the reader does not get a sense that Turner is poking at them as at a sore tooth Notoriously difficult for biographers Young has eluded many through the years With Brigham Young Pioneer Prophet Turner has done what Rough Stone Rolling did for Joseph Smith combine meticulous primary source research with balanced historical craftOne comparison with Joseph Smith—for many years Brigham Young American Moses had served a role much like Joseph Smith The First Mormon of at least for believing Mormons the standard—possibly even definitive in the minds of some—biography Though Arrington 1 did achieve a much effective treatment of Young—using a wealth of uncatalogued contemporary source chaos discovered by Michael uinn—the result failed to provide a picture of the “man” One left the book without feeling that his thought and drive had been reached In addition most of the rough edges of both Young’s life and contemporary Mormon history were filed down if not ignored As Turner notes in his preface only Arrington could claim “unfettered” access to the Young papers yet needed to be done From the notes and source list it is clear that Turner did in fact enjoy a friendly and helpful relationship with the staff at the Church History Library The fortunate conseuence is a thoughtful analysis of the rich mine of pertinent documents journals—both private and clerical letters minutes and sermons—even many existing only in shorthand format 2Turner begins his narrative with a concise look at Young’s early life aside I am not a fan of Mormon biographies that spend an inordinate amount of time on the subject’s early life—not why I’m reading pointing out his unstable home life following his father’s remarriage and his discontent with his religious milieu Turner gives a brief overview of the translation and impact of the Book of Mormon noting that its influence was driven by its mere existence than by content at that point His discussion of Brigham’s slow transition into Mormonism features a strong point of his approach—though he notes Young’s reminiscences of this time he points out that Brigham likely overstated his role Turner recognizes the value of later recollections but carefully weighs their reliabilityChapter two “The Tongues of Angels” contains one of the high points of Turner’s narrative—a discussion of Young’s religious surroundings particularly the pronounced expressions of spiritual gifts and his participation therein Though the stereotypical view of Young is as a pragmatic mover and shaker Tuner draws out his charismatic and even enthusiastic side The story of him speaking in tongues upon meeting Joseph Smith is well known but Turner shows that this facet of Young’s character would emerge periodically throughout his life Another welcome aspect of the narrative is obvious in this section notably so in his discussion of the Kirtland Safety Society fiasco—Turner walks the fine line between providing context while not allowing his primary subject to recede into the background I’m always irritated to read a biography that is really a period history with a biographical glazeThe Nauvoo era always seems to be a minefield for historians—how does one treat such a chaotic and dualistic time? In discussing it with friends I’ve remarked that—depending on who you associated with—Nauvoo could be two very very different places one for “inner circlers” and one for regular citizens The narrative for this period is superb—his discussion of polygamy especially so For example he balances Young’s well known desire for the grave immediately after hearing of the new doctrine with an 1849 statement that after a fuller hearing of the matter with Joseph he was “filled with the Holy Ghost” to the point of “lightness” A similarly temperate discussion of the succession crisis evidences Turner’s dispassionate style—he summarizes the purported transfiguration of Brigham Young thusly “Whether or not they experienced something miraculous in the meeting for some Mormons their sense of Young as Joseph’s successor grew uickly” In the uncertain days before the exodus from Nauvoo Turner brings out Young’s notoriously mercurial disposition—when greeted by people on the street with the ritual handclasps from the newly introduced endowment Young abruptly shut down the ceremonies His temper is also evident in the heated discussions surrounding the attempt to reconstitute the First Presidency at Winter uarters For those with a distaste for scatological language consider yourselves warnedThe chapter entitled “A New Order of Things” is another particularly impressive section especially when dealing with Young’s many plural wives It is fascinating to hear their voices as the realities of polygamy were being worked out As was generally his nature Young seems not to have been terribly warm and fuzzy in his relationships with his wives Augusta Cobb Adams proved to be uite the formidable opponent when disagreements arose—she repeatedly reuested to be sealed to another husband preferably Jesus Christ himself but she accepted Joseph Smith as an acceptable alternative Various “sticky” issues throughout the 1850s are ably treated by Turner He discusses the evolution of racial beliefs and policies noting that Young as a product of his times “fostered a policy of exclusion that his successors saw little choice but to perpetuate” Turner is similarly thorough in his treatment of Indian relations noting that initially Young complained of “many Elders who have prayed to be among the Lamanites and now they want to kill them” Following numerous encounters with the different tribes in the region Young finally stated that “my natural disposition and taste it loathes the sight of those degraded Indians” Turner’s analysis here is broad and temperate and serves as an excellent overview of the origins of the priesthood ban as well as a check against simply summarizing Young’s Indian policy as “it’s cheaper to feed them than fight them”Throughout the narrative Turner maintains the effort to provide a rounded picture of Young His discussion of several doctrinal principles is an important part of this endeavor He treats Young’s exposition of Adam God teachings those who cling to the “the sermon was not reported accurately” defense might want to apply the X acto remedy on these pages and his thoughts on “eternal increase” concisely and effectivelyFrom the friendly confines of theological speculations Turner proceeds to what is probably the climax of Young’s life the dark days of the Utah War and Mountain Meadows Massacre To set the stage he recounts the testy relations with territorial officers and several suspicious deaths like those in the Aiken party After reviewing the evidence in an even handed matter Turner concludes on Young’s “likely complicity” in the matter As is the case throughout the narrative Turner intersperses interesting details—here he notes several odd dreams of Young’s that the heavy stress effected Drawing on important recent surveys of the matter particularly Bill MacKinnon’s Turner chronicles Young’s march to the edge of the precipice and the inevitably inglorious retreat therefrom Turner’s concise account of the massacre concludes that “there is no satisfactory evidence that Young ordered the massacre” and that “there was no good reason for Young to order a massacre with the potential to focus the full fury of the American government on Utah” but in the end “Young bears significant responsibility for what took place”The narrative seems to lose steam slightly after the events of 1857 58—this is probably largely so because Young’s life never again reached the same fever pitch as earlier Another discussion of his wives is particularly interesting—Turner notes the rethinking that Young went through citing his daughter’s assessment that in later life Young set out to “correct what he esteemed to be a mistake of his early judgment” Several other important events are covered such as Young’s appointment of his sons as apostles and counselors the ongoing legal battle with Ann Eliza Webb and the John D Lee trial One can feel Young’s life winding down with a few last minute efforts at kingdom building such as a renewed zeal for United Order principles and the building of the St George templeSimply put Turner’s treatment of Young’s life is a landmark in Mormon biography Everything that a serious student of Mormon history could want is here careful and extensive research balanced analysis and polished crisp writing The acknowledgments give a clue as to his method—clearly Turner had numerous readers along the way and it paid off handsomely Turner avoids common “outsider” errors about the intricacies of Mormon society and historiography By interacting with scholars both veteran Will Bagley Bill MacKinnon and up and coming Matt Grow Sam Brown Turner has ensured his narrative draws on the finest research available It is a testament to interest in Mormon history that such an excellent biography will find wide readership due to its publication by a major press such as Harvard University Both author and publisher are to be commended for a very valuable addition to the fieldFootnotes1 I refer to Arrington as the stated author though as Gary Topping has noted it was in true Arrington form a collaborative effort involving Richard Jensen Ron Watt Becky Cornwall Maureen Ursenbach Beecher Ronald Walker Ronald Esplin William Hartley Dean Jessee and undoubtedly others See Leonard J Arrington A Historian’s Life 1612 The unsung hero responsible for transcription—LaJean Carruth—has provided key assistance in several recent gems such as Hearken O Ye People The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations Staker and Parley P Pratt The Apostle Paul of Mormonism GivensGrow

  3. James Thane James Thane says:

    This is an excellent new scholarly but very readable biography of one of the most facinating and important figures in American history and especially in the development of the American WestBrigham Young was an early convert to the Mormon religion and uickly became a trusted confidant of the religion's founder Joseph Smith He labored diligently to help build the early church including making a mission to England to win converts When Smith was killed in 1844 the young religion fractured with several adherents claiming Smith's mantle More effectively than any of the others Young pressed his claim to the role and as the Mormons' residence in the eastern US became increasingly untenable Young convinced the majority of the Saints to follow him westward to a new home in what would become Utah There he labored diligently for over thirty years to build the community of Latter Day Saints and to defend it against the myriad of forces that threatened it not the least among them being the government of the United StatesAlong the way Young also took at least fifty five wives and fathered fifty eight children He built a fortune of his own and in addition to placing the Mormon religion on a firm and lasting footing he played a huge role in the settlement and development of the Great Basin Kingdom Inevitably this led to than a little conflict and controversy both within and outside of the church particularly over the doctrine of plural marriage which was initially revealed to only a few of the Mormon leaders Some resented what they thought were Young's autocratic ways Many also disliked the idea that Young asked sacrifices of his flock that he was not willing to make himself He brooked no opposition to his leadership either from his fellow Mormons or from non Mormons and insisted always that he knew what was best for the church and for the earthly kingdom he was attempting to createYoung was a man of large appetites and was sometimes abrasive profane contradictory and unpleasant He spoke his mind and often upbraided his flock for failing to meet his expectations But the bulk of the Latter Day Saints strongly supported and revered him up to the moment of his deathThis is a warts and all biography written by a non Mormon who was given access to all the relevant documents and materials that one might need to construct a full and complete life of Brigham Young and it's hard to imagine that anyone will need to return to the task for some time This is a very well researched and well written book that should appeal to anyone interested in Young in the Mormon Church or in the settlement of the American West

  4. BHodges BHodges says:

    For all his pragmatic simplicity Brigham Young was a complicated man and somewhat different from the prophet contemporary Mormons might learn about in Seminary or Sunday School classes Alternately stingy and generous saintly and foul mouthed bluntbold and secretive; his sermons and letters best encapsulate the earthy heavenly mix of Brigham Young's religion Turner has done an admirable job trying to capture the complicated nature of the subject in this biography Turner is a sympathetic outsider to Mormonism who isn't afraid to highlight Brigham's sincere religious devotion manifest in Young's prayers or his brash sometimes dangerous rhetoric preached in pitchforks from the pulpit Turner's fairness perhaps leaves the narrative itself a little flat a stylistic feature of many academic as opposed to popular biographiesMore than past biographies mainly Arrington's Turner pays much needed attention to Young's theological views He spends a good amount of ink on teachings modern Mormons will not be as familiar with as they faded uickly after Brigham Young died But he avoids over emphasizing things like blood atonement and Adam God by including alongside them Young's vision for economic and political salvation; a practical faith with eternal implications When it comes to the controversial topic of polygamy Turner adroitly and frankly discusses matters without an appeal to prurience He does well to situate it theologically in Young's thought but also examines the practical outcomes of the Mormons' peculiar institution We see Young performing wedding ceremonies granting or denying divorces and giving advice in a variety of circumstances And as with some of Young's business plans not all of his marriages were successful by any stretchIf there is a weakness to this book it's partly due to the nature of the historical record itself Any biographer of such a controversial figure faced with mounds and mounds of contradictory sources may be tempted to spend too much time playing history detective There were times when I wish Turner had done a little digging instead of punting on claims made by Young or others For example Young underwent a shift between the 50s and 60s from a brash challenging and publicly acerbic leader to a temperate and PR savvy fellow Turner traces the changes but doesn't do much to explain them Turner does a good job of showing how Young retained some of his fire for the rest of his lifePerhaps the book's biggest lapse comes in the final pages when Turner breezes past the big ecclesiastical reorganization Young executed shortly before his death It helped shape the face of modern Mormon Church in a big way and I wanted to know what contributed to the reorganization and what Young hoped to accomplish by it The concluding chapter left me feeling like the book is incomplete Arrington's book by contrast traces a bit of the afterwind of Young's life mainly in regards to somewhat boring financial circumstances I would've enjoyed a chapter on Young's legacy in the Mormon ChurchSuch problems aside Turner manages to include plenty of interesting discussions of Young's family life business enterprises ecclesiastical responsibilities and pastoral efforts in a well organized fashion Through this book many non Mormons will meet a Brigham Young they never knew and so will many Mormons

  5. John John says:

    I felt I could trust the author His research earned my trust his clarity as a writer earned my trust and his perceptiveness about Mormonism earned my trust If Joseph Smith was a rough stone rolling then Brigham Young was an even rougher stone rolling But they rolled down similar paths of adversity opposition and persecution They both knew that over a lifetime these experiences would render them smoother stones However as the author points out several times Brigham did not intend to be a martyr like Joseph He intended to fight And just as he did not intend to be a martyr he did not intend to let the kingdom of God on earth be changed by opposition from inside or outside of the kingdom However since Brigham's day the Church has changed I believe that the essential mission of the Church has not only been preserved but refined by prophets who have guided it through trials of fire since Brigham's death in 1877 And I believe that Brigham would sustain the changes made; because if he believed in anything he believed in the authority of living prophets

  6. Misha Misha says:

    I listened to this book on Audible Honestly out of the 16 hours I probably took away about 5 hours worth Definitely a book I need to reread again I am so happy I read this book I have not read much on early church history and this book was definitely an eye opener The author is a non LDS man but I still felt like he tried to be neutral though maybe not as flattering as the other Brigham Young book The American Moses Still I came away with a greater understanding and a greater appreciation for Brigham Young I do not agree with or like everything Brigham Young said or did but every man even the prophet is human We all make mistakes It is also easy to judge those men in our modern day lens Every racial remark bigotry comment is heightened because of how we act and think today A 150 years ago was a very different setting with very different points of views on those topics Brigham Young was the man needed for that time to be the sort of person to bring a group together be a leader and establish order He could act like a tyrant at times yet be very loving and complimentary I found him to be a very interesting man Not to mention of course learning about his very long list of wives and who the favorites were I was saddened to learn details about the Mountain Meadows massacre yet I'm so glad to have been given the known facts of events such as this When I'm confronted by non Mormons who ask about these events I feel like I actually know what they're now talking about and know it from a non biased perspective who presented facts of the information we do have about the horrible massacre By reading an account that isn't all praise I feel like I can understand why those outside the Mormon faith would have a difficult time understanding certain things about Mormon history Even those within the faith may come away with uestions about the history I know by reading this book I had uestions when I finished than when I started Yet I still come away with respect for Brigham Young and how he was able to move a whole group of people keep peace prosper and be true to a faith amidst numerous setbacks and obstacles A good read I will definitely listen to it again I'm sure I will just as much that second time On a side note my husband read The American Moses Brigham Young book and said this book was much different and definitely less flattering Yet both authors claim to be unbiased in their approach This is the newest biography I would like to read the other to compare

  7. Stephen Cranney Stephen Cranney says:

    Seems like the author tried a little too hard to conscientiously walk the problematize the traditional narrative as much as possible without completely throwing him under the bus line that the Mormon intelligentsia eats up Conseuently Brigham Young the man simply came to be defined as a series of disjointed controversies without giving a very holistic perspective He tends to cherry pick the most sensational statements even when it's clear that Brigham Young had a tendency to exaggerate for effect eg threatening to kill Connor on the spot if he ever met him He tries to drive a narrative of a deeply wounded paranoid leader primarily defined by his aggressiveness but that's just not the picture one gets from his letters and discourses For example Turner doesn't mention Young's liberal attitudes towards apostate minority religious groups before and after the Mormon reformation leave them alone By focusing on the few murders that have some circumstantial evidence of Young's involvement or at least encouragement he portrays the picture of some medieval hammer of God spilling the blood of sinners while ignoring the much better documented cases of Young pardoning such sinners in one case calling off a planned execution of a bestial that problematize the hammer of God portrayal Also lack of footnotes for uotes Huge cardinal sin and pet peeve of mine It doesn't take that much extra work and adds so much to the credibility of the book Any serious work of history should provide footnotes to the primary source for any uote used At times the lack of citations makes it read like of a work written by a journalistAnyway it's an entertaining read that touches on all the major facets of BY's life and career but it leaves one with a very confused picture of who he was and not just because he was a complicated man so if you really want a picture of BY the man it would probably be efficient to simply read his letters and discourses

  8. Andrew Andrew says:

    The second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints has long been an elusive figure for me Brigham Young is certainly of paramount importance in the LDS narrative and I remember the traditional stories well American Moses the divine successor to Joseph Smith and the builder of temples But I also remember taunts from some in high school about polygamy Adam God theories and the Mountain Meadows Massacre I read Brigham Young's Journal of Discourses too when I was in 7th grade leaving me befuddled on bizarre issues such as animal magentism and blood atonement In this context then I am thrilled to finally have a fantastic biography of the man that captures his place in the founding of the American West and Mormonism but does not shy from his rough and colorful personality A non LDS scholar with full access to Young's written records Turner has succeeded brilliantly in avoiding both hagiography and polemic and as a result provides a full and fascinating insight into one of the critical figures in 19th century Mormonism Read of the review at

  9. Emma Emma says:

    Biases up front Brigham Young is tied with Nephi as the #1 prophet that I wouldn't want to hang out with This book did not change my mind Sure his massive sense of ego enabled him accomplish projects of great scope through the force of sheer will but the un self aware narcissism just really grates after awhileI felt like this book could have been twice as long Turner has a lot of complex issues to deal with succession polygamy and BY's family life Mountain Meadows Adam God theory and there was enough in the book to be interesting but not enough that I got a sense of any thesis or unifying theoryThe part that made me like BY the most was the early 1850s when he was seemingly beginning every sentence with shit I think we've all been there And wouldn't it be a kick to bring swearing back to General Conference

  10. Christopher Christopher says:

    This guy should have been the winner of the Worst Person to Ever Have a Prestigious University Named For Them Award but he was narrowly edged out by the Joseph Goebbels Institute of Higher LearningSeriously this guy isn't the worst but he's pretty close He was a bigamist fear mongering cult leader who ruled with an iron whim He's at least partially guilty of a massacre and responsible for a bloody coup and a guerrilla war He was ridiculously foul mouthed for a man of god with an exceedingly mercurial temperament He married 55 women one of them his own mother in law It was also a habit of his to marry women who were currently married to other men with andor without the permission of their husbands So yeah let's name a university after himHe does make for some really interesting reading however

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