This post is about Brigham Young. We all know the legacy of Brigham Young. We all know that he played a major role in keeping the church together after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We all know that he persuaded many of the members that the keys of the Priesthood were with the Twelve Apostles instead of Sidney Rigdon and others who were making such claims. We all know the story of how he lead the single greatest emigration in the history of United States across the Great Plains into the Salt Lake Valley. We all know how he was one of the key instruments in taking a desert and turning it into a magnificent city to be the headquarters of the Kingdom of God. However, as great as this American Moses was, and still is, there are currently attempts to erase and discredit him and his legacy and teachings.
Brigham Young is being attacked on several accounts both inside and outside the church. So-called “social justice warriors” attack him because they see him as this male super-dictator who only delights in the abuse and oppression of women. They see him as a man solely motivated by money and sex. The idea that he could be a prophet of God is so foolish to them that they don’t give it a passing thought. Faithful church members even brush him aside like he is that one crazy uncle who only gets out during the holidays. The list goes on and on.
Since the man, who was willing to stand by the Prophet Joseph Smith through both thick and thin, is being figuratively stoned by church members and non-church members alike, it’s about time somebody stood up to defend him. This is the mission of Defending Brigham.
It is my understanding and belief that Brigham Young was a prophet of God who held the keys of the Priesthood and acted as President of the Church and Kingdom of God while on the earth. It is also our understanding and belief that he did not err in his calling, teachings, or course of action. As it was said of Joseph, so it can be said of Brigham:
“He has… gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood. … [He] lived for glory; [he] died for glory; and glory is [his] eternal reward. From age to age shall [his] [name] go down to posterity as [a] [gem] for the sanctified. 
This article is intended mainly for those members of the Church who revere Brigham Young as a prophet of God (if not in deed, at least in word). Those who don’t see him as prophet of God have other things to work on before this article really applies to them. Now, before you go on to claim that you believe Brigham Young is prophet of God, let’s take some time to figure out a little bit of who Brigham Young actually was.
Noble and Great One
We are all aware, or should be aware, of the vision recorded by Joseph F. Smith in the 138th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this vision, Joseph F. Smith saw some of the “noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.” He says that some of these choice spirits, among others, were: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, several of the Nephite prophets, and Joseph Smith. That is a super-star list of prophets if you ask me. Yet, what I did not mention is that within this grand army of God’s most elect men that have ever lived, Joseph F. Smith also saw the man known as Brigham Young. Yes, Brigham Young was put on the same scale as Nephi, Joseph Smith, Elijah, Moses, etc. Now, what would you think if I told you that some of these men’s teachings were merely their opinions or speculations? How would you feel if I tried to brush off or bury what these guys taught?
Loyalty to Joseph Smith
Not only was Brigham Young a noble and great one, but he was a devout follower of and very loyal to the Prophet Joseph Smith. When several of the church authorities had a meeting in the Kirtland Temple to plot how to replace Joseph Smith as President of the Church, who stood up and rebuked these men – some who had been called as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and some who had seen and felt the golden plates? Who stood up to them? Brigham Young.  Out of the original Twelve Apostles, who was one of the two that Joseph Smith said had never “lifted their heel against me”? Brigham Young.  Who took a cruel reprimand from the Prophet Joseph Smith for something he didn’t do and afterwards simply and sincerely asked, “Joseph, what do you want me to do?” Brigham Young. 
Spirit of Revelation
Brigham Young was very much in tune with the spirit of revelation. Wilford Woodruff testified of this fact in a discourse he delivered in the Tabernacle in December 1869.
Any man who has traveled with President Young knows he is a prophet of God. He has foretold a great many things that have come to pass. All the Saints who are well acquainted with him know that he is governed and controlled by the power of God and the revelations of Jesus Christ. 
More evidence of this comes from the fact that while he was on a mission in England, he came to the knowledge of the fact that 1) God was once a man and that we can one day be like him and 2) the doctrine of plural marriage originated with God. He had received personal revelation from the Lord telling him these things. Oh, yeah, you know what else? His mission to England was before Joseph Smith had even taught him these doctrines. 
Prophesied to Lead the Church
Joseph Smith prophesied, on at least two separate occasions, that Brigham Young would lead the church. The first time Joseph Smith ever saw Brigham Young was when he (Joseph) and Levi Hancock were chopping wood. Joseph said to Levi,
“There is the greatest man that ever lived to teach redemption to the world and will yet lead this people.” 
Another time, during a meeting, Joseph called upon Brigham to say a prayer. Brigham did. In the “pure Adamic language.” Then, once again, Joseph remarked,
“The time will come when brother Brigham Young will preside over this Church.” 
Both of these statements, however, were not in the presence of Brigham Young. So what did Joseph say in Brigham’s presence? Although not a prophesy, he told Brigham that if he were to die, Brigham was the only man who could lead the Kingdom.
“If I am moved out of the way you are the only man living on this earth who can counsel and direct the affairs of the Kingdom of God on the earth.” 
Manifestations of Prophetic Calling
With the recent passing of President Monson, it was time to re-organize the First Presidency with a new President of the Church. No special manifestations during events like this have happened (that we know of) since the death of Wilford Woodruff and subsequent calling of Lorenzo Snow. Many people know about the transfiguration of Brigham Young. However, even that is being attacked. A great article on ldsanswers.org documenting the reality of this manifestation can be read here.
There was another lesser-known manifestation that occurred during the winter of 1847-48 that adds more credence to the prophetic calling of Brigham Young. The Twelve Apostles met in the cabin of Orson Hyde in Hyde Park, Iowa. Orson Hyde relates:
“We were in prayer and council, communing together; and what took place on that occasion? The voice of God came from on high, and spake to the Council. Every latent feeling was aroused, and every heart melted. What did it say unto us? “Let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the presiding Priesthood in my Church and kingdom.” This was the voice of the Almighty unto us at Council Bluffs, before I removed to what was called Kanesville. It has been said by some that Brigham was appointed by the people, and not by the voice of God. I do not know that this testimony has often, if ever, been given to the masses of the people before; but I am one that was present, and there are others here that were also present on that occasion, and did hear and feel the voice from heaven, and we were filled with the power of God.” 
Promise To Never Fall Away
Brigham Young, on at least 3 different occasions, recalled that the Lord had given the Prophet Joseph Smith a revelation promising that he (Brigham Young) could not fall away. Brigham had “passed the ordeal” or “bounds” – as he called it. He had reached “a certain point” in his life when God would “take him out of the world” rather than let him depart from the faith. He would not be allowed to apostatize from the gospel. He could not stray from the truth. He wasn’t able to bring evil upon the people. If there was “any danger of [Brigham] doing this,” the Lord would take him home to Himself. 
This item is of significant importance. If Brigham Young was really given this promise, then many of his more controversial teachings that he promoted and taught as gospel truth, but are now said to be theories and speculations, need to be reconsidered. If he wasn’t allowed to apostatize from the gospel, depart from the faith, bring evil upon the people, or stray from the truth, then his teachings about God, priesthood, marriage, etc. are either in harmony with gospel truth or God went back on His promise. Why would God allow him to teach falsehoods for 25+ years when already having promised him that he would not be allowed to stray from the truth?
It is evident from the events we have documented here and the numerous others that we haven’t documented that Brigham Young was 1) one of the noble and great ones during the council in heaven, 2) was very loyal to Joseph Smith, 3) gained his knowledge from the spirit of revelation, 4) was prophesied to lead the church, 5) had divine manifestations accompany his prophetic calling, and 6) was promised that he could not fall away.
It is also evident from the blogosphere, Sunday School, and certain essays that these 6 items are not fully comprehended by those inside and outside the church. I have just scratched the surface of the life, teachings, attributes, and character of Brigham Young. Those who sincerely and earnestly study this man will come to the same knowledge that I have, namely, that Brigham Young is a Prophet of God.
 D&C 135:3 & 6
 “History of Brigham Young,” Deseret News, 10 Feb. 1858, p. 386.
 History of the Church 5:412
 The Prophet Joseph Smith, Truman G. Madsen, pg 87-88
 JD 13:165
 The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young 4:2383 & Minutes of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1835-1893, pg 196
 Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, 13 May 1876
 Millennial Star Vol 25, pg 439
 The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young 4:2381
 JD 8:233-234
 JD 12:103, JD 9:142 & Minutes of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1835-1893, pg 196