The Lord Approved of Brigham Young

Brigham Young is one of the latter-day prophet’s people feel comfortable being critical of. Perhaps it’s because of his unpopular views, or the doctrines he (along with lesser known examples of Joseph Smith) taught that the Church currently disavows. Whatever the reasons, we wanted to share with you what the Lord Himself said about Brigham Young as well as share that Joseph Smith supported, sustained, and included Brigham into his trusted inner circle.

In an 1841 revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord calls Brigham His “servant” saying,

“I give unto you my servant Brigham Young to be a president over the Twelve traveling council;” (D&C 124:127)

Brigham Young was called by the Lord Himself to be the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was referred to as His “servant.” He was a servant who had proven himself worthy to lead the first Quorum of the Twelve since ancient times.

A few months later, in July of 1841, the Prophet Joseph calls Brigham his “well beloved brother” (see D&C 126:1).

Calling someone their “beloved” is reserved for special individuals in the revelatory record. In the Doctrine and Covenants, it is specifically reserved for John “the Beloved” and Brigham Young. It is a term not lightly thrown around.  That alone sheds some light on what the Prophet of the restoration thought of Brother Brigham.

Brigham Young proved to be a faithful friend to the prophet when few others withstood the darts of the adversary. When a close associate proved to be unfaithful to the prophet, Joseph would often form a new body of those who were faithful to him and the Lord. Brigham was always in that inner circle. From the Quorum of the Twelve to the Anointed Quorum to the Council of Fifty, Brigham was always called to serve by the side of Joseph.

Brigham was also set apart by the Prophet to perform the Second Anointing, a sacred ordinance only bestowed to a select group of people who had proven themselves faithful to the Lord. The prophet had recorded in his diary that they held,

“Prayer meeting at Brigham Young’s… George A. Smith and wife Bathsheba W. Bigler received their Second Anointing which was administered by Brigham Young.” (see Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed 1942-1845, a Documentary History, Signature Books, 2005, pg. 62)

To confer the fullness of the priesthood, the Second Anointing—let alone the authority to perform it—was highly restricted. This preparatory ordinance is necessary to have the Second Comforter, as Baptism is the preparatory ordinance necessary for the First Comforter. The Savior stating that you should have your calling and election made sure. (28 Sept. 1843 & Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 151)

Being worthy of the fullness of priesthood was a clearly revealed prerequisite that the Prophet would not have treated lightly. The Lord in several revelations states that only the worthy can be called as Bishops (D&C 68:15), that you must pay a tithe to be considered (D&C 119:5), and that if “we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness… Amen to the Priesthood or the authority of that man” (D&C 121:47)

In March of 1844, the Prophet Joseph, knowing that something was about to happen, held a special meeting to set apart men who would faithfully carry on his works. Brigham Young was one of those men whom the Prophet gave all the keys to to ensure “the hosts of Satan will not be able to teardown the kingdom” (see Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed 1942-1845, a Documentary History, Signature Books, 2005, pg. 72, see also Joseph Smith Papers).

The Quorum of the Twelve continued to meet in Brigham Young’s home up until they were sent back east to campaign for Joseph’s bid for the presidency of the United States. (see Joseph Smith’s Quorum of the Anointed 1942-1845, a Documentary History, Signature Books, 2005, pg. 74) These are not the actions of one whom was untrusted by the Lord, nor His servant Joseph Smith.

Finally, in a letter written just days before the prophets martyrdom, Joseph writes to Brigham Young with full faith that Brigham was the man that he could trust to fulfill his works. He urged Brigham and the Twelve to return back to Nauvoo immediately in a last ditch effort to defend the Saints against the growing mobs. Joseph said that Brigham was to,

“Return without delay” and to “as many more good and faithful men as feel disposed to come up with them.” (See Letter to Brigham Young, 17 and 20 June 1844,” p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed December 11, 2022,

Joseph knew that Brigham was faithful and could be trusted to bring others of like mind to come to his defense. By questioning Brigham Young’s authority, calling, and mantle, one is actually calling into question the authority, calling, and mantle of Joseph Smith. If we are to be true defenders of the faith and the prophet Joseph, it would be wise to reject the worldly call to accuse Brigham of all manner of evil. We should stand with Joseph—and the Lord Jesus Christ—as a staunch defender of Brigham Young.

19 thoughts on “The Lord Approved of Brigham Young”

  1. I know some who put their whole salvation on following the prophet instead of the savior. They countenance no criticism or even thoughtful analysis. To believe a prophet is above human is a path to sorrow.

    When we present a whitewashed Brigham or any other prophet, people eventually find out that he was not so pretty on close inspection and often lose their testimony. Rather than pull me away from my Savior, seeing Brigham Young for who and what he was in total, warts and all, gives me great hope that my own sins are not beyond the power of Christ’s atonement.

    I feel no need to whitewash or apologize for Brigham Young, nor to elevate him to some form of Sainthood. He was who he was, both good and bad, and a fascinating study. God used him as he has so many other mortals. King David, an adulterer and murderer yet was called “a man after God’s own heart. Balaam became a soothsayer. Solomon married many pagan women who “led his heart astray.” Samson sold his soul for Delilah. President Nelson promoted the deadly covax and is a Skull and Bones globalist. My testimony is not in the man, yet I will continue to sustain him so long as God keeps him in that place. I take President Nelson’s counsel to seek our own revelation very seriously.

    Having a prophet does not excuse any of us from the spiritual work necessary to receive our own revelations. Being the prophet does not mean you need the atonement any less desperately than any of the rest of us.

    1. Showing what God thought of him isn’t idolizing or apologizing. It’s understanding he was worthy and called of God unlike what many like to say today.

      1. I felt sorry when even the church threw Brigham under the bus. I still do not believe for a moment that Brigham Young was a racist, even if the church does.

        1. Have you read any of his general conference talks? In original form?

          “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes with the blood of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” March 8, 1863

          1. Brigham was called and anointed and approved of God to lead and guide His sheep after the martyrdom. Or if you will, he was called actually before the martyrdom. Brigham faithfully fulfilled his duties to the end of his life and died fully approved of God. All those that hate and or disparage Brigham (some even believe Brigham murdered, or conspired to murder Joseph) I would say that those that do those things “hath not the Spirit” and do not know the mind or will of God.
            Brigham Young taught the truths that actually Joseph taught him and some others besides that he received himself straight from God. All those that despise BY I think will one day reu the day.
            BY had more light and intelligence in a minute than all of these so-called prophets we have today combined.

  2. Yet there are so many that reject his teachings, even among prominent men of the church. And worse yet, they persecute those that believe and teach these doctrines.

    And another issue, those that believe these teachings, those restored by Joseph and taught by Brigham are accused of worshipping prophets rather than God, or Christ. Yet these men are true messengers from the Father. They were sent to teach us the true nature of The Creator, Redeemer, and Revelator. How is believing their words through the prophets not worshiping The Gods.

    1. Brigham Young was president of the church for 30 years. For 30 years he was the mouthpiece of The Lord on earth. Do people really believe that God was not leading the church for all that time? Strange things afoot these days!

      1. He was a member of Owl and Key at the U of U which was the same organization as Skull and Bones at Yale. His picture was in the yearbook under the Owl and Key designation, before it was removed from the internet, if I remember correctly. I saw it myself.

      2. Mary Francene Gwin

        A friend of mine said she read it in his first biography and he says he was proud of it. Later she re- read a later printing off the same book and that information had been removed. I haven’t seen it myself.

  3. If he approved of Brigham- then was wasn’t Brigham one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon?

    Don’t say that it was because he came later- if God wanted him there he would have put him there.

      1. Brigham Young was equally essential to the Restoration as Joseph Smith was. Joseph received the revelations, doctrines and provided the translations and Brigham Young implemented the institutions upon this earth so that, what God Restored remains upon the earth. God be thanked for Brigham Young.

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