Brigham Young was one of the most influential—and controversial—Mormon leaders in American history. An early follower of the new religion, he led the cross-continental migration of the Mormon people from Illinois to Utah, where he built a vast religious empire that was both revolutionary and authoritarian, radically different from yet informed by the existing culture of the U.S. With his powerful personality and sometimes paradoxical convictions, Young left an enduring stamp on both his church and the region, and his legacy remains active today.
In a lively, concise narrative bolstered by primary documents, and supplemented by a robust companion website, David Mason tells the dynamic story of Brigham Young, and in the process, illuminates the history of the LDS Church, religion in America, and the development of the American west. This book will be a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the complex, uniquely American origins of a church that now counts over 15 million members worldwide.
"David Vaughn Mason has accomplished with style and grace the arduous task of crafting a life story of Brigham Young that is accessible to students and interesting to more seasoned scholars. Particularly impressive is Mason's effort to firmly ensconce Brigham Young in his various historical and social contexts with the help of well-chosen primary source texts."
—Stephen C. Taysom, editor of Dimensions of Faith: A Mormon Studies Reader
"I found that Mason's treatment of Brigham Young succeeded surprisingly well… I was particularly impressed with how many original sources Mason mined, from Young's correspondence with his wives and fellow Church leaders to his office diary and his speeches."
— Roger Terry, BYU Studies Quarterly
"In seven pithy chapters, Mason paints a vivid portrait of one of the most colorful and controversial figures of nineteenth-century America and Mormonism. Although centered on Young, the book is more than the life story of a single figure; it is a sweeping narrative of the faith's formative years."
— Jennifer L. Lund, The Journal of Mormon History
1. Out of Obscurity
2. Pushed Ahead
3. A New Society
4. The Exodus
6. A Civil War
7. Brigham's Kingdom