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Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
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Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, by John G. Turner

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Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 1094 comments Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
Brigham Young Pioneer Prophet by John G. Turner

GR synopsis:
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 more 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 expansion.

After the 1844 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 heretic.

Under 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 U.S. Army in 1857, 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.

I am going to start this very soon for my 2016 Read Harder, read a true biography. I picked Brigham Young because while I decided to attend a Mormon college, even though I am not Mormon myself, I did myself a disservice by not attempting to learn about the faith or the history of it. I wish to have a better understanding of one of the men who really got the Mormon faith going, and the controversies that surround him.

message 2: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments So interesting. What school did you go to? I'm LDS, so I'll be interested to hear about your experience with this book.

message 3: by SamZ (new)

SamZ (samwisezbrown) | 182 comments Katie wrote: "So interesting. What school did you go to? I'm LDS, so I'll be interested to hear about your experience with this book."


Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 1094 comments I'm just starting this right now. I'm about halfway through the first chapter and so far I'm really engaged and loving this. I was a bit worried about this book being skewed one way or another, but so far it seems more factual versus biased and addresses issues of biases in distant and recent history. I'm loving that Turner seems to be trying not to make this a history about the church, but a history of Young and what he accomplished.

Katie, for now, I'm going to leave my school nameless, at least publicly. I am more than happy to speak with you privately about this, if you would like. I really enjoyed the school I went to; the administration, faculty, and staff were great, and overall I cherish my time there. I made friends with people I now call family. However, I encountered a lot of conflicts with other students and their family (legacy school) during my time at school, and a lot of issues seemed to revolve around me being "the outsider" and not a community member. It was not just me that experienced this, as there were a lot of us who were considered "outsiders", but I can only speak of my experiences. This I know does not reflect on the church as a whole, and this was a small group of people, but it was still very off-putting.

Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 1094 comments I just finished this. It was really interesting. It was almost like reading a soap opera. Young's life was more interesting than I ever could have imagined. Though Turner stated this book was supposed to be about Young's history and not the history of the church, it quickly became clear that you could not tell one history without telling the other. It was good to learn about both. There were times when I had a lot of respect and admiration for Young and what he stood for. However, there were several times when it seemed like he was being very sketchy and misleading in his actions to gain/maintain members of the church. Overall it is a really well written narrative, though a bit dry, "just the facts, ma'am". After reading this I am interested in reading more about the history of the LDS and RLDS faiths.


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