Brigham Young, Jr.

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Brigham Young, Jr. (December 18, 1836–April 11, 1903) served as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1899 until his death. His tenure was interrupted for one week in 1901 when Joseph F. Smith was the president of the Quorum.

Early life

Young was born in Kirtland, Ohio, the son of Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell. Young's twin sister Mary died at age seven from the effects of injuries received at age two in a wagon accident. This wagon accident occured during the forced exodus from Missouri in the winter of 1838–1839.[1] At age twelve Young drove an ox cart across the plains, reaching Salt Lake City in 1848.[1] Brother Young served as a guard and scout in the following years operating in Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding canyons.[1]

Brigham Young, Jr. married Catherine Curtis Spencer, a daughter of Orson Spencer with the exact same name as her mother, on November 15, 1855.[1]

In Utah Territory, Young became a member of the reconstituted Nauvoo Legion. He was involved in the rescue of the Willie and Martin companies of the Mormon pioneers. He also served in the Utah War with the troops that worked to halt the advance of Johnston's Army.[2]

In 1861, Young was made a member of the Salt Lake stake high council.[1]

Early years as a general authority

Brigham Young ordained Young Jr. an apostle at the young age of 27 in 1864. However, he was not placed in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until four years later in 1868. Young Jr. also served as a counselor to his father in the First Presidency of the Church from April 8, 1873 until his father's death on August 29, 1877.

Missions to Europe

From 1862 to 1863 Young Jr. served as a missionary in England, spending most of the time in London.[1] During this time he also accompanied Joseph F. Smith on a trip to Paris, France.[3]

In 1864, Young returned to Europe, this time with his wife Catherine as his companion. He was an assistant to mission president Daniel H. Wells. In 1865, when Wells left for Utah, Young succeeded him as president of the European Mission.[1]

As president of the European Mission of the Church in 1866 and 1867, Young Jr. preached in France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Young also oversaw the emigration of British Latter-day Saints to Utah Territory.[4] It was from a conversation as Young was about to return to Utah at the end of his time as mission president that Charles W. Penrose wrote the hymn "Beautiful Zion For Me".[5]

From October 1890 until February 1893 Young served for a second time as the president of the European Mission.[6] The mission was headquartered in Liverpool, England and Young Jr. directly supervised missionary work in the British Isles while also serving as a leader over the mission presidents of the various missions on the European continent.

Colonization and church assignment in America

In the western United States, Young Jr. was involved in the colonization of Cache Valley, southern Utah and the extension of Mormon settlements into New Mexico and Arizona. Young was also involved at times with the Latter-day Saint settlements in the Mexican state of Chihuahua (state).[2]

In 1867, Young was involved with the formation of the Deseret Sunday School Union to provide centralized direction to the Sunday schools of the Church.[7]

During 1868, Young Jr. acted as his father's agent in finding workers for the Utah portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.[1]

From 1869 until 1877, Elder Young presided over the Latter-day Saints in Cache Valley, closely assisted by William B. Preston who was serving as the regional presiding bishop.[8] Elder Young was essentially functioning as a stake president, and he ended his term of directy presiding over the area when a formal stake was organized with a full stake presidency. During this time Young co-owned a feed and livery stable in Soda Springs, Idaho with Solomon Hale.[9]

In 1877, Young Jr., Erastus Snow, and Wilford Woodruff dedicated parts of the St. George Temple under the general direction of Brigham Young.[10]

From 1877 to 1880 Young served as an editor of the Deseret News along with George Q. Cannon.[11]

In 1878, Young Jr. and Moses Thatcher selected the site for the Latter-day Saint settlement in the Star Valley of Wyoming. In August 1878, Young dedicated the valley as a place for the gathering of the Latter-day Saints.[12]

In February 1883, Young went on a tour among the Navajo and Hopi peoples with many other church leaders, including Heber J. Grant.[13]

In 1883, Young convinced the residents of Jonesville, Arizona, to rename it Lehi.[14] It is today part of Mesa, Arizona.


Young Jr. practiced plural marriage. His fist wife was Catherine Curtis Spencer. Among their children was Brigham Spencer Young, who would later serve as president of the Northwestern States Mission of the church.[15]

In 1857 Young married his second wife, Jane Carrington, a daughter of Albert Carrington.[1]

Young's wife Abigail Stevens was one of his younger wives. Their daughter Klara Young Cheney, born in Fruitland, New Mexico in 1894, turned 100 years old in 1994.[16] Abigail and Brigham Jr.'s last daughter, Marian Young, was also born at Fruitland on January 15, 1899. She died on November 22, 2004, less than two months short of her 106th birthday. She was the last grandchild of Brigham Young to die.[17]


Young served several terms in the Utah Territorial Legislature.[1]

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Young was ordained an apostle before Joseph F. Smith, but was not placed in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until after Joseph F. Smith. However, It was not until 1900 that a clear decision was made giving Joseph F. Smith seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, since he had been a member of the First Presidency since becoming an apostle.[18] Young had served as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since the previous president, Franklin D. Richards, had died on December 9, 1899. When church president Lorenzo Snow died on October 10, 1901, Joseph F. Smith served as president of the Quorum until he was made church president on October 17, 1901. When Smith became president, Young again assumed the position of president of the Quorum of the Twelve. Young is the only person to have served two non-consecutive terms as president of the Quorum.


President Young died in Salt Lake City, Utah at age 66.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Andrew Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book and A. Jenson Historical Co., 1901–1936) 1:121.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Flake, Lawrence R. Flake, "Brigham Young, Jr." in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. by Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2000) pp. 1379–1380.
  3. Jenson. Biographical Encyclopedia. 1:66.
  4. Cannon, George Q. and Wilford Woodruff, Faith Promoting Series: Gems For the Young Folks, p. 19.
  5. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1926, p. 147.
  6. B. H. Roberts Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965) p. 89
  7. B. Lloyd Poleman, "Sunday School" in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: MacMillan, 1992) p. 1425.
  8. Andrew Jenson. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1941, p. 105.
  9. Jenson. Biographical Dictionary. Vol. 2, p. 168.
  10. Woodruff, Wilford. "Living By the Spirit" in Collected Discourses, 1888–1898, ed. H. Bryan Stuy (Glendale, Calif. and Woodland Hills, Utah: B. H. S. Publishing, 1987–1992) Vol. 5.
  11. Jenson. Encyclopedic History, p. 187.
  12. Church News, August 8, 1992, p. Z5.
  13. Grant, Conference Report, Oct. 1942, p. 25.
  14. Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 426
  15. Conference Report, Oct. 1926, p. 2.
  16. Church News, December 24, 1994.
  17. Church News, December 4, 2004, p. Z12.
  18. Richard O. Cowan, The Church in the 20th Century (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1985) p. 14