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Great Lives Lecture Series: Brigham Young

Brigham Young, Pioneer Prophet

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 7, with a lecture on Brigham Young by John Turner author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet:

Brigham Young at age forty lived in western Illinois, was a faithful disciple of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, and had but one wife. He was known for his spiritual fire, collegial leadership, and tireless missionary service. Within ten years, much had changed. By then, Young had led thousands of religious refugees to the Salt Lake Valley, stood at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the governor of the newly created Utah Territory, and had been sealed in marriage to fifty-five wives. Young, moreover, had become a very different sort of leader: hyper-sensitive to criticism, vigilant against potential rivals within the church, and violent in his rhetorical responses to everything from criminality to U.S. interference in Utah affairs. In his talk, John Turner will follow Brigham Young from Illinois to Utah, explaining how that transition affected both Young’s personality and the place of his church within American society.

Find out more about this lecture on Mary Washington's web site.
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
Find out more about Cleopatra by checking out these items from the library:
American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 by Sally Denton
Was the Mormon leadership responsible for the slaughter of 140 people on September 11, 1857, as their wagon train traveled through Utah?  “Denton provides strong circumstantial evidence that the Mormon prophet may have ordered the attack, and certainly covered it up afterward....” (Baltimore Sun)

Brigham Young: American Moses by Leonard J. Arrington
“[A]s the Church Historian, [Arrington] had full access to the vast amount of archives on Salt Lake City…” (

Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet by John G. Turner
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.  Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West. (catalog summary)
“Turner is a good writer in possession of a great story. “Brigham Young” is a landmark work....” (NY Times). 

Exiles in a Land of Liberty:  Mormons in America, 1830-1846 by Kenneth H. Winn (eBook)
A history of Mormonism preceding the Presidency of Brigham Young in 1847.  The book “argues against the common view that the Mormon religion was an exceptional phenomenon representing a countercultural ideology.” (

The 19th Wife:  A Novel  by David Ebershoff (book, audiobook, and eBook)
A fictionalized account that “intertwines the story of Ann Eliza Young, the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young, and a modern mystery in which a polygamous man has been found murdered and one of his wives is accused of the crime.”  (catalog summary)

Biographical essays and literary criticism are available online through the library’s databases.  Visit