Three Books About Brigham Young, Plus One

Some Latter-day Saints are, I think, a bit uncomfortable with Brigham Young.  He was, they admit — and who could plausibly deny it? — a brilliant organizer, leader, and pioneer, but . . . but . . . well, he taught some funny things, they may say, and he may have been mean if not downright vicious and violent on occasion.  And then there are all those wives.

I don’t think he merits this guarded, rather suspicious, and grudging admiration.  He was a good man.  Moreover, he was Joseph Smith’s true and worthy successor, and I sustain him heartily as a prophet and apostle.

Here are three excellent books that will, I think, help readers to appreciate Brother Brigham more fully:

Leonard Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses (Chicago and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996).

Eugene England, Brother Brigham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980).

Hugh Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994.)

And here, by the way, is another very fine book (the first of a projected two-volume work) that helps enormously with the single most serious matter that’s thought by some to count against Brigham Young’s good character:

Ronald W. Walker, Richard Turley, and Glen M. Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

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  • Jeff Wild

    Dear Professor Peterson,
    I am currently listening to “Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet” by John Turner and wondered what you thought of it.