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Short Synopsis
John Turner's meticulously-researched account provides listeners with an inside look at a colossal figure in American religion, politics, and westward expansion.

Full 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 exposé, 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.

"This comprehensive biography---neither pro- nor anti-Mormon---seeks to present a balanced view of [Young's] strengths and weaknesses. The author sets a good base for a discussion of the roots of Mormonism. Stephen Hoye is an able narrator, carrying the listener along nicely." ---AudioFile

"An impressively detailed portrait of a controversial giant." ---Booklist Starred Review

"There aren't enough superlatives for this book. It will remain the standard biography for a long time. Because of its thorough documentation, academics will take it seriously, while general [listeners] will appreciate its clarity of prose and argument." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"A scholarly yet thoroughly readable historical/biographical study, of considerable interest to students of 19th-century American history and religious revivalism." ---Kirkus
Booklist Review

Library Journal Review

Brigham Young

Pioneer Prophet

Author John G. Turner

Narrated by Stephen Hoye

Publication date Dec 24, 2012

Running time 19 hrs

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