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Mormon Movement

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Submitted By acra1
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Who contributed more to the Mormon movement? Joseph Smith or Brigham Young?
Firstly what is a Mormon? A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion founded in the US in 1830 by Joseph Smith. Then Brigham Young was the new leader of the Mormons once Joseph Smith died. In this essay I am going to investigate who contributed more to the Mormon movement. Was it Joseph Smith or Brigham Young?

Joseph Smith was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism. He was faithful, driven, and a strong speaker, but was easily tempered. When Joseph Smith was 14 he prayed behind his father’s house for guidance. According to Smith, a pillar of light appeared before him. In 1827 he was visited by an angel who told him where the book was to be found and Smith claimed he dug it up on a hillside near Manchester, New York.
The book gave a different story from the Bible. According to the book, lost Israeli tribes migrated to America before the birth of Christ. There they fought each other until Christ was born and established his Church.
Later, the fighting started again. One of the few survivours was a man called Mormon who spent the rest of his life recording the story of his people on the plates. Smith claimed that no one else was allowed to see the plates.
When he was twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon; by the time of his death fourteen years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion and religious culture that continues to the present. People claimed he was a fraud just out to pocket the money for himself.
However Brigham Young is just as important as Joseph Smith. Brigham Young was the new leader after Joseph Smith died. He was convinced that they would never be left in peace in the east. Young was looking for a desolate place. They climbed on upwards, and by July they reached the Great Salt Lake. Young had total control over his community; they trusted and believed in him, and so although he had many challenges to overcome, he knew he'd be able to build a Mormon City.
Young was a brilliant organizer. He was practical & more down to earth than Smith. He was also a very strong willed man. Preparations for the move went on all winter. Wagons had to be built, oxen bought, and equipment & food collected.
Young decided that there would be no private ownership of land or water, and land would be assigned to people according to their needs by the church. Everything was going well, but in 1848 the US defeated Mexico in war and gained territories including part of the Great Salt Lake.
Young decided to form a Mormon state called Deseret, but the US government refused and a compromise was made and the territory of Utah was created, and Young was governor. Young organized and developed Utah very well, building new towns and making farming and wheat production a success. He was sure that the Mormons would be self-sufficient. However the Mormons weren't very self-sufficient and still didn't have enough workers or money for industrial development. Education wasn't much of an achievement either.
To Conclude Joseph Smith was the founder of the Mormons but his banks collapsed, this added tension to the Mormons' relationship with the outside world even more, and made them seem unreliable and too ambitious. By the time he presented his ideas about polygamy, his people didn't believe in him anymore because he had gotten them into jail, and so his leadership image was ruined.
Brigham Young had failures as well. Although his planning for the Great Salt Lake journey was good, they still faced challenges and people died on the way. He also didn't manage to establish a law to allow polygamy. They also weren't as self-sufficient as he planned, and they lost money when their iron, pottery and textile attempts didn't succeed. They also didn't achieve much in the education area. The emigrants also complained of overcharging, and relations between Mormons and the outsiders remained difficult.
Overall, Brigham Young definitely left a bigger positive impact on the Mormon movement. He was much more down-to-earth than Smith, and his people remained believing in him until his death. Even when Utah was appointed a new governor, he still remained their spiritual leader.

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