Brigham Young was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons. A Mormon prophet fills the same role as a Biblical prophet—he relays the words of God and leads the church. He is not worshipped, but he is respected and considered the earthly leader of the church, under the direction of Jesus Christ. Following are stories Thomas S. Monson, the current president and prophet of the Mormons told of Brigham Young, or of lessons learned from Brigham Young:
Brigham Young’s Missionary Example
Sometimes cities and nations bear special labels of identity. Such was a cold and very old city in eastern Canada. The missionaries called it “Stony Kingston.” There had been but one convert to the Church in six years, even though missionaries had been continuously assigned there during the entire interval. No one baptized in Kingston. Just ask any missionary who labored there. Time in Kingston was marked on the calendar like days in prison. A missionary transfer to another place—any place—would be uppermost in thoughts, even in dreams.
While I was praying about and pondering this sad dilemma, for my responsibility then as a mission president required that I pray and ponder about such things, my wife called to my attention an excerpt from the book A Child’s Story of the Prophet Brigham Young. She read aloud that Brigham Young entered Kingston, Ontario, on a cold and snow-filled day. He labored there about 30 days and baptized 45 souls. Here was the answer. If the missionary Brigham Young could accomplish this harvest, so could the missionaries of today.
Without providing an explanation, I withdrew the missionaries from Kingston, that the cycle of defeat might be broken. Then the carefully circulated word: “Soon a new city will be opened for missionary work, even the city where Brigham Young proselyted and baptized 45 persons in 30 days.” The missionaries speculated as to the location. Their weekly letters pleaded for the assignment to this Shangri-la. More time passed. Then four carefully selected missionaries—two of them new, two of them experienced—were chosen for this high adventure. The members of the small branch pledged their support. The missionaries pledged their lives. The Lord honored both.
In the space of three months, Kingston became the most productive city of the Canadian Mission. The grey limestone buildings still stood; the city had not altered its appearance; the population remained constant. The change was one of attitude. The label of doubt yielded to the label of faith.
Thomas S. Monson, “Labels,” Ensign, Sep 2000, 2
Brigham Young on Women
From the early days of the Restoration, the prophets of God have stressed the importance of your organization. President Brigham Young counseled: “Now, Bishops, you have smart women for wives. … Let them organize Female Relief Societies in the various wards. We have many talented women among us, and we wish their help in this matter. Some may think this is a trifling thing, but it is not; and you will find that the sisters will be the mainspring of the movement.” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Mighty Strength of the Relief Society,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 94)
(Note: The Relief Society continues today, with millions of members world-wide.)