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Who was a better leader, Joseph Smith or Brigham Young?

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Introduction

Who contributed more to the Mormon movement, Joseph Smith or Brigham Young? Joseph Smith was an important religious figure who founded Mormonism. He was faithful, driven, and a strong speaker, but was easily tempered. Joseph Smith had his great contributions and failures, and after his death the new Mormon leader became Brigham Young, who also made great contributions to the Mormon movement, but just as Joseph Smith he had his failures. Joseph Smith was born in 1805. While Smith was growing up, there was a great religious revival taking place in New York State. When he was fourteen, Smith was finding this very confusing, and began to pray for guidance. Smith then claimed that a pillar of light appeared before him, and told him not to join any religious sects. Later as he was growing up, Smith experienced a vision from the angel Moroni, who told him that God had work for him to accomplish. The angel told Smith that a book written upon gold plates was deposited. The book gave accounts of former inhabitants of this continent and their source. The angel then told Smith where to find the book, and he dug it up on a hillside near Manchester. 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. Then the fighting began again, and one of the survivors, Mormon, wrote down records of his people on the plates. ...read more.

Middle

They also passed Sam Brannan, a Mormon who told them to go to California. Young replied that he is 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 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. Young also sent out missionaries to convert people, and got an amazing result. There was an immigration fund set up to help converts pay for their passage to Salt Lake and organize it. 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. Tension also grew between the Mormons and the outsiders when converts began to move to Utah. ...read more.

Conclusion

When 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. Young managed to make Utah a state where Mormons continued to live after his death. Many of his foundations still remain today. The power of the Church was firmly established through his system of government, and Salt Lake City was prosperous after his death. Many Mormons remain in the world today. Young didn't get the Mormons into jail or disappoint them like Smith did, and carried them through his death. Smith had minimal achievements compared to Young, and died in shame and disapproval unlike Young, who left a great impact after his death. ...read more.

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