This episode addresses the topic of prophetic succession in the Mormon tradition as well as the complex character of Brigham Young. The lesson and discussion cover the following topics:
- The effects of Joseph Smith’s death on the membership
- The various modes of succession that Joseph discussed (unknown to the Church at large) and the confusion that resulted
- Brigham and Emma’s relationship and the departure of Joseph’s family from the followers of Brigham Young
- The wives of Joseph Smith being divided among other leaders, especially Brigham and Heber Kimball
- Systems of succession in the LDS Church and Community of Christ, Seniority vs. Heredity
- The defunct office of Presiding Patriarch (ended in 1979)
- The idea of prophetic “mantle”
- How should we evaluate Brigham Young’s legacy as prophet?
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Additional Teacher Reading: Exodus 16:12–15
Church historian Devery Anderson leads a discussion with Cami, Konden, and John.
You can access the Assigned Reading Here
- The BCC post on this lesson
- BYU Studies article on the 1844 Succession Crisis
- Religious Studies Center (BYU) article on the Succession Crisis
- Succession in the Presidency, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
- A write up of Richard Bushman’s discussion of the “Routinization of Charisma” in Mormonism
- John Turner’s biography of Brigham Young
- The Mormon Channel’s podcast episode on the Succession
Many thanks to Devin Roth for the beautiful bumper music. Check out his arrangement of hymns and other work at DevinRothMusic!
Thanks to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for his quality post-production, and especially to Devery Anderson for taking charge of this episode. And a special thanks to Chuck McKinnon for getting the site to work again!