After the death of Joseph Smith, senior Apostle Brigham Young, supported by the Quorum of the Twelve, stepped forward to lead the Church. At a meeting on August 8, 1844, Brigham addressed the Saints. "His manner and appearance were like Joseph's and it was manifest to all those present upon whom the responsibility rested to carry on the work of God and lead the Saints."1
The Prophet Joseph had spent the winter of 1844 teaching the Apostles and a few others the things of the kingdom of God. "He was so constant in his labors that they were very anxious, wondering why he should be so untiring."2 Wilford Woodruff recalled, "Upon our shoulders he [Joseph Smith] rolled the burden of the Kingdom, and he gave us all the keys and powers and gifts to carry on this great and mighty work."3 President Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet, seer, and revelator, holds those priesthood keys today as he leads the Church and serves as the Lord's mouthpiece.
If the members of the Church uphold and support their leaders, Joseph Smith prophesied, "The Lord [will] bless them: yea, in the name of Christ, the blessings of heaven [shall] be theirs."4
1. History of William Lampard Watkins, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2.
2. Wandle Mace, autobiography, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 16.
3. Quoted in "The Temple Workers' Excursion," The Young Woman's Journal, Aug. 1894, 513.
4. History of the Church, 2:418.
Brigham Young was born June 1, 1801, in Whitingham, Vermont. In 1835 he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As successor to Joseph Smith, he led the migration west in 1846–47 to the Rocky Mountains and founded Salt Lake City. He was sustained as President of the Church on December 27, 1847. As Church President and Territorial Governor of Utah, he established Latter-day Saint settlements in Utah and throughout the American West. He died August 29, 1877, in Salt Lake City after nearly 30 years as Church President...
Born March 1, 1807, and raised in Connecticut, Wilford Woodruff joined the Church in 1833 and served two missions before being ordained an Apostle in 1839. He was sustained as Church President on April 7, 1889. He died on September 2, 1898.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Born in Salt Lake City on June 23, 1910, Gordon B. Hinckley was called to be an Apostle in 1961. Since becoming Church President on March 12, 1995, he has directed the most intense temple building program in the history of the Church in an effort to extend temple blessings to more members. He has exhibited vitality and energy as he has traveled about the world meeting and speaking to members of the Church. Through television interviews and national press publications, he has increased media attention and improved the public image of the Church. He has counseled Church members to fellowship new converts, befriend members of other faiths, live exemplary lives, and avoid the evils of the world.
The Work of God Rolls Forward
Read what President Hinckley has said about Joseph Smith.
Read what President Brigham Young said about Joseph Smith.
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