“Dear and well-beloved brother, Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you: My servant Brigham, … your offering is acceptable to me. I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings for my name.” (D&C 126:1–2.)
In 1835 Brigham Young became a member of the first Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and in 1841 the Lord called him as president of the Twelve. (D&C 124:127–28.)
After the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, Brigham Young, as senior member of the Twelve, was the Lord’s selection to head his church. Many saw the “mantle of the Prophet” fall on President Young, who actually received the voice and appearance of the martyred Prophet for a few moments. Witnessing the event, Edward Hunter, later presiding bishop, recorded, “I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Brother Brigham was called of God to lead the Church.”
Brigham Young, born on June 1, 1801, at Whittingham, Vermont, was 43 years old when he was called to the leadership of the Church. For over 33 years he lead the Saints, guiding them through some of their heaviest persecution—the exodus from Nauvoo, the crossing of the plains, the colonizing of the desert, the polygamy trials—until his death on August 29, 1877.
Elder George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency, called him “one of the greatest prophets that ever lived. … He was as perfect a man as could be in mortality.”
Wilford Woodruff, later fourth president of the Church, said: “I do not suppose there was ever a man breathed the breath of life who, in the short space of forty-five years [from the time he joined the Church until his death], has done so much towards the establishment of the government and kingdom of God, as our beloved President.”