Brigham Young's Family: The Wilderness Years

Brigham Young's Family: The Wilderness Years
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Brigham Young's Family: The Wilderness Years

Author Dean C. Jessee

After returning from England in 1841, Brigham Young faced one of the sternest tests of his life—a test that was to have sobering and far-reaching implications for himself and the structure of his family. It came when Joseph Smith privately introduced the principle of plural marriage to him as a divine commandment. None "could have been more averse to it than I was when it was first revealed," he recalled: "If any man had asked me what was my choice when Joseph revealed that doctrine, provided that it would not diminish my glory, I would have said, "Let me have but one wife;" . . . I was not desirous of shrinking from any duty, nor of failing in the least to do as I was commanded, but it was the first time in my life that I had desired the grave, and I could hardly get over it for a long time. And when I saw a funeral, I felt to envy the corpse its situation, and to regret that I was not in the coffin."