Brother Pratt were not in their right positions in the quorum. Upon this
statement, I assumed the position indicated.
Thus our position at that time seemed to be fully defined; . . . and from
that time to the death of President Young, I occupied the senior position in
the Quorum. . . . Thus I stood in the same position that President Young did
when called to occupy the same place at the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
. . .
On 10 September 1877 came the decision the Saints and the world had
EPISTLE of the Twelve Apostles and Counselors to the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF
LATTERDAY SAINTS in All the World.
A time of mourning has fallen upon Zion, and it is with feelings of
profound sadness that we address this epistle to you. Our beloved brother,
guide and counselor, our prophet, seer and revelator, President Brigham Young,
has been taken from our midst by death . . . .
At a ripe old age, in the quiet of his own home, he has passed to his
rest. This is a consolation to us who survive him . . . . He not only has been
the President of the Church, but a father to his people. Their welfare and
 prosperity, their preservation from evil, and their advancement in
everything holy and pure has always been the uppermost thought and desire of
his heart. In his love for and devotion to the work of God he has never
wavered. During the thirtythree years that he has presided over the Church,
since the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph, his knees have never trembled, his
hands have never shook; he has never faltered or quailed. . . . The Lord,
however, not only blessed him with valor, but He endowed him with great
wisdom. His counsels, when obeyed, have been attended with salvation, and as
an organizer and administrator he has no superior . . . . He always had the
counsel of the Lord and none ever sought it from him in vain.
Beloved Saints: We have been greatly favored of the Lord in being
permitted to live in this dispensation, and in having been led by two such men
as the prophets Joseph and Brigham. Of Joseph, the prophet and seer of the
Lord, it has been truthfully said, that at his death, he had done more (save
for Jesus only) for the development of the principles of life and salvation of
men in this world, for the space of time in which he was on earth, than any
other man that ever lived upon it. The prophet Brigham has proved himself
worthy to be his successor . . . .
Joseph may be martyred, Brigham may die, so far as this life is
concerned; but our Heavenly Father still lives, and the holy priesthood and
apostleship, which He restored to the earth, still remains to guide and
govern, and to administer ordinances to the Church which He has established.
Our beloved brother Brigham Young has gone from us to join the Prophet Joseph
and the host of the holy and the pure who are behind the veil; but we do not
therefore lose the benefit of his labors. He is now in a position to do more
for that work which he loved so well, and for which he labored so ardently. .
The President of the Church having been taken from us by death, the
Church is now placed in the same position that it was at the martyrdom of the
Prophet Joseph there is no quorum of First Presidency. . . . Once more
the necessity for the Twelve Apostles to step forward and take the Presidency
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints has arisen. . . .
On Tuesday last, September 4th, the two counselors of President Young and
ten of the Twelve Apostlestwo of the Twelve, Brothers Orson Pratt and Joseph
F. Smith being absent in Englandheld a meeting, and waited upon the Lord.
With humble, contrite and saddened hearts we earnestly sought to learn His
mind and will concerning us and His Church. The Lord blessed us with the
spirit of union and condescended to reveal to us what steps we should take.
Elder John Taylor, the senior Apostle, and who has acted as President of
the Twelve, was unanimously sustained in that position. With the same
unanimity also it was voted that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the
presiding quorum and authority in the Church. . . .
The former counselors of the First Presidency, Daniel H. Wells and
John W. Young, were appointed counselors to the Twelve, with George Q.
Cannon also counselor in financial affairs.
The new leadership was sustained with warmth and enthusiasm at
October conference. In fact, even the irascible Tribune approved. The
paper said, "It is not probable that the supreme government of the Mormon
Church has been constituted to suit The Tribune, but we are free to admit
that we are well satisfied with it."
 (1) Succession in the Priesthood.
(2) Brigham Young and other authorities at Salt Lake were not
implicated in the massacre itself, but had persistently tried to lay
blame on the Indians, and had supressed evidence of Mormon participation.
Juanita Brooks reported that even in the modern day she was not allowed
access to material in the Church archives regarding the affair.
(3) 8 April 1877.
(4) "Obituary," Deseret News, 30 August 1877.
(5) Deseret News, 31 August 1877.
Speculation concerning the cause of Brigham Young's death has
continued to the present day among historians and scholars. Therefore,
the authors submitted the doctors' report to a prominent physician of
Sacramento, California, for a possible diagnosis in light of modern
medical knowledge. After consultation with pathologists, Dr. Max L.
Dimick reported that Brigham Young exhibited the classic symptom of
(6) 1 September 1877.
(7) John Taylor find not been sustained as President of the Twelve
at this time. See Deseret News 1975 Church Almanac.
(8) Not so. Joseph F. Smith was the son of the founder's brother,
Hyrum. None of the Prophet's family joined the Utah church.
(9) As previously noted, John Taylor, Orson Hyde, Parley Pratt, and
Orson Pratt believed the church should be governed by the Twelve, and at
Winter Quarters they blocked an attempt to form a First Presidency.
Subsequently, when Brigham Young was sustained President of the Church at
Winter Quarters, 27 December 1847, Taylor and Parley Pratt were in Utah;
Orson Hyde evidently was appeased by being sustained President of the
Twelve on that day, and Orson Pratt did not attend the meeting.
(10) In the case of John W. Young, he had been privately ordained an
Apostle at the age of ten by his father, 22 February 1855. However, John
W. was never seated in the Quorum of the Twelve. See Succession in the
Church Presidency, Reed C. Durham and Steven H. Heath, Salt Lake, 1970.
(11) Among others making this prediction. Stenhouse says, "Several
years ago, Brigham secretly ordained his three sons apostlesJoseph A.,
Brigham, and John W.with the intention that Brigham Junior should
subsequently be president of the Church, and his two brothers
counselors." (However, Joseph A. died before his father.)
If it is true that such a dynasty was planned, the way was open by
reason that at the time of Brigham Young's death, and for two years
previously, no one was sustained as president of the Quorum of the
(12) 2 September 1877.
(13) 1 September 1877. In discussing succession, it is significant
that John Taylor never had been sustained as president of the Twelve,
although he had been acting as such for two years. During the four
conferences held over this period of time, Taylor was sustained as "First
Apostle," but was not presented as "President of the Twelve." Brigham
Young had also placed Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt below Taylor in
seniority in the quorum. Thus there actually was no president of the
Twelve at Brigham's death; therefore, the question of succession was an
(14) Discourse, 7 October 1881; published as a pamphlet.
(15) This was the last time that age determined position in the
Twelve. The order thereafter went according to seniority in ordination.
Otherwise, John E. Page would have become president on ordination, for he
was older than Brigham Young; and Page would have been in turn supplanted
by Lyman Wight.
(16) Marsh made affidavit regarding Joseph Smith's involvement in
Danite activities in Missouri. Orson Hyde confirmed Marsh's statement. In
the above discourse Taylor had a portion of the Marsh affidavit read. It
has been deleted here because the subject was previously discussed in an
(17) Not only Woodruff, but John E. Page and Willard Richards were
placed ahead of Taylor, where originally they had followed him in
Papers Edited by John Taylor:
Deseret News, Salt Lake City.
L'Etoile du Deseret, Paris.
The Mormon, New York.
Nauvoo (Illinois) Neighbor.
Nauvoo (Illinois) Wasp.
Times and Seasons, Nauvoo, Illinois.
Zions Panier, Hamburg.
Alton (Illinois) Telegraph.
Beaver (Utah) Square Dealer.
Church News, Salt Lake City.
Corinne (Utah) Reporter.
Eureka (Nevada) Republican.
The Frontier Guardian, Kanesville, Iowa.
The Luminary, St. Louis.
Manx Liberal, Isle of Man.
Manx Sun, Isle of Man.
Nauvoo (Illinois) Expositor.
New York Herald.
New York Independent.
New York Sun.
New York Tribune.
Ogden (Utah) Junction.
Quincy (Illinois) Argus.
Salt Lake Herald.
Salt Lake Daily Reporter.
Salt Lake Review.
Salt Lake Tribune.
San Francisco Call.
San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco Examiner.
San Francisco Stock Exchange.
Sangamo Journal, Illinois.
The Seer, Washington.
Tuscarora (Nevada) Times.
Virginia (Nevada) Enterprise.
Warsaw (Illinois) Signal.
The Western Standard, San Francisco.
Books, Pamphlets and Papers of John Taylor
Taylor, John, The Government of God. Liverpool, 1852.
________. The Mormon Question. Being a Speech of VicePresident Schuyler
Colfax, at Salt Lake City, a Reply thereto by Elder John Taylor; and a Letter
of VicePresident Colfax published in the "New York Independent," with Elder
Taylor's Reply. (Known as the TaylorColfax Debate.) Salt Lake, 1870.
________, "Letters, 18381887." Authors' collection. Raymond W. Taylor secured
copies of approximately 1,000 letters by and to John Taylor. The major portion
came from 26 boxes of John Taylor papers in the Church Historian's Office.
________, (about) Little Known Wives of John Taylor. BYU Special Collections.
________, "The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith." Published in Richard F. Burton's
City of the Saints. London, 1861.
________, "Memoirs of the Late President John Taylor ...." Published in the
Documentary History of the Church.
________, "Reminiscences," the Juvenile Instructor, 30 October and 3 November,
________, "A Journey Across the Plains," 9 January 1875.
________, Three Nights Public Discussion . . . at Boulognesurmer, France,
________, "A Short account of the MURDERS, ROBBERIES, BURNINGS, THEFTS, and
other outrages committed by the MOB and MILITIA of the State of Missouri, upon
the LATTERDAY SAINTS. The Persecutions they have endured for their Religion,
and their Banishment from that State by the Authorities thereof, by JOHN
TAYLOR, Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints."
Springfield, Illinois, 1839.
________, Succession in the Priesthood, "A Discourse by President John Taylor,
delivered at the Priesthood Meeting, held in the Salt Lake Assembly. Hall,
Friday evening, October 7th, 1881." Pamphlet.
 Books and Periodicals
Bancroft, Hubert Howe, History of Utah, 15401887. San Francisco, 1890.
Baskin, R. N., Reminiscences of Early Utah. Salt Lake, 1914.
Beadle, J. H., Life in Utah; or, the Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism . . . .
Bennett, John C., The History of the Saints; or an Expose of Joe Smith and
Mormonism. Boston, 1842.
The Book of Mormon.
Brooks, Juanita, The Mountain Meadow Massacre. Stanford University, 1950.
Brooks, Juanita, John Doyle Lee; ZealotPioneer BuilderScapegoat. Glendale,
Burton, Richard F., The City of the Saints. London, 1861.
Caswall, Henry, The City of the Mormons, or Three Days at Nauvoo, in 1842.
Deseret News 1975 Church Almanac. Salt Lake, 1975.
"Documentary History of the Church," common title for History of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, by Joseph Smith. Seven volumes. Salt Lake,
The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.
Kirtland, 1835, and subsequent editions.
Drummond, W. W., Letter to U.S. AttorneyGeneral Jeremiah S. Black, 30 March
Durham, Reed C., and Heath, Steven H., Succession in the Church Presidency.
Salt Lake, 1970.
"Epistles," of the Church Presidency, and of the Twelve.
Furniss, Norman F., The Mormon Conflict, 18501859. New Haven, 1960.
Gentry, Leland H., "The Danite Band of 1838;" BYU Studies, Summer 1974.
Hickman, Bill, Brigham's Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confessions, and
Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, the Danite Chief of Utah.
New York, 1872.
Jackson, Joseph H., A Narrative of the Adventures and Experiences of Joseph H.
Jackson in Nauvoo, Disclosing the Depths of Mormon Villainy. Warsaw, Illinois,
"Journal du Voyage au Levant," tome III. Paris, 1848.
Journal of Discourses; 26 volumes. Liverpool, 18541886.
Kane, Thomas L., The Mormons. Philadelphia, 1850
Lee, John D., Mormonism Unveiled; or the Life and Confessions of the Late
Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee. St. Louis, 1877.
The Latterday Saints Millennial Star. Manchester and Liverpool, 18401887.
Polk, President James J., Diary.
Pratt, Parley P., Autobiography. Salt Lake, 1874.
Pratt, Parley P., Letter to Joseph Smith, 23 May 1837.
Roberts, B. H., The Life of John Taylor. Salt Lake, 1892.
Roberts, B. H., A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latterday Saints. Century One. Six volumes. Salt Lake, 1930.
Snider, Cecil A., "Development of Attitudes in Sectarial Conflict: A study of
Mormonism in Illinois in Contemporary Newspaper Sources," MA thesis, Iowa
State University, 1933.
Stanley (Scott), Reva, The Archer of Paradise. Caldwell, 1937.
Stenhouse, T.B.H., The Rocky Mountain Saints; a Full and Complete History of
the Mormons, from the First Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last Courtship of
Brigham Young . . . . New York, 1873.
"The State of Deseret." Utah Historical Quarterly, April, July, October, 1940.
Taylor, Fred G., A Saga of Sugar. Salt Lake, 1944.
Taylor, Leonora Cannon, Journal.
Taylor, George J. Journal.
Turner, J. B., Mormonism in All Ages; or the Rise, Progress and Causes of
Mormonism. New York, 1842.
Whitney, Orson F., History of Utah; four volumes. Salt Lake 1892 to 1904.
Woodruff, Wilford, Journal.
* * *