Vincent DeSantis Lecture 2012-13
John Turner, assistant professor of religious studies at George Mason University and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame history department, will discuss his recently released biography, Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, published in August 2012 by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. In his talk, Turner will connect Brigham Young’s spirituality, his traumatic experiences in Nauvoo, Illinois, and his hard-edged political leadership of the Utah Territory. When he led the Church’s mission to the British Isles in 1840-1841, Young earned the loyalty and admiration of his fellow apostles through his collegial approach to leadership, his fealty to Joseph Smith, and his spiritual fire. Eight years later, Young was a very different man and leader: hyper-sensitive to criticism and vigilant against both external threats and ecclesiastical dissent. Turner will contend that Young’s sometimes violent rhetoric and actions during his first decade in Utah resulted from the crucible of anti-Mormon persecution in Illinois.