John Willard Young

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John Willard Young
John Willard Young.jpg
Counselor to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 6, 1877 (1877-10-06) – October 3, 1891 (1891-10-03)
Called by John Taylor
End reason Resignation (formally released on October 6, 1891)[1]
First Counselor in the First Presidency
October 8, 1876 (1876-10-08) – August 29, 1877 (1877-08-29)
Called by Brigham Young
Predecessor George A. Smith
Successor George Q. Cannon
End reason Dissolution of First Presidency upon death of Brigham Young
Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09) – October 8, 1876 (1876-10-08)
Called by Brigham Young
End reason Called as First Counselor in the First Presidency
Counselor in the First Presidency
June 8, 1873 (1873-06-08) – May 9, 1874 (1874-05-09)
Called by Brigham Young
End reason Called as Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
November 22, 1855 (1855-11-22) – February 12, 1924 (1924-02-12)
Called by Brigham Young
Reason Brigham Young's discretion[2]
Reorganization
at end of term
None[3]
Personal details
Born John Willard Young
(1844-10-01)October 1, 1844
Nauvoo, Illinois, United States
Died February 12, 1924(1924-02-12) (aged 79)
New York City, New York, United States

John Willard Young (October 1, 1844 – February 12, 1924) was a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He is one of the few individuals to have been an apostle of the LDS Church and a member of the First Presidency without ever having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Early life and apostolic ordination[edit]

Young was born in Nauvoo, Illinois to Latter Day Saint apostle Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angell. As a young boy, John traveled with the Mormon pioneers from Illinois to Utah Territory.

John Willard was ordained an apostle by his father on November 22, 1855, when he was eleven.[4] John's earlier ordination was reconfirmed on February 4, 1864 when his brothers Brigham Young, Jr. and Joseph Angell Young were ordained apostles by their father. However, none of them became members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles upon their ordination because the Quorum already had twelve members. Although Brigham Jr. eventually became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, John and Joseph never did.

Activity in western territories[edit]

In 1869, Young opened the "Salt Lake City Museum and Menagerie" which was the predecessor of the Deseret Museum.[5] He was also involved with the construction of a railroad in Arizona Territory.

LDS Church service[edit]

First Presidency[edit]

On April 8, 1873, Brigham Young added John, Brigham Jr., George Q. Cannon, Lorenzo Snow, and Albert Carrington as additional counselors to him in the First Presidency. After Young's First Counselor George A. Smith died in September 1875, John Willard Young was called as First Counselor to his father on October 8, 1876. Young served in this capacity until the First Presidency was dissolved by Brigham Young's death less than a year later on August 29, 1877. During his time in the First Presidency, John Willard Young never spent much time in Salt Lake City attending to church leadership duties; since 1863 he had preferred living in New York City, where he was engaged in a number of failed business ventures that resulted in him assuming a large amount of debt.[6]

Counselor to the Twelve Apostles[edit]

Having never been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve but holding the priesthood office of apostle, Young was called as a counselor to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 6, 1877. However, Young's business practices and practice of living in New York City soon brought him into conflict with other church authorities. At a conference of the church on April 6, 1881, Young's name was withheld from the names of general authorities who were presented for "sustaining".[7] Between 1881 and 1885, he was tried before the Quorum of the Twelve on three separate occasions; each time he was reconciled with the Twelve and he retained his position.[7] In 1888, Joseph F. Smith accused Young of unethically using church funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle, and by April 1889 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were discussing removing Young from his position.[1]

Young resigned from his position on October 3, 1891; Young was aware that on that date the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were again discussing his release from his position.[1] After Young's resignation, he was formally released as a counselor to the Twelve at a conference of the church October 6, 1891.[1]

Denial of church presidency[edit]

Although he lived another 33 years, Young never again served as a general authority of the LDS Church, though he remained a church apostle for the rest of his life. On December 9, 1899, apostle Franklin D. Richards died. Richards had been the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the second-most senior apostle in the church. Richards' death left Young as the second most senior apostle in the church. Although Young did not become the President of the Twelve, under the existing rules of presidential succession in the church, Young would become the President of the Church when Lorenzo Snow died, since Snow was the only living person who had been ordained an apostle prior to Young.[8] Snow was 85 years old and in poor health, while Young was only 55 year old; it therefore appeared to many that Young would be the next president of the church.

However, many of the general authorities of the church disliked Young and felt that his succession to the presidency of the church would be a disaster for the church.[8] On March 31, 1900, the First Presidency—which consisted of Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith—changed the policy of presidential succession.[9] The new president of the church would no longer be the person who had been an ordained apostle the longest; rather, the new president of the church would be the person who had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the longest period of time.[9] Since Young had never been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, he could not become the president of the church if Snow died. On April 5, 1900, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve unanimously approved the new policy.[10]

On October 10, 1901, Snow died. Five days later, Young arrived in Salt Lake City from New York City, possibly with the intent of assuming the presidency of the church.[11] However, due to the new policy, Joseph F. Smith was ordained the new president of the church on October 17, 1901.[11] Young returned to New York City, where he lived for the rest of his life. After he died in New York City, Young was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Later life[edit]

After returning to New York City, Young was employed as an elevator operator in an exclusive hotel where he had once lived.[11] In 1902 and 1903, his son Hooper Young was involved in a sensational murder investigation and trial after it was determined that a woman had died in John Willard Young's apartment while he was in France on business. The "Pulitzer Murder" case ultimately resulted in Hooper pleading guilty to second degree murder and being sentenced to life imprisonment in Sing Sing prison.[12] Hooper's conviction had a devastating effect on John Willard, who had initially believed that his son was innocent.[12] John Willard Young continued to attend a branch of the LDS Church in the city for the rest of his life,[13] and he died of cancer in New York City at the age of 79.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Compton 2002, p. 125
  2. ^ Brigham Young ordained three of his sons in 1855 and 1864 without adding them to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. John Willard Young was never a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  3. ^ Since Young was not a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or the First Presidency at the time of his death, no one was called to the apostleship as a replacement after he died.
  4. ^ Compton 2002, pp. 111-112
  5. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1941) p. 185
  6. ^ Compton 2002, p. 121
  7. ^ a b Compton 2002, p. 124
  8. ^ a b Compton 2002, p. 126
  9. ^ a b Compton 2002, p. 127
  10. ^ Compton 2002, pp. 128-129
  11. ^ a b c Compton 2002, p. 129
  12. ^ a b c Compton 2002, p. 130
  13. ^ Compton 2002, pp. 129-130

References[edit]

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
New creation Counselor to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 6, 1877 – October 3, 1891
With: Daniel H. Wells
End of position
Preceded by
George A. Smith
First Counselor in the First Presidency
October 8, 1876 – August 29, 1877
Succeeded by
George Q. Cannon
New creation Assistant Counselor in the First Presidency
October 8, 1876 – August 29, 1877
Counselor in the First Presidency
June 8, 1873 – May 9, 1874
With: George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, Jr.,
Lorenzo Snow, Albert Carrington
Succeeded by
George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, Jr., Lorenzo Snow, Albert Carrington
Preceded by
Joseph F. Smith
Counselor in the First Presidency
June 8, 1873 – May 9, 1874
With: Joseph F. Smith, George Q. Cannon,
Brigham Young, Jr., Lorenzo Snow,
Albert Carrington
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Smith