When we first came to Nauvoo, I was surprised at how small and simple Brigham Young's home was. We had just come from Salt Lake City and had toured the Beehive House there. It was large and very impressive. I soon came to understand why this home was so simple. He was actually on a mission when his wife, Mary Ann purchased this property in the name of their 4 year old son, and moved into an unfinished log cabin. When he came home, he began building and planting. He built a very unique above the ground root cellar.
It's built with inner and outer walls with an airspace the width of a brick in between. It works very well - even on hot summer days, it's nice and cool inside.
As with most of the men in Nauvoo, he was a very busy man but he built a home that was very cozy for his family. He started with just the middle part of the home. It was only 22 feet by 16 feet and two stories high with a good cellar (basement). Now they no longer needed the above ground cellar and it became a place to dump garbage. It was later the site of the largest single collection of complete ceramic artifacts ever found in an American 19th century historical site.
We use the plates on the table as an analogy for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Those plates started out perfect but they were found in bits and pieces. They were put back together and left in varying stages of repair as you look around the table. People also start out perfect - then life happens - but there is nothing that Christ's atonement cannot fix.
Up some very steep stairs are two very small bedrooms.
On top of the chest over by the window is a toy I would have loved to play with as a child.
It took Brigham two years to finish this little house and then a year later he added wings onto each side. On the right is a bit larger bedroom.
On the left is the Council Room. I love this room.
Here we explain that Brigham was on another mission when the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. We tell about how his wife, Mary Ann felt with the mobs all around and trying to get word to her husband, not knowing if she would ever see him again. Of course, he did return and it was in this room that so many meetings were conducted for planning how to finish the temple, how to direct the church, and the trip west.
Brigham was known as the great colonizer, planning the colonization of over 400 communities.
From the first moment Brigham met Joseph, he knew that Joseph was "all that any man could believe him to be as a true prophet."
After living here for almost a year and a half, and walking these same streets, and telling of these wonderful people and their amazing faith through terrible trials, I know without a doubt - they both were.