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Researcher says Brigham, not Joseph, put Mormonism on path to success

Mormonism owes its continual rise much more to Brigham Young, the man who led the incipient movement across the Plains, than to Joseph Smith, who began it all with talk of angels and gold plates.

At least that's how Utah researcher Richard Van Wagoner sees it after spending the past 15 years compiling every known Young sermon and discourse from 127 sources.

Van Wagoner sought out original transcripts, rather than the LDS Church-sanctioned Journal of Discourses , in which Young's words were edited and polished. He also found speeches and statements recorded in other people's journals.

"Brigham seems to me to have been more solid and stable, less flamboyant, and superior in terms of organizational abilities," says Van Wagoner, an audiologist by training for whom Mormon history is an avocation.

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