Joseph Smith did not leave a clear successor to the LDS church were he and Hyram to be killed. After their deaths at Carthage, a succession crisis followed, where several interested parties claimed they were the rightful successor to the prophet Joseph Smith. Sidney Rigdeon, Brigham Young, and James Strang were among the main contenders, although many more followed.
Many years after the schism among the saints, those that followed Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley recall a miracle that they claim occurred during the succession crisis. It is alleged that Brigham transformed before a gathering of saints to look and sound like Joseph which the faithful saints in Utah believe indicated that Brigham was God’s chosen successor.
There are several problems with the legend. For instance, the event wasn’t mentioned in contemporary papers, or journals and many of the supposed witnesses to the event were not even present when Brigham was giving the speech when the miracle occurred.
Dialogue Journal – The Making of a Mormon Myth: The 1844 Transfiguration of Brigham Young – Richard S. Van Wagoner
MormonThink – Transfiguration of Brigham Young
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