I love the Prophet Brigham Young. The Lord loved him too. Although he had his own unique style of leadership, I believe he learned many lessons from Joseph Smith with regard to directing the affairs of The Church. In Section 126 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord expressed his pleasure in the missionary offering Brother Brigham had made, and instructed him to remain in Nauvoo to care for his family.
Section 126:1 Dear and well-beloved brother, Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you: My servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is acceptable to me.
I don't think that family was the only reason Brigham Young was allowed to stay in Nauvoo. I believe that the Lord allowed this faithful man to remain near Joseph Smith during the final years of Joseph's ministry, to be trained and instructed by the prophet personally. Besides his close proximity to his family, this instruction was Brigham Young's reward for his righteous offering. This preparation was needed for the leadership position Brigham Young currently held and the one he would hold in the future. It is interesting to note that the Lord specified that Brigham “send” the word abroad, indicating his leadership position then as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and intimating the future, as he would fill the role someday as President of The Church.
The Lord, in this revelation, also gave instruction for Brigham to “take especial care of his family from this time, henceforth and forever.” Although Brigham Young is noted for his extensive posterity and his prominence as a father and husband, he also filled the role as a substitute “father” for The Church. Just as it was for Joseph Smith, The Church became family for Brigham Young as he nurtured, instructed, protected, and loved it.
Another family that Brigham Young would be required to provide for would be the Prophet Joseph Smith's own family. I believe that the trust the Lord gave him, and Heber C. Kimball, as they were allowed to take care of Joseph Smith's own family in his absence, speaks volumes. For the majority, these two gentlemen took on the responsibility of Joseph’s wives after his martyrdom. They both raised up posterity to Joseph through his Patriarchal line, allowing for the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant to be in effect for Joseph Smith through the sealing ordinances he had received. Although this trust caused much friction between Brigham and Emma, ultimately I believe Brigham had only Joseph's best interest at heart.
The Church, and the family, were priorities to Brigham Young, and he sacrificed much to preserve them both. After hearing the most recent General Conference Addresses of April 2010, and feeling of the emphasis that was given to both of these organizations, I believe Brigham Young’s example is timeless. It is wonderful to know that his “acceptable offering” of service to the Lord was rewarded with eternal bonds of family, “no longer requiring him to leave” them “henceforth and forever”. Family is the great reward for righteousness.