27466

Journal, 1832–1834

5 December 1834 • Friday

According to the directions of the Holy Spirit, Brethren Joseph Smith Jr., Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, and Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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assembled to converse upon the welfare of the church, when Brother Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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was ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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an assistant president

The presiding body of the church. From the day of the church’s organization on 6 April 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery led the church in their capacity as elders. An 11 November 1831 revelation directed that “the duty of the president of the office of the high...

View Glossary

5 Dec. 1834

JS ordained Oliver Cowdery an assistant president of the high priesthood, Kirtland, Ohio.

of the high and holy priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
under the hands of brother Joseph Smith Jr., saying: “My brother, in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost; ordain to an office or calling; or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

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upon thee and ordain thee an assistant president of the high and holy priesthood in the Church of the Latter Day Saints

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
”. [p. 93]

5 December 1834 • Friday

Friday Evening, December  5, 1834.  According to the directions  of the Holy Spirit breth[r]en  Joseph Smith jr. Sidney [Rigdon]

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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,  Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, and Oliver  Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, assembled to converse  upon the welfare of the church,  when brother Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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was  ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
an assistant President

The presiding body of the church. From the day of the church’s organization on 6 April 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery led the church in their capacity as elders. An 11 November 1831 revelation directed that “the duty of the president of the office of the high...

View Glossary

5 Dec. 1834

JS ordained Oliver Cowdery an assistant president of the high priesthood, Kirtland, Ohio.

 of the High and Holy Priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
un der the hands of brother Joseph  Smith jr. Saying, “My brother, in the name  of Jesus Christ who died was crucified  for the sins of the world, I lay my hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost; ordain to an office or calling; or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
 upon thee, and ordain thee an assist ant President129

Cowdery viewed this ordination as fulfillment of an angelic promise. According to JS’s history, in May 1829 John the Baptist announced that Cowdery would be second elder, next in authority to JS as first elder, in the church that was yet to be organized.a Beginning in April 1830, JS and Cowdery held the positions and titles the angel had specified. But Cowdery was away filling an assignment in Missouri when on 8 March 1832 a presidency was established in Kirtland to lead the church.b In Cowdery’s absence, Sidney Rigdon and Jesse Gause were appointed counselors to JS.c JS had previously been designated “president of the high priesthood of the church” in November 1831 and ordained to that position on 25 January 1832.d Frederick G. Williams replaced Gause as a counselor by January 1833.e In the history he was keeping for JS at the time, Cowdery recorded a more complete transcription of this 5 December 1834 blessing and reported that although Rigdon and Williams had seniority in office as counselors, Cowdery, in fulfillment of the angel’s promise, was now to be first among the three to “assist in presiding over the whole church, and to officiate in the absence of the President.” Following Cowdery’s ordination, Rigdon and Williams “confirmed the ordinance and blessings by the laying on of hands and prayer, after which each were blessed with the same blessings and prayer.” In a meeting the following day, Hyrum Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. were called as additional “assistant presidents,” or counselors.f  


aJS History, vol. A-1, 17–18.

bEntry for 5 Dec. 1834, in JS History, 1834–1836, 17.

cRevelation Book 2, pp. 10–11.

dRevelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B, in Doctrine and Covenants 3:31, 1835 ed. [D&C 107:59–67].

eMinute Book 1, 22 Jan. 1833.

fEntries for 5 and 6 Dec. 1834, in JS History, 1834–1836, 17–20.

of the high and holy p[r]iest hood in the church of the Latter Day Saints

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary

Oliver Cowdery handwriting ends.  


[p. 93]
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By late November 1832, when this record began, JS had resided in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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for nearly two years. Most members of the fledgling church in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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had migrated to Ohio in spring 1831; many had subsequently moved on to Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, where they sought to establish a latter-day Zion. As headquarters for the church, Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, served as a base for proselytizing missions ranging as far afield as Upper Canada (now Ontario) and the eastern United States. Meanwhile, attempts to create historical records had failed to keep pace with the development of the church. JS had recently prepared a six-page personal history. Now he began keeping a personal journal, documenting his experiences as they occurred and thereby paving the way for writing a more extensive history. Journal writing was a new genre for JS, and in this record, he employed a personal tone quite different from the prophetic voice of his scriptural translations and revelations.
JS’s first journal begins 27 November 1832 and ends 5 December 1834, with entries spread unevenly over this period of just over two years. After titling this journal “Joseph Smith Jrs Book for Record,” JS recorded his ambitious intention “to keep a minute acount of all things that come under my obsevation &c.” However, reality failed to match his expectations. From the outset, the level of detail JS preserved in this record was limited. His pattern of journalizing varied widely. After recording only nine more entries, JS abandoned journal keeping for ten months. Yet his original aspiration to keep a journal occasionally yielded significant information. Sporadic notations followed, with three instances of sustained writing covering a consecutive week or more in the remainder of the journal. The events described in these passages are a proselytizing mission to Canada in October 1833, a fund-raising and recruitment mission to Pennsylvania and New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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in March 1834 to prepare for an expedition to help the Mormons in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, and activities in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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in April 1834 just before the expedition departed. The journal’s most consistent daily entries cover the period from late February to late April 1834. The entire two-year record contains fewer than one hundred entries. It skips over many key developments but provides rare glimpses into the lives of JS and the other leaders of the church during these formative years.
Despite its brevity, this first journal contains more of JS’s handwriting than do any of his other journals. Almost half of the entries in the journal were written either entirely or primarily by JS himself; some of the remainder were apparently dictated. His openly expressed hopes and concerns, prayers and blessings, and observations on his own state of mind are a rich source of insight into spiritual and emotional dimensions of JS’s personality.
This journal illustrates how closely leadership in the early church was intertwined with record keeping. Trusted associates who served as scribes for JS for key projects in the earliest years soon found themselves called to join JS in church leadership, with continued scribal responsibilities. Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, primary scribe for JS’s Book of Mormon translation, served as second elder beginning in April 1830 and wrote some of the entries for this first journal. Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, scribe for JS’s “translation,” or revision, of the Bible beginning in December 1830, served as a counselor to JS beginning in March 1832 and also wrote entries in this journal. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, a scribe for JS beginning 20 July 18321

Frederick G. Williams, Statement, no date, Frederick G. Williams, Papers, CHL.  


and a counselor to JS by January 1833,2

Minute Book 1, 22 Jan. 1833.  


recorded JS’s concluding revisions to the Bible from July 1832 to July 1833 as well as some entries beginning in November 1833 in this journal. Some of the journal’s most revealing moments are JS’s candid evaluations of associates Cowdery, Rigdon, and Williams in connection with blessings he pronounced upon them in November and December 1833.
The journal’s first ten entries, covering 27 November to 6 December 1832 and all written in JS’s handwriting, describe a trip to visit family, a happy return, receipt of a new revelation, and translation work. JS’s state of mind is apparent in phrases such as “my mind is calm and serene,” “found all well to the Joy and satisfaction of my soul on my return,” and “Oh Lord deliver thy servent out of temtations.”3

Entries for 28 and 30 Nov. 1832; 4 Dec. 1832.  


Yet the seemingly unhurried introspection of these first entries gives way to ten months of silence, a period during which JS became increasingly caught up in church leadership activities.
Revelation persistently nudged JS and his fellow believers toward building communities with a central focus on education and spiritual empowerment. In late December 1832, less than four weeks after this journal lapsed into silence, a new revelation called for a “solemn assembly” of the lay ministry, amplifying a promise in a revelation of January 1831 that in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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the Latter-day Saints would be “endowed with power from on high.” In preparation for this experience, they were to receive training in spiritual and temporal affairs and a ritual “washing of feet” in a “house of God.”4

Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831, in Book of Commandments 40:28 [D&C 38:32]; Revelation, 27 and 28 Dec. 1832 and 3 Jan. 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 7:19–23, 36–46, 1835 ed. [D&C 88:70–84, 117–141].  


A “School of the Prophets” began in January 1833, and in April land was purchased on which to build a structure that would be called the House of the Lord

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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. A subsequent revelation called for the Saints to use this temple as the central reference point around which to develop a substantial community to be known as “the city of the stake of Zion.”5

Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B, in Doctrine and Covenants 83:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 94:1].  


As for Zion itself, on 25 June 1833 JS and his associates sent plans to church leaders in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, envisioning the purchase of new lands and the expansion of Mormon settlement there, building outward from a cluster of centrally located temples.6

Plat of City of Zion, 1833, CHL.  


But by the time the plans arrived in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Zion’s future looked bleak. Negotiations in mid-July between Mormon settlers and their unwilling neighbors broke down, and violence erupted. With the 9 August 1833 arrival of Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, JS learned for the first time that twelve hundred Jackson County Saints would be forced from their homes by spring 1834. JS dispatched Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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and John Gould

21 Dec. 1784–25 June 1855. Pastor, farmer. Born in New Hampshire. Married first Oliva Swanson of Massachusetts. Resided at Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire, 1808. Lived in Vermont. Moved to northern Pennsylvania, 1817. Served as minister in Freewill...

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to Missouri to advise the Saints.7

John Whitmer, Independence, MO, to JS and Oliver Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 29 July 1833, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 52–55; Oliver Cowdery with JS postscript, Kirtland Mills, OH, to [William W. Phelps] et al., [Independence, MO], 10 Aug. 1833, CHL; Knight, Autobiography, 39.  


When journal keeping resumed on 4 October 1833, much had changed for JS and his followers. The impending eviction of the Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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Latter-day Saints and construction of the House of the Lord

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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loom in the background of subsequent journal entries. In October 1833, JS and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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responded to a request from Freeman Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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, a Mormon visiting from New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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, to join him in proselytizing family members in Canada. JS and Rigdon recorded in this journal their monthlong trip. Three weeks after their return, the journal first mentions explicitly the Saints’ Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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difficulties: JS learned on 25 November 1833 of the vigilante expulsion of the Mormons in Jackson County that month—earlier than the agreed-upon departure—following a series of violent confrontations. Many crossed the Missouri River

One of longest rivers in North America, in excess of 3,000 miles. From headwaters in Montana to confluence with Mississippi near Saint Louis, Missouri river drains 580,000 square miles (about one-sixth of continental U.S.). Explored by Lewis and Clark, 1804...

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and found temporary refuge in nearby Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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.
Most of the subsequent entries of this journal involve either direct or indirect responses to the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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problems. By December 1833, the Latter-day Saints had set up a printing press in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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to resume publication efforts that had been halted by the destruction of their print shop in Missouri. A February 1834 revelation instructed the Saints to undertake a paramilitary expedition intended to help the Mormon refugees from Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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return to their homes. JS and Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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were one of four pairs of men directed to travel from Kirtland to various locations to solicit volunteers and donations in support of the effort.8

Revelation, 24 Feb. 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 101, 1844 ed. [D&C 103].  


Journal entries cover the monthlong trip of JS and Pratt through northeastern Pennsylvania and western New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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. JS returned from this mission at the end of March, just in time for the opening of a term of the Geauga County

Located in northeastern Ohio, south of Lake Erie. Rivers in area include Grand, Chagrin, and Cuyahoga. Settled mostly by New Englanders, beginning 1798. Formed from Trumbull Co., 1 Mar. 1806. Chardon established as county seat, 1808. Population in 1830 about...

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Court of Common Pleas. There he testified in a trial against Doctor Philastus Hurlbut

3 Feb. 1809–16 June 1883. Clergyman, farmer. Born at Chittenden Co., Vermont. “Doctor” was his given name. Preacher for Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamestown, Chautauque Co., New York. Baptized into LDS church, 1832/1833, at Jamestown. Ordained an elder...

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, an excommunicant who had threatened his life. Following the trial, JS spent the rest of April preparing for the march to Missouri, which commenced in early May.
JS made no journal entries during the expedition to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. The episode is manifest in the journal as a half page of blank space, almost as if he intended to reserve the space for an entry later on. Although Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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acknowledged the legal right of the Mormons to their Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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property, he would not intervene. Based on statements by Dunklin’s attorney general, Robert Wells, the Mormons mistakenly assumed that Dunklin was willing to commit state militia to escort them back to Jackson County, and the expedition—known as the “Camp of Israel” and later as “Zion’s Camp”—marched with that expectation. As the little army of Mormons neared Missouri, tensions mounted, and Dunklin sought a compromise. But negotiations between the Mormons and their former neighbors in Jackson County failed to resolve major issues that prevented the Mormons’ return to their Zion.
The volunteers thus halted near the border of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, short of their intended destination. A revelation dated 22 June 1834 counseled the Latter-day Saints to prepare themselves more thoroughly and declared that the redemption of Zion must await their empowerment in the House of the Lord

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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at Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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. The revelation also directed them to continue to purchase lands in the vicinity of Jackson County.9

Revelation, 22 June 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 102:3, 8, 1844 ed. [D&C 105:9–13, 27–28].  


Members of the expedition distributed food and supplies to the refugee Mormons living in nearby Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, and JS strengthened local church leadership by appointing a presidency and a “high council” consisting of twelve men. Meanwhile, about sixty-eight of the volunteers, including JS, contracted cholera; thirteen died. After the cholera abated at the end of June, the surviving members were discharged and the expedition officially ended, having failed in its ostensible mission.10

Kimball, “History,” 21–24; Launius, Zion’s Camp, 110–155.  


In early August, JS returned to Kirtland amidst criticism about the expedition. There he faced two heavy financial challenges: to purchase new lands in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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and to finish construction of the House of the Lord in Kirtland.

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