My particular interest
is Missouri Mormon History. Of this time ( 1831 - 1838 ), I concentrate on
1838 Mormon War in Missouri - This is THE definitive book on the 1838
period, and is a must read for any student to the topic. Please note
that Jeff Lindsay has written an unkind rebuttal of this book, and I fully
dismiss Lindsay's work here as almost totally inaccurate. For an alternative to LeSueur's work, see
Alex Baugh's A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of
Northern Missouri. I know both authors personally, and they
are two of the best historians in the field. Bro. Lindsay has done a
disservice to his church in this area - he would be best advised to read
Baugh's book, and follow his example. A full bibliography of the
Missouri period can be
found at the bottom of this page. For a rather complete chronology of
1838 Missouri, see 1838 Chronology, on this
- For an excellent map of Missouri by John Hamer, to see where this all took
- Caldwell County was the county dedicated to the
Mormons. John's excellent map of Caldwell County:
Mormon Frontier Foundation. This organization is doing
archaeological work at Far West Missouri. They have several
documents on this site that are well done.
- Affidavit of Thomas B. Marsh - Thomas B. Marsh was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Missouri
Stake President pro tem, and the editor of the Mormon newspaper. He
had almost single handedly stopped the Mormon military group ( Danites )
from killing dissidents, and others, in the summer of 1838. He
traveled with the military group -
of which he was a member - in the Mormon raid on Daviess County in October,
1838. He did not like what he was seeing, and left the Mormons, and
wrote this affidavit. This affidavit, and the Mormon activities that
it talked about, led to the Extermination Order. An external source
for this document is Thomas
B Marsh and Orson Hyde
and also can be found at http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/pri/1838affid_tbm&oh.htm
Note that these pages above do not have exactly the same wording as how this
affidavit is usually quoted in Mormon sources - the wording on my
site, and the other sites listed above, is correct. The wording in most (
all? ) Mormon written texts is not correct, leaving out information that is
now considered racist. A history of Thomas B. Marsh, some in his own
words, can be found at http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/Bios/marsh,%20tb2.htm
Some very interesting letters from Thomas B. Marsh can be found at http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/Reprints/1838_tbm_ww.htm
The most famous story about Thomas B. Marsh is about milk and cream.
It was first stated by Apostle George A Smith in 1854.
"An appeal was taken from the Teacher to
the Bishop, and a regular Church trial was had. President Marsh did not
consider that the Bishop had done him and his lady justice, for they [the
bishopric] decided that the strippings were wrongfully saved, and that the
woman had violated her covenant. Marsh immediately took an appeal to
the High Council, who investigated the question with much patience, and I
assure you they were a grave body. Marsh being extremely anxious to maintain
the character of his wife, as he was the President of the Twelve Apostles,
and a great man in Israel, made a desperate defence, but the High Council
finally confirmed the Bishop's decision. George A. Smith later said, "That
affidavit brought from the government of Missouri an exterminating order,
which drove some 15,000 Saints from their homes and habitations, and some
thousands perished through suffering the exposure consequent on this state
The story has little if any historical basis, and elements of it can be shown to be false.
Thomas B. Marsh was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve and Missouri
Stake President at the time, and full notes exist from the Stake Presidency
/ Quorum of the Twelve meetings. No such hearing about milk is noted.
Extensive diaries of Joseph Smith exist. No such hearing about milk is
noted. Thomas B. Marsh presided, as usual, over the October 4th, 1838 monthly meeting of the Q12 and HC. Then, he went with the Mormons in
their invasion of Daviess County, and left during the middle of that
conquest, went to Richmond, and gave the affidavit noted above. It
should also be noted that thousands did not perish on the Mormon trip to
Illinois from Missouri, though it was not an easy trip.
- Mormon War Letters ( very large. This takes
a long time to load ) - There is a large group of letters from the citizens of Missouri, both Mormon and non-Mormon, that are
original, and can be very educational. They are often much better than
the derived histories on either side. These can also be found at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~livcomo/letters/mormon.html
a relatively "official" site. These letters include the
Marsh and Hyde affidavits above, with the correct wording.
- Sidney Rigdon preached his Salt Sermon based on Matthew 5:13 on June 17,
1838, a Sunday. In the words of Daryl Chase, Rigdon's biographer, "It
was an insane utterance" which was "inflammatory and
threatening." He stated (or implied) that the dissenters dwelling among
the Saints in Far West were salt who had lost their savour, and which ought
to, as B. H. Roberts said, "literally" be trodden under the foot
of men. An excellent historical account of it can be found at http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/resth12.htm
Professor Dale Broadhurst has a very good site dedicated to Sidney Rigdon,
with many original documents reproduced, see http://www.sidneyrigdon.com
Note that there was no transciption made of the Salt Sermon. After the
Salt Sermon, the dissenters ( David Whitmer, former Stake President, and
others ) left town immediately. Their houses and the goods in them
were confiscated. The Mormon group sometimes referred to as the
Danites were formed at this time.
- Sidney Rigdon gave a fiery speech on July 4,
1838. It was written by the complete 1st Presidency, and delivered by
Rigdon. Rigdon's pictures are on the right.
- An excerpt from Sidney Rigdon:
A Portrait of Religious Excess about the Missouri period can be
found at http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/sidney.htm#ch17
For a summary of the book, see http://www.lds-mormon.com/sr.shtml
- The testimony at the evidentiary hearing of Joseph Smith in November of
1838. This historical document is key in understanding what was said
at the time. It can be found at http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1838Sent.htm
- A somewhat biased version of the Missouri period can be found at http://ldsfaq.byu.edu/emmain.asp?number=126
It is biased in the sense that it leaves out anything that could be
considered unkind to the LDS church in 1838, over 160 years ago. A
much fairer picture is found by reading Baugh or LeSueur. To read a
taste of LeSueur writing about the same time period, see http://www.mormonismi.net/kirjallisuus/lesueur37-40.shtml
In my opinion, it is about time that we Mormons do what Baugh ( a faithful
LDS BYU historian ) did, and go back to basic historical documents, and tell
a more complete story. Of course, Baugh also left out some things that
were embarrassing, thus my recommendation of LeSueur's book.
- For some interesting reading about the 1838 Mormon Missouri War in the
Springfield Illinois paper of 1838, see http://www.lavazone2.com/dbroadhu/IL/sang1838.htm
For the Quincy paper, see http://www.lavazone2.com/dbroadhu/IL/whig1838.htm
- Caldwell County History - In 1876, a history of Caldwell County was
written. A large section was on the 1838 Missouri Mormon war.
for details. Note that there are many more links on the right.
- For a list of the meetings of the Mormon military in 1838, see http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/resth11.htm
- For many well done papers on Missouri / Mormon history, see http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/history.htm
I have cited this site twice above, singling out those two papers.
This site should not be visited by squeamish Mormons.
Partridge Tarred and Feathered - Kenison
of Commandments saved - Kenison
of Governor Boggs' Grave
story journal extracts - Goble
camp protected from mob - Kenison
Camp - Kenison
Smith on Animals - Kenison
Persecution - Kenison
Mack Smith before a mob - Kenison
Expulsion - Kenison
Stars - Kenison
Woodruff's mission - Kenison
- Alexander L. Baugh, A Call to Arms: The
1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham
Young University, Provo, Utah, 1996.
- Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far
West Record: Minutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
1830-1844, Deseret Book Company (1983).
- Church Educational System, Church History
in the Fulness of Times: The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin
Mangrum, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900, University of Illinois Press
- Arnold K. Garr and Clark V. Johnson, Regional
Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Missouri, BYU Department of
Church History and Doctrine (1994).
- Leland H. Gentry, A History of the
Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836 to 1839, BYU
- Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph
Smith Volume 1: Autobiographical and Historical Writings, Deseret Book
_____, The Papers of
Joseph Smith Volume 2: Journal 1832-1842, Deseret Book Company (1992).
_____, The Personal
Writings of Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Company (1984).
- Clark V. Johnson, Mormon Redress
Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict, BYU Religious
Studies Center (1992).
- Roger D. Launius, Alexander William
Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate, University of Missouri Press
- Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher, eds., Differing
Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History, University of Illinois Press
- Stephen C. LeSueur, The 1838 Mormon War in
Missouri, University of Missouri Press (1987).
- Parley P. Pratt, Autobiograph of Parley P. Pratt.
- Kenneth H. Winn, Exiles in a Land of
Liberty: Mormons in America, 1830-1846, University of North Carolina