The Mormons in Missouri

A brief look at the history of the Mormon church in Zion (Missouri).

Reference Links

The Garden of Eden in Missouri?
The Danites
This video relied heavily on "One Nation Under Gods"

Video Transcript

From the beginning of Mormonism, Joseph Smith frequently warned people about the apocalypse, a doomsday of punishment and catastrophe for the world. He even prophesied that this would happen within his generation.

In order to survive this, Smith declared as revelation that the Mormons should gather in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, and build a glorious temple and city that could not be moved.

This was a very significant area because Smith taught that it was the site of the Garden of Eden. In fact, all the biblical figures up until Noah had lived around Missouri. He even found a stone altar built by the very hands of Adam, who would soon return to Missouri at the second coming of Christ

When the Mormons moved in, they were very vocal about the destruction and bloodshed that would fall upon the non-Mormons at the coming doomsday. They were under orders to buy up as much land as possible, were soon to wield a majority voting block, and seemed to the locals to be inciting violence from the Indians and slaves. The Missourians perceived a total upheaval of society, their homes, and livelihoods by the Mormons.

A series of mob violence broke out against the Mormons, forcing them to flee as refugees to neighboring Clay County. Back in Ohio, Smith received another revelation that Zion would have to be retaken by force, so he sent out a volunteer army to Jackson County, but they were unable to engage the enemy. The continuing failure of his revelations forced him into to trial by his own high council.

But once again, the locals grew tired of the Mormon doomsday talk about taking over Missouri, and they asked them to leave. This time, they peaceably left to Caldwell County with an agreement to stay put.

But Joseph Smith soon joined them there after fleeing his troubles in Ohio, started settling Mormons in surrounding counties. He taught that Mormons were under a religious law that superseded the civil law, and saw to the formation of a militaristic group called the Danites, who began terrorizing dissenters.

Sidney Rigdon then delivered a speech essentially challenging anyone who would come against the Mormons to a war of total destruction. Finally, it was too much for the Missourians, and mob violence broke out again, but this time the Mormons struck back.

The escalating conflict culminated with the Mormon army attacking the state militia, a direct assault on the authority of the government. Missouri’s governor then issued an extermination order on the Mormons resulting in the horrific Haun’s Mill Massacre.

Finally, such a large force surrounded Smith and his people in the city of Far West that he was forced to surrender. He was arrested and charged with murder and treason, and many former high ranking Mormons, including the leader of the Danites testified against him. But with the aid of a bribe, he was able to escape jail and flee to Illinois with the rest of the Mormons.