1831–1838 Two Church Centers
The year of 1831 was a very busy one for both Joseph and the growing Church. In 1830 and throughout the next several years the members continued to build and gather in Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph and Emma lost the twins borne to Emma, and adopted another set of twins whose mother had died. The Lord revealed to Joseph to gather the Saints to Jackson County, Missouri. Church members began to gather and compile the revelations which Joseph had received into a book to publish them. Joseph was also commanded by the Lord to translate, or revise, the Bible. Near the end of the year, the Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple in Kirtland.
During the following three years, a general misunderstanding of and willful hatred towards Mormons on the part of a few led to persecution of the Saints in all areas. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, another Church leader, were torn from their homes in the middle of the night by a mob and were tarred and feathered. The persecution increased in both Ohio and Missouri, and in July 1833, mobs destroyed the printing press used to print the Mormons’ newspaper, the Evening and the Morning Star in Missouri. Church members decided to open another periodical in Kirtland, Ohio, the Messenger and Advocate. In November 1833, Joseph was commanded to form Zion’s Camp. This was a group of about 200 men who were instructed to go to Missouri and assist the Saints who had been expelled from their homes by mobs. Those who had volunteered to join Zion’s Camp suffered much along the way and never did fight, nor did they accomplish their goal of helping the beleaguered Saints, but they were able to learn much from the Prophet Joseph Smith.
The period from 1835 to 1837 saw many ups and downs. On February 14, 1835, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was formed. The twelve men who were called to serve in this capacity gave much strength and support to Joseph. In July of that year Joseph and the Church were able to obtain ancient Egyptian scrolls which contained some of the teachings of Abraham which Joseph was able to translate.
On March 26, 1836, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated. All the members of the Church had made huge sacrifices to help build this house unto the Lord and all received glorious blessings both at the dedication and after the dedication. In November of that year several Church leaders gathered to form the Kirtland Safety Society. This was intended to be a bank to help the members receive loans to help them continue building the city around them. However, due to a national financial crisis, the bank failed and many blamed Joseph. Many people left the Church angry, looking to acquire riches quickly elsewhere, but many remained faithful and stayed strong in the Church. In 1837, Joseph called Heber C. Kimball to head the Church’s first foreign mission to England.
As persecution got worse the Saints were driven from their homes in Jackson County, Missouri. They began to gather to Far West, Missouri as well as Caldwell and Daviess Counties in Missouri. In August 1838, a mob of over one hundred men kept ten to twelve Mormon men from voting. The mob actually attacked the men, severely injuring some of them. Mob rule increased and, though Mormons sought legal redress, most of the men holding legal office were either leaders of or were involved with the mobs. The Mormons were continually driven, and several small skirmishes took place. On October 27, 1838, Governor Boggs issued an order not only allowing, but commanding Missouri citizens to expel all Mormons from the state by force.