The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often misnamed the “Mormon Church”) purchased some land in May 2012 from the Community of Christ, a splinter group from the LDS Church formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 6,000 acres purchased from the Community of Christ is of historical significance to both churches.
The land purchased is located in Missouri and Ohio and includes both operating farmland and several other non-farmland properties, which include Haun’s Mill and the Far West Burying Ground (both in Missouri) and the Joseph Smith Sr. home in Kirtland, Ohio.
At the time of the purchase, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had no plans to develop the land. They planned to continue farm operations on the farm land and maintain historic sites.
Haun’s Mill is of historic significance as the place where 18 Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) were massacred on October 30, 1838, when the sheriff of Caldwell County, William Jennings, led an armed militia of more than 200 men to the settlement and opened fire without warning on its citizens. Far West is also located in Caldwell County and is the settlement the Saints founded in 1836 which served as church headquarters during 1838. An estimated 200 early Latter-day Saints are buried at the Far West Burial Grounds. The Joseph Smith Sr. home in Ohio is where Joseph Smith’s parents lived from 1831–1838. This is where Joseph Smith Sr. lived when he was called to be the LDS Church’s first Presiding Patriarch.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a desire to preserve sites significant to its history and organization in order to help living members of the “Mormon Church” remember the sacrifices and miracles which occurred at that time. The history of the “Mormon Church” holds a noteworthy place in United States history as well, and it is important that many people learn what happened in order to make sure the same mistakes are not made again.
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.