Ohio History Journal






The Mormon interlude at Kirtland, Ohio, was by no means the

transplantation of an alien tree into an unaccustomed soil. The

ground at Kirtland was not only well prepared for the planting,

but was already sprouting luxuriant vegetation so closely akin to

Mormonism that the simplest cross-pollination and grafting pro-

vided a native stand of Mormon timber. Yet despite this apparently

auspicious climate, relations between the Mormon and Gentile

communities eventually became severely strained. Why? Shaker,

Amish, and other minority groups regarded as quite as outlandish

in theology and social customs were, and remained, undisturbed.

Wherein lay the difference?

Kirtland, or Kirtland's Mills (the official post-office designation),

was a small town in the rolling hills of northeastern Ohio which

had a population of 1,018 in 1830.1 As a center for farmers to

drive into and trade, get their grain milled or sold, and the like,

it was comparable to the nearby towns of Painesville, Hiram, and

Warren. The people of the community were nearly all farmers or

closely tied to the soil. The area had been settled by westward

movement along the lake shore or on the newly opened Erie Canal,

by people from Connecticut, then later from all New England, New

York, and Pennsylvania.

Northeast Ohioans were not only like those people, they were

those people in most cases, for not enough time had passed to

permit the rearing of a native generation. Most of the people were

pure Yankee. The era of "The Awakening" was in full cry, and the

camp meeting, the "protracted meeting," the gospel crusades, the

fiery preaching of the "Burnt-Over Area" of Pennsylvania, were

all reflected in northeastern Ohio. The excesses, in fact, were

even greater. Nowhere, even in the "Burnt-Over Area," had they


*Willis Thornton is a lecturer in journalism at Western Reserve University and

the author of The Nine Lives of Citizen Train.

1Warren Jenkins, Ohio Gazetteer and Travelers' Guide (Columbus, 1837), 248.


Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 9

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland             9


proclaimed a Joseph Dylks as actually God, but Salesville, Ohio,

achieved this extravagant frenzy.2 The Free-Will Baptists, the

Church of God (Winebrennerian), and the Disciples, or Camp-

bellites, vied with the Millerites in vibrant and clamorous expec-

tation of events which would momentarily establish the visible

Kingdom of God in their midst. Cases of "the jerks" were not

unusual at revivals, nor "speaking in tongues," and the earlier

Methodist and Campbellite preaching was often accompanied by

what would today seem scenes of the wildest emotionalism, not to

say hysteria.

It was so in and around Kirtland, a Disciple stronghold. Though

well settled and under cultivation, the neighborhood offered almost

nothing of a cultural or entertainment value. Activities centering

around the churches were to the community what lyceums, libraries,

theaters, movies, radio, and television were to be later on. An oc-

casional traveling show, lecturer, or medicine faker, was about

all that relieved what must have been almost intolerable boredom.

The only generally circulated book was the Bible; the only outlet

for forensic and extrovert tendencies was personal revelation or

testimony at camp meetings. Every man was his own interpreter

of the Bible, the result of which was a constant division and sub-

division of sects in a maze of doctrinal differences of detail which

are almost unintelligible to the American of one hundred years later.

The ground at Kirtland, therefore, was thoroughly prepared for

planting of the Mormon seed. It was no accident that led to the

choosing of Kirtland as a "stake of Zion," and whether Prophet

Smith did or did not receive a divine revelation directing him

thither, it was certainly a move dictated by practical wisdom. When

the Mormons arrived in numbers, there was at the outset nothing

especially alien or strange about them or their ways; nothing about

their doctrines more outre to outsiders than about those of numerous

other sects; nothing in their practices more outrageous to outsiders

than they had already seen and tolerated. After all, the Harmonists

of Pennsylvania were communist and celibate; the Shakers were


2 R. H. Taneyhill, The Leatherwood God (Cincinnati, 1870).

10 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

10      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

celibate and exclusive; the Wallingford and Oneida communities

in New York practiced free love. While all these were criticized,

they were rarely persecuted. They were tolerated. Wherein did the

Mormons differ?

Seeds of trouble were planted even before the Mormons arrived

in Kirtland in numbers. In this neighborhood nearly every man and

woman belonged to one church or another. Therefore a new sect

could grow only at the expense of those already established. Sects

thus robbed of their members were not merely annoyed--they fought

back. Campbellite Disciples in their indignation at apostasy con-

veniently forgot that Alexander Campbell himself had been suc-

cessively a Presbyterian, a Baptist, then a Disciple.3

Sidney Rigdon was first a Baptist, but by 1830 he had become

a Disciple preacher. He was "an orator of no inconsiderable

abilities. In person, he was full medium height, rotund in form; of

countenance, while speaking, open and winning, with a little cast

of melancholy. His action was graceful, his language copious, fluent

in utterance, with articulation clear and musical. Yet he was an

enthusiast, and unstable."4 Converted from the Baptist into the

Disciple faith, Rigdon was by 1830 one of the latter sect's most

effective exhorters. He preached regularly for the Disciples both

at Mentor and Kirtland, as well as in other nearby towns.

Rigdon, the "enthusiast," soon outpaced his confreres and was

bidding strongly for leadership in the faith he had espoused. He

began advocating a common-property scheme before a small con-

gregation at Austintown, but Alexander Campbell himself was

present and opposed the thesis so effectively that it must have seemed

to ambitious Rigdon a humiliating defeat. This anticipation of the

communal aspect of Mormonism, together with the fact that

Rigdon's preaching had increasingly concerned itself with some

mysterious revelation and event soon to come, has led antipathetic

writers to suggest that Rigdon had already accepted Mormonism


3 Robert E. Chaddock, Ohio Before 1850: A Study in the Early Influence of Penn-

sylvania and Southern Populations in Ohio (Columbia University Studies in History,

Economics, and Public Law, XXXI, No. 2, New York, 1908), 125.

4 A. S. Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio (Cin-

cinnati, 1875), 45-53.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 11

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland                      11


and was a secret collaborator with Smith in its creation.5 Henry K.

Shaw, for instance, suggests that Rigdon may have been in touch

with Smith as early as 1827.6 This must be regarded as not proved,

for it is based largely on conjecture due to his unexplained absence

from Mentor during the winter before his conversion. The as-

sumption that he was at that time helping Smith to contrive the

Mormon faith is not demonstrable. Parley P. Pratt, an associate

of Rigdon from Lorain County, had already been converted to

Mormonism and had visited Smith at Palmyra; and when Pratt

and three others were sent west on a mission to the Lamanites

(Indians), they headed straight for Rigdon's house at Mentor. But

that seems natural enough, and is not convincing as evidence of

collusion by Rigdon. Pratt caused Rigdon to read the new Mormon

Bible, which he was selling, and Rigdon after a two-day spiritual

struggle (which Hayden suggests was mere stage-play to make his

final conversion all the more dramatic) was baptized into the new


Pratt and Oliver Cowdery, the latter one of the three original

witnesses to the validity of Smith's golden plates, had already had

some success among Rigdon's followers in Kirtland. These had

already formed themselves into a common-stock society, and had

become, in the words of E. D. Howe, "considerably fanatical, and

were daily looking for some wonderful event to take place in

the world."7

With   the conversion     of the well-known      and   much    admired


5 Ibid., 209 et seq. See also Frederick A. Henry, Captain Henry of Geauga, a Family

Chronicle (Cleveland, 1942).

6 Henry K. Shaw, Buckeye Disciples: A History of the Disciples of Christ in Ohio

(St. Louis, 1952), 80.

7 E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed; or a Faithful Account of That Singular Im-

position and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time . . . (Painesville, 1834),

103. Howe founded the Cleveland Herald in 1819 and the Painesville Telegraph in

1822. He closely chronicled the Kirtland phase as an unsympathetic outsider. Fawn

Brodie says Howe was annoyed by the fact that his wife and daughter joined the

Mormons. No Man Knows My History (New York, 1945), 103. His Mormonism

Unvailed, though its title page was toned down in later editions, remains one of the

chief on-the-spot sources on the Kirtland period, and every later writer is indebted

to Howe in a degree usually unacknowledged. Smith charged that Howe did not

write the book at all, but merely lent his name to an expose by Dr. Philastus Hurlbut,

an apostate Mormon who became their bitter enemy. Latter Day Saints Messenger and

Advocate, December 1835. The most likely answer is a collaboration.

12 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

12      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


Rigdon, the ripe fruit fell rapidly. Within a short time almost a

hundred converts had been made in and around Kirtland, and it

is worth noting that this is almost as many as Smith had gathered

in New York in two years. Rigdon then traveled to Waterloo,

New York, to consult the prophet in person, and Cowdery and the

other missionaries continued on to the west. They left behind them

what Howe called "scenes of the most wild, frantic and horrible

fanaticism." People, especially the young, reported Howe, fell to

the floor senseless, grimaced, crept on hands and feet, rolled on

the ground, and ran wildly through the fields shouting for the


Rigdon stayed some two months with Smith, was received into

a collaboration the intimacy of which is still a matter of dispute,

was ordained, and preached as one of Mormonism's first evangelists.

Meanwhile John Whitmer, another of Smith's original witnesses

to the physical existence of his golden plates, was sent to Kirtland

to get the religious excesses there under some sort of control. In

January of 1831 first Rigdon, then Smith, arrived in Kirtland,

soon to be followed by a mass migration of most of Smith's New

York adherents. By the spring of 1831 more than a thousand con-

verts had been made in the Kirtland area.8 With the New York

immigrants, this made a sizeable community from the start.

Divine revelation aside, Smith's reasons for the move are pretty

clear on completely rational grounds: 1. Justly or unjustly, his

reputation in New York among his immediate neighbors was not

such as to attract local converts. In fact there were already

signs of active opposition.9 2. The Kirtland area had been proved a

fertile field. Rigdon had shown himself to be a man of influence

there. Land was cheap, and a community nearer the frontier seemed

a more free atmosphere for establishing a "gathering-place" for

the Saints than the more settled counties of upper New York.

The best-sustained contemporary account of the arrival of the

Mormons at Kirtland is that of the Painesville Telegraph. Paines-

ville was only about ten miles from Kirtland, and Howe, the editor

8 William Alexander Linn, The Story of the Mormons (New York, 1902), 131.

9 J. H. Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism (New York, 1888), 85.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 13

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland              13


of the Telegraph, was an unusually experienced and able editor

for so small a town.

His first notice of Mormonism appeared November 16, 1830,

noting the arrival of Cowdery and Pratt to preach the new religion.

There is a skeptical tone in the notice, but it is not unfriendly.

Four days later another and longer notice was still more skeptical,

but evidently there was to be an effort to be fair: "It may, perhaps,

be useless to condemn the thing by positive and absolute assertions--

time will discover in it either something of vast importance to

men, or a deep-laid plan to deceive many."

The first really disturbed note came on January 18, 1831, with

the arrival of Whitmer, who came, according to the Telegraph,


to inform the brethren that the boundaries of the promised land, or the

New Jerusalem, had just been made known to Smith by God--the township

of Kirtland, a few miles west of this, is the eastern line and the Pacific

Ocean the western line: if the north and south lines have been described,

we have not learned them. Orders were also brought to the brethren to

sell no more land, but rather buy more. Joseph Smith and all his forces are

to be on here soon to take possession of the promised land.

There is an undertone of alarm here. If land all the way west

from Ohio to the Pacific had been promised by God to certain

newcomers, or even if they believed this, would they always be

content to buy it? Those already living in this "land of promise"

must have been somewhat disquieted by the news.

Throughout February the doctrines of the new sect were dis-

cussed at length in the Telegraph. Not only was theological con-

troversy news in the northern Ohio of 1831, but "when any subject

becomes a matter of general inquiry and conversation through the

whole community, with but few exceptions, that community will

call upon the Press to speak--and a free press will speak." Thus

the Telegraph on February 15, 1831, which went on to declare

that its columns would be open to both sides.

By March the paper had become pronouncedly antipathetic. Two

successive issues serialized a long review of the Book of Mormon

by Alexander Campbell, theological champion of the anti-Mormon

14 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

14      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


group; various articles from the Palmyra Reflector, all uncom-

plimentary to the earlier days of Smith and his chief associates,

were reprinted. On March 22 the editor tried to link Mormonism

with Masonry, the latter being already in especial ill odor in the

Western Reserve since the Morgan affair of 1826, in which one

William Morgan was allegedly murdered to prevent his public

revelation of Masonic secrets.

But a further hint as to the growing unpopularity of the Mormons

was given by the issue of March 15. Recording the arrival of

Martin Harris in Painesville, the paper contained a clear suggestion

that the approach of the Mormon missionaries to the unwashed

sometimes fell a shade below the highest diplomatic standards.

Harris was a well-to-do New York farmer who put up most of

the money for publishing the first edition of the Book of Mormon,

and was especially active in selling the book. On arrival he imme-

diately planted himself in the barroom of the Painesville Tavern,

reported the Telegraph, and began to expound the Mormon Bible

in a loud and aggressive manner to everyone within hearing. Grow-

ing more and more fervent, he denounced as infidels all who pre-

sumed to challenge his statements, and created such a hubbub that

the innkeeper had to order him out of the place. His parting shot

was that all who believed in Mormonism would see Christ in

fifteen years, but all who did not so believe would be damned.

Such tactics were scarcely the best way to win friends and influence

people. But the evidence is clear that Harris' approach to Gentiles

was fairly typical. The forcing of preaching and argument on the

indifferent, the vigorous denunciation and damning of all who would

not believe, was characteristic. It alienated many. Brigham Young,

the administrator and diplomat of the church, was evidently con-

scious of this failing of his more zealous colleagues, for he made

this significant comment in a sermon:


I know that when I have traveled with some of the Twelve, and one of

them has asked for breakfast, dinner, supper, or lodging, we have been

refused dozens of times. Now, you may think that I am going to boast a

little; I will brag a little of my own tact and talent . . . when I had the

privilege of asking, I was never turned away--no, not a single time.

Would I go into the house and say to them, "I am a Mormon Elder;

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 15

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland                 15


will you feed me?" It was none of their business who I was. But when

I asked, "Will you give me something to eat?" the reply was, invariably,

"Yes." And we would sit and talk, and sing, and make ourselves familiar

and agreeable; and before our departure, after they had learned who we

were, they would frequently ask, "Will you not stay and preach for us?"

and proffer to gather in the members of their family and their neighbors;

and the feeling would be, "Well, if this is Mormonism, I will feed all

the Mormon Elders that come." Whereas, if I had said, "I am a Mormon

Elder; will you feed me?" the answer would often have been "No; out of

my house."10

The fact that Young makes such a point of his own ingenious

courtesy shows that he well knew it to have been an exception.

There is little doubt that a great deal of the trouble met by the

Mormons at Kirtland was due to their missionary zeal, which was

almost always more fervent than courteous. To be blunt, there was

added to the more grave objections on theological and economic

grounds, the fact that they tended to be a nuisance.

By April another cause of mistrust between Mormon and Gentile

appeared in the Telegraph. Under a heading "Fanaticism," there

appeared (April 5) an account of the death of one Warren Doty,

a Mormon convert who refused medical treatment except such as

was extended by the Saints via the laying on of hands and similar

ceremonials. The patient died, but not, according to the Telegraph,

before repenting his aberration and warning others that there was

really no help in the new tenets.

This was evidently not the only clash between Saint and Gentile

in matters medical. Two years later the Cleveland Herald reprinted

a significant story from the Rochester Daily Advertiser under the

heading "Mormonism and the Small Pox."

There having been several cases of small pox in the village of Jamestown,

Chautauque [sic] county [said the Rochester editor], a committee of citizens

was appointed to take measures to prevent its spreading. In their report

the committee state that their efforts have been hindered by a sect calling

themselves Mormonites, who profess to believe that the disorder will not

attack them, neither could they spread it, although they might come in

contact with others not protected, even if the small pox matter covered


10 Journal of Discourses by Brigham Young (19 vols., Liverpool, 1854-78), IV,


16 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

16      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


them. Notwithstanding their belief, one of the Mormons had been seized

with the disease, and it is feared that this would be the means of scattering

the infection through the country.11


Whether similar resistance to public health measures was met

at Kirtland, can not be learned, but it is evident that publication

of such stories must have led to a general belief that such would be

the case in an emergency. Thus another point of friction appears--

the eternal conflict between the believers in standard medical prac-

tice and the believers in faith healing. In this case as in others,

the Mormons persisted in putting themselves before the community

as a people specially set aside and favored by God--a proclamation

that has always and everywhere irritated those presumbably less


In the spring of 1831 the inflow of people either from the New

York state headwaters or from other sections in which missionaries

had made converts and then directed them to Kirtland, was be-

ginning to look like a flood. A. G. Riddle says:

One almost wondered if the whole world were centering at Kirtland.

They came, men, women, and children, in every conceivable manner, some

with horses, oxen, and vehicles rough and rude, while others had walked

all or part of the distance. The future "City of the Saints" appeared like

one beseiged. Every available house, shop, hut, or barn was filled to its

utmost capacity. Even boxes were roughly extemporized and used for

shelter until something more permanent could be secured.12


Some were people of high purpose and character. But others

were less admirable. A short time later Smith had to order his

apostles to stop sending people to Kirtland, as they were unable

properly to accommodate the flood of converts. The system ordained

of God at the moment was that all converts made over all their

property to the church, that is, to Smith, and then all were to

receive back a "social stake" of land and housing with a guarantee

of communal support. It would be strange if this did not appeal

more to those without property than to those more heavily endowed,


11 Cleveland Herald, May 25, 1833.

12 Williams Brothers, pub., History of Geauga and Lake Counties (Philadelphia,

1878), 248.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 17

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland              17


and if among those who had nothing to put into the common pot

at the outset there were not some with an eye to the endowment

they had been promised.

On Sunday the roads leading to Kirtland were crowded with farm

wagons bringing whole families to see and hear the new prophet.

To those already inclined to the more emotional and spectacular

phases of the religious life, it seemed to offer a new experience.

To the skeptical, it was certainly the best show in northern Ohio,

and Smith himself was apparently not unconscious of theatrical

values. He bought from a traveling showman, Michael H. Chandler,

four Egyptian mummies and several papyri, and began to translate

the latter as the works of Abraham and Joseph.13 The mummies

were almost certainly exhibited to visitors at Kirtland,14 and it is

definitely known that they were so exhibited later at Nauvoo, at

twenty-five cents admission charge.15

The Mormon Church is notable today for its missionary zeal, and

it was even more so in its early days. Practically every convert was

immediately sent out to bring more people into the fold, and this

aggressive, this militant evangelism immediately aroused opposition

of the clergy and devout laymen of existing and rival denominations.

In Kirtland itself, what with Rigdon's wholesale conversion of

his whole congregation and the constant arrival of converts at the

"place of gathering" from New York and other communities where

the hard work of the missionaries bore fruit, there was more trouble

within the church than there was from the Gentiles. But when the

church reached out into other small communities trouble began.

Smith opened a small general store in Hiram, and set about planting

a "stake of Zion" there. The conversion of the Rev. Ezra Booth, a

Methodist, and Symonds Ryder, a Disciple elder, seemed to offer

as good a chance as that of Rigdon had presented at Kirtland. But

both these men, after investigating the Mormon organization from

within, apostatized and became bitter opponents. The progress made

at Hiram was suddenly halted when on the night of March 25, 1832,


13 M. R. Werner, Brigham Young (New York, 1925), 77-79.

14 Linn, Story of the Mormons, 141. Linn says that for fifty cents people were later

taken up into the attic of the Mormon temple and shown the mummies.

15 Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past from the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston,

1883), 387.

18 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

18      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


both Smith and Rigdon were dragged from their beds by a lynch

mob, and coated with tar and feathers.

The exact makeup of such a lynch mob is always difficult to

ascertain. Ryder said it was made up of "citizens from Shalersville,

Garrettsville, and Hiram," and blamed the bitter feeling on the fact

that certain converts had learned "the horrid fact that a plot was

laid to take their property from them and place it under the control

of Smith the prophet."16 It seems hard to credit in full Ryder's

alleged horror at the communistic phase of the Kirtland "gathering-

place," but it seems to be grounded in a feeling that converts were

not told the full implications of this phase until it was too late.

Smith later said that Ryder himself was of the mob. Smith was,

fortunately, neither injured nor intimidated sufficiently to prevent

his preaching the next day, but it is clear that thus early the Mormon

movement had roused violent enough opposition, centered in rival

denominations, to provoke mob violence. Though this was six years

before the Mormons left Kirtland, and was the only instance in

which violence was offered them there, it shows that from the very

first, friction of the most bitter kind had been engendered.

Another tiny spot of light is shed on the antipathies leading to

this disgraceful affair by a letter to the editor of the Geauga Gazette,

Painesville, printed in the issue of April 17, 1832. The writer

skeletonized the facts of the incident, and then commented:


Now, Mr. Editor, I call this a base transaction, an unlawful act, a work

of darkness, a diabolical trick. But bad as it is, it proves one important

truth which every wise man knew before, that is, that Satan hath more

power than the pretended prophets of Mormon. It is said that they (Smith

& Rigdon) had declared, in anticipation of such an event, that it could not

be done--that God would not suffer it; that those who should attempt it,

would be miraculously smitten on the spot, and many such like things,

which the event proves to be false.

The letter is unsigned. But it might well be from one of the mob

itself, by its smack of village atheist bravado. Still, it does contain


16 Letter from Ryder to A. S. Hayden, February 1, 1868, in Hayden, Early History

of the Disciples, 220-221.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 19

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland            19

one more suggestion of an irritating attitude on the part of Smith

and Rigdon.

Despite the constant sending of key men to Independence,

Missouri, to set up the true Zion (which was established almost

contemporaneously with, and not much later than the Kirtland

"stake"), the Kirtland settlement continued to grow and prosper.

By 1837 it was a community of 3,000 people, tripled in population

in six years, and boasted 300 homes.17 Thus the established re-

ligions not only had a spiritual rival, but the adjacent towns like

Painesville and Warren had a commercial rival. Many of the new

houses, by the way, were built by Brigham Young in his capacity as

carpenter, painter, and glazier. A general store, a steam sawmill,

and a tannery (all of which lost money) were established.

A boom town always arouses enmity and envy in neighboring

towns whose growth is less spectacular. But as the town grew, so

did its proportion of the township population. And this raised the

inevitable political problem well set forth in a letter to the Painesville

Telegraph on April 17, 1835. The writer complained that the

Mormons were already "nearly a majority in the township and

every man votes as directed by the Prophet and his Elders." The

writer went on to charge that the Mormons and the Jacksonites had

made a working arrangement to share the "spoils" of the township.

The letter reflected in fairly typical manner the deeply grounded

American suspicion of any minority whose vote can be "delivered"

in a package at the will of leadership. Thus to a rivalry already

spiritual and economic, there was added political rivalry as well.

It should be remembered that the Western Reserve of 1830-40

ran high with nationalistic sentiment. Many of the residents were

veterans of the Revolution or of the War of 1812 or both, or the

children of such men. And the political aspect of Mormonism re-

specting their loyalty to the country was in a small way as important

in Kirtland as it became later on in Utah, when "the Mormon

problem" became a national issue. As early as December 25, 1832,

Smith declared that God was about to make "a full end of all


17 Jenkins, Ohio Gazetteer, 248.

20 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

20      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


nations," and that they were about to institute "the real govern-

ment of God."18 This kind of talk was certain to disturb the

nationalistic Western Reserve, especially as the Mormons seemed

to be supporting it with separatist activity in an increasingly self-

sufficient community.

It is significant that only after 1838 did Smith begin to see that

the United States Constitution protected such minorities as his own.

It was then that his revelations blended "the kingdom of God"

with "the mission of America." The Mormon battalion sent to the

Mexican War, and the eventual submission to law in the matter

of polygamy came long after Kirtland.

In the December 1835 issue of the Latter Day Saints Messenger

and Advocate there appeared the following letter from Joseph


Dear Brother, I wish to inform my friends and all others, abroad, that

whenever they wish to address me thro' the Post Office, they will be kind

enough to pay the postage on the same. My friends will excuse me in this

matter, as I am willing to pay postage on letters to hear from them; but am

unwilling to pay for insults and menaces,--consequently, must refuse all,

unpaid. Yours in the gospel, Joseph Smith Jr., Kirtland, Dec. 5, 1835.


While this letter, with its tone of rather patient forbearance,

presents one of the most ingratiating glimpses of Smith, it also

reveals that there must have been a significant volume of local

enmity even two years before the abandonment of the Kirtland


The communized phase of the first establishment soon gave way

to a system of tithing. Each new communicant then gave to the

church not all, but a tenth of his property and annual income,

plus one day's labor in seven. It was in this way that the temple

was built. Its cornerstone was laid July 24, 1833; the dedication

ceremonies began March 27, 1836, and lasted through the 31st.

There was washing of feet, angels were seen in the new temple by

the faithful, and pillars of fire above it; many spoke "in tongues,"

18 G. Homer Durham, "A Political Interpretation of Mormon History," Pacific

Historical Review, XIII (1944), 136.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 21

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland           21


and so fine a show drew spectators from all the neighboring towns

and farms. It is likely that while all were fascinated, many were


The Mormons had reached the height of their prosperity and

power at Kirtland. The town was buzzing with activity, and real

estate speculation was active, as it was elsewhere. The Saints were

no exception, though their speculations were always enhazed with

a cloud of divine revelation commanding them, which had the

double effect of making some trustful and hence the more dis-

illusioned when the end came. But it is always important to re-

member in connection with the Mormon finances that they were

only a little worse than those of the rest of the country, and not

independent of the factors which brought on the general panic of

1837. Four months after dedication of the temple President Jackson

issued the Specie Circular, requiring that all payments for public

lands be made in specie. This was an effort to hold down land

speculation, but it adversely affected all the banks which had been

financing such speculation, including the Mormon bank at Kirtland.

The Kirtland Safety Society was organized November 21, 1836.

An effort to get a state charter failed. The state legislature, under

control of the "no bank," or Locofoco, party, was committed to a

program of putting the brakes on wildcat banking, and chartered

only one bank at this session. But Smith insisted that he was being

discriminated against and was highly indignant. Word of the re-

jection of the charter arrived January 1, 1837, together with bundles

of notes engraved in the East for the bank's use. Reorganization of

the bank proceeded notwithstanding, but with one eye on the

refusal of a charter, as will appear later.

Capital of $4,000,000 was provided, at a time when only three

established banks in the whole state had capitalization as high as

one million (all these were in Cincinnati). The paid-in capital of

the Western Reserve Bank of Warren was only $165,000, that of

the Bank of Geauga at Painesville was $87,000, and even that of

the Commercial Bank of Lake Erie at Cleveland was only $400,000.19

As a matter of fact the entire paid-in capital of all of the thirty-two


19 Jenkins, Ohio Gazetteer.

22 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

22       Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


banks in Ohio at this time was only $9,247,397,20 so it is plain

that the new banking venture was at best highly visionary.

Just how visionary is reflected in the articles under which it was

reorganized, January 2, 1837. One article plainly stated that "we,

the individual members of said firm, hereby hold ourselves bound

for the redemption of all [its] notes,"21 and this article was the

only one not subject to later amendment. As a matter of fact, when

the bank later collapsed, all of these guarantors simply left the

state with no effort to meet the responsibility they had voluntarily

assumed. The article continued, "We individually bind ourselves to

each other under the penal sum of $100,000."

Exactly what this meant is not clear, but it is established that

there were no holdings approaching $100,000 among the lot; hence

the guarantee meant nothing in reality.

Ignoring the formality of charter, the bank began immediately

to issue notes. An early example in the Western Reserve Historical

Society, a $5 note of "The Kirtland Safety Society Bank," is an

engraved piece, but the number and date (February 10, 1837) are

filled in with a pen, and the note is made out "To O. P. Good

or bearer" and signed in ink by Smith as cashier and Rigdon as


For about a month the notes circulated readily and were highly

regarded by most receivers, although some were dubious from the

start, as an incident related to the editors of the History of Geauga

and Lake Counties makes clear:

Mr. D. B. Hart, of Mentor, informs us that he received the first Mormon

bill that was placed in circulation by this bank. He happened to be in

Kirtland the Saturday evening preceding the Monday morning on which

the bank was first opened for business, and, having a debt against some

of the chief Mormon worthies, was, upon requesting payment, proffered

one of the new Mormon ten-dollar bank bills. He received it, but the next

Monday morning, finding it impossible to use it for any legitimate commercial

ends, he presented it to the officers of the bank, demanding its redemption in

something which should pass for a legal tender among his neighbors. They

20 Niles' Register, cited by Cleveland Daily Advertiser, April 10, 1837.

21 Cleveland Liberalist, January 21, 1837. A paper of strong free-thought tendencies,

the Liberalist was none the less very popular at Kirtland.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 23

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland                23


were very reluctant to oblige him, and, in fact, refused to do so until he

threatened them with the law, when some one, not an officer of the bank,

stepped up to him and proffered him a genuine ten-dollar bill in exchange

for his spurious one.22

With such difficulty in passing the bills, it was necessary to go

farther afield, and many were unloaded in Canada, in the East, and

in Cleveland. Sometime after the charter was refused and the bank

reorganized, the engraved bills were overprinted with a legend

making them read, "The Kirtland Safety Society anti-BANK-ing

Co." The word "Bank" was large, ornate, and conspicuous, and the

qualifying "anti" and "ing Co." were small and relatively in-

conspicuous. It is hard to construe such procedure as anything but

a bald attempt to evade the law and to deceive those who should

accept the notes. There may also have been behind this strange

maneuver some thought of profiting by "anti-bank" sentiment, which

was mounting rapidly just then.

The carelessness of the operation is shown by notes in the col-

lections of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Though re-

organization as an "anti-BANK-ing" company took place January 2,

1837, notes were still being issued on the original "Bank" forms at

least a month after the reorganization. Less than a month after the

reorganization, the shaky nature of the whole venture was strongly

suspected in Cleveland. Under the heading "Mormon Bank," this

notice appeared:


It is reported here that the Kirtland Safety Society anti-Bank-ing Co.

have refused to redeem their issues, unless the holders will take real

estate. We understand also that they have stopped discounting, and will

not discount again till they obtain a charter. Report says they have issued

bills to the amount of $36,000.23

Similar reports circulated in Cleveland, and within a month of

the bank's reorganization, everybody was trying to get rid of the

bank's paper.

It would be surprising if a great deal more than $36,000 in the


22 Williams Brothers, History of Geauga and Lake Counties, 248.

23 Ohio City Argus, January 26, 1837.

24 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

24      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


bills was not issued. The exact amount may never be determined,

but the best estimates place it between $50,000 and $100,000.

Daniel P. Kidder believed that no more than $5,000 in specie

capital was ever actually paid in,24 despite the fact that converts

were expected to lend their money to the Lord, "or suffer the

curse of God."25

Cyrus Smalling, secretary to Smith at Kirtland for a time, wrote

in 1841 that some $6,000 in specie was collected through a frantic

appeal to the whole membership of the sect. He charged that a

hundred or more heavy boxes, all alike, were prepared and filled

with lead and shot. The specie was then used as a top layer in

several of these, and those who questioned the bank's soundness

were then shown these boxes and allowed to infer that the others

were similarly filled with silver coin.26 It does not seem possible to

substantiate this rather fanciful tale.

The exact truth about the finances of the bank venture will

probably never be known, for if there are records surviving today,

they do not seem to be available. The individuals and the or-

ganization were both heavily in debt, and cash capital was simply

not to be had. The suggestion that the notes be redeemed in real

estate was pathetic, for even Mormon sources admit that frenzied

speculation had run wild: "Real estate rose from 100 to 800 per

cent and in many cases more; notes, deeds and mortgages passed

and repassed till all, or nearly all, supposed they had become


The whole of northern Ohio was involved in a Florida-like real

estate boom. The state's population grew sixty-two percent in the

thirties as compared to a national average of thirty-two percent.

"City lots" were actually sold practically all the way from Buffalo

along the lake shore to Toledo.28 The vision was not distorted--

only the timing. A hundred and fifty years were to be needed for

realization instead of six months.

24 Daniel P. Kidder, Mormonism and the Mormons (New York, 1842), 128.

25 Williams Brothers, History of Geauga and Lake Counties, 248.

26 Letter quoted in E. G. Lee, The Mormons; or Knavery Exposed (Philadelphia,


27 Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate, June 1, 1837.

28 Guy V. Salisbury, "The Speculative Craze of '36," Publications of the Buffalo

Historical Society, IV (1896), 317-337.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 25

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland            25


The temple itself, which stood legally in the name of Smith,

always had a debt of between $15,000 and $20,000 on its $40,000

cost, and the constant transfer of property had about the same effect,

in small, as it had in Florida in the twenties; a completely unreal

set of values was built up, and thus even the unliquid and inflated

real estate constituted no valid backing for the issued bank notes.

None the less, the people accepted them. In a frontier society

already flooded with wildcat bank notes, when the newspapers were

studded with notices of counterfeits and repudiated issues, the

Mormon notes did not seem conspicuously worse than others. And

many an emigrant train was fitted out with goods paid for with

"anti-banking" notes. Gradually it dawned on many holders that

the skepticism which they applied to the Mormon doctrines ought

to have been equally extended to their notes.

The faith of those who had hoped that notes issued practically

at the direct command of God himself would be better than those

of more material-minded banks was summarily dashed. An example

is given by J. H. Kennedy, who says a Pittsburgh banker loaded a

satchel full of them and set off for Kirtland for a personal in-

vestigation. He called on Rigdon and Smith, who after a few

generalities as to the prosperity of the Kirtland venture, replied

with a glowing account of the soundness of the bank. The Pitts-

burgher expressed his pleasure, opened his satchel, and asked that

the enclosed notes be redeemed as their face specifically promised.

Rigdon promptly declined, saying that the notes had been issued

"as a circulating medium for the accommodation of the people,"

and that to redeem them in hard cash would thwart that laudable

purpose. The Pittsburgh banker returned home with all his notes,

and one more man, at least, knew they were worthless.29

In August, Joseph Smith formally renounced the bank in a state-

ment in the Messenger and Advocate, one of the church's official

organs.30 The final crash came in November 1837. The bank (or

anti-bank, as one prefers) closed its doors and officially suspended

payment. The New York banks had suspended specie payment in


29 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 163.

30 Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Lamoni,

Iowa, 1908).

26 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

26      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


May, six months before, and hundreds of other banks were follow-

ing in their wake. So there is really nothing extraordinary in the

Kirtland bank failure except its intimate connection with the church.

This Smith tried to deny in his later writings. But that did not

convince those who held worthless notes signed by the prophet

himself and by Rigdon, one of his chief administrative and spiritual

aides. Probably there was a special bitterness among the losers of

the Kirtland bank in that many had accepted its paper because of

their trust in its religious connection. Thus distrust, anger, and

hatred, already prevalent, mounted higher and higher against the


The closing of the bank was the death knell of the Kirtland

"stake." It was not the cause, nor even the principal cause, but it

was the final notice that the experiment was over. Smith tried

desperately to defend the bank failure, claiming that it was due

to a defalcation of $25,000 by Warren Parrish, a clerk.3l That

defense was not only rejected by the holders of "anti-bank" paper

among the Gentiles, it was not even acceptable to many within the

fold. The church was shaken by bitter accusations against Smith

himself, by the rise of a "reform" group, by unauthorized prophesies

and revelations, by widespread apostasy, and by a general and

tumultuous uprising.

It is easy for church authorities to blame the abandonment of

Kirtland on "persecution." It is easy for non-church authorities to

blame it on the bank failure and the economic situation at Kirtland.

But it must not be forgotten that the church was at this very

moment shaken to its foundations by internal dissension, and that

one of the soundest moves from a policy standpoint was an actual

physical removal. A removal toward the real Zion had always been

promised. A removal farther west where real estate matters were

a bit less formal, would enable the organization to do what so

many individuals did at that time--shake off tangled and ruinous

affairs, and begin again. Finally, a removal would automatically

separate the sheep from the goats, the faithful from the apostate;


31 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 164.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 27

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland             27


for in a new hegira into the wilderness of the West, the apostate

would seek no place.

Only great firmness on the part of Smith, Rigdon, and Young

held the tottering church together. The very temple itself was the

scene of wild tumults. During one such session the elder Smith,

Joseph's father, accused Parrish of irregularities regarding the bank.

Parrish, indignant, "dragged the old gentleman from the pulpit."

William Smith, the patriarch's son and brother of the prophet,

came to his father's rescue. While he was carrying Parrish bodily

out of the temple, one of the apostates, a supporter of Parrish,

threatened Smith with a sword-cane.32 That the prophet's supporters

in his own church could not prevent such stormy episodes shows

to what a desperate pass the movement had come.

Every opponent outside the church seized the moment to press

every sort of legal claim, and the sheriff became a daily visitor. He

was really no stranger to Kirtland, for the Kirtland Mormons had

always been what is today called "litigation-prone." Dr. Philastus

Hurlbut, the apostate enemy, was accused of a plot to kill Smith,

but the somewhat bored court, finding no particular evidence in

support, placed Hurlbut on $200 bond to keep the peace. Then

Smith was accused of plotting to kill Grandison Newell, an in-

veterate enemy of the Mormons, but again there was no credible

evidence, and Smith was in turn placed on a peace bond. In view

of the turn affairs took later on in Missouri, these accusations look

more serious than they were on either side; and partisans of either

side still take them seriously. The fact remains that in neither case

was serious evidence presented that led the courts to take a more

than perfunctory view of the accusations.

The civil actions at the time of the bank difficulties were more

serious and supported by more reliable evidence. Smith, Rigdon,

and Whitney were all placed on $8,000 bond for failure to meet

a note given to the bank at Painesville. Smith, Rigdon, and Cowdery

as endorsers for one of the Mormon commercial enterprises, had

judgment entered against them, and the temple was mortgaged


32 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years of Mormonism (Salt Lake City, 1909),


28 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

28      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

against New York debts for merchandise bought for the various

commercial enterprises at Kirtland--stores, mills, and the like--all

of which turned out to be commercial failures.

In March 1837 one S. D. Rounds filed an information in the

Geauga County courts charging violation of the banking laws, and

demanding a penalty of $1,000. The law provided that informers

in such cases were to share in the penalty money in the event

of conviction, and the motive of Rounds may have been no higher

than the hope of making a few dollars for himself. The Mormons

argued it was even lower, namely, to destroy their church. Actually,

the bank officials were all arrested under ordinary and due process

of law, bailed, and in October, convicted. They appealed on the

ground that they were an association not a bank, but in November

the bank closed and the accused persons left the jurisdiction, with

the result that there was never any final legal determination of

the matter.

Thirteen suits were brought against Smith between June 1837

and April 1839 in an effort to collect debts of $25,000, plus damages

of $35,000. The various leaders of the Mormons were in debt for

sums estimated as high as $150,000.33 There were almost daily

suits for foreclosure of lands bought but not paid for by individual

Saints or by the church itself.

A grandiose plan for an elaborate real estate development to

be called Kirtland City never got beyond registry of the plot. A

future city had been laid out with 32 streets, making 225 blocks

of 20 lots each--to be sold in exactly the same way in which Boca

Raton was projected by Addison Mizner in Florida a hundred years

later. But Kirtland City never got beyond a hope and a dream.

Probably this projection is responsible for the guess that one

intention of the Saints at Kirtland was to make a lot of money in

real estate and then use it in developing the real Zion in the West.

In this flurry of litigation the prophet had to defend himself in

the mortgaged temple itself in long and tumultuous sessions. This

he did with great resolution. There was a wave of apostasy, and

Smith fought desperately to prevent the whole organization from


33 Brodie, No Man Knows My History, 202.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 29

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland             29


collapsing about his head. In this furnace of controversy the metals

were being refined, and those who stuck by Smith and his family

at that time were the hard core of devotion which carried the sect

through the more terrible trials of Missouri and the ultimate success

in Utah. Brigham Young, for example, never wavered in his loyalty,

yet Young, always a man with a fine eye for the practical, had

already departed for the West December 22, 1837. Early in January

of the next year there came a rumor that Smith and Rigdon were

about to be served with a warrant on a charge of fraud in con-

nection with the bank. The rumor happened not to be true, but

since the accuser was said to be Grandison Newell, their old and

implacable enemy, it seemed likely enough, and at ten o'clock of

the bitterly cold night of January 12, 1838, Smith and Rigdon

secretly left Kirtland on horseback, intent on getting as many miles

as possible between them and any possible pursuit that might be

organized. There was none.

Smith wrote later that he fled "to escape mob violence, which

was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process."34

There is no evidence to support the suggestion that Smith was in

danger of physical violence at the time.

Two days later the printing house with all its contents was sold

by the sheriff to one of the reform opponents of Smith, and the

next night it burned to the ground. The possibility that it was fired

by partisans of Smith is suggested by a newspaper story at Cleveland.

"The Mormon Society of Kirtland is breaking up," wrote this

scribe. "Smith and Rigdon, after prophesying the destruction of the

town, left in the night. The Reformers are in Possession of the

Temple, and have excluded the Smith and Rigdon party."35

Though Smith and Young had left Kirtland, the mass migration

did not take place until six months afterward, in July. At that time

a caravan of more than five hundred men and women left for

the West in a wagon-train called by the church historians "The

Kirtland Camp." Their departure was quite peaceable. The atmos-

34 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 169, citing the Evening and Morning Star

(no date), an official organ of the Mormon Church.

35 Cleveland Herald and Gazette, January 25, 1838, quoted by Kennedy, Early Days

of Mormonism, 170.

30 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

30       Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


phere at the time of this migration may be recreated from a letter

written from Madison by C. E. Emery, who had just arrived in the

Western Reserve, to parents in Andover, New Hampshire.

After describing a rough trip along the lake from Buffalo to

Madison and the meeting with relatives, the author continued:

We visited the great Mormon Temple that was built by Joseph Smith &

Sidney Rigdon two Mormon leaders. They profess to have revalations [sic]

from the Lord and declared to the people all around that the Lord had

given them the Land all around in the vicinity of the Temple and that the

fullness of the Gentiles should be brought in, for their use and benefit;

but they have proved themselves so basely dishonest in their dealings that

they have been under the necessity of leaveing [sic] their Temple and

Village. The leaders left in the night in order to evade pursuit. Smith &

Rigdon with some of their followers went on to Missourie [sic] when they

left Kirtland and many of their followers has left; a few days since between

six and seven hundred more of them left with seventy loaded waggons and

seventy Cows, all started in one day together for the promised land.36

This impression is valuable, for the newcomer was not embroiled

in preceding conflicts, and gave a rather dispassionate report of

the state of feeling regarding this "monument of Folly and ex-

travagance." It is significant that the first difficulty cited to him

was the issue of property and the vague claims to all the land and

property in the vicinity. No matter how figuratively intended, such

talk did not reassure the Mormons' neighbors, at Kirtland or


There are bits of evidence that some members of the early

Mormon community at Kirtland were not highly regarded per.

sonally. Smith and Young always insisted that their "persecution'

was due solely to religious grounds and related to the principle

of freedom of thought. But there is evidence that some of those

gathered at Kirtland were less than admirable in their persona

relations with neighbors (in contrast with the quite strict persona

rectitude of other sects like the Amish, Mennonites, and Oneidans)


36 The letter is in the Western Reserve Historical Society, where nothing is know

of the Emery family. The letter itself evidences people of obvious intelligence an

cultivation, however. This letter has never been published.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 31

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland                31


Horace Greeley noted that a new sect was always traduced and

decried, but he could not remember that any of the others "was

ever generally represented and regarded by the other sects of their

early days as thieves, robbers, and murderers."37 Such beliefs as to

various individuals "gathered" at Kirtland were common among

their neighbors, whether justified or not.38

Within a few days of the departure of the main body, the temple

and village of the Mormons became the objects of sightseers'

curiosity. Some of the converts who did not go west apostatized,

and a few drifted away under schismatic leaders. Kirtland itself

was almost deserted until its houses gradually filled up again to

resume the normal tenor of a much smaller country village of fewer

than 1,000 people. It was not until years later that the Reorganized

Church secured legal ownership of the temple and began to conduct

it as it is still conducted today.

One of the elements that led to the unpopularity of the Mormon

activities at Kirtland was the rumor that polygamy was being

practiced there. The exact truth of this is hard to determine, for

details of highly personal life are not usually a matter of record or

even of common knowledge. Only later at Nauvoo did Smith

publicly announce his divine revelation commanding plural marriage,

spiritual wives, "sealing," and all that led to the later bitterness

at Salt Lake.

But whether polygamy as an institution existed at Kirtland, it

is clear that some believed this to be the case, or at least credited

rumors of a certain unorthodoxy in the relationships of some of the

men and women at Kirtland. And men's actions are based on what

they believe to be true, not necessarily on what is true. So intimate

a question as to the exact time when God told Smith that polygamy

was his commandment is difficult to answer with precision. There

is some evidence that the first such revelation was already made at

Kirtland in 1831, but that in view of its explosive possibilities Smith


37 Horace Greeley, An Overland Journey (New York, 1860), 214.

38 There are letters at the Western Reserve Historical Society, unsigned and

therefore to be accepted only with reserve, which accuse some of the Mormon com-

munity of sheep stealing and other unneighborly acts.

32 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

32      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


did not generally reveal it then, merely discussing it with a few of

his trusted Elders.39

In the first edition of Smith's Book of Doctrine and Covenants,

there appears this statement: "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ

has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy,

we declare that one man should have one wife, and one woman one

husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry

again."40 The fact that such explicit denials and explanations were

made at all is pretty clear evidence that people already believed

and were spreading the rumor that polygamy was being practiced

at Kirtland. Such rumors, true or not, can scarcely have added

anything to the popularity of the sect among its strait-laced


The Mormon exodus from Kirtland is often thought of as all

of a piece with the violent expulsions from Missouri. It was not so.

The only physical violence that ever marred the Kirtland episode

was not at Kirtland at all, but at Hiram, and it occurred six years

before the mass exodus from Kirtland.

The incontrovertible facts are these: the Mormons never expected

to stay in Kirtland indefinitely, Zion being farther west. They left

it when conditions became intolerable--when a combination of

financial collapse and internal dissension made a complete uprooting

and new establishment absolutely necessary.

Their physical property, their homes, their farms, their stores

and industries, their very temple itself, were all about to be lost

by foreclosure. Church authorities have always described this as

"legal persecution," and there is no doubt that some of the creditors,

like Grandison Newell, who boasted that he "drove the Mormons

out of Kirtland," got special pleasure out of enforcing their legal

rights. On the other hand, the eastern merchants who had delivered

thousands of dollars' worth of goods which were sold at the Mormon

stores, had a right to get such payment as they could, without the

cry of persecution being raised. The plain fact is that the Mormon

dissipated their physical "stake" in a riot of speculative excess.

39 J. F. Gibbs, Lights and Shadows of Mormonism (Salt Lake City, 1909), 98-10;

40 Quoted in Werner, Brigham Young, 96.

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland 33

Gentile and Saint at Kirtland           33


Internal dissension had become so bitter and general that good

tactics dictated a move westward where a new beginning could be

made after shedding the weak and wavering. The personnel of the

Kirtland experiment lacked a hard core of devotion; the leadership

lacked experience. Those two elements teamed together in sur-

viving the Missouri tragedy and achieving the ultimate success in

Utah. Smith and Young were "learning their trade" as leaders at

Kirtland, while those who like Rigdon never learned the elements

of leadership were discarded.

Those are the immediate and practical reasons for the trek from

Kirtland. But it is quite possible that neither would have been com-

pelling had relations with the rest of the community been normal.