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LDS Missouri Period
Home TB Marsh Affidavit S Rigdon July 4 speech Mormon War Letters 1838 Chronology



My particular interest is Missouri Mormon History.  Of this time ( 1831 - 1838 ), I concentrate on 1838.

  1. The 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 site.
  2. For an excellent map of Missouri by John Hamer, to see where this all took place:

  3. Caldwell County was the county dedicated to the Mormons.  John's excellent map of Caldwell County:

  4. Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation.  This organization is doing archaeological work at Far West Missouri.  They have several documents on this site that are well done.
  5. 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 of affairs."

    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.

  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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  
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. Caldwell County History - In 1876, a history of Caldwell County was written.  A large section was on the 1838 Missouri Mormon war.  See http://members.tripod.com/kingscrossfarm/caldwell_history/Morman_war.htm for details.  Note that there are many more links on the right.
  14. For a list of the meetings of the Mormon military in 1838, see http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/resth11.htm
  15. 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.
  16. Edward Partridge Tarred and Feathered - Kenison
  17. Book of Commandments saved - Kenison
  18. Picture of Governor Boggs' Grave
  19. Zelph story journal extracts - Goble
  20. Zion's camp protected from mob - Kenison
  21. Zion's Camp - Kenison
  22. Joseph Smith on Animals - Kenison
  23. Missouri Persecution - Kenison
  24. Lucy Mack Smith before a mob - Kenison
  25. Missouri Expulsion - Kenison
  26. Falling Stars - Kenison
  27. Wilford Woodruff's mission - Kenison



  1. Alexander L. Baugh, A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1996.
  2. 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).
  3. 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 (1989).
  4. 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 (1988).
  5. Arnold K. Garr and Clark V. Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Missouri, BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine (1994).
  6. Leland H. Gentry, A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836 to 1839, BYU Dissertation (1965).
  7. Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith Volume 1: Autobiographical and Historical Writings, Deseret Book Company (1989).
        _____, The Papers of Joseph Smith Volume 2: Journal 1832-1842, Deseret Book Company (1992).
        _____, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Company (1984).
  8. Clark V. Johnson, Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict, BYU Religious Studies Center (1992).
  9. Roger D. Launius, Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate, University of Missouri Press (1997).
  10. Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher, eds., Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History, University of Illinois Press (1994).
  11. Stephen C. LeSueur, The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, University of Missouri Press (1987).
  12. Parley P. Pratt, Autobiograph of Parley P. Pratt.
  13. Kenneth H. Winn, Exiles in a Land of Liberty: Mormons in America, 1830-1846, University of North Carolina Press (1989).




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Last modified: March 19, 2006