From Historian to Dissident
Bruce N. Westergren, editor
Retreat to Kirtland
[p.135]Joseph the seer began to set in order the Church in this country.
Commenced to organize a high counsel [in Missouri] according to the Patron [pattern] received in Kirtland[,] Ohio. After which Joseph Smith Jr. F[rederick]. G. Williams and others returned to Kirtland and the Saints remained in their places of abode to wait the due time of the Lord to be redeemed from wicked mobbers.1
We the inhabitants of Zion wrote an appeal signed by W. W. Phelps; David Whitmer, John Whitmer, E. Partridge, John Corrill, I. Morl[e]y, P. P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, Newel Knight, T[homas]. B. Marsh, Simeon Carter and Calvin Bebee. Missouri July 1834 and Published at Kirtland in an extra Star Aug. 1834 (insert here)
The above appeal and the following petition was accompanied. The petition reads as follows.
[p.136]To his Excellency Daniel Dunklin Governor of the State of Mo.
The undersigned respect fully show.
That a large number of the citizens of the United States, inhabitants of the State of Mo. professing to be the Church of latter day saints, wrongfully called “Mormons,” having been illegally and cruelly been driven from their lands and homes, in Jackson Co. Mo. by a lawless mob. (as your excellency has already been informed.) should by some ample means be restored, to their possessions and rights: But as the said mob of Jackson Co has considerably spread itself and organized into an independant branch of government, by appointing a “commander in chief,” and by preparing to resist the said church even to blood shed, and that too, with not only the common weapons used for self defence and military discipline, But with “Cannon.”—Therefore your petitioners humbly ask your Excellency, while the said church is preparing to return, to petition the President of the United States for a guard of troops to be stationed in Jackson Co. sufficient to protect this unfortunate people in thier rights as well as imposing enough to quell the Jackson Co. Mob, for the honor of the State of Mo.
In asking this favor of the Governor while such great mob as that of July last in the City of N. York, and others; in other States, have been promptly put down by Military or other exhertion, your petitioners feel confident, that he will use all honorable means, to restore this suffering body of citizens to all their constitutional rights and enjoyments, for the good of society and the safety of freemen, at the same time sparing no pains to bring mobbers to Justice, and crush mobbing [p.137]in a country which professes to be governed by wholesome laws; and your petitioners will ever pray.
While all the foregoing letters and petitions were circulating the saints were humbling themselves before the Lord. but some were making preperation to leave the land others, were doubting the truth of the book of Mormon, others denying the faith, others growing in grace and <in> the knowledge of the truth.
April 28, 1835.
This day myself and family by in company with W. W. Phelps and his son Waterman started for Kirtland[,] Ohio[,] in obedience to the direction of Joseph the Seer.2
Pretty much all the first Elders had left for Kirtland on previous to our going. some went on a tour preaching in their several courses.
While we were in trouble in Mo. the saints in Kirtland[,] Ohio[,] had trouble also; but God had decreed to keep a strong hold in Kirtland for five years therefore the wicked did not prevail, and the house of the Lord was building and the Saints gathering and preparing for the great day when the Lord should condecend to endow his first elders. according to his promises. That his work might roll forth and be established according to his decree in the last [p. 71] days, that he might gather together his elect from the four quarters of the earth and be prepared when the veil of the coming of all flesh shall be taken off or away, and Zion become the Joy of all the earth.
Arrived at Kirtland the 17 of May. found the brethren in good health and spirits and prospering the house of the Lord was reared and the stonework thereof completed the rafters were just put up and the first story of the steeple raised.
2. See the minutes of a meeting held June 23, 1834, where these men were selected to go to Kirtland and participate in the washings and anointings that constituted the “endowment” at that time (Far West Record, 68-70).