Early Mormon and Shaker Visions of Sanctified Community

Polly Knight’s health was failing as she and her family trudged toward western Missouri. Having accepted Joseph Smith Jr. as God’s prophet on earth, the Knights left their Colesville, New York, farm and joined with other Mormon converts at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831. Finding a brief respite there, they again set out, this time for the city of “Zion” that Joseph Smith said they would help build in Jackson County, Missouri. Worried that Polly was too ill to complete the trek, her family considered stopping in hopes she might recover. But “She would not consent to stop traveling,” recalled her son Newell: “Her only, or her greatest desire was to set her feet upon the land of Zion, and to have her body interred in that land.” Fearing the worst, Newell bought lumber for a coffin in case she expired en route. “But the Lord gave her the desire of her heart, and she lived to stand upon that land.”

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