History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

Joseph Smith and the United Firm: The Growth and Decline of the Church's First Master Plan of Business and Finance, Ohio and Missouri, 1832–1834
April 25, 2018
History of the Church Series
Joseph Smith and the United Firm: The Growth and Decline of the Church's First Master Plan of Business and Finance, Ohio and Missouri, 1832–1834
Author Max H. Parkin,

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Max H. Parkin. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

The United Firm was a business management company established by Joseph Smith (founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that oversaw both the Church's economic pursuits, such as maintaining properties, and some spiritual matters, such as publishing revelations and planning the city of Zion. Its board of managers essentially fulfilled roles later taken on by Church leaders when quorums were created. The term "United Firm" does not appear in the scriptures, and therefore the organization's role has been misunderstood and underestimated. One of Joseph Smith's pseudonyms for the United Firm was the United Order, but the United Order of Utah later started by Brigham Young functioned differently. This article sheds light on the enigmatic and vital role of Joseph Smith's United Firm in early LDS Church history.