History of the Church Series
This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Clark V. Johnson. 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.
As an outgrowth of the Mormon War in Missouri, Joseph Smith spent the winter of 1838-39 confined in the jail at Liberty, Missouri. While there he asked the Saints to prepare affidavits to secure redress from the federal government for their losses caused by their recent maltreatment at the hands of mobocrats. Beginning in December 1839 the Mormons commenced recording these Missouri experiences and swearing to their authenticity before civil authorities in two counties in Iowa and ten counties in Illinois. These officials were justices of the peace, clerks of the circuit court, and notary publics, who possessed the seals of their respective offices. The Mormons presented these legal documents to the federal government on at least three different occasions in a concerted attempt to obtain reparation for their sufferings in Missouri.