History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

Chartering the Kirtland Bank
May 31, 2017
History of the Church Series
Chartering the Kirtland Bank
Dale W. Adams

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Dale W. Adams. 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.

Few events have rocked the LDS Church more severely than the failure of the Kirtland Bank in 1837. In less than a year the acrimony caused by this affair split Church leadership and fragmented the Mormon community in Kirtland. Explanations for the bank's collapse range from condemning to absolving those involved; critics often change speculation and fraud, while apologists stress prudence and events beyond the control of honorable men. In a recent study Hill, Rooker, and Wimmer shed considerable light on events surrounding the failure of the bank. They correctly conclude that the lack of a state bank charter was the key factor leading to the quick demise of the bank and to much of the bitterness that followed. In this article I explore the bank founders' attempt to obtain a charter and the reasons they were rebuffed in their efforts.