The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844 | BYU Studies

The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844

The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844
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The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844

D. Michael Quinn

When the Prophet Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob on 27 June 1844, there was no explicit outline of presidential succession in print. Joseph Smith had at different times by precept or precedent established eight possible routes of legitimate succession to his place as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints: by a counselor; by secret appointment; by an Associate President; by the presiding Patriarch; by the Council of Fifty; by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; by the First Quorum of the Seventy and other priesthood councils; and by his descendants. This article traces the history, significance, and ultimate resolution of these eight precedents.

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