Missouri Mormon Manuscripts: Sources in Selected Societies

Journal: 14:4

From the organization of the Church in 1830 through the move to Utah in 1846–47, the Missouri period (January 1831–July 1839),1 was the longest single episode, the most dramatic and troublesome. Although it may also be the best documented, the hunt for new sources does go on.2 A recent search of three Missouri archives (and correspondence with 90 other historical societies in Missouri) turned up over 250 unpublished documents, most of which have see little use if any. While these documents do not require any substantial alterations of our views of Missouri Mormon history, they do add considerably to our knowledge and understanding of that difficult time.

From them we learn, for example, many details regarding anti-Mormon military and political affairs, the trials of Joseph Smith and others, facts about a little known Iowa-based attempt to kidnap the Prophet, about official Missouri defensive action against adverse criticism of their Mormon policy, about Easterners who wrote to Missouri officials for propaganda to use against Mormon missionaries, and about some surprisingly fair and sympathetic non-Mormon Missourians.