Brandon G. Kinney is an attorney in Missouri. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University School of Law.
The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838by Brandon G. Kinney
In 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of Christ—later to be renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—revealed that Zion, or “New Jerusalem,” was to be established in Jackson County, Missouri. Smith sent some of his followers to begin the settlement, but they were soon expelled by locals who were suspicious of
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In 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of Christ—later to be renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—revealed that Zion, or “New Jerusalem,” was to be established in Jackson County, Missouri. Smith sent some of his followers to begin the settlement, but they were soon expelled by locals who were suspicious of their religion and their abolitionist sympathies. Smith led an expedition to regain the settlement, but was unsuccessful. Seven years later, in January 1838, Smith fled to Missouri from Ohio to avoid a warrant for his arrest, and joined the Mormon community in the town of Far West, which became the new Zion. The same prejudices recurred and the Mormons found themselves subject to attacks from non-Mormons, including attempts to prevent them from voting. Despite his abhorrence of violence, Smith decided that it was necessary for Mormons to defend themselves, which resulted in a short and sharp conflict known as the Mormon War. A covert Mormon paramilitary unit, the Danites, was formed to pillage non- Mormon towns, while angry rhetoric rose from both sides. After the Missouri state militia was attacked at the Battle of Crooked River, Missouri governor Liburn William Boggs issued Executive Order 44, which called for Mormons to be “exterminated or driven from the State.” Non-Mormons responded by attacking a Mormon settlement at Haun’s Mill, killing men and boys and firing on the women. Following this massacre, the state militia surrounded Far West and arrested Smith and other Mormon leaders. Smith was tried for treason and narrowly avoided execution, but was allowed to go and join the rest of his followers who were forced from Missouri to Illinois, where they founded their next major town, Nauvoo. There, Smith would be murdered and the church would split into several factions, with Brigham Young leading the movement’s largest group to Utah.
In The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838, Brandon G. Kinney unravels the complex series of events that led to a religious and ideological war of both blood and words. The Mormon War not only challenged the protection afforded by the First Amendment, it foreshadowed the partisan violence over slavery and states’ rights that would erupt across Missouri and Kansas. The war also fractured Smith’s Church and led ultimately to the unexpected settlement of a vast area of the West as a Mormon homeland. By tracing the life of Joseph Smith, Jr. and his quest for Zion, the author reveals that the religion he founded was destined for conflict—both internal and external—as long as he remained its leader.
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I got this book because it was written by an attorney and I hoped to find some intelligent commentary on legal aspects of the Mormon conflict in Missouri. What I found was an attack on Mormons during their entire history that mostly just repeated already published accounts. The author says almost nothing at all about the legal issues involved. It is not well-written either. There are lots of other sources (and much more balanced) for the history of the Mormons in Missouri. Don't waste time with this one.
Considering Mormon political aspirations and influence in America, from Harry Reid to Mitt Romney (who is a direct decendent of Parly Pratt), I think this book fairly and objectively portrays an important period in American history. It helps us understand who we are as American people. There are two sides to every story. And, people are motivated to preserve their own interests.
In 1820,Joseph Smith claimed to have experienced a revelation from God that led him to found the Morman Church as "a purified and refined version of Christianity". Apparently, he had an unusal personality, coupled with strong uncompromising views. His personal traits seemed to initially define his young church and cause it significant diffulities. While this is an enlightening story of the early Morman faith, it also reveals the seeds of the Civil War in Missouri and begins to explain the hostility that a few still feel toward the Morman Church.
Snoozer. This is simply a rehas of the state of scholarship pon this topic 50 years ago.