Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 26
“Go Ye into All the World, and Preach My Gospel”

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will inspire us to follow the example of the Kirtland Saints who made great sacrifices to share the gospel and remained steadfast during times of adversity.

Scripture references for study:  Class Member Study Guide
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 26 Handout (PDF)

The Kirtland Period - A Time of Restoration

The Kirtland period of Church history might be likened to our childhood. The Church was born in New York, but shortly moved to Ohio. In Ohio the Church grew and became better organized. Many revelations were received and important keys restored. As the Kirtland period grew to a close, in some ways it was like a rebellious teenager. The Church went through a period of challenge and tribulation. Many fell away, but many others were strengthened by the trials and helped the Church continue to move forward.



Go Ye Into All The World

Church expansion during the Kirtland period included the expansion of the missionary work in the United States, Canada, and England.

As noted above, the Church took root in Ohio after the visit of the Oliver Cowdery, Parley Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson. The missionary zeal of these elders became the catalyst for many baptisms. Their enthusiasm and spirit affected others.

It is interesting how the conversion of one person leads to the conversion of another and then another, until many have been been brought into the gospel family. Many such stories came out of the Kirtland era.

The Prophet Joseph Smith made numerous trips during the Kirtland period, often to preach the gospel.  He made several trips to Missouri.  He also traveled east to New York City, Albany, and Boston. He also made trips to Canada.

When the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Quorum of Seventy were organized in 1835, these brethren received specific mission assignments. In March of that year the Twelve were sent to the eastern states. After the dedication of the Kirtland Temple the Twelve and Seventy were again sent out on missions.

Parley P. Pratt was one of the greatest missionaries of the early Church. He was on a gospel mission when he first learned of the Church. After joining the Church he continued his missionary efforts, but now he was armed with truth. Parley joined Elders Cowdery, Whitmer, and Peterson on that great early missionary journey to Missouri where they had so much success in Kirtland.

Many of the missions during this period had great impact on the future of the Church, such as those of Parley Pratt and Zera Pulsipher. One could write a book about the great missionary work that went forward from Kirtland. Among the most important was the opening of the work outside of the North American continent. As the Kirtland period came to a close, there were serious problems that threatened the health and vitality of the Church (see below).

Troubles In Kirtland

Economic difficulties in Kirtland.

After returning from Salem, Joseph met with some of the other elders and drew up articles of agreement in preparation for organizing a banking institution.

1837 was not a good time to start a banking institution.

Kirtland was in turmoil and the Church was in trouble.

July 27, 1837:  The Prophet left Kirtland with Sidney Rigdon and Thomas Marsh to visit the Saints in Canada. They returned at the end of August.

September 3, 1837:  A conference was held in the temple.

September 27, 1837:  The Prophet and Sidney left for Missouri to establish places of gathering.

November 7, 1837:  At a conference in Far West, Hyrum Smith was sustained as a counselor to replace Frederick G. Williams.

December 10, 1837:  Joseph, Sidney, and Hyrum return from Far West.

December 22, 1837:  Brigham Young was forced to flee Kirtland to escape an attempt on his life because of his bold defense of the Prophet.

Early in 1838, the dissenters seized control of the temple.

There was a plot to assassinate Joseph and Sidney. Joseph was warned in time to be placed in a box nailed on an ox-cart and driven out of town to safety. A friend met him with his favorite horse, Old Charley, where Joseph continued through the night until he was a safe distance from Kirtland.

The Prophet made his way to Missouri arriving there in March 1838.

Thus ended the Kirtland period, a time of restoration, revelation, and growth for the young church. Though the Kirtland era ended in tragedy, with many faithful having apostatized, it remains a wonderful and glorious period in Church history. The great work of restoration continued during this period. Many future leaders of the Church were baptized during this time, including  Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow. These men and so many other faithful Saints endured the trials in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, to lead the Church west and lay the foundation for the work that has now spread to many nations of the world and has blessed the lives of millions.

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the Kirtland period of Church history and the great missionary work that was expanded during this time. What can you do to aid the cause of building Zion?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.

Essentials In Church History by Joseph Fielding Smith.

History of the Church (HC).

Joseph Smith and the Restoration by Ivan J. Barrett.

Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.

Manuscript History of Brigham Young.

The Heaven's Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830 to 1838, by Milton V. Backman, Jr.

The Presidents of the Church by Preston Nibley.

Who's Who In the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black.

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Changes last made on:  09 June 2017