Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 27
“They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham”


Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us learn about the early Saints’ efforts to establish the city of Zion in Missouri and to encourage us to help build Zion today.

Scripture references for study:  D&C 101; 103; 105; Our Heritage, pages 27–29, 37–45
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 27 Handout (PDF)


Jackson County

On Friday, June 3, 1831, a special conference of elders was convened in Kirtland.

Several days after the Colesville Saints began their journey west, Joseph Smith and a number of others left Kirtland for Missouri. They arrived in Missouri in mid July.

July 25:  The Colesville Saints arrived in the land of Zion. This was the first branch of the Church to migrate to Zion.

August 3:  Eight of the brethren returned to Independence.

After returning to Kirtland, the Lord instructed Joseph:  "And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence." (D&C 63:24)

The Saints and their Missouri neighbors:

Discord among the Saints.

Tribulations in Zion.

Section 97 was given to the Prophet on August 2, 1833. This revelation was given nineteen days before Oliver arrived in Kirtland with details of the tribulations in Zion.

On July 23rd a mob of 500 men rushed into Independence searching for the leading elders.

In September 1833, Orson Hyde and John Gould arrived in Independence with instructions from the Prophet.

Orson Hyde and William W. Phelps petitioned the governor of Missouri, Daniel Dunklin, for redress. They requested that the governor raise sufficient troops to help the Saints defend themselves.

October 31:  A mob of fifty men rode upon the Whitmer branch threatening the Saints. They demolished ten houses and unroofed another thirteen.

November 1:  The mob threw bricks at Mormon homes and began to tear down the Gilbert and Whitney store.

November 2:  The mob went after the small Mormon settlement on the Big Blue River.

November 4:  100 men led by a James Campbell took possession of the Church owned ferry on the Big Blue River.

The following day, rumors regarding an uprising of the Mormons and their joining with the Indians began to spread through the county.

The Mormons began fleeing from their Missouri enemies on November 5th and 6th.

In December, the Prophet received letters from Bishop Partridge, John Corrill, and William W. Phelps about the Jackson County expulsion.

December 16, 1833, the Prophet received the revelation contained in Section 101 at Kirtland, Ohio.


Zion's Camp

Governor Dunklin did little to help the Saints gain redress. Elder B.H. Roberts: "The determination of the mob to resist the law was stronger than the determination of the state officers to execute it and make it honorable" (CHC, 1:335)

A conference was held on New Year's Day 1834, at the home of Parley P. Pratt in Liberty, Missouri. Parley Pratt and Lyman Wight volunteered to journey to Ohio and counsel with Joseph about measures to be taken for the relief or restoration of the Missouri Saints. Section 103 was given to the Prophet on February 24, 1834, in Kirtland. It was a response to the concerns of the Saints regarding the Missouri problem and their desire to assist in the redemption of Zion. The March West. Zion's Camp did not seem to achieve much benefit for the Saints in Missouri. Section 105 was given to the Prophet while at Fishing River, Missouri, on June 22, 1834. As I reviewed the history of this time I was touched by what the Saints endured. Little did they know that this was only the beginning of trials. I have tried to mentally put myself into their circumstances. What if it was me, my wife, and my family who had struggled to carve a farm in the wilderness and to build a home? This was hard work. How would I feel if mobbers attacked my home, burned it, and then drove me and my family into a cold winter day? How could I endure such? This was the plight of the Jackson County Saints.
    These Saints were aware of the prophecies, both ancient and modern, about the building of the new Jerusalem, Zion. They must have been excited to participate in the fulfillment of these great prophecies. Maybe they became a little prideful about it and neglected their most important duties as Saints. The Lord subsequently stated that Zion could only be built upon the "principles of the law of the celestial kingdom." The Saints of that time, and all subsequent generations, needed to learn that lesson. This will be a great and marvelous city that will be instrumental in the final gathering in of Israel and ushering in the millennial reign of our Lord and Master. The Lord must have a people that are prepared to live his law in order to participate in the construction of this great city.
    Are we prepared? That is a question each of us must ask of ourselves and counsel with the Lord. I believe that as the Saints are prepared to give up the things of the world and live a higher law, then the time will come and we will go forward to build the center stake of Zion.

For additional information see The Acceptable Offering of Zion's Camp  and Waiting for the Word of the Lord at LDS.org.

Also, see the video Zion's Camp at LDS.org.


Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the experiences of the Saints in Jackson County. What can you do in your life and in your family to further the cause of Zion?


Resources Used In This Lesson

A Comprehensive History of the Church by B.H. Roberts (CHC).

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.

Conference Reports (CR).

History of the Church (HC).

History of Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons by Parley P. Pratt.

Joseph Smith and the Restoration by Ivan J. Barrett.

Journal of Discourses (JD).

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

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.


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Changes last made on:  04 July 2017