Fleeing Missouri


From the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Own Account
We trust God will deliver us … out of the hands of our enemies (Alma 58:37).

On October 27, 1838, after several conflicts between the Saints and other citizens of Missouri, Governor Lilburn Boggs ordered the state militia to go to war against the Saints, saying that they must be either driven from the state or exterminated. On October 30th, a large company of armed soldiers approached Far West.

Thursday, November 1 [1838].— … The militia went into the town, and … plundered the houses, and abused the innocent … inhabitants. … They went to my house, drove my family out of doors, [and] carried away most of my property. …

General Lucas ordered the [Saints] to give up their arms. …

The mob … then marched into town, and under pretense of searching for arms, tore up floors, upset haystacks, [stole] the most valuable [things] they could lay their hands on, … and destroyed a great amount of property. … About eighty men were taken prisoners, the remainder were ordered to leave the state. …

Friday, November 2.— … Myself and fellow prisoners … were [allowed] to see our families. …

Saturday, November 10.— … General Wilson … ordered every family to be out of Diahman [a Mormon town in Missouri] in ten days, with permission to go to Caldwell [County], and there tarry until spring, and then leave the state under pain of extermination. …

The Saints had to leave their crops and houses, and to live in tents and wagons, in this inclement [exceptionally cold] season of the year. As for their flocks and herds, the mob had [stolen] them. …

And now what did they hate us for? Purely because of the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 14 [1839].—The persecution was so bitter against Elder Brigham Young … and his life was so diligently sought for, that he was compelled to flee … [to] Illinois. …

Friday, February 15.—My family arrived at the Mississippi, opposite Quincy, [Illinois], after a journey of almost insupportable hardships. …

A group of citizens in Quincy held a meeting and decided that “the strangers recently arrived here from the state of Missouri, known by the name of the ‘Latter-day Saints,’ are entitled to our sympathy and kindest regard, and that we recommend to the citizens of Quincy to extend all the kindness in their power to bestow on the persons who are in affliction.” The Prophet and some of the other imprisoned brethren escaped on April 14, 1839, and headed for Illinois.

Monday, April 22.—We [the Prophet Joseph and fellow escaped prisoners] continued on our journey, both by night and by day; and after suffering much fatigue and hunger, I arrived in Quincy, Illinois, amidst the congratulations of my friends, and the embraces of my family. …

I have been preserved and delivered out of [my enemies’] hands, and can again enjoy the society of my friends and brethren, whom I love, and to whom I feel united in bonds that are stronger than death; and in a state where I believe the laws are respected, and whose citizens are humane and charitable.

Soon after arriving in Quincy, Illinois, the Church purchased land near Commerce, Illinois, and began building the beautiful city of Nauvoo.

(History of the Church, vol. 3, pages 191–193, 207, 229, 261–262, 268, 327, 328.)

[illustration] Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett