On the Trail

Challenges in Missouri

By Jennifer Maddy

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Come along to explore an important place in Church history!

For Joseph Smith it was a long, hard trip from Kirtland, Ohio, to Independence, Missouri. He traveled by wagon, by canal boat, and by stagecoach. For the last 250 miles (402 km), he had to walk! But the Lord had told him to go to Missouri to establish the city of Zion, so Joseph Smith obeyed.

Other Church members began arriving in Missouri in 1831. They plowed the land, built houses, and harvested crops.

As more and more Church members moved to Independence, Missouri, some of the people who already lived there became suspicious and angry. Mobs attacked the Saints’ homes and ordered them to leave.

Missouri, Liberty Jail images

Photographs by Jennifer Maddy; illustrations by Paul Mann

This display at the Independence visitors’ center shows Saints busily working at their log-cabin home.

William W. Phelps set up a printing shop in Independence, where he published a newspaper. He also printed pages for the Book of Commandments, which contained some of the Lord’s revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Today these revelations are in the Doctrine and Covenants.