Expulsion from Jackson County

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 22–23


  1. 1.

    The Saints were driven out of Jackson County because of transgression (see D&C 101:2).

  2. 2.

    The Lord foresaw that the Saints would not be successful in building Zion until “after much tribulation” (see D&C 58:3).

  3. 3.

    Internal problems among the Saints in Jackson County weakened their position there.

  4. 4.

    There were many differences resulting in conflict between the members of the Church and the Missourians.

  5. 5.

    The Saints were driven out of Jackson County by violence and other oppressive acts.

    Suggested Approaches

  • The promises of God never fail, but people may fail to qualify for his blessings (see D&C 3:1–3). The Lord, who knows all things (see 2 Nephi 9:20), knew that even though he revealed the location for the Latter-day Zion, his children would not be successful in their initial attempt to establish it.

    The best evidence of this is found in the second revelation received following the Saints’ arrival in the land of Zion. Read Doctrine and Covenants 58:1–5. Here the Lord gives the following insights:

    • The strict keeping of God’s commandments is a prerequisite in building and preserving Zion (see v. 2).

    • Tribulation would test the Saints to see if they were worthy of this great reward (see v. 2).

    • The Saints could not foresee the “design” or plan of God in bringing them all the way to Zion and then letting them fail in their objective (see v. 3).

    • The glory of Zion would come only “after much tribulation” (v. 3). The Lord told the Saints this before it ever happened so they would “lay it to heart, and receive that which [was] to follow” (v. 5).

  • Instead of expecting the Saints to immediately establish Zion, the Lord gave them the honor of laying the foundation for Zion to be built. Read and study Doctrine and Covenants 58:6–8. The Lord brought the Saints to Zion to:

    • See if they would be obedient to his word (see v. 6).

    • Prepare their hearts to “bear testimony of the things which are to come” (v. 6).

    • Honor them in laying the foundation (see v. 7).

    • Let them know where Zion would stand and then bear record of it (see v. 7).

  • Read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 101:1–9, which was given shortly after the Saints were driven out of Jackson County.

  • You could list and discuss the internal problems in the Church as well as the external problems and differences that led to conflicts. In what ways do we as Latter-day Saints still struggle with some of these problems?

  • To build Zion the Saints must learn obedience and develop in character. Share the following statement by Bishop Robert D. Hales, then the Presiding Bishop of the Church:

    “Zion is characterized in scripture as a city in which the people ‘were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them’ (Moses 7:18). Zion is ‘every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God’ (D&C 82:19). This promised Zion always seems to be a little beyond our reach. We need to understand that as much virtue can be gained in progressing toward Zion as in dwelling there. It is a process as well as a destination. We approach or withdraw from Zion through the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings, how we live within our families, whether we pay an honest tithe and generous fast offering, how we seize opportunities to serve and do so diligently. Many are perfected upon the road to Zion who will never see the city in mortality” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, p. 38; or Ensign, May 1986, p. 30).

    If you did not discuss the theme of Zion in the previous lesson, read Doctrine and Covenants 105:9–10 and teach and testify that Zion will yet be a reality. We are now in that season awaiting the fulfillment of the words of God’s prophets, gaining more experience, and being “taught more perfectly … concerning [our] duty, and the things” the Lord requires at our hands (v. 10). Consider temple work, raising righteous families, home teaching, and missionary work—all duties that we need to learn and observe more perfectly before Zion becomes a reality.

    Theme Sources

  • History of the Church, 1:372–406, 426–40.

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:314–56.

  • Richard L. Bushman, “Mormon Persecutions in Missouri, 1833,” Brigham Young University Studies, Autumn 1960, pp. 11–20.

    Points out that religious differences and the concern that the Latter-day Saints were becoming a political threat were major factors in the conflict.

  • T. Edgar Lyon, “Independence, Missouri, and the Mormons, 1827–1833,” Brigham Young University Studies, Autumn 1972, pp. 10–19.

    Suggests that economics became a major factor in the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints.

    Additional Sources

  • B. H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), chaps. 5–13.

    Contains a fairly thorough treatment of the internal and external problems that affected the Latter-day Saints in Jackson County.

  • Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Classics in Mormon Literature series (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985), pp. 75–86.

    Elder Pratt was an active participant in the events of the Jackson County period.

  • Ivan J. Barrett, Joseph Smith and the Restoration (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1973), chaps. 13–14.

    Account of the problems in Jackson County between the Latter-day Saints and the Missourians. The chapters contain several stories that add color and insight to the conflict.

  • Max H. Parkin, “A History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County, Missouri, from 1833 to 1837,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1976, pp. 8–33.

    A discussion of the Saints in Jackson County and their expulsion.