The war, known also as the Missouri Mormon War, created the need for Mormon relocation in Nauvoo. Tensions and anti-Mormon violence led to Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs ordering Mormons to leave Missouri or be killed. Most of Smith’s followers escaped, joining an exodus of 10,000 who made it safely to Nauvoo.
It’s hard to say exactly why the backlash against Smith’s disciples was so virulent but naming Missouri the holy land did not help. He said the town of Independence in Missouri would be the Mormon City of Zion, land for his followers to inhabit.
Did He Really Have 40 Wives?
Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently published information about their founder’s plurality of wives. Records do not show all the wives he eternally sealed with, code for intimacy in marriage, but he did have at least 40. Some were also married to friends of his.
The youngest, Helen Mar Kimball, was 14 when they married and his oldest was Fanny Young, 56. According to the prophet, an angel of God came to him several times and commanded him to go ahead with marrying more than one woman.
Did Bingham Young Have More Wives than Smith?
Yes. Brigham Young had about 55 verified wives on record. He married single women and widows. Strangest of all, he was sealed with two different mothers-in-law. Young swore he was a happy monogamist in his first marriage to Mary Ann Angell. It was Smith who convinced him to change his ways.
Smith beseeched Young to partake in plural marriages. His lifestyle peaked in 1846. In that year he married 20 wives. On the spousal end, it wasn’t all fun and games. Wife Zina Huntington sobbed bitterly upon moving into a home with multiple wives.
The First Detractors of ‘The Book’
Smith rose to prominence in western New York where he grew up as a farmer. This is where he acquired his first flock of followers. But by 1831, his LDS converts were already feeling the burn of their prophet’s critics.
The ridicule of anti-Mormon sentiment marked the onset of the Mormon church’s slow crawl westward, riddled of course with conflicts like the war in Missouri. Ultimately destined for Salt Lake City, the modern church has proliferated abundantly ever since.
Smith was Tarred and Feathered in Kirtland
Anti-Mormon tensions were high in Kirtland, Ohio. On March 24, 1832, Smith and at least one of his church counselors were at Smith’s home looking over his child who wasn't very well.
It was late at night and an angry mob attacked and snatched the two men. At the time, Smith was in the process of erecting a temple on the Kirtland settlement.