All new religions must struggle for acceptance, but in early 19th century Missouri adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints found themselves embroiled in a brief but bloody war for their very survival.
Author Brandon G. Kinney explores the complex series of events that led to The Mormon War of 1838 on Sunday, June 24, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
In 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of what would be known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, announced that the new Jerusalem - Zion - would be established in Jackson County, Missouri. Mormons sent to settle in the area soon aroused suspicions with their religious beliefs and abolitionist views and were expelled.
Seven years later Smith fled to Missouri to avoid an Ohio arrest warrant and the conflict began anew. To defend his community Smith organized a covert paramilitary unit to pillage non-Mormon towns. After Mormons attacked the state militia at the Battle of Crooked River, Gov. Lilburn William Boggs issued an executive order calling for Mormons to be "exterminated or driven from the state."
The ensuing "Morman War" was marked by a massacre of the Morman settlement of Haun's Mill and the arrest of Smith, who was tried for treason and narrowly avoided execution. Eventually he was allowed join the rest of his followers, who had relocated to Nauvoo, Illinois. There Smith was murdered by an anti-Mormon mob and the church split into several factions with Brigham Young leading the movement's largest group to Utah.
Kinney is a graduate of the Creighton University School of Law and practices law in Butler, Missouri. He is the author of The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838.
Admission is free. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
This presentation is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Central Library. The series is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.