Kirtland Township, Ohio

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Latter-day Saint missionaries visited township, early Nov. 1830; many residents joined Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Joseph Smith and New York Saints migrated to Kirtland, 1831. Organized as “stake of Zion,” with presidency and high council, 17 Feb. 1834. House of the Lord built, 1833–1836. Rapid immigration of Saints posed difficulty for both Saints and other residents. Joseph Smith and other Saints participated in School of the Prophets as well as other schools devoted to wide variety of subjects, including Hebrew. Latter-day Saint press in Kirtland published newspapers, hymnal, second edition of Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. While in township, Joseph Smith obtained several ancient Egyptian mummies and papyrus scrolls; Smith’s translation of some scrolls later published as Book of Abraham. Smith also dictated at least forty-six revelations in township. Smith appointed Heber C. Kimball to lead group of elders from Kirtland to serve first mission to England, 1837. With increased demand for land in Kirtland, prices rose. Need for capital led to establishment of Kirtland Safety Society, but failure to obtain state charter, negative publicity, and other problems led to failure of financial institution, 1837. Under threats from dissidents and outside antagonists, Joseph Smith and other church leaders fled township, early 1838. Many loyal Saints followed. Kirtland stake reorganized with 300 to 400 members, 1841. Acting on directive from Smith, church members made organized effort to leave Kirtland in 1843, but many Saints remained through 1845. After death of Joseph Smith and departure of most Saints, schismatic activity became prevalent in Kirtland.

Retrieved with permission from The Joseph Smith Papers.