Traditionally, historians have cited a number of issues that led to the Missouri persecutions of the Latter-day Saints. However, these issues need to be reexamined. Slavery has long been cited as the primary cause for the persecutions, but German immigrants, who were much more vocally against slavery than the Saints, were not targeted. More fundamental was the Missourians' fear of Mormon political power. This fear stemmed from the fact that the Mormon religion was entirely alien to the other citizens of the state. As a result, the idea of a Mormon in a position of political power unsettled the Missourians and led them to hatred and violence. Mormon persecutions are linked with contemporary abuses aimed at Catholics, both groups existing outside the Protestant norm.
Bushman, Richard L.
"Mormon Persecutions in Missouri, 1833,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 3
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol3/iss1/3