Introduction Missouri Mormonism: Past and Present


Church Histroy, Mormon studies, Nauvoo Journal, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


In retracing and interpreting the early Mormon past, the Missouri period has often been considered the darkest era in the history of the Church. During the years 1831-39, the Saints’ promised hope of a Mormon utopia in the establishment of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, brought with it misunderstandings, jealousies, mob action, confiscation and destruction of property, killings, and civil conflict. The animosity and hatred such activities created led to the eventual expulsion of more than ten thousand Latter-day Saints by order of the state’s chief executive. To Missouri historians the brief decade of Mormon episodes merits only a few pages and footnotes in their histories. But to Latterday Saints, the scenes that transpired on Missouri soil–principally in Jackson, Clay, Ray, Carroll, Caldwell, Daviess, and Livingston Counties–continue to be a dramatic epoch in Mormon history, in addition to being an integral part of the Church’s spiritual heritage. The year 1998 marks the 160th year of many of the most significant, albeit tragic, events that occurred on Missouri soil, therefore, it is appropriate that this issue of the Nauvoo Journal has Mormonism in Missouri as its central theme.

Original Publication Citation

“Missouri Mormonism: Past and Present,” The Nauvoo Journal 10, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 1–2.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mormon Historical Studies




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor