Joseph Smith Jr. Moves To Kirtland, Ohio

As the nation's population westered to more distant frontiers, Joseph decided to move his church from its New York origins to northern Ohio and the community of Kirtland Mills.

This strategic decision freed him from the persecution of New York skeptics, and because there had been a large number of baptisms already in the Kirtland area, his small band of followers attained greater viability there. In 1831, Smith followed his missionaries even farther west to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Through revelation, he designated this as the New Jerusalem, or Land of Zion, identifying it as the sacred geography where the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur.

Smith continued to live in Ohio but visited Missouri again in early 1832 in order to prevent a rebellion of prominent Saints, including Cowdery, who believed Zion was being neglected. Smith's trip was hastened by a mob of residents led by former Saints who were incensed over the United Order and Smith's political power. The mob beat Smith and Rigdon unconscious and tarred and feathered them.