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For Episode 2 -- Chapter Four
D. P. Hurlbut Chronology
Dec. 1833-April 1834
by Dale R. Broadhurst
--( April 2001 )--
Episode 2 Timeline: Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5
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17 Dec 1833
18 Dec (Wed)
The Mormons' new printing press was installed in the upper story of the Church office building at Kirtland. Oliver Cowdery ran off a proof sheet for a reprint edition of the Evening and Morning Star. Joseph Smith gave special blessings to his father, mother, and three of his brothers during the dedication of the printing press. Joseph Smith, Sr., was blessed to hold "the keys of the Patriarchal Priesthood over the kingdom of God on earth, even the Church of the Latter Day Saints" (Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, p. 9, LDS Archives).
c. 18 Dec (Wed)
DPH arrived back in Kirtland and made arrangements to meet with the anti-Mormon "Committe" at the Corning house in Mentor. Probably without their permission, he also scheduled a lecture in the Methodist chapel located a few yards north of the Temple.
c. 19 Dec (Thr)
According to Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen, DPH gave "his first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland, Ohio, on the origin of the Book of Mormon." at about this time. "He said he had been in New York and Pennsylvania and had obtained a copy of Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found.' He read selections from it, then the same from the Book of Mormon. He said the historical part of it was the same as Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." He read numerous affidavits from parties in N.Y. and Penn. showing the disreputable character of the Mormon Smith Family."
20 Dec (Fri)
The Kirtland Township Council served the last of its "warnings out of town" upon targeted Mormons in the township.
c. 20 Dec (Fri)
According to his lawyer, James A. Briggs, DPH "was present with the committee" when it assembled for its next meeting in Mentor, "and had Spaulding's original manuscript with him. We compared it, chapter by chapter with the Mormon Bible. It was written in the same style; many of the names were the same, and we came to the conclusion, from all the testimony before us, that the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, the eloquent Mormon preacher, made the Mormon Bible from this manuscript. Of this the committee had no doubt whatever."
c. 20-21 Dec 1833
DPH presented 2 or 3 more lectures in Geauga Co., exhibiting what he said was an original holograph of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found." Martin Harris attended one of the lectures and argued with DPH over the validity of his accusations against Joseph Smith. (See Jacob Sherman statement dated Feb. 24, 1885 in Naked Truths 2, April, 1888). Martin Harris was reportedly challenging the validity of Isaac Hale's Dec. 22, 1833 letter to DPH, that letter arrived at the Kirtland Post Office at least 3 or 4 days after DPH's Dec. 21 arrest warrant was issued. William R. Hine said that he suggested DPH write to Smith's father-in-law, and he did. William R. Hine also witnessed Martin Harris challenge DPH's reading of the Isaac Hale letter at the Rev. Truman Coe's Presbyterian church in Kirtland Center, presumably a few days after Dec. 22. (See also entry for Dec. 22)
20 Dec (Fri)
The Wayne Sentinel published its "Mormon mystery developed" article, which was essentially a press release composed by D. Philastus Hurlbut before he started back to Ohio (probably written on or about Dec. 14, 1833. The article said that Hurlbut was from "Kirtland, Ohio" and that he had "been engaged for some time in different parts of this [New York] state, but chiefly in this [Palymra] neighborhood, on behalf of his fellow- townsmen, in the pursuit of facts and information concerning the origin and design of the Book of Mormon..." The editor passed on Hurlbut's proud notice, saying "that he has succeeded in accomplishing the object of his mission..." and then concluded the first, sketchy publication of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon.
c. 20 Dec (Fri)
According to his lawyer, James A. Briggs, DPH "had some trouble with the Mormons at Kirtland... and he had the prophet, Joseph Smith, arrested on a warrant of a justice of the peace for assault and battery..." DPH probably filed his complaint against Joseph Smith with a Justice of the Peace in Painesville, several miles north of the Mormon stronghold.
21 Dec (Sat)
According to Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen, DPH "said he would 'kill' Jo Smith. He meant he would kill Mormonism. The Mormons urged me to issue a writ against him. I did... He was brought to trial..." What probably happened was that Joseph Smith, hearing that DPH had filed charges against him, quickly also filed charges against DPH. This would help explain why Joseph Smith had the Justice of the Peace for Kirtland make out an arrest warrant returnable before William Holbrook, a Justice of the Peace in Painesville. By making his complaint returnable in Painesville, just as DPH had done, Joseph Smith could have the two cases heard simultaneously, and thus, perhaps, circumvent DPH's plans to successfully attack Mormonism away from its Kirtland power base.
22-30 Dec 1833
Presumably both DPH and Joseph Smith managed to avoid arrest for the remainder of the year. Little information has survived regarding the activities of either man during this period. It is possible that DPH continued to give lectures even after the warrant for his arrest was issued by Kirtland Justice of the Peace John C. Dowen on Dec. 21. Dowen later said the writ was "recorded in my Docket, Dec. 27, 1833." Geauga Co., Court records only mention the Dec. 21 date. Still, DPH may have maintained relative freedom of movement due to the non-Mormon constables of Kirtland not actively persuing him until the last days of December. Orson Hyde said that DPH addressed "numerous congregations in Chagrin, Kirtland, Mentor, and Painesville." Dowen spoke only of DPH's "first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland," implying that there were other lectures as well. Kirtland resident Jacob Sherman recalled Hurlbut giving a lecture at the "Presbyterian Church at the Center," presumably at the chapel of the Rev. Truman Coe's congregation, which stood in about the center of the township. Kirtland resident William R. Hine also heard DPH lecture at this church. Chagrin (Willoughby) resident Charles Grover heard DPH lecture in the "Willoughby town hall" and shortly afterwards at a meeting held in Painesville. DPH's lawyer, James A. Briggs attended one or more meetings in Mentor where DPH spoke on the origin of the Book of Mormon.
22 Dec (Sun)
Isaac Hale wrote from Harmony, PA to DPH in Kirtland. DPH apparantly did not answer it, but he later gave the letter to Eber D. Howe who did. DPH reportedly read from this (or a similar) letter during his lecture at the Presbyterian church in Kirtland Center. If he read from this letter, it must have been at least 3 or 4 days after Dec. 22.
late Dec 1833
DPH presented a statement he had received from Isaac Hale in regard to the character of Joseph Smith, reading its contents in one of his public lectures. Martin Harris was present and denied that Isaac Hale could have written such a letter, because he was "blind."
31 Dec (Tue)
DPH showed up the Conneaut area, carrying with him a thin Spalding manuscript he had recovered from Jerome Clark five weeks before. This document he showed to Spalding's old associates, receiving their confirmation that the writing was genuine. However, this "Roman story" was not the manuscript they remembered as resembling the text of the Book of Mormon. DPH obtained at least one letter of confirmation (from Aaron Wright of New Salem). DPH wrote on the last MS page: "The writings of Sollomon Spaulding Proved by Aron Wright Oliver Smith, John N. Miller & others. The testimonies of the above Gentlemen are now in my possession. [signed] D. P. Hurlbut"
2 Jan (Thr)
Wesley Hurlburt was excommunicated from the Churchby a Bishop's Court at Kirtland, acting upon the complaint of Harriet Howe (sister of Eber D. Howe). His posible relation to DPH remains unknown.
4 Jan (Sat)
Stephen Sherman, a Kirtland Constable from Kirtland, appeared before William Holbrook a Painesville Justice of the Peace with defendant DPH in his custody. His hearing was postponed to the 6th and Constable Sherman was ordered to keep DPH in his custody until that time.
5 Jan (Sun)
Joseph Smith called F. G. Williams to be his personal scribe by revelation.
6 Jan (Mon)
Constable Sherman again appeared before Judge William Holbrook with DPH in custody. The hearing was postponed a second time, to Jan 13, 1834. DPH successfully requested to be kept in the custody of Constable A. Ritch of Painesville, rather than the custody of the Kirtland Constable.
6 Jan (Mon)
Benjamin F. Norris, non-Mormon from Perry, wrote his brother from Painesville about the Kirtland Mormons, saying: "There is a large society of them about two miles from this place. Rigdon & Smith reside her[e]. They have established a printing press. Rigdon & Smith are the founders of mormonism. It is said that the inhabitants have threatened mobing them. They are now arming themselves with instruments of war such as guns sords dirks spontoons Ec Smith has four or five armed men to gard him every night they say they are not going to be drove away as they ware at missory they will fights for their rights. Smith has sworn the peace against a man named Hurbert who has ben engaged for about three months in tra[c]ing the origin of the book of mormon. He [has] returned and was [jailed?] yesterday... His work will be published in a few weeks giving the true origin of the book of Mormon." (Letter of B. F. Norris to Mark Norris, January 6, 1834, Mark Norris Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library)
9 Jan (Thr)
Orson Hyde wrote the "Letter of the First Presidency to the Scattered Saints," on behalf of the LDS First Presidency, and spoke of DPH's recent activities in and around Kirtland
11 Jan (Sat)
United Firm members F. G. Williams, N. K. Whitney, John Johnson, Oliver Cowdery and Orson Hyde met with Joseph Smith to pray that Bishop N. K. Whitney, agent for the Firm, would be given the "means sufficient to discharge every debt that the Firm owns, in due season, that the church may not be brought into disrepute, and the saints be afflicted by the hands of their enemies" -- also, that the Court in Painesville would help them "prevail" in the case of DPH, "who has threatened his (Smith's) life..." By this time, Joseph Smith's lawyer, Benjamin Bissell, had managed to get DPH's complaint against Smith and Smith's complaint against DPH combined into a single hearing before Painesville Justice of the Peace William Holbrook.
13 Jan (Mon)
Constable Rich appeared before Judge William Holbrook with DPH in custody. The preliminary hearing was held in the Painesville Methodist Church on Jan 13, 14, and 15. Witnesses examined included: Amos Hodges C[urtis] Hodges, M. Hodges, Sarah Wait, Burr Riggs, D[aniel] Copley, Mary Copley, Joseph Allen D[avid] Elliot, J[oseph] Smith Jr., C[harles A.] Holmes, S[amuel] F. Whitney, S. Slayton, [Joseph H.] Wakefield, [I T?]. Wait, and E. Goodman.
13 Jan (Mon)
Oliver Cowdery wrote to his brother Lyman Cowdery in Lyons, NY, sand said: "Hurlbut is now in this country pedling slanders, but has said nothing about myself as I have learned. If you were acquainted with his character, as represented to me, you would never regret that you did not open a communication with him." (Oliver Cowdery Letterbook, Huntington Library).
15 Jan (Wed)
After hearing three days of testimony, it was the opinion of the Magistrate's Court "that the complainant had reason to fear" that DPH "would beat wound or kill him or injure his property." The Court required DPH to "enter into a recognizance to keep the peace generally and especially towards the complainant." DPH was also ordered "to appear before the [Geauga Co.] Court of Common Pleas on the first day" of the next term of that Court, to be held at Chardon on March 31.
22 Jan (Wed)
Orson Hyde wrote a letter on behalf of the LDS First Presidency to "the Saints in Missouri" saying: "The hand of the Lord has thus far been stretched out to protect us. Doctor P. Hurlbut an apostate elder from this church, has been put the state of New York, and gathered up all the ridiculous stories that could be invented, and some affidavits respecting the character of Joseph, and the Smith family, and exhibited them to numerous congregations in Chagrin, Kirtland, Mentor, and Painesville, and fired the minds of the people with much indignation, against Joseph and the church. Hurlbut also made many harsh threats, &c., that he would take the life of Joseph, if he could not destroy Mormonism without. Bro. Joseph took him with a peace warrant and after three days trial, and investigating the merits of our religion, in the town of Painesville, by able attorneys on both sides, he was bound over to the county court. Thus his influence was pretty much destroyed, and since the trial the spirit of hostility seems to be broken down in a good degree, but how long it will continue so, we cannot say." This referred to the fact that DPH had been tried in Painesville and had been bound over to the County Court, which met in Chardon. (Times & Seasons 6:14, Aug. 1, 1845)
22 Jan (Wed)
Joseph Smith prayed that his followers "may not faint in the hour of temptation, nor be overcome in the time of persecution." (DHC 2, 23-24.)
28 Jan (Tue)
LDS First Presidency Counselor and Scribe, F. G. Williams added some words to the c. Jan 12 entry penned in Joseph Smith's personal Journal by Oliver Cowdery. The addendum said: DPH "has not prevailed viz the 28th day of Jan'y" This probably indicates that DPH had been in some way restrained or his actions largely neutralized by Jan. 28, 1834. In the same entry Joseph Smith prayed for God's intervention against the efforts of Elijah Smith, Josiah Jones, Austin Loud, and Andrew B[e]ardsly -- all non-Mormon Kirtland land owners. Elijah Smith acted as one of DPH's surities in the bond he posted with the Chardon court in April. Josiah Jones was one of DPH's 1833 correspondents.
31 Jan (Fri)
"To the Public" notice was printed in the Painesville Telegraph. The notice spoke of a forthcoming anti-Mormon book and said that the "enquiry" of DPH's had been "laid before the public in this vicinity." Among the subscribers was Josiah Jones, whose name had been in Joseph Smith's prayers three days before.
c. 1 Feb (Sat)
DPH traded Spalding's "Roman story" manuscript and the statements he had collected in 1833 to Eber D. Howe in return for $50 and a promised 500 (400?) copies of the book after publication. Printing of the book was delayed for several months while Dr. Storm Rosa edited DPH's text, adding selections from old newspaper articles and other materials collected for the work.
4 Feb (Tue)
Eber D. Howe wrote from Painesville to Isaac Hale in Harmony. PA, requesting " a full narative of every transaction wherein Smith, jun'r. is concerned" and asking that Isaac Hale "attest" his account of those transactions "before a magistrate."
6 Feb (Thr)
Lyman E. Johnson left Orson Pratt at the LDS Silver Creek Branch in Chautauqua Co., NY and "took the stage for Kirtland."
11 Feb (Tue)
Orson Pratt left the LDS Silver Creek Branch in Chautauqua Co., NY and took the stage for Kirtland.
12 Feb (Wed)
In preparation for his organization of the Kirtland Council, Joseph Smith said: "I shall now endeavour to set forth before this council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering of the Angel of God, by his own voice and by the voice of this Church." ("Kirtland Council Minute Book," LDS Archives.)
12 Feb (Wed)
Sidney Rigdon charged Martin Harris with telling Alpheus C. Russell (Kirtland Gentile Jutice of the Peace) that Joseph Smith drank too much liquor while translating the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris confessed and was forgiven.
13 Feb (Thr)
Orson Pratt statd that he "Arrived in Kirtland, Elder Lyman E. Johnson having arrived a few days before me
17 Feb (Mon)
Joseph Smith formed the Kirtland Council, with the "purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishops council to the satisfaction of the parties." The Council imcluded 12 High Priests, under the control of the First Presodency, who acted as a Church Court and decision making body. The President's Council that tried DPH on June 21, 1833 was a ad hoc forerunner of the permanent Kirtland Council. (See LDS D&C 102).
20 Feb (Mon)
The Kirtland Council ruled that no member who failed to comply with the teachings of the "Word of Widsom" could hold an office in the LDS Church. This ruling was given in settlement of a disput arising in "a church meeting held in Pennsylvania, Erie Co. and Springfield Township by Orson Pratt & Lyman E. Johnson." Pratt and Johnson were apparently investigating matters in the LDS Springfield Branch very closely in Dec. 1833. (See entries for Dec. 1 to Dec. 11 1833). The Kirtland Council also then confirmed Joseph Smith as "commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel."
24 Feb (Fri)
Joseph Smith claimed to receive a revelation which commanded God's "friends" to "avenge me of mine enemies." Mormon dissenters were to be "cast out and trodden under the foot of men" by God's "friends." (See LDS D&C 103).
26 Feb (Wed)
Joseph Smith left Kirtland to gather funds and recruits for his indended military expedition to Jackson Co., MO. (check date -- maybe 27th ?)
18 Mar (Tue)
Joseph Smith secretly ordained Lyman Wight to be the military commander: "Baneemy."
19 Mar (Wed)
Joseph Smith offically authorized Sidney Rigdon to preside over the Church at Kirtland while Smith was away on the military expedition to MO.
19 Mar (Wed)
Isaac Hale signed his affidavit describing Joseph Smith's translation of the golden plates, etc. This was published on May 1 in the Susquehanna Register.
28 Mar (Mon)
Joseph Smith returned Kirtland following a month-long effort to find soldiers for his intended "Zion's Camp."
30 Mar (Sun)
Joseph Smith wrote to Edward Partridge, telling him that the Church had "run into debt for the press" he had recently installed at Kirtland.
31 Mar (Mon)
"Ohio v. Dr. P. Hurlbut," 31 March 1834, Court of Common Pleas, Geuaga County Courthouse, Chardon, Ohio. Trial was postponed to Apr 1 (9th??? see court record).
7 Apr (Mon)
Members of the United Firm prayed for the "means to deliver the Firm from debt." They then wrote to Orson Hyde, asking that he redouble his efforts to collect money for them. (History of the Church, 2:48)
9 Apr (Wed)
Ohio v. Dr. P. Hurlbut case reached the court of common pleas at Chardon, Judge Moses Birchard presided. Leman Copley, cousin(?) of Daniel Copley testified against Joseph Smith. DPH was found guilty. His surities paid a $200 bond in his behalf and he and agreed to keep the peace for six months. Presumably at the end of the six months Hurlbut's friends were able to recover their $200.
10 Apr (Thr)
The Mormon leaders gathered at N. K. Whitney's store in Kirtland to discuss the outcome of the trial. Joseph Smith accused Samuel F. Whitney of lying under oath during the trial. Samuel F. Whitney then accused Joseph Smith of lying under oath during the trial.
10 Apr (Thr)
The Kirtland Council abolished the "Law of Consecration, allowing for a new distribution of Church assets. A Council of the United Firm met at which it was agreed that the firm should be desolv[ed] and each one have their stewardship set off to them" These actions began the break-up the United Firm at Kirtland. The date for this transaction may have been partly dependant upon the outcome of the DPH trial on Apr. 9th. The Literary Firm continued to function, however. (See Apr 23 for the actual division of property).
11 Apr (Fri)
Andrews Tyler, formerly a convert in the LDS Springfield Branch, reconsidered his views about the LDS Church adopting certain doctrines "to cover up a fraud." The "fraud" he referred to was almost certainly the claim that the Book of Mormon was derived from the writings of Solomon Spalding. Immedialy following DPH's conviction at Chardon, Andrews Tyler repented and rejoined the Mormons on April 11. (See also entry for Dec. 5, 1833).
19 Apr (Sat)
On their way to a Church conference at New Portage, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Zebedee Coltrin blessed Oliver Cowdery, "that he be qualified to assist brother Sidney in arranging the church covenants..." Joseph and the other Elders also laid laid hands upon Sidney Rigdon, "and confirmed upon him the blessings of wisdom and knowledge to preside over the church" in his absence. (Joseph Smith Jourmal)
23 Apr (Wed)
Joseph Smith permanently disbanded The United Firm by "revelation." The Firm's assests were divided between Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney, and John Johnson. (LDS D&C 104) Oliver Cowdery and Frederick G. Williams received the printing office as their stewardship. The Firm's external debts (many thousands of dollars to eastern banks and wholesalers) fell largely upon N. K. Whitney, as did the group's internal debts (about $3000 in private loans). (See Apr 10 for the beginning of this break-up)
27 Apr (Sun)
DPH married Maria Woodbury in Kingsville, Ashtabula Co., OH
1 May (Thr)
Eber D. Howe's letter of Feb 4, 1834. which mentioned DPH's work, was printed along with the statements of Isaac Hale and others in the Susquehanna Register.
1 May (Thr)
The advance party of "Zion's Camp" left Kirtland for Missouri.
3 May (Sat)
At a special conference held in Kirtland, Sidney Rigdon proposed (and Newel K. Whitney seconded) changing the name of the Church to "The Church of the Latter Day Saints."
5 May (Mon)
Joseph Smith left Kirtland at the head of the "Zion's Camp" military expedition. He left Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery in charge at Kirtland.
c. Jun 1834
DPH and his bride moved to Miller Settlement, Elk Creek township, Erie Co., PA and purchased a small farm there from Mr. Miller. He probably also rented land from Miller. DPH's land was in the north part of the township -- became Girard in 1834-35. DPH's title to the land proved invalid and the following?? summer he was forced to move back to the Kirtland area.
3 Jun (Wed)
Members of Zion's Camp uncover the remains of "White Lamanite Zelph" from an Indian mound in Illinois,
22 Jun (Sun)
Joseph Smith claimed to have received a revelation (atFishing River) saying that the time for the redemption of Zion had not yet come. (LDS D&C Sec. 105.)
24 Jun (Tue)
Erastus Rudd, who knw Solomon Spalding in PA as a youth, died of cholara near Liberty, Clay Co., MO, along with several other members of "Zion's Camp."
3 Jul (Thr)
Joseph Smith disbanded Zion's Camp and organized a permanent Council of 12 High Priests to govern the Mormons in Missouri. David Whitmer was ordained its president -- and "was to be a leader or a prophet" to the LDS Church "on condition that he (Joseph Smith) did not live to God himself." John Whitmer and William W. Phelps were chosen as counselors. ("Far West Record," pp. 70-72; 151 ) -- note: see also July 7th.
9 Jul (Wed)
Joseph Smith along with Hyrum Smith, Frederick G. Williams, William E. McLellin began his return trip to Kirtland.
c. 1 Aug (Fri)
About this time Joseph Smith arrived back in Kirtland.
4 Aug (Mon)
Sylvester Smith accused Joseph Smith of criminal conduct during the Zion's Camp march to and from MO
Oliver Cowdery printed the last new issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. His reprinting the paper's back issues was not completed until Oct 1836, however.
24 Sep (Wed)
The Kirtland High Council reorganized the Literary Firm by appointing "a committee to arrange the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ for the government of the church of Latter-Day Saints..." Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were selected for thsi committee. The eventual outcome was the 1835 D&C. In May 1835 William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, arrived in Kirtland from MO and became members/employees of the rejuvinated Literary Firm.
F. G. Williams and Oliver Cowdery published the first issue of the LDS Messenger and Advocate at Kirtland. John Whitmer became its editor.
14 Oct (Tue)
Joseph Smith was defeated in an attempt to be elected coroner of Kirtland township.
16 Oct (Thr)
Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and other Elders left Kirtland to visit the Saints in Pontiac, MI. They returned about two weeks later.
25 Nov (Tue)
Warren A. Cowdery was called by revelation to preside over the Mormon branch at Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., NY, and the regions round about. (LDS D&C, Sec. 106.)
28 Nov (Fri)
After a many months' delay, Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed was published in Kirtland and advertised for sale in his Painesville Telegraph.
29 Nov (Sat)
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery made a covenant to properly pay their Church tithing.
5 Dec (Fri)
Joseph Smith ordained Oliver Cowdery to be the "Assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood in the Church of the Latter Day Saints." Oliver Cowdery was authorized "to assist in presiding over the whole church, and to officiate in the absence of the president, according to his rank and appointment" (Dean C. Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:36; "Manuscript History of the Church," Book A1, p. 11, LDS Archives).
6 Dec (Sat)
Joseph Smith, Sr. was ordained Patriarch. He and Hyrum Smith were also made assistant presidents of the LDS High Priesthood.
9 Dec (Tue)
Joseph Smith, Sr. gave patriarchal blessings to his children. These were recorded Jan. 1835 and included some of the earliest declarations of Israelite descent among Mormon families.
22 Dec (Mon)
Sidney Rigdon's Kirtland Grammar School opened. William E. McLellin was a teacher.
Serialization of Church history began in the LDS Messenger & Advocate. This was written at least partly in response to the appearance of Mormonism Unvailed at that time. Oliver Cowdery said that Joseph Smith prayed in his bedroom at age 15 to know which church was true -- a heavenly messenger then allegedly appeared to him.
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