A Timeline of Mormonism

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A Brief History

This article presents a timeline of the history of Mormonism.

Digging Deeper

On October 27, 1838, Missouri’s governor issued an order for all Mormons to leave the state or face extermination!

On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), was shot to death by a mob with blackened faces in a Carthage, Illinois jail while awaiting trial for treason.

On June 9, 1856, 500 Mormons left Iowa and headed for Salt Lake City, Utah.  So eager to leave the religious persecution behind them, they started their trek on foot pulling 2 wheeled handcarts!

On July 26, 1953, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona National Guard conducted a raid on an enclave of fundamentalist Mormons at Short Creek, Arizona, an enormous law enforcement effort that netted about 400 people taken into custody, including men, women and children.

On June 25, 1976, the Governor of Missouri, Christopher Bond,  signed an executive order rescinding Executive Order 44, better known as “The Extermination Order.”  Executive Order 44 had been issued by then Governor Lilburn Boggs (“Lilburn”???) ordering that a force of 400 mounted men be raised to “exterminate or be driven from the state” all Mormons (Latter Day Saints).

On April 3, 2008, an army of law enforcement descended upon a polygamist compound with snipers, machine guns, SWAT equipment, a helicopter and even an armored personnel carrier!

On July 20, 2013, an article posted at the NY Times website sent shock waves throughout The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church.  Hans Mattson, a Swedish “Area Authority” (equivalent to a Cardinal) overseeing the church’s works in Europe, provided an interview expressing doubts about the church after learning of historical facts online that are never taught in Sunday School classes. Among the facts he found out include the truth surrounding Joseph Smith’s polygamous ways and some historical inconsistencies with the church’s scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon.

Question for students (and subscribers): Which event above was most surprising to you to learn about?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Cook, M. Bridget and Rebecca Musser.  The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice.  Grand Central Publishing, 2013.

Kinney, Brandon G.  The Mormon War: Zion and the Missouri Extermination Order of 1838.  Westholme Publishing, 2011.

Lopez, Robert, Trey Parker, et al.  The Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical.  Newmarket Press, 2012.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2013.

Weyermann, Debra.  Answer Them Nothing: Bringing Down the Polygamous Empire of Warren Jeffs.  Chicago Review Press, 2011.


About Author

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.