After the Latter-day Saint were driven from Missouri they were instructed by the Prophet Joseph Smith to prepare affidavits describing the property losses they had sustained and the abuses and atrocities they had suffered at the hands of lawless men there. Nearly seven hundred men and women accepted the Prophet's charge and wrote almost eight hundred documents. A fraction of these documents (approximately fifty) has been published in the History of the Church and recorded the the Journal History of the Church, but until now no comprehensive collection has ever been assembled.Hence the significance of Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict. It is a complete collection of all known petitions, as contained in both the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Access to this large collection of primary sources from this engrossing period of Church History is necessary for an understanding of the events that led to the Mormon expulsion from Missouri. In the past, scholars have argued that the Latter-day Saints were driven from Missouri for political, cultural, economic, and social reasons as well as religious ones. But the petitions show that, more than any other factor, it was the issue of religion that brought about the Saints' troubles. The petitions note that time and time again the mobsters gave Mormons the opportunity to deny they were followers of Joseph Smith, members of the Church, or believers in the Book of Mormon, with the promise of freedom if they would do so. But when such denials were not forthcoming, the mobsters continued their abuses.This book is a resource volume of primary documents. It will be invaluable to historians- especially those studying the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The petitions not only give a panorama of the Mormon persecutions but also contain information concerning the Saints' movement into Missouri and the personal property they had, thus supplying significant information by which to evaluate Mormon life on the Missouri frontier.The petitions will also be useful to family historians and genealogists, since many of the petitioners give information about their lives before they joined the Church of moved to Missouri. And many petitions are also personal in nature and reveal much about their individual authors.Several years in preparation, this collection of sworn legal documents substantiates the charge of suffering and abuse perpetrated by one people upon another. Its publications give historians, genealogists, teachers, and students alike the opportunity to expand their understanding of this period of Mormon history through hundreds of previously unpublished accounts supplied by eyewitnesses.
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