Zion's Camp is the name given to an important group of early
Latter Day Saintsor Mormons.
Shortly after founding the
Latter Day Saint movement, church founder and prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., revealed that the City of Zion would be built in Jackson County just west of the town of Independence, Missouri. Many Latter Day Saints began to gather to that area and made preparations to build the city. Local non-Mormons in Jackson County became alarmed at the movement's rapid growth. Forming vigilante groups, the "old settlers" as they were called, burned Latter Day Saint homes and destroyed the church print shop. Many Latter Day Saints were threatened and abused and by 1833, nearly all had fled from the county for their safety. The Mormon refugees then settled temporarily in neighboring counties, including Clay County in particular.
At the time, the headquarters of the Latter Day Saint church was in
Kirtland, Ohio. In 1834, Joseph Smith said he received a revelation from God, calling for a militia to be raised in Kirtland which would then march to Missouri and "redeem Zion." About 200 men and a number of women and children volunteered to join this militia which became known as "Zion's Camp."
Smith and his volunteers left Kirtland on
May 4, 1834. By June 4, they had marched across Indiana and Illinois, reaching the Mississippi River, which they crossed, entering Missouri. They crossed most of the state by the end of June and news of their approach caused some alarm among non-Mormons in Jackson and Clay Counties. Attempts to negotiate a return of the Latter Day Saints to Jackson County proved fruitless, but Smith decided to disband Zion's Camp, rather than attempt to "redeem Zion" by force. Many members of the camp belived they needed to fight to redeem zion andspoke against Joseph Smith and much of the camp subsequently became ill with cholera.
Although the march failed in its primary objective, many of its participants became committed loyalists in the movement. When Smith returned to Kirtland, he organized the
Quorum of the TwelveApostles, and the First Quorum of the Seventy, choosing primarily men who had served in Zion's Camp.
Although the Latter Day Saints failed to achieve their goal of returning to Jackson County, Missouri's legislature later approved a compromise which set aside the new county of Caldwell, specifically for their settlement in 1836.
Long after Smith's death, members of what is now known as the
Church of Christ (Temple Lot)became the first members of the Latter Day Saint movement to return to Jackson County, to redeem Zion.
Several notable members of the church participated in the march. Among these are the following.
Jedediah M. Grant
* Martin Harris
Luke S. Johnson
Lyman E. Johnson
Heber C. Kimball
Amasa M. Lyman
* John Murdock
David W. Patten
Parley P. Pratt
Charles C. Rich
George A. Smith
Joseph Smith, Jr.
* William Smith
Frederick G. Williams
List of Zion's Camp participants
S. Kent Brown(ed.), "Historical Atlas of Mormonism", Simon & Schuster: 1994, pp. 28-29.
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