Historical Resource on
Timeline of the Kirtland Apostasy

General Historical Resources  

Timeline of the Kirtland Apostasy

Throughout the Year. Many converts (mostly of the "poorer class") continue to gather to Kirtland, some hoping to be supported by the funds of the Church and the generosity of the Saints. This causes several challenges, including financial strain, for the Church. (see Kirtland Poverty Problem)

July. William Burgess informs Joseph of a large sum of money hidden in a cellar in Salem, Massachussets. Persuaded by Burgess, the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery, travel in late July to New York City and then on to Salem. They do not find the money. (see Background to D&C 111)

August 6. Joseph receives D&C 111. (see Background to D&C 111)

September. Joseph and his brethren return to Kirtland. Shortly after his return Joseph prophecies in the temple that there are those whose hearts are not right and that they will apostatize if they do not repent. (see Account)

November. Orson Hyde petitions Ohio legislature to approve the proposal to incorporate the Kirtland Safety Society. At the same time, Oliver Cowdery went to Philadelphia to purchase plates for printing currency. Cowdery succeeds, Hyde is turned down. (see Overview of Kirtland Safety Society)

Those who Waver, Apostatize, or are Excommunicated:

January 2. The brethren form a private join-stock company called the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. The Kirtland Safety Society opens for business on this day. (see Overview of Kirtland Safety Society)

January 17. David Whitmer warns Church members of a scourge to be poured out upon Kirtland if there is not immediate repentance. (see Account)

February. Joseph Smith travels to Michigan in search of a charter for the Kirtland Safety Society.

February. In Joseph's absence, apostates hold a meeting in the Kirtland Temple intending to appoint David Whitmer as the new Church President. Brigham Young opposed them. (see Account)

February 19. Joseph speaks for several hours in the Kirtland temple in the power of God and silences murmuring members of the Church. (see Account)

March-May. The spirit of speculation, greed, pride, dissention, and apostasy engulfs several in the Church. (see Statements)

Before June. Warren Parrish, a former secretary and close friend of Joseph Smith, embezzles about $20,000 from the Kirtland Safety Society. (see Account)

May. Kirtland Safety Society fails, as do many banking institutions nationwide.

June 4. Joseph calls Heber C. Kimball to England. Orson Hyde requests to join him on his mission and is approved. (see Account)

June 12-14. Joseph is taken sick. Apostates spread idea that it is a punishment from God on a fallen prophet. (see Account)

  In England

July. Joseph resigns his office from the Kirtland Safety Society. He records,

"I resigned my office in the 'Kirtland Safety Society,' disposed of my interest therein, and withdrew from the institution; being fully aware, after so long an experiment, that no institution of the kind, established upon just and righteous principles for a blessing not only to the Church but the whole nation, would be suffered to continue its operations in such an age of darkness, speculation and wickedness." (History of the Church, 2:497)

July 23. Thomas B. Marsh approaches Joseph Smith with his concerns about the Twelve. Joseph receives D&C 112 on his behalf. (see Background to D&C 112)

July 27. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Thomas B. Marsh go to Canada to visit the churches, preach, baptize, bless the Saints and strengthen the branches. They return to Kirtland about the end of August.

August. Warren Parrish and John F. Boynton lead a group armed with pistols and bowie knives into the Kirtland temple in an effort to take it over. (see Account)

September 3. Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and John F. Boynton are disfellowshiped. John Boynton, the only one of the three present, "attributed his difficulties to the failure of the bank, stating that he understood the bank was instituted by the will of God, and he had been told that it should never fail, let men do what they would." Then Joseph Smith arose and stated "that if this had been declared no one had authority from him for so doing, for he had always said that unless the institution was conducted on righteous principles it would not stand" (History of the Church, 2:509-510).

September 10. At a Sabbath meeting, Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and John F. Boynton confess to the Church and are restored to fellowship. The Church voted that they retain their apostleship. These three are then allowed to pass the sacrament. (see History of the Church, 2:512)

September 27. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and William Smith travel to Missouri to establish places for gathering. (see History of the Church, 2:518)

November 7. Frederick G. Williams is dropped from the First Presidency. (see History of the Church, 2:523; also see Lucy Mack Smith's Account)

November. Kirtland Safety Society is forced to close its doors. (see Kirtland Safety Society)

December 10. The Prophet Joseph Smith returns from Far West. The apostates are openly denouncing him and trying to form their own Church (see History of the Church, 2:528).

December 22. Brigham Young fled Kirtland due to threats on his life. (see Account)

End of December. Joseph writes, "Apostasy, persecution, confusion, and mobocracy strove hard to bear rule at Kirtland, and thus closed the year 1837" (History of the Church, 2:529).

July 23. Heber C. Kimball and companions arrive in England.

July 30. On the morning of the first scheduled baptisms the missionaries were attacked by devils. (see Account)


January 12. Joseph and Sidney flee Kirtland. (see Account)

March 6-8. Seven Presidents of the Seventy hold a series of meetings in Kirtland to know what they are to do. The "Kirtland Camp" is organized.

March. D&C 113 is received. (see Background to D&C 113)

July 6. Over 500 saints leave their homes, businesses, land, and temple in Kirtland to begin a 3 month journey to Northern Missouri.

Far West Excommunications and Apostates: