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Far West, Missouri

by Larry C. Porter

Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, was settled in 1836 as Latter-day Saints sought a home and refuge from persecution in Clay County. It became the county seat, with an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 inhabitants. Far West is important to LDS history because that is where the following happened: (1) a temple site was dedicated and the cornerstones laid; (2) seven revelations now published in the Doctrine and Covenants (113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120) were received; (3) Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of the Church, was born (November 13, 1838); (4) the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles officially left from for a mission to Great Britain; (5) a stake of Zion was organized; (6) Joseph Smith and his family lived (beginning March 14, 1838); (7) and for a short time the headquarters of the Church was located.

Among the notable revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants received at Far West and vicinity are: the proper name of the church was given (115:4); four new members of the Twelve Apostles were named and the Twelve as a quorum were called to serve an overseas mission (118:1-6); and the law of tithing was explained (119, 120).

Joseph Smith and other Church leaders were arrested in Far West on October 31, 1838, by the state militia and taken to Independence, then to Richmond, and from there to Liberty, Missouri, where they were imprisoned. While the Prophet was in prison during the winter and spring of 1838-1839, the Latter-day Saints were driven from Far West and other Missouri sites under Governor Boggs's Extermination Order and relocated in Illinois.

The Church still has interest in Far West and has erected appropriate monuments at the temple site.

[See also History of the Church: c. 1831-1844; Mission of the Twelve to the British Isles; Missouri]

(See Daily Living home page; Church History home page; 1831-1844 home page)


Cannon, Donald Q., and Lyndon W. Cook. Far West Record. Salt Lake City, 1983.

Gentry, Leland H. "A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836 to 1839." Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1965.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Far West, Missouri

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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