A Young Folks' History of the Church
Removal To Ohio
The scriptures often speak of a time in the latter days when the people of God shall be
gathered together to build up the Lord's kingdom and prepare for his second coming. The
gospel should be preached to all the world, and those who would believe should go out
from Babylon, or the wicked world, and came together with the people of the Lord. Every
elder who has been on a mission will tell you that as soon as persons accept the gospel, a
desire comes to them to gather with the main body of the Saints. Thus the Lord puts the
spirit of gathering into the hearts of the believers, and his purposes are fulfilled.
The Lord told the prophet Joseph that the time for this gathering had come, and that the
central gathering place for the Saints on this land was somewhere in the West, though at
first the exact location was not told him.
In December, 1830, the word of the Lord came to Joseph that the Saints should gather to
Ohio. This was westward and in the proper direction. The western missionaries had
raised up large branches in Ohio, so it was not like going into a new place. The Church
was growing steadily, and many revelations were given to the Saints. We might say the
Lord was assigning lessons for us, which we have not yet learned very well.
Preparations were made for this removal by holding the third conference of the Church at
Fayette and setting its affairs in order.
One day, about the 1st of February, 1831, a sleigh containing two men and two women,
drove through the streets of Kirtland, Ohio, and stopped at the door of Gilbert and
Whitney's store. One of the men alighted, and springing up the steps, walked into the
store where one of the owners was standing.
"Newel K. Whitney, thou art the man!" exclaimed the visitor, extending his hand as to an
"You have the advantage of me," replied the storekeeper, "I could not call you by name
as you have me."
"I am Joseph, the prophet," said the stranger, smiling. "You've prayed me here; now what
do you want of me?"
Mr. Whitney, you will remember, had joined the Church sometime before, and of course
he was delighted to see the prophet. Joseph and his wife, Emma, stayed at Brother
Whitney's house for some time. Shortly after this, Newel K. Whitney was called to be
bishop at Kirtland, and later he became the second presiding bishop of the Church.
Early next spring, 1831, the Saints from New York began to come to Ohio, buying land
in and around the town of Kirtland.
Before leaving Fayette, Joseph had been visited by a young man who had walked two
hundred miles to see him and have the prophet tell him what his duty was. This young
man was Orson Pratt, brother of Parley P. Pratt. Joseph received a revelation in which