A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
Expulsion From Illinois
When the bodies of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch were brought from Carthage, they
were met by thousands of the Saints from Nauvoo who wept aloud for the loss of their
beloved leaders. The scene was a very sad one. Elder Willard Richards spoke to the
people and advised them to remain peaceable as they had always been, and let the Lord
avenge the murder of their loved ones.
The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were buried privately at Nauvoo so that their enemies
might not disturb them.
And now the Saints were a little confused about who should be their leaders. Joseph, the
President of the Church, and Hyrum, one of his counselors, were dead, and Sidney
Rigdon, the other counselors, had some months before got tired of affairs at Nauvoo and
had gone to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was an apostate at heart, though he had not yet
been cut off from the Church. Most of the Twelve Apostles were away on missions, and
word was sent for them to return as soon as possible.
Though at first there was some misunderstanding among the Saints, the Lord did not
intend his Church should go to pieces because its leader had been taken away. The
Church had been set up never to be thrown down or left to other people. The Gospel had
been given to the earth "for the last time and for the fullness of times." The Saints had a
promise that the kingdom was theirs "and the enemy shall not overcome." It would be a
poor church, indeed, that would go to pieces every time its chief officer died. No; the
Lord, through Joseph, had organized the Church so well that this could not be. There was
a quorum in the Church that had been given all the power necessary to carry on the work
of the Church in case the First Presidency was taken away. That quorum was the Twelve
Apostles. Now that there was no First Presidency, it was the duty of the Twelve to
preside and regulate the affairs of the Church until such time that there should be another
president appointed. Brigham Young was the president of the Twelve, so in reality he
was the leading man in the Church.
But now came Sidney Rigdon from Pittsburg. He wanted to be appointed the leader of the
Church, or as he called it, a "guardian." He, with some others, tried to have a meeting of
the Saints before the Twelve could get home. This meeting was appointed for the 8th of
August, 1844. On the 6th of August President Young and five of the Apostles arrived at
The meeting was held at the grove, and Sidney Rigdon and some of the Twelve spoke.
When Brigham Young arose to address the meeting, it seemed to the Saints that both in
appearance and speech he was like the Prophet Joseph. This certainly was a sign to them.
At this meeting Sidney Rigdon was rejected and the Twelve Apostles were upheld as the
quorum to lead the Church.
Sidney Rigdon did not like this. He got a few followers and tried to organize another
church. A number of others did the same, but all these movements did not amount to
much. The Saints kept on under the direction of the Twelve, building the temple and
other public edifices in Nauvoo.
The enemies of the Church were disappointed. They had thought that if they could get
Joseph out of the way that would be the end of "Mormonism." Of course they did not