May 5th and the march of Zion's Camp May 05 2017


On May 5th, 1834, Zion's Camp departed for Missouri intent on reclaiming the land from which the Saints had been expelled.

Historians Leland Homer Gentry and Todd M. Compton​ wrote:

"In mid-December 1833, word reached Kirtland of the Missouri Saints’s plight. Joseph Smith soon received a revelation which directed the church in Ohio to 'gather together . . . the strength of mine house . . . and go ye straightway . . . and redeem my vineyard.' This revelation further instructed the Missouri Saints to continue purchasing land in Jackson County and importuning their civic leaders for redress. The revelation concluded by instructing the Saints to retain their claim on their Jackson County properties, even 'though they should not be permitted to dwell thereon' (D&C-1835, 97:7, 9–10, 12–13; D&C 101:55–58, 70–73, 76, 86–89, 99).

Immediately preparations were undertaken to fulfill the revelation’s requirements. On February 24, 1834, a second revelation directed the Saints in the eastern United States to form a military unit and march to Missouri to help reinstate their Missouri brethren. Approximately two hundred men, a group known as Zion’s Camp, responded to this call.

Zion’s Camp was an important precursor to the fervent Mormon militarism that surfaced in the 1838 war. In 1834, Joseph Smith advanced toward Missouri as commander of the 'armies of Israel.' Mel Tungate suggests that the Missourians would have remembered this invasion and that it would have shaped their view of the Mormons as aggressive militarists in 1838–39."

Learn more about the history of Latter-day Saints in Missouri in Fire and Sword: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri, 1836-39 by Leland Homer Gentry and Todd M. Compton.