An Inaccessible Mormon Zion : Expulsion from Jackson County
This is Volume IV of an epic, multi-volume work entitled The Quest for the New Jerusalem: A Mormon Generation Saga, which combines family, Mormon, and American history, focusing upon how the author's ancestors were affected by their conversion to the Mormon religion.
Volume IV describes the expulsion of Mormons from Jackson County, the efforts of Missouri state officials to deal with the explosive situation, and Smith's attempt to explain why his Missouri Zion is now off-limits to Mormons, although the Lord purportedly has designated it as the site for the hallowed New Jerusalem and imminent Second Coming of Christ. Smith recruits a Mormon army ("Zion's Camp") and leads it from Ohio to western Missouri in an unsuccessful effort to forcefully "redeem Zion," and fourteen members of the camp die of cholera at the end of the trek, including one of the author's Carter ancestors. There are serious recriminations against Smith within the Mormon Church on account of the total failure of this military venture, and a member of the Kirtland High Council Sylvester Smith brings formal charges against him. In the "trial," however, the accuser quickly becomes the accused, and to avoid excommunication Sylvester is forced to apologize profusely for his "false accusations" against "The Prophet." A disgruntled, excommunicated Mormon--Doctor Philastus Hurlbut--travels to western New York in late 1833 and collects numerous affidavits from residents of the Palmyra/Manchester area alleging that the young Joseph Smith, his father, and some of his brothers engaged in illegal, occult, "treasure-seer," "treasurer-digging" activities during the 1820s, and were lazy and dishonest.