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Smith's followers, commonly known as Mormons, began to settle in Jackson County in 1831 to "build up" the city of Zion.
Tensions built up between the rapidly growing Mormon community and the earlier settlers for a number of reasons: culminating in the expulsion of the Mormons from the entire state.
All of the conflicts in the Mormon War occurred in a corridor 100 miles (160 km) to the east and northeast of Kansas City, Missouri.
As a result of the war, nearly all Mormons in Missouri, estimated at more than 10,000, were forced to leave the state.
At the same time, a leadership struggle between the church presidency and Missouri leaders led to the excommunication of several high-placed Mormon leaders, including Oliver Cowdery (one of the Three Witnesses and the church's original "second elder"), David Whitmer (another of the Three Witnesses and Stake President of the Missouri Church), as well as John Whitmer, Hiram Page, William Wines Phelps and others.
Possession became unclear and the dissenters threatened the church with lawsuits.
When Joseph Smith and volunteers rode to Adam-ondi-Ahman to assess the situation, they discovered there were no truths to the rumors.
Black and others filed complaints against Smith and the other identifiable Mormon participants.
Tensions rose in Clay County as the Mormon population grew.
In an effort to keep the peace, Alexander William Doniphan of Clay County pushed a law through the Missouri legislature that created Caldwell County, Missouri, specifically for Mormon settlement in 1836.
The presidency responded by urging the dissenters to leave the county, using strong words that the dissenters interpreted as threats.
In his famous Salt Sermon, Sidney Rigdon announced that the dissenters were as salt that had lost its savor and that it was the duty of the faithful to cast the dissenters out to be trodden beneath the feet of men.