The year 1837 was one of the most turbulent periods in all of Mormon history. It was the year the Kirtland Bank collapsed. Many, including apostles, lost faith in Joseph Smith and his ability to lead. Why did Joseph decide that Kirtland needed a bank? What were the economic reasons behind this? Historian and Author, Dr. Mark Staker talks about this in his book [Hearken O Ye People: The Historical Settings of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations] about the Kirtland period. One of these events dealt that led Mormon leaders to consider a bank was a visit to New York City.
While they’re going out there, they go through New York and they visit Wall Street. They see these trains. They see all this industry going on and things. Oliver Cowdery is writing back these letters and suggesting that banking is something that interested them. Exactly how that congeals in their minds, what it is that they plan on doing? Why? What is it that they see that leads them to these decisions? They come back and with the idea that they need to have a bank in Kirtland and they need to be able to print their own money to do their own things and it will foster this growth.
Listen to describe other events that led up to the Kirtland Bank. (In part 2, we’ll discuss events leading to the collapse of the bank.)