Joseph Smith had a revelation that Jackson County, Missouri was the promised land. It turns out that the Jackson Country residents weren’t on board with that revelation. It was a very tumultuous time when Mormons and Missourians both wanted to control the local politics. Dr. Alex Baugh describes many of the reasons the two groups didn’t get along.
Alex: So, politically, we’re basically Democrats now in Jackson County.
GT: Mormons were Democrats. Did you just say that?
Alex: No question. Yeah. Yeah.
GT: What happened?
Alex: So politically, we were Democrats. Jackson County is named after Andrew Jackson. I mean, the Jacksonian Democracy, Jackson. So politically, we we’re a little more aligned that way, but that pans out differently depending on where we were, and so on. But there were definitely not many Whigs in the church. So there’s the political issue, although, again, I think what Missourians were more worried about, Rick, was not so much that Mormons were Democrats, but that the Mormons would hold office and be the ones who would govern. They kicked us out of Jackson County in 1833, at the right time if you want to say it that way. Had Mormons continue to immigrate, they would have outnumbered the local citizenry. There’s no question. So the political aspect was more numbers than the difference in political power.
Alex: They just didn’t want the Mormons being the the ones who are making the laws and carrying out the edicts, whatever.
GT: So was it religion, or was it politics that was the bigger issue?
Alex: Yeah, well, it’s always religion, and, that was my point. You can look at the slave issue. You can look at Northerners versus Southerners. You can look at the social. I think we can safely say that at least in Jackson County, the Mormons were a little bit of a cut above some of the frontier Missourians. That doesn’t mean that some of the Missourians were not well educated and sophisticated, but at least bright people. I think the Mormons were probably a little bit of a cut above, at least in, like I say, Jackson County, maybe not as much in Clay [County.] There are some bright people in Clay County. Oh, my gosh. We’ve got a future U.S. senator in David Rice Atchison. There were just some bright political figures in Clay County.
But the point is political, social, economic, the Mormons were rather clannish. We traded among ourselves. That doesn’t mean we didn’t help support the local economy and local merchants, but we were trying to implement consecration. But the underlying thing, Rick, was we were seen as religious radicals. I mean, we went against the Christian elements of the day. We believed in strong prophetic leadership. We didn’t believe in the Trinity. We claimed visions. I’m just trying to think here, again, we practiced Consecration. That was part of our economic element that we combined together to support each other. We believed in additional scripture. Oh my gosh, that went against [everything.] “A Bible, a Bible.” So we were seen as on the religious fringe. If we would have been any other faith, there would have been no problem and we could have still had some of those differences, and probably lived peacefully. But it was oil and water, and we just didn’t mix. So it was a lot of things.
Check out our conversation…..
 The Republican Party was founded in 1854. The Whig Party were essentially replaced by the Republican Party.
If you’re interested in early Church history, don’t miss our interview with Dr. Mark Staker on the Kirtland Period.
016: Elijah’s Visit & the Sealing Keys (Staker)
014: Did the Kirtland Temple Sparkle? (Staker & Bennett)