Far West

Caldwell County, Missouri


By 1838, many Saints left Ohio to join with those driven from their homes in Missouri. They gathered in the wilderness area of Caldwell County in northwest Missouri and built the city of Far West as a temporary place of refuge. Joseph Smith and his family arrived in March 1838. The following month, God revealed to the Prophet that Far West was located on holy ground, and the Saints were commanded to build a temple here. 1 Cornerstones for the temple were laid during a celebration in early July.

As persecutions raged, Joseph continued to receive direction from the Lord. Here, God revealed that His Church was to be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2 He directed the Saints to "pay one-tenth of all their interest annually" 3 to financially sustain the Church. And from Far West, the Lord sent the Twelve Apostles on an important mission to England.

The Prophet and other Church leaders were captured by a mob in the fall of 1838. Most were soon released, but Joseph and five others were moved to Liberty Jail. By the following spring, the Saints had fled Far West to safe havens in Illinois and Iowa.

In 1908, the Church purchased 80 acres in Far West, including the temple lot. President David O. McKay dedicated monuments at the temple site in 1968.


Joseph Smith Quotes

We have been driven time after time, and that without cause; and smitten again and again, and that without provocation; until we have proved the world with kindness, and the world has proved us, that we have no designs against any man or set of men, that we injure no man, that we are peaceable with all men, minding our own business, and our business only. We have suffered our rights and our liberties to be taken from us; we have not avenged ourselves of those wrongs; . . . yet we have yielded peaceably to all these things. We have not complained at the Great God, we murmured not, but peaceably left all, and retired into the back country, in the broad and wild prairies, in the barren and desolate plains, and there commenced anew; we made the desolate places to bud and blossom as the rose. (History of the Church, 3:67–68.)

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (Articles of Faith 1:11.)


Eliza R. Snow, General Relief Society President, 1866–1887 

I resided in the family of Joseph Smith, and taught his family school, and had ample opportunity to mark his "daily walk and conversation," as a prophet of God; and the more I became acquainted with him, the more I appreciated him as such. His lips ever flowed with instruction and kindness; and, although very forgiving, indulgent, and affectionate in his temperament, when his God-like intuition suggested that the welfare of his brethren, and the interests of the kingdom of God demanded it, no fear of censure—no love of approbation could prevent his severe and cutting rebuke. Though his expansive mind grasped the great plan of salvation and solved the mystic problem of man's destiny—though he had in his possession keys that unlocked the past and the future with its succession of eternities, in his devotions he was humble as a little child. ("Sketch of My Life," Relief Society Magazine, Mar. 1944, 136; paragraph divisions altered.)

Eliza R. Snow, General Relief Society President, 1866–1887 

As a philanthropist, his soul was broad as Eternity. In the cause of truth and righteousness?in all that would benefit his fellow man, his integrity was a firm as the pillars of heaven. He knew that God had called him to the work, and all the powers of earth and hell combined, failed, either to deter or divert him from his purpose. With the help of God and his brethren, he laid the foundation of the greatest work ever established by man?a work extending not only to all the living, and to all the generations to come, but also to the dead. He boldly and bravely confronted the false traditions, superstitions, religions, bigotry and ignorance of the world?proved himself true to every heaven-revealed principle?true to his brethren and true to God, then sealed his testimony with his blood. ("Anniversary Tribute to the Memory of President Joseph Smith," Woman's Exponent, Jan. 1, 1874, 117; paragraph divisions altered.)

Key Events

Revelations Received

  • D&C Section 113  — 

    Mar. 1838. Soon after the arrival of the Prophet in Far West, Missouri, Elias Higbee and other Church members inquired about particular passages of scripture from the book of Isaiah.

  • D&C Section 114  — 

    Apr. 17, 1838. David W. Patten was counseled to prepare for his mission with other members of the Twelve.

  • D&C Section 115  — 

    Apr. 26, 1838. This revelation given at Far West made known the will of God concerning the building up of that place, the construction of a temple there, and the full name of the Church.

  • D&C Section 117  — 

    July 8, 1838. William Marks and Newel K. Whitney had not left Kirtland. Oliver Granger was dispatched with this revelation to instruct them what to do.

  • D&C Section 118  — 

    July 8, 1838. This revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph at Far West, Missouri, in response to the supplication, "Show us thy will, O Lord, concerning the Twelve" (see History of the Church, 3:46).

  • D&C Section 119  — 

    July 8, 1838. The financial troubles of the Church, its leaders, and the failure of the Saints to keep the law of consecration led to this revelation and the extension of the law of tithing to all members of the Church.

  • D&C Section 120  — 

    July 8, 1838. The brethren wished to know how to dispense the properties given through tithing.


Online Resources at LDS.org

Online Resources at BYU

  • "A Newly Discovered 1838 Wilford Woodruff Letter" – 

    Wilford Woodruff's testimony to his brother, including the conversion of his parents and their plans to move to Far West. Also lists the dates of his ordinations and mentions his new calling to be an Apostle.

     Robert H. Slover II, Brigham Young University Studies 15, no. 3 (1975): 349–61



[1] See D&C 115:7–8.

[2] See D&C 115:4.

[3] See D&C 119:4.