Zion’s Camp Organized, became Disorganized and Disbanded

D&C 103:1; “Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion.”

Revelation given in Kirtland, OH on February 24, 1834.  History of the Church 2:36-39. 

This prophecy uttered by Smith came on the heels of an ongoing persecution period the Saints believed was aimed towards them.  While being told to cut their losses and leave Jackson County, Missouri, Smith received this revelation to form Zion’s Camp which consisted of an armed “military group” of Mormons. 

Smith’s original prophetic commandment was for a few hundred men to organize themselves in Kirtland, OH and march to Missouri to aid fellow Mormons and reclaim property in Jackson County, MO.   As it turned out only 100 or so men showed up and began marching to Missouri on March 6, 1834.  As they marched to Missouri they gathered more people to aid in their plight bringing their numbers up to about 200 or so men, women and children. http://mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/USA/missouri/daviess/zionsCamp/history.htm 

Zion’s Camp was officially disbanded in July of the same year because of what Smith claimed was disobedience of Church members.  Besides the disobedient Mormons there were a number of weather related incidents that impeded their progress, but the real problem they faced was cholera.  Unsanitary conditions led to the deaths of 13 people.

By June or July of 1834 Smith had another message from God telling them not to worry about Zion just yet and lie low for a few years. (D&C 105)  According to Reed Peck who was an active convert at the time testified Smith told members that if they’d wait for three years not even a dog would open its mouth when they go back in to reclaim Zion for God. See “The Reed Peck Manuscript” here: http://www.mormoninformation.com/reedpeck.htm

Also see references below for further insight of what happened to Zion’s Camp: 

History of the Church 3:xxxix; “From this it is very clear that the reason why the Saints were prevailed against by their enemies and driven from the center place of Zion, was because of their failure to live up to the high requirements made of them by the Lord. In subsequent efforts to redeem Zion, by attempting to return the exiles to Jackson county, the Saints in all parts of the land again failed to respond with sufficient promptness and fullness to the requirements of the Lord, for He commanded them again to consecrate money to purchase lands in Jackson county and in the counties round about, saying to the Church: “There is even now already in store a sufficient, yea even abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches who call themselves after my name willing to hearken to my voice.””

D&C 101:75; “There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.”