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Rigdon, Sidney, 1793-1876

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1793-1876

Biographical History

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876) was a Baptist minister in Pennsylvania and Ohio who eventually joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his time in the Church, he became a prominent member of the Church, serving as a member of the First Presidency and running as the Vice Presidential candidate for Joseph Smith's presidential campaign. After Smith's Martyrdom in June 1844, he eventually tried to take control of the Church, but eventually relocated himself to the Northeast where he led the Rigdonite sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sidney Rigdon was born on February 19, 1793 in St. Clair Township, PA as the youngest of four children to William and Nancy Rigdon. Although his father passed away in 1810, Rigdon served in his family farm while also being a diligent scholar in history and English. After leaving the farm in 1818, he became a Baptist minister, serving in Churches in Pennsylvania and Ohio up until 1826. However, after some of his congregants including Parley P. Pratt and Edward Partridge joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rigdon eventually met with Joseph Smith in 1830 and eventually converted - serving as a scribe and assistant to Joseph Smith during his re-translation of the Bible.

Between 1830-1837, Rigdon returned to Ohio, settling with fellow members of the Church in Kirtland, OH. While there, they experimented living with all things in common. Along with this, he dealt with persecutions, but eventually repented and became a member of the First Presidency, where he served as president of the Kirtland Safety Society. However, in spite of this, during the Church's times in Missouri and Illinois, he came into constant conflict with Joseph Smith, criticizing him for sabbath-breaking while claiming himself to be a "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator." It was due to this that Rigdon's relationship with Smith deteriorated, even to the point where there were claims that Rigdon was conspiring with critics of the Church like John C. Bennett to overthrow the Church.

Nevertheless, in spite of Smith and Rigdon's poor relationship in the 1840s, he nevertheless was selected to be Smith's Vice Presidential pick when Smith ran for president in 1844. Regardless, not only was Rigdon critical of practices like polygamy at this period of Church history, but eventually he tried to take control of the Church after Smith's death, wanting to serve as "Guardian of the Church." While the majority of the members of the Church decided to side with Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles over Rigdon, a few did join up with Rigdon and eventually moved back to Pennsylvania and New York to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion - a church in which he served as president. While the Church seemed to flourish at first, eventually it split off to form another sect of the Church called "The Church of Jesus Christ."

For the remainder of his life in 1862-1876, Rigdon stayed in the northeast. In spite of any contentions he may have had with Smith, he never renounced his testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and believed that Joseph called him to serve as leader of the Church after his death. Nevertheless, on July 14, 1876, he passed away in his home in Friendship, NY.

Citation

Wikipedia, May 16, 2017 (Sidney Rigdom; b. Feb. 19, 1793; d. July 14, 1876; started as Baptist minister in New York, Pennsylania, and Ohio; Converted to Mormonism, where he served as a scribe and member of the First Presidency of the Church; after a contentious relationship with Smith, after his death he claimed to be the next leader of the Church)

Found in 23 Collections and/or Records:

Beaver Baptist Association minutes and pamphlets

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS SC 1409
Scope and Contents Photocopies and microfilm copies of the printed minutes of the Beaver Baptist Association of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The microfilm contains a collection of Baptist pamphlets as well. Sidney Rigdon, the early Mormon Church leader, is mentioned in the minutes of 1819, 1820, and 1821.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints records

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 4123
Scope and Contents Contains correspondence, church related, financial records, legal records, and miscellaneous documents. Notable documents (all photocopies) include an 1844 letter from Joseph Smith while in Carthage Jail and a list of Mormon Battalion soldiers.

A declaration of our faith and practice

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 1053
Scope and Contents Record book of the Providence Baptist Church of Beaver County, Pa. pages 1, 28, 95-147. The book is largely minutes of church meetings relating to matters of church policy including excommunication. Sidney Rigdon, an early Mormon church leader, is mentioned on pages 95 and 97.

Geauga County (Ohio) court record

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 1930
Scope and Contents One handwritten court record. The item is a copy made in 1860 by William N. Keeny, clerk of Geauga County, of the original court record dated 1839. The Halsted Haines Co. sued Joseph Smith (1805-1844), Hyrum Smith, Olivery Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Brigham Young, and other Mormon Church leaders for redress in connection with questionable business practices. Since the defendants failed to appear when summoned, the plaintiffs were awarded $2337.35 plus expenses.

Timothy and Elisa Gunn letter to Levi Benyamen

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: Vault MSS 729
Scope and Contents Handwritten and signed letter by Gunn and his wife, Elisa, dated June 15, 1834 and addressed to Levi Benyamen in Massachusetts. This item describes the difficulties of raising crops in Connecticut and expresses strong anti-Mormon feelings. It also mentions Sidney Rigdon who was a Baptist minister and later joined the Mormon Church.

Arlene Hess correspondence

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1281
Scope and Contents Typewritten copies of correspondence. The materials relate to the early Mormon leader, Sidney Rigdon, and to members of his family. Also included are items relating to the genealogy and biography of Rigdon and his descendents when the family was in Friendship, New York.

Paul Jensen research file on Sidney Rigdon

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 4048
Abstract Includes photocopies of genealogies, newspaper clippings, wills, letters, photographs, and maps relating to the life of Sidney Rigdon and his descendants.

Kirtland Safety Society Bank five dollar bill

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 69
Overview The folder contains a photocopy of a five dollar bill issued on 10 February 1837 and signed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders Joseph Smith (1805-1844) and Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876).

Vinson Knight account book

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 70
Overview The folder contains photocopies of a handwritten account book written between 1836-1840. The items list transactions involving Mormons in Kirtland, Ohio and in Nauvoo, Illinois including leaders such as Joseph Smith (1805-1844) and Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876). The materials were photocopied from a microfilm collection.

Noel B. Reynolds study of wordprinting and authorship research files, 1984-1996

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7935 Series 2 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents Contains the creator's research files on wordprinting and authorship. Many of his research projects have resulted in authorship studies, especially in reference to the works of Thomas Hobbes, Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith, Jr., 1984-1996.