SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed Saturday that it purchased 6,000 acres of Missouri farmland and three historical sites from the Community of Christ — the group formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Church recently acquired operating farmland and several other non-farmland properties located in Missouri and Ohio from the Community of Christ," LDS Church spokesperson Scott Trotter said. "Non-farm sites include the Haun’s Mill and the Far West Burying Ground in Missouri as well as the Joseph Smith Sr. home in Kirtland, Ohio."
Trotter specified that no plans exist to develop the properties; farm operations will continue and historic sites will be maintained.
Situated in Caldwell County, Mo., Haun's Mill is remembered in LDS history as the place where at least 18 Mormons were massacred on Oct. 30, 1838, when Caldwell County sheriff William Jennings led an armed militia of more than 200 men into the small settlement and had them open fire without warning.
Also located in Caldwell County, Far West is the settlement Mormons founded in 1836 that served as the church's headquarters during most of 1838. It's estimated that more than 200 early Latter-day Saints are buried at the Far West Burial Grounds, including original apostle David W. Patten.
Joseph Smith Sr. resided in Kirtland from 1831-38, and was living there at the time he was called in 1833 to be the church's first Presiding Patriarch.
When contacted by KSL-TV regarding the sale, the Community of Christ issued a statement that included, "Ongoing preservation is Community of Christ’s paramount concern for Haun’s Mill, the Far West Burying Ground and the Smith Sr. home in particular."
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company