History of the Church Series
This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Lyndon W. Cook. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.
The disaffection of Church leaders in high place has always been a topic of much interest and concern. Since motives for dissent are usually difficult to determine with certainty, the historian must search for feeling as well as fact in his pursuit of understanding the apostate. Thomas B. Marsh, the first President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, became an apostate in 1838 in the heat of the so called Mormon War in northwestern Missouri. Unlike most dissenters, Thomas Marsh finally returned to the Church that he had so bitterly rejected. Both his private and public statements, after he rejoined the Church, turn out to be confessions of guilt and reveal his reasons for withdrawing in Missouri. While Marsh's experience was very personal, it nevertheless provides a poignant illustration to the larger Church membership of the dangers of being too critical of those in authority.