Nestled along the east branch of the Chagrin River, Kirtland served as the organizational headquarters of the infant Church from 1831 until 1838. Membership grew from a handful of members to well over 2,000 before persecution and the financial upheaval of the times forced the Mormons to move on to western settlements in Missouri and Illinois.
The Kirtland years were one of the most remarkable periods in Church history, according to Milton V. Backman, professor emeritus at Brigham Young University.
“Here a vast amount of doctrinal information was unfolded to Joseph Smith, the Church leader. Members gained an increased understanding of one subject, then another,” Backman said in a series about Kirtland on the Mormon Channel.