With nearly 100 members, the branch of the Church in Kirtland was well established by the time Joseph Smith arrived in early February 1831.
In his history, Joseph recorded,". . . the members were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them."
Before they had joined the Church, many of the Kirtland converts had lived according to a plan called "common stock," an arrangement in which all property was held in common.
The practice had become established in Kirtland by people in the community who were striving to live as the early Christians were said to have lived. Those who practiced common stock were known as "the family."
Members of "the family" based their beliefs on a New Testament verse: "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." (Acts 4:32.)
Joseph Smith recorded that the plan of common stock "was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned..