The story of the beginnings of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, contains an interesting chain of events set in motion through the dedication of a Campbellite minister, Sidney Rigdon.
In 1827, Rigdon traveled about the countryside preaching the doctrines of a movement called "Disciples," also commonly known as "Campbellites."Rigdon stopped at the home of Parley P. Pratt, a native of New York who had built a wilderness home in 1826 near Cleveland, about 20 miles west of Kirtland.
Pratt felt Rigdon's preachings conformed closely to the Bible, so he joined that church. Desiring to preach the doctrines of the "Disciples" to relatives in New York, Pratt returned to his home state, where sometime in the summer of 1830 he heard of the Book of Mormon. Wanting to learn more of the book, he went to Palmyra, where he met Hyrum Smith, who accompanied him to Fayette.
The Prophet Joseph Smith was in Harmony, Pa. Hyrum introduced Pratt to Oliver Cowdery, Joseph's scribe during most of the translation of the book. Being convinced of the book's truthfulness, Pratt was baptized and ordained an elder about the first of September 1830.
After he was baptized, Parley Pratt resumed his journey to preach to his relatives, but his message was changed from the doctrines of the "Disciples" to the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. His 19-year-old brother, Orson Pratt, was among the first he baptized.
Elder Pratt returned to Fayette in time to attend the second conference of the Church on Sept. 26, 1830. At that conference he was called on a mission to the Lamanites. That mission's route took him and fellow missionaries - Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Ziba Peterson - to Kirtland.
At Mentor, a settlement just outside Kirtland, they called at the home of Elder Pratt's former colleague, Sidney Rigdon. The Campbellite minister was then taught of the Restoration by one of his former converts, Parley P. Pratt.
After learning of the Book of Mormon and doctrines of the restored gospel, Rigdon permitted the missionaries to preach to his congregation in Kirtland. Within two weeks, Sidney Rigdon and his wife and many who had been members of Rigdon's congregation were baptized, thereby forming a branch of the Church in Kirtland.