Why Did the Kirtland Safety Society Fail? (Knowhy #604) – powered by Happy Scribe
And revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord promised to preserve Kirtland as a stronghold for the space of five years. In those years, the church in Kirtland grew and flourished, culminating with the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, accompanied with many divine manifestations and profound spiritual experiences. Church leaders then turned their attention to alleviating those temple debts and building up Kirtland’s economy. Church leaders receive direction to establish a bank and acquire land as a solution to the church’s economic problems.
They came together to officially organize a banking institution, which they called the Kirtland Safety Society. After a rough legal start, the Kirtland Safety Society seemed poised to bring the much needed economic relief to members of the church shortly after this initial success. However, attacks began led by an unscrupulous competitor named Grandison Newel New bought up many Kirtland notes, depleting the Kirtland Safety Society’s liquid capital reserves. He also organized an unfair and harmful lawsuit against the leading officers of the Kirtland Safety Society.
In the meantime, other events transpired to seal the fate of the Kirtland Safety Society. The United States 1837 banking crisis hit Ohio and Michigan, and many banks were forced to close their doors. These outside economic, personal and legal factors led to the Kirtland bank’s demise, which officially closed its doors in September of 1837. However, despite these challenges, virtually all of the deposits were ultimately returned to Kirtland Safety Society investors. It was nearly exactly five years after the Lord had promised that Kirtland would remain a stronghold for the space of five years, when plans for starting a bank had been set in motion.
This prophecy had come with an express warning. The Lord admonished that he ought to forgive one another and not seek occasion against Joseph without cause. All of this was the fulfillment of a prophetic utterance. And now you know why.